G-d Is Testing American Jews. They Are Failing.
As I watch American Jews move farther left — and farther away from their Jewish heritage and connection to Israel — I am reminded of the story of the Exodus. Moses ascended Mount Sinai in order to receive the Ten Commandments. During the forty days he spent atop the mountain, the Jewish people became fearful and distrusting and began worshiping a golden calf.
Today’s Diaspora Jews are worshiping a different type of false idol. For eight years, it took the form of Barack Obama, but he was only representative of a progressive ideal for which Jews are constantly searching. Our history of slavery, torture, dhimmitude, persecution, and genocide has led to a people who desperately seek peace, obsess over “tikkun olam” and social justice, and worship at the Torah of Liberalism.
American Jews’ fixation on every victim class but their own and social issues like abortion, climate change, gay “marriage,” and immigration, and the Democrat Party to which they have been tethered for a century, is harming the survival of our people. While the United States holds the largest Jewish population outside Israel, our national population is minuscule — approximately 2%. Our power is not in our numbers, but in our voices — and our voices are becoming dangerously self-destructive.
There have always been Jews whose ignorant hatred for Israel and their own people have made them a danger to their own survival. The voices of the despicable Haaretz writer Gideon Levy, Professor Norman Finkelstein, the ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta, and anti-Zionists like Bernie Sanders are examples of Jews whose actions and statements demonize Israel. But there are many more Wicked Sons who, rather than recognize their responsibility as G-d’s chosen people to work to ensure our survival in a world in which that survival is precarious, have instead chosen to work toward ensuring Israel’s destruction.
Frighteningly, anti-Zionists are growing in number, in volume, and in threatening activities as they hide their Jew-hatred under the guise of criticism of Israel. What makes this growing anti-Semitism even more dangerous is not necessarily the troika of haters who now sit in Congress; the intersectionality of hate groups joining together to demonize, harass, and silence Jewish voices (Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, the LGBT movement, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Women’s March); or the “Hamas-inspired” Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. A serious threat to our people emanates from the growing number of progressive Jews who not only give these haters cover for their devious and dangerous anti-Israel activities, but organize and participate in projects and pursuits aimed at Israel’s destruction.
The number of Jewish groups that oppose the “occupation,” deem Israel an “apartheid state,” and empower Palestinian terrorism is growing exponentially while these groups also unite and organize among themselves and with other anti-Semitic groups that hate Jews and Israel. J Street, established under, and empowered by, Obama, a time when anti-Israel animus ran rampant throughout the White House and State Department, has become stronger and louder. It began with campaigns for candidates who criticized Israeli policy and expanded as part of the Obama Echo Chamber to sell the Iran deal to Americans, including through demonization of the Israeli prime minister. It now has a presence on college campuses; is organizing Birthright-type trips to Israel; and has successfully mainstreamed itself, making it a comfortable home for left-leaning Jews who know no better.
Last summer, IfNotNow appeared in the news as its young members joined and then disrupted Birthright trips to Israel, making pro-Israel students uncomfortable and sabotaging the efforts of the trips’ organizers. INN’s activities have expanded from focusing on “the American Jewish establishment’s support for Israel’s occupation” to “the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates’ support for the traditional US-Israel alliance.” It is currently pressuring the Democratic candidates to discontinue U.S. aid to, and other support for, Israel.
Jewish Voices for Peace, a leader in BDS activities, “views itself as the ‘Jewish wing’ of the Palestinian solidarity movement” and seeks “to create ‘a wedge’ within the American Jewish community.” Its anti-Semitic campaigns have expanded from local governments to college campuses where it works in lockstep with the violence, harassment, and intimidation tactics of Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association helping to marginalize Jewish students and their Zionist voices.
Two new groups are gaining attention. Judaism on Our Own Terms, an umbrella group of several progressive Jewish student organizations, works with the virulently anti-Semitic SJP to fight “white supremacy” on college campuses and bring BDS-supporters to colleges and universities. Progressive Israel Network, another new umbrella group comprising ten left-wing organizations, all of whose raison d’être is the demonization of Israel, is running a slate of delegates to be elected to the World Zionist Congress in the hopes of influencing policy dangerous to Israel’s survival.
Part of the problem is the inclusiveness of the organized Jewish community. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations has at least two anti-Israel, BDS-supporting groups as members: Americans for Peace Now and Ameinu. Ameinu, along with other far-left Jewish groups that promote policies antithetical to Israel’s survival, including Partners for Progressive Israel, is also a member of the American Zionist Movement. And for years, UJA Federations have allowed the pro-Palestinian groups B’tselem and New Israel Fund to march in the Israel Day parade despite their support for BDS and Palestinian terrorists. One of the most mind-boggling partnerships is the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, formed between the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Islamic Society of North America, a Hamas-funded Muslim Brotherhood front group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial.
Mainstream Jewish organizations are welcoming some of these haters into their big tent, remaining silent about the harm they are causing, or pretending their hate is not doing real damage to the Jewish people. The Conference of Presidents, UJA, the Anti-Defamation League, AJC, and AIPAC all garner huge and blind support from the American Jewish community. They have done nothing to stop the growing movement on the left, nor are they willing to admit that the most dangerous form of anti-Semitism may actually be coming from many of our own people.
Liberal Jewish professors, rabbis, and politicians are also enabling and furthering the growing anti-Semitism we see at home and anti-Israel animus across the globe. Whether speaking out against Trump’s pro-Israel policies (his peace plan, Israel prohibiting Omar and Tlaib from entry, the movement of the embassy to Jerusalem, or the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria), failing to acknowledge or minimizing the dangers of anti-Semitism on the left, or supporting candidates who demonize the Jewish homeland, Jews are complicit in allowing this hatred to flourish. The newly formed Jewish Democratic Council of America, obsessed with hatred of Trump, went so far as to produce a dishonest ad calling him the “biggest threat” to Jews while continually attacking his pro-Israel policies and ignoring the real sources of anti-Semitism in the country.
With anti-Semitism rising at alarming rates both globally and domestically, Jews across the political spectrum must take a stand and fight everyone who seeks to harm them — including their own people. Unfortunately, we are not only failing to engage in the battle, but waving the white flag while the enemies in our midst grow in number and aggressiveness. We are once again failing G-d’s test, and that never ends well. What will it take for us to wake up before it is once again too late?
Lauri B. Regan is the New York chapter president and board member of the Endowment for Middle East Truth and treasurer and board member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.