Trump’s Rhetoric Didn’t Cause this Massacre: Barbara Kay, National Post, Oct. 30, 2018 — The Sabbath massacre in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue was the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history, but it is not the first time Jews in the United States have been targeted for attack while at worship.
Pittsburgh Synagogue Slaughter Not Easily Explained: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Oct. 30, 2018— The slaughter of Jews in Pittsburgh by an alleged anti-Semite cannot be easily explained.
American Jewry’s False Prophets: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2018— Just hours after the largest massacre of Jews in America in US history, the Atlantic Monthly posted a piece by Franklin Foer.
Farmers and Fighters: The Making of the Land: Douglas Feith, Tablet, Oct. 24, 2018— Last autumn was the Balfour Declaration’s hundredth birthday.
On Topic Links
Israel’s Role in the Struggle Against Antisemitism: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2018
If the Synagogue Shooter Were Muslim, the Media Would Be Defending Him: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, Oct. 31, 2018
Tears Were Shed: Justin Amler, Jewish Press, Oct. 31, 2018
The Heart Breaks for Many Reasons: Editorial, Arlene From Israel, Oct. 30, 2018
TRUMP’S RHETORIC DIDN’T CAUSE THIS MASSACRE
National Post, Oct. 30, 2018
The Sabbath massacre in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue was the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history, but it is not the first time Jews in the United States have been targeted for attack while at worship. In 1960, a 16-year-old boy threw a bomb into a synagogue in Gladsden, Ala., but it didn’t explode. The would-be massacrist then shot and injured two people fleeing the building. Before that, in 1958, a bomb made of 54 dynamite sticks was thrown into the Temple Beth-El in Birmingham, Ala., and it, too, failed to explode. If it had, it could have killed hundreds.
Nobody remembers disasters that fail to happen. But these near-misses should remind us that evil walks among us at all times, not just “in the age of Trump,” a phrase one continually hears, and that some twisted minds, yearning for a unitary explanation that accounts for their own failures as well as all the other perceived problems in the world, fasten on The Jews. They should also remind us that sporadic hate crimes, even horrific massacres, should not be blamed on an authority figure, however obnoxious, unless that leader actually embodies an inherently hateful ideology or political policy.
So yes, Kristallnacht could be blamed squarely on Hitler and the Nazi party, because racial purity and anti-Semitism were integral aspects of that platform, with violence condoned or encouraged. Terrorism in Europe and Israel can be blamed on Islamist groups, because hatred of Jews and Western culture is inherent to radical Islam, and because such groups proudly and publicly take credit for the carnage. In North America, we can blame neo-Nazi groups and the social media they use for encouraging hatred of Jews, blacks and other minorities. Yet unlike many Islamism-inspired attacks, no organized white supremacist group praised Bowers or implied he acted on their behalf. Bowers was simply an extreme anti-Semite, churning day and night with ugly thoughts and barely contained impulses that finally burst their fragile bounds.
Trump is criticized for a tone that often promotes division among Americans for partisan ends. Fair enough. He’s also slammed for not repudiating these cretins unequivocally. But even if he had, what difference would that have made in this case? Bowers was contemptuous of Trump for his well-known Jewish connections and partiality to Israel. In one post on Gab.com, a site known for hate speech, Bowers wrote, “Trump is surrounded by k****”, “things will stay the course.” If he were inspired by Trump’s perceived indulgence of the alt-right, does it make sense that he would target people Trump identifies with? Would it not be more logical for him to target undocumented Latinos or Muslims, who have legitimate reasons to consider Trump hostile?
If you follow the “logic” that links the synagogue massacre to Trump, the same logic would have Justin Trudeau — widely perceived as hyper-sensitive to Muslim concerns — as the root cause for Alexandre Bissonnette’s rage erupting in the 2017 Quebec mosque massacre. Are we going there? Some people might. Not me. Because then I would just as logically have to wonder if Obama was somehow to blame for the 2015 Charleston church massacre of nine black worshippers by white supremacist Dylann Roof, or consider the failed 1958 and 1960 synagogue bomb explosions somehow the fault of Dwight Eisenhower.
On Dec 6, 1989, lone wolf Marc Lepine massacred 14 women at Montreal’s École Polytechnique. He was not affiliated with any political movement, nor was he inspired by an ideological guru. Nobody blamed prime minister Brian Mulroney for the massacre, or the tense and divided political atmosphere around Meech Lake. Nor should they have. Lepine acted on the urgings of his personal demons. But violence directed specifically against women was new and shocking. Swollen grief and anger demanded a vessel large enough to hold it all. Lepine was a lone wolf, but also a man. And feminists did place the blame for the massacre on what would soon be called the “toxic masculinity” inherent in all men. Society complied. That was morally wrong, and furthermore a great cultural mistake. The White Ribbon campaign the massacre inspired raised awareness around the issue of intimate partner violence, but the message was almost invariably linked to a demonization of men, which has encouraged mutual resentment and mistrust between the sexes.
