With the spike in antisemitic violence in and around NYC, the campaign by Jewish Voice for Peace and other anti-Zionist groups to blame Israel and American Jews for police shootings of minorities takes on deadly implications.
The recent spike in attacks on Jews in the greater New York City area follows a pattern that does not fit with the media portrayal of violence against Jews being solely a ‘white nationalist’ problem. All or almost all of the attacks were perpetrated by non-whites, including the deadly shooting in Jersey City, street attacks in Brooklyn, and the machete attack in Monsey.
While this seems to come out of nowhere, in fact, there has been a highly organized and aggressive campaign to stoke and exploit pre-existing racial tensions against Jews as part of anti-Israel activist tactics. The effort goes back decades to Louis Farrakhan, who serves as an inspiration for “intersectional” activists like Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour, formerly of the Women’s March.
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The American Left was launched into a joyous frenzy when the editor-in-chief of the Evangelical periodical Christianity Today denigrated now-impeached President Donald Trump as unfit for office and called for his removal from. Mark Galli also implied that, by giving the US leader a pass on his inflammatory rhetoric and moral-ethical indiscretions, Evangelicals were abandoning the value system they ostensibly hold dear.
Following the article’s publication, headline after headline across the liberal media hopefully asked: “Is President Trump Losing His Political Base?” It was the latest attempt to further indoctrinate a segment of the public with an already-shared loathing for the President. Indeed, “Never Trumpers” no doubt nodded their heads in Pavlovian-like fashion in the affirmative, without even reading what amounted to yet another in a series of “hit” pieces.
Ironically, however, had it not been for the brouhaha manufactured by the media – which transformed Galli’s opinion into something akin to a national security crisis – the vast majority of America is unlikely to have even heard about the article. While Christianity Today (founded by Billy Graham) was once generally respected, its current circulation (by its own estimate) numbers only 130,000, out of an estimated 90 million Evangelical Christians residing today in the United States.
Meanwhile, Galli, who liberal media talking heads subsequently hailed as a “courageous” crusader, just happens to be retiring in January and therefore does not have to contend with the prospect of losing his job, or with the fully anticipated backlash against his actions.
Spearheading the charge against the editorial was none other than President Trump, who accused the journal of being hijacked by leftists and Tweeted: “I guess the magazine, ‘Christianity Today,’ is looking for [Democratic Presidential candidates] Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or those of the socialist/communist bent, to guard their religion.” Simultaneously, the president rallied Evangelical leaders behind him, prompting the announcement of the formation in early January of the “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition. The great irony, then, is that Galli’s article has served not to divide President Trump’s largest and most important political base, but to unite it.
As if further evidence was needed, some 100 prominent Evangelicals this week sent a letter to Christianity Today’s hierarchy containing a not-so-veiled warning that the publication would likely lose advertising revenue because of the controversy. For his part, Franklin Graham, the son of renowned Evangelical leader Billy Graham, called Galli’s article a “totally partisan attack” and revealed that his father had voted for Trump in 2016.
While it is not unreasonable to judge the leader of the free world according to high moral standards – a Rorschach Test that President Trump by most measures has not passed – his behavior, without whitewashing it, is not exactly novel when compared to that of past Presidents, including Democrats ranging from Kennedy to Johnson to Clinton. All of them, to say the least, were far from saintly, a well-known fact despite their not having had to endure the microscope of the 24/7 news cycle, with their every move scrutinized and then recounted on social media.
It is true that President Trump has often fueled the flames of hatred against him by aggressively using online media (he was, after all, a media star, as well as a real-estate developer, before entering politics). And while he has railed particularly against the “Do Nothing Democrats”, this has enabled him to counter and bypass, and to an extent to marginalize, what he considers to be a hostile “Fake News” media.
The crux of the matter appears to be this: more pressing for Evangelicals than Trump’s “unpresidential” conduct is the growing sense that their religious values and way of life are under assault by the Left. Accordingly, many conservative Christians view President Trump’s pro-nuclear-family and anti-abortion positions as their last line of defense in an ongoing culture war that they feel the Left is on the verge of winning. His support for the Second Amendment is similarly viewed as commitment to upholding the Constitution, which many “progressive” Democrats believe to be an outdated document written by slave-owning old white men. When taken together, these considerations go a long way toward explaining why many Evangelicals (Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables”) might turn a blind eye to President Trump’s shortcomings, and why about 75-80 percent of them are expected to vote to reelect him in 2020.
It is no coincidence that this phenomenon also applies to Orthodox Jews, who likewise overwhelmingly support President Trump. In fact, more than 50 percent of them voted for him in 2016, and a recent poll found that he now has an 89 percent approval rating. Juxtapose this against another survey that found, overall, 75 percent of American Jewry (covering all denominations) viewed President Trump unfavorably, and it becomes clear that the Orthodox community is a major outlier.
To understand this one needs to look no further than President’s Trump unprecedented support for Israel, one of the most important issues for Orthodox Jews (and, note, for Evangelical Christians as well). This is manifest in the President’s official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, subsequently, of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; his withdrawal from Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, whose radical theocratic regime repeatedly threatens the Jewish state with annihilation; the recognition of the legality of “settlements” in the West Bank; and the cut-off of aid to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA due to Ramallah’s and Gaza’s ongoing glorification of terrorism.
Moreover, the US President earlier this month made history by signing an executive order adopting the internationally recognized IHRA definition of antisemitism. This was complemented by a decision to define the Jewish people as a nation, thereby entitling Jews to seek recourse under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This especially affects pro-Israel university students, who are routinely harassed on campuses throughout the US. Now, educational institutions that foster environments in which Jews are constantly attacked risk being federally defunded.
In one fell swoop, then, the man the liberal media has designated an antisemite did more to safeguard American Jews than perhaps all the presidents combined since the days of the Founding Fathers who, notably, held the “People of the Book” in high esteem.
As the adage goes, politics makes for strange bedfellows. In this case, the glue that binds the Evangelical Christian and Orthodox Jewish communities together is the perception that President Trump is protecting their values, even though he may not personally have abided by all of them. The contextual backdrop here is these two cohorts’ shared view of what they see as an intensifying campaign by the Left to deemphasize, if not fully deconstruct, the religious and social foundations upon which they base their existence. Until recently, these values constituted the unquestioned bases of that “one Nation, under God” in which they both so deeply believe.