and Political Suicide
tell the truth I’m not surprised at the resurgence of anti-Semitism – not
only across the world but even here in the United States. Anti-Semitism is an
ancient sickness long ago predicted by the Torah and the prophets, historically
rooted in theological hatred as well as xenophobic fears, and utilized by
despots of every generation to scapegoat Jews as a way of diverting attention
from their crimes.
continues to amaze me though is – and let me be as blunt about it as possible
– Jewish stupidity.
are supposed to be smart. We never stop boasting, at least to ourselves, about
the number of Nobel prize winners from our people, the amazing contributions we
have made and continue to make to the world in every field of endeavor. Why is
it then that when it comes to politics, to making our voices heard in ways which
promote the most important areas of our self-interest and yes, even our
survival, we seem to abdicate reason and side with those who make clear that
they are our enemies?
number of years ago, in a now classic article in Commentary magazine, Philip
Himmelfarb made the astute observation that “Jews earn like Episcopalians and
vote like Puerto Ricans.” Jews may have risen to financial security but their
political support remained solidly for liberal causes in line with the
disenfranchised and economically oppressed in the social order. Jews voted more
in line with their liberal views than their personal needs. Leonard Fein said it
explicitly: “Politics is our religion; our preferred denomination is
that may have been fine a generation or two ago. Liberalism which preaches
fairness, liberalism which is grounded in biblical and Jewish traditions of
concern for fellow human beings, is a cause to which we may all subscribe with
there is a tragic truth we have learned in the recent past. It has taken off on
college campuses across the country. It has made its appearance in organizations
ostensibly founded on liberal concern for justice and equal treatment for all,
no matter race or religion. It has even, and most disconcerting, found an
unlikely home in the Congress of the United States of America. It is nothing
less than “hateful liberalism” – liberalism with love for all, just not
for Jews; liberalism with fairness for all, just not for Israel.
a collection of some of the best, funniest and most profound lines in cinema
history critics cite the Oscar-winning Woody Allen movie Annie Hall and the
scene where Alvy Singer, played by Alan, tells the woman who will become his
first wife, “Right, I’m a bigot, I know, but for the left.” It is a
revelation almost prophetic: bigots exist not only as fanatics on the right –
they can also very often come in the form of bigots on the left.
who demand equality for the LGBT community and then side with the Palestinians
against their Israeli “oppressors” seem to have no problem with the inherent
contradiction that Palestinians throw gays off rooftops to their death while
Israel permits gay parades as part of their being a democracy. Liberals manage
to overlook the “pay to slay” policy of Palestinians, giving lifetime
rewards to Arab terrorists who murder innocents like 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher,
a young Orthodox Jewish girl who was completing a year of compulsory national
service in Israel working with children in a youth center in Jerusalem. Somehow
there are a lot of bigots on the left- bigots whose hearts only bleed for
non-Jewish blood and who couldn’t care in the least when the victims are
victims of anti-Semitism, the oldest hate crime in history.
now bigots have found a home in Congress. Bigots feel free to spew hate filled
memes, in the words of Ilhan Omar calling on Americans to acknowledge that
“Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them
see the evil doings of Israel” and that Israel is “an apartheid regime.”
BDS, the movement whose goal is to ultimately bring the very existence of Israel
to an end, has a significant number of defenders in Congress, many of whom will
be running for president in the next election.
I return to my contention that when it comes to politics Jews somehow display an
incredible level of stupidity. Politicians have come to take for granted that
Jews are willing to forsake their self-interest. Yes, Jews earn like
Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans – but Puerto Ricans themselves are
smart enough to vote for what is good for Puerto Ricans. Why is it that only
Jews think it is indecent for Jews to ask themselves at the voting booth the
most obvious question, “is it good for the Jews?”
a country where barely 50% go to the polls, Jewish voter turnout averages around
85%. In a presidential system based on electoral votes, where key “swing
states” like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, Jews have sizable
concentrations in southern Florida, Cleveland, Philadelphia Pittsburgh and
Detroit, Jews theoretically are blessed with considerable political power. That
potential influence, however, is wasted and unlike any other voting block of
comparable self-interest is negated by its unwillingness to identify and fight
for its own causes.
Omar was elected after her pro-Palestinian views and anti-Semitic tropes were
already well known. She cruised to victory in November in Minnesota’s fifth
district which encompasses Minneapolis and some of its suburbs, including St.
Louis Park which has a large Jewish population. The seat opened up when 12 year
incumbent representative Keith Ellison, with past ties with Nation of Islam
leader Louis Farrakhan, decided to run for state attorney general – to which
he was in fact elected.
are smart – but when it comes to politics we have a long history of stupidity.
We still can’t believe we have enemies. We still can’t acknowledge there are
evil people who want to destroy us. We still can’t recognize that those who
express anti-Semitic ideas really mean what they say even if they subsequently
offer halfhearted apologies.
In an age when the lessons of the Holocaust seem to have been condemned to forgetfulness we can’t afford to become victims of political suicide. It is high time for us, as every other group anxious about its own survival, to make “is it good for the Jews” a chief concern of our voting behavior.