The Know-Nothing Excommunicators - How the massacre brought out the worst in some liberal Jews
Usually, when sharing an article with our readers, it's easy to pick a main point and reprint it along with a link to the original article, as is common practice on many sites. This gives the reader a taste of the article by way of an important point, and lets the reader decide if the whole article is worth reading. Every once in a while, we will suggest, because we find an article that is especially important, that you read the whole thing, again, a common internet practice.
By now the dust has settled on the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre. We've all gotten back to our regularly scheduled lives, and Jewish institutions have made the changes they feel necessary in response to changing times.
What we haven't done, is examine the responses of some of Jewish people and organizations to the tragedy. (We we say "Jewish" that doesn't include truly abhorrent organizations like the mis-named "Jewish Voice for Peace," IfNotNow, and Workman's Circle. They are their own brand of insanity and have very little to do with Judaism.) There are Jewish writers and organizations who turned their ire on fellow Jews who subscribe to different politics. In their politically progressive-inspired temper tantrums, they took their rage out on politically conservative Jews and especially on Jews who supported Trump.
Mandel's article exposes and critiques these responses that damage the Jewish community, and makes a lot of excellent points on top of the critiques. So here is a quick taste of the article, copied here with the hope that you will follow the link and read the whole article. It is well-written, well thought, intelligent, and offers the reader a lot to think about.
There is one fact of life in 2018 that complicates this narrative of the pusillanimous Jew appealing to the supposed tyrant in the hopes of staving off annihilation or penury: the existence of the state of Israel. But liberal Judaism’s pulpiteers have a ready-made response: Israel’s the problem. Two versions of this predominate: one, that Israel’s strength has deceived Jews into weakening their position in America; two, that Israeli policies are to blame for the bloodshed.
“Dear @netanyahu,” Jacobs tweeted two days after the Pittsburgh massacre, “please stop embracing dangerous autocrats. If the last few millennia didn’t teach you that such leaders are bad for the Jews, this past Shabbat would have.”
Former Anti-Defamation League official Harry Reis was more explicit. In his telling, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Minister Naftali Bennett, Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman “are enablers and defenders of @realDonaldTrump’s hate and the white supremacists who support him.”
The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson took the next logical step in this progression and—ironically, endorsing a key neo-Nazi talking point—proclaimed: “The bizarre and terrifying nexus between Israel and white nationalism actually starts to make sense when you understand the ethno-nationalist literature. Extreme right Zionists and anti-Semitic white nationalists have the same core beliefs.”
Liberals have thus unwittingly been reprising the old “Zionism equals racism” calumny with the 2018 version: Zionism is borderline Nazism. In a Facebook advertisement for a Boston rally for the week’s victims of “white supremacy, antisemitism, and nationalism,” organized by the local chapters of Workmen’s Circle, IfNotNow, and Jewish Voice for Peace, the list of victims of the Pittsburgh massacre was followed by the names of three Palestinians killed by Israeli self-defense strikes in Gaza. “May their memories be for a blessing,” ends the post.
So there you have it: The Jews are the authors of their own destruction, supporters of Israel are disloyal Americans, Zionism is a first cousin to Nazism, right-wing Jews are Nazi collaborators, and Trump-supporting Jews should be expurgated from Jewish communal life.