All the individuals behind these attempted and successful acts of human slaughter are mysteries in the end. A divisive and volatile environment may further excite their dark passions, it is true. A national leader who is careless in his often divisive rhetoric does nothing to calm the social waters. But that’s a far cry from actually causing a massacre. And so, when CNN asked Rabbi Jeffrey Myers if Trump would be welcome at the Tree of Life Synagogue, he wisely replied: “The President of the United States is always welcome. I am a citizen, he is my president. He is always welcome.” That was the right, that was the unifying, thing to say.
PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE SLAUGHTER NOT EASILY EXPLAINED Tarek Fatah
Toronto Sun, Oct. 30, 2018
The slaughter of Jews in Pittsburgh by an alleged anti-Semite cannot be easily explained. After centuries of studying the phenomenon of Jew hatred, few have come up with an answer as to why this tiny segment of our world community faces so much revulsion. Every time there is an incident of violence against Jews, it adds one more ugly scar on the face of our common legacy.
The attack that killed 11 on Saturday in Pittsburgh’s vibrant Jewish community reminded me of the attack on a Jewish community centre in Mumbai, India, 10 years ago. Same target, different assassins. How long will Jews be killed simply because they are too few? Just under 15 million in a world populated by 7 billion other souls. Is it because Jews have contributed far more to humanity than they’ve taken back? Are the rest of us envious of their resilience and ability to survive horrendous discrimination in Christian Europe from medieval times to the Holocaust?
Yesterday, Lorrie Goldstein quoted British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ explanation of the irrationality and evil nature of Jew Hatred on these pages. “Before the Holocaust,” Rabbi Sacks notes, “Jews were hated because they were poor and because they were rich; because they were communists and because they were capitalists; because they kept to themselves and because they infiltrated everywhere; because they clung to ancient religious beliefs and because they were rootless cosmopolitans who believed nothing.”
Something changed after the Holocaust. For the first time in a millennia, the Jewish state of Israel was founded in the ancient Jewish homeland of the Temple Mount from which Jews had been driven out many times. And that changed the very form of anti-Semitism. Jew hatred gave way to hating Israel. And among the new anti-Semites came “the radical Islamists and others who deny Israel’s right to exist,” says Rabbi Sacks.
Today, Jew hatred is camouflaged under the guise of solidarity with Palestinians. There is hardly a university campus in North America where the left has not made common cause with right-wing Islamists. Instead of exposing themselves as the Jew haters that they are, they target Israel, not ordinary Jews. It’s not Zimbabwe or China they focus on, and certainly not Saudi Arabia or Iran. No, the new Jew hatred is manifested in the targeting of Israel. A Palestinian state is not what they seek; it is the end of Israel as a Jewish state they desire.
For those of us who are not Jews, the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy has left us with a gem. In 1891, Tolstoy wrote a short essay, “What is a Jew?” He asked, “What kind of a unique creature is this whom all the rulers and nations of the world have disgraced and crushed, expelled and destroyed, persecuted and drowned, who despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish?”
Offering his own answer, Tolstoy proposes, “The Jew is the symbol of eternity … the one who is for so long guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear. The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity.”
Let Tolstoy’s message sink into our minds. Let it shape our thoughts. Let’s adorn our hearts with Tolstoy’s message as we attempt to erase latent hatred of the other and appreciate the Jewish people and their Jewish state.
AMERICAN JEWRY’S FALSE PROPHETS
Caroline B. Glick
Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2018
Just hours after the largest massacre of Jews in America in US history, the Atlantic Monthly posted a piece by Franklin Foer. In his “Prayer for Squirrel Hill, and for American Jewry,” Foer wrote, “Any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning [President Donald] Trump’s Jewish enablers. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed our community in danger.” That is, in the shadow of the blood drenched synagogue, Foer declared war on his fellow Jews.
Between a quarter and 30% of American Jews voted for Trump. A quarter of American Jews intend to vote Republican in next week’s election. Foer wants them all to be ostracized because, he says, they are dangerous. Taken to its logical conclusion, Foer’s statement was also a declaration of war against the Jews of Israel. For as much as Foer and his totalitarian comrades hate Trump, Israeli Jews support him. More than 75% of Israeli Jews consider Trump a great friend.
