A monumental shake-up and self-inflicted division of the Jewish world has been building up, changing the foundation of the Jewish world we have been accustomed to for the past 150 years. Not since the period of European enlightenment leading to the establishment of the Reform movement and secular Judaism, and not even during the darkest days of the Holocaust, has the Jewish world undergone such a widespread and fundamental rethinking of what it means to be Jewish. With the establishment of the State of Israel and her metamorphosis within a relatively short period into a world leader in defense, technology, medicine, agriculture, water purification, and food production, allowing Israel to free herself from the shackles of dependence on the American Jewish community, the schism has only accelerated and is threatening the unity of the Jewish world.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Saks has stated that the ultimate basis of Jewish peoplehood throughout history has been “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh” – “All Jews are responsible for one another.” We may not agree on anything, but we remain a single extended family. If you disagree with a friend, tomorrow he may no longer be your friend. But if you disagree with a family member, tomorrow he is still part of your family. Being a family is what keeps us together. We don’t need to agree with each other, but we do need to care about each other. This historical connection among Jews has come to an abrupt end. It can no longer be ignored or denied. American Jews from the Democratic, progressive side of the political map not only have transformed themselves into a vanguard dedicated to publicly criticizing Israel, but act as if Israel is a flawed democracy unworthy of their support.
This monumental shake-up and self-inflicted division of the Jewish world has been building up, changing the foundation of the Jewish world we have been accustomed to for the past 150 years. Not since the period of European enlightenment leading to the establishment of the Reform movement and secular Judaism, and not even during the darkest days of the Holocaust, has the Jewish world undergone such a widespread and fundamental rethinking of what it means to be Jewish. With the establishment of the State of Israel and her metamorphosis within a relatively short period into a world leader in defense, technology, medicine, agriculture, water purification, and food production, allowing Israel to free herself from the shackles of dependence on the American Jewish community, the schism has only accelerated and is threatening the unity of the Jewish world.
We see it everywhere today; led by self-hating Jews, appearing on mainstream and social media, adopting an anti-Israel narrative that not only rejects Israel’s basic national right of self-defense, but simultaneously demands that Israel forfeit her right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Jewish intellectuals, liberal and progressive organizations, Reform rabbis, lay leaders, university faculty members, students, communities, and grassroots movements have all joined hands, using their Jewish identity and Jewish affiliation to represent themselves as a moral authority and amplify their rejection of the State of Israel while making alliances with BDS organizations, Islamic organizations, and anti-Israel movements throughout the world that specifically express their objective of ending the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. They express solidarity with the Palestinians and their efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State.
Peter Beinart, archliberal and Jewish provocateur in regard to Israel, stated in his book, The Crisis of Zionism, that the problems of Jewish unity “are not especially connected to Israel because they are not especially connected to being Jewish.” These young and liberal American Jews, who are Jews only in name, seem to have lost their basic understanding of how democratic societies function. In the same manner that they deny the elections in America and deny President Trump any semblance of legitimacy despite his fair and square win over his democratic opponent, these Jews refuse to accept the reality that Israel’s political system and political processes are subject to judicial review and cannot in any manner deviate from accepted norms of democratic principles.
Yet despite the undeniable Democratic due process in Israel, progressive Jews still act as if they can no longer defend Israel and infer that Israel itself, as a Jewish state, is a provocation to their humanistic values. Even President Trump’s decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was given a cold shoulder by progressive Jews. This being the case, denying the legitimacy inherent in President Trump’s election win and denying the legitimacy of laws and regulations enacted by Israel’s Knesset are two sides of the same coin.
In response to these Jews’ consistent rejection of democratic norms while adhering to irrational yet politically correct viewpoints, we can clearly observe a counter-intuitive response of their political allies on the left side of the political map. Despite the support given to and alliances with black and Latin American political leaders, we are witnessing an unprecedented upswing in incidents of anti-Semitism from these communities. The recent funeral of Aretha Franklin, in which Democrat ex-president Bill Clinton shared a broadcasted center stage with the virulent Jew-hater and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, is one example. In the past, Farrakhan called Adolf Hitler “a very great man and claimed a few years ago that “white people deserve to die.” Many progressive Jews on the left may not know the extent of Farrakhan’s bigotry, or they may condone it by claiming he did a service for black communities. For example, Tamika Mallory, cofounder of the Women’s March, called Farrakhan a “GOAT,” or the greatest of all time, and Congressman Keith Ellison, an accused abuser of women and the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, once called him a “role model for black youth.” All this shows something inherently wrong with the reciprocity awarded to progressive Jews for their efforts by the Democratic Party and their cohorts.
On the Israeli front, progressive Jews are being interrogated, detained, and denied entrance into Israel at an unprecedented rate, with new cases being reported every day. It seems that progressive American Jews have crossed the line as far as Israel is concerned.
So who will save these self-destructive progressive Jews from themselves and help them in their hour of need: progressive Jews’ newfound partners? The anti-Semitic supporters of the BDS movement? Or maybe the anti-Semitic supporters of the anti-Israel LGBT organizations? Certainly, the 60 million Evangelical Protestant Americans and their families who voted for President Trump won’t be in their corner, nor the people of Israel, their historical “kissin’ cousins” and partners to 3,000 years of family unity, who have been effectively given the progressive middle finger.
Progressive American Jews have lost support on the left and on the right and are entering dangerous waters. Should they continue and suppress expressions of support for Israel or ostracize pro-Israel individuals, the progressive Jews of America will continue to alienate and distance themselves from the Jewish world and will find themselves acting like the beached whales that run themselves aground again and again until they eventually die. Progressive Jews might well bring upon themselves a similar fate in the near future. They have no one to blame but themselves.