Foer’s comrade Julia Ioffe from GQ magazine made clear the animosity these leftist/anti-Trump American Jewish media figures harbor toward Israel. In a post on Twitter that was at least as incendiary as Foer’s essay, Ioffe wrote, “And a word to my fellow American Jews: This president makes this [massacre] possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there, where you don’t live was worth it.” In other words, Trump’s support for Israel enables him to persecute American Jews. By supporting Trump for supporting Israel, Israeli Jews and Republican Jews enabled the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Are they right? Do Israeli Jews and politically conservative American Jews facilitate antisemitism in America by supporting Trump? Is Trump an antisemite who covers his malign intentions toward American Jewry by supporting Israel? Although these questions are absurd on their face, now that The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank feels comfortable claiming that Jews are not safe in Donald Trump’s America, it is important to consider them.
So let us consider what Trump has done and said and compare his actions and statements with those of his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, who most of the American Jews who now blame Trump and his Jewish supporters for the massacre in Pittsburgh supported. The first question we need to address is, what are Israel’s interests in its relations with the US and how do those interests impact American Jews? Israel has an interest in working in alliance with the United States to counter common threats. Trump shares this interest, and has acted to advance it on multiple fronts.
Trump’s decision to abandon his predecessor’s policy of appeasing Iran in favor of a policy of working with Israel and the Sunni Arab states to counter Iran’s regional aggression and power, and block the regime’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, represents a fundamental shift in US foreign policy. It was welcomed by Israel as well as by the Sunni Arab states of the Middle East.
Is this a good or bad thing for American Jewry? Obama’s nuclear deal gave Iran a guaranteed path to nuclear armament within a decade. Since the Iranian regime has repeatedly pledged to annihilate Israel, the deal posed an existential threat to Israel. To secure Senate approval – or rather, to avoid Senate disapproval – of his scandalous deal, the Obama White House directed a media and political strategy of intimidation of lawmakers and American Jewish leaders, abounding with antisemitic demonology. Democratic senators that opposed the deal were under the influence of nefarious “foreign money.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was transformed in Obama’s media echo chamber into the enemy of America. AIPAC lobbyists who campaigned against the deal were branded as agents of a foreign power – that is, traitors – seeking to undermine US interests for the benefit of a hostile foreign power – that is, Israel. The Obama administration’s aggression against Jewish Americans exercising their lawful right to petition their government was unprecedented. The fight it waged against the American Jewish community left the community weakened and vulnerable to attack from the Left as never before.
By disavowing the nuclear deal and endorsing the view of the Jewish community, Trump delegitimized Obama’s bigoted assault against American Jews. Obviously, this is a good thing for American Jews. Israel has an interest in securing its position in the world and ending its second-class status in the international community. That second-class status was long emblemized in the US’s abject refusal to locate the US Embassy in Israel to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem. That longstanding American refusal to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the City of David legitimized the systematic persecution of Israel at the UN and in other international arenas.
Since Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish life and faith for 3,000 years, it is concrete proof that Israel is not a colonial implant and that Jews are the native people of the land. By refusing to recognize Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem, the US joined the rest of the world in calling into question its very right to exist and lend credence to the antisemitic claim that Jews are foreigners in their historic homeland. Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and his subsequent decision to subordinate the American Consulate in Jerusalem to the US Embassy was a total renunciation of this long-standing bigotry against the Jewish people. Trump’s action was self-evidently a good thing for American Jews. No longer do American Jews need to justify their attachment to Israel. No longer do American Jews need to come on bended knee to the White House and entreat the president to recognize the historical record.
Contrast Trump’s actions with Obama’s actions. Not only did Obama refuse to transfer the US Embassy to Jerusalem, he rejected even symbolic acceptance of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The Obama State Department erased all the captions on archival photos of American dignitaries in Jerusalem that referred to the location as Jerusalem, Israel. This petty act demonstrated a deep-seated hostility to the history of the Jewish people and was nothing if not bigoted. Yet, by the lights of Foer, Ioffe, Milbank and their fellow American Jewish Trump-haters, Obama was a friend of American Jews, and Trump and his Jewish supporters are their enemies…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link]
FARMERS AND FIGHTERS: THE MAKING OF THE LAND
Tablet, Oct. 24, 2018
Last autumn was the Balfour Declaration’s hundredth birthday. This month marks a hundred years since Britain’s General Allenby completed his World War I conquest of Palestine and Syria. These centenaries relate to the most important–the most basic–argument that anti-Zionists use against Israel today. It’s the assertion that Palestine is Arab land and the Jews had no right to steal it from the Palestinian Arabs. In its somewhat more sophisticated form, the argument is that British imperialists had no right to steal the Palestinians’ country and give it to the Jews.
If you had a child in college and she came home and said she was challenged on this point by a classmate, could you provide her with a response? One way to answer is this: For the 400 years before World War I, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire, so it was owned by the Turks, not by the Arabs, let alone by the Arabs of Palestine. Palestine is an old but imprecise geographical term. It remained imprecise because there was never a country called Palestine. Even when—long ago— it was under Arab rule, Palestine was never ruled by its own Arab inhabitants.
So it’s not accurate to say that Palestine was a country, nor to say it was Arab land. Neither the Jews nor the British stole it from the Arabs. The original Zionists came to Palestine without the backing of any imperialist or colonialist power. They bought the land on which they settled. And before Britain invaded Palestine in World War I, the Ottoman Turks had joined Germany and attacked Allied forces.
Was it an injustice for Britain to issue the Balfour Declaration in favor of a Jewish national home in Palestine? The question is of more than historical interest for it relates to the current controversy about Israel’s nation-state law, which was adopted this past July. Among other controversial things, that law said, “The fulfillment of the right of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”
Consider the Balfour Declaration’s context. When the British war cabinet approved it on Oct. 31, 1917, the world was more than three years into the Great War, the catastrophe now known as World War I, which ultimately destroyed four major empires. Britain was fighting for its life and, because the war was going badly, the government of British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith had fallen at the end of 1916 and David Lloyd George had come to power.
Lloyd George was singularly attuned to the importance of propaganda. He was the first British prime minister in history who had grown up poor. His childhood home didn’t have running water. His political rise testified to the democratization of politics and the power of public opinion. Within 48 hours after he became prime minister, his cabinet resolved to review British propaganda worldwide. He hoped to win more popular support for the Allies in Greece, Italy, Russia, America and elsewhere. Among British propaganda’s many target audiences was world Jewry. Not unreasonably, the Jews generally were seen as pro-Zionist, with useful influence especially in revolutionary Russia and in Woodrow Wilson’s America.
By embracing Zionism, the British government wanted to give Jews a particular interest in Allied victory. In his memoirs, Lloyd George explained that the Balfour Declaration was “part of our propagandist strategy,” its timing “determined by considerations of war policy.” In other words, colonialism didn’t bring Britain to Palestine. Britain didn’t seize Palestine from an unoffending native population. It conquered the land not from the Arabs, but from Turkey, which (as noted) had joined Britain’s enemies in the war. The Arabs in Palestine fought for Turkey against Britain. The land was enemy territory.
Supporting Zionism appealed to Lloyd George, Balfour and other officials not just on strategic grounds, but also for moral reasons. They sympathized with the Jewish national cause. Zionism was an answer to the historical Jewish question, a way to remedy some of the harm shamefully done to the Jewish people over history. And it would give Jews an opportunity to normalize their place in the world, by building up a national center and a refuge, a country in their ancient homeland where they could become the majority and enjoy self-determination as a people
When those officials were young men, George Eliot, in her influential 1876 novel Daniel Deronda, foresaw the creation of a movement to create a “new Jewish polity.” The Jews then, she wrote, in the voice of a Jewish character, “shall have an organic centre” and “the outraged Jew shall have a defense in the court of nations, as the outraged Englishman or American. And the world will gain as Israel gains.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link]
Article adapted from Douglas Feith’s Keynote Address to
CIJR’s 30th Anniversary Gala in Toronto, 21 October 2018
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
On Topic Links
Israel’s Role in the Struggle Against Antisemitism: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2018—Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett rushed to Pittsburgh this week to represent the government of Israel at memorial events following the terrorist massacre in the Tree of Life Synagogue. So did Israeli Consul General in New York Dani Dayan.
If the Synagogue Shooter Were Muslim, the Media Would Be Defending Him: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, Oct. 31, 2018—Two types of people plot attacks against Jewish synagogues and community centers: Nazis and Muslims. In 1999, Buford O. Furrow, a white supremacist, opened fire at a Jewish Community Center in the Los Angeles area. He wounded three little boys, their teenage female counselor and an elderly female receptionist. He told the FBI that he wanted this to be “a wake-up call to America to kill Jews.”
Tears Were Shed: Justin Amler, Jewish Press, Oct. 31, 2018—I’ve been staring at my screen for the last few hours trying to work out my feelings about the Pittsburgh massacre. I’ve been trying to find the right words to show how I feel. But how do you explain the horror we saw today?
The Heart Breaks for Many Reasons: Editorial, Arlene From Israel, Oct. 30, 2018—Yesterday, my heart broke over the senseless, anti-Semitic attack in Squirrel Hill that took the lives of 11 Jews, during Shabbat, while they were in synagogue. I had prayed for healing for the mourners and for the community, and I will continue to pray.