Stop Enabling the Anti-Semites

(Tablet) Ammiel Hirsch - The Jewish people is and has always been the perfect scapegoat around which to organize and rally people to extreme political causes. Communists could accuse the Jews of being capitalists. Capitalists could accuse the Jews of being communists. The hard left can accuse the Jews of being white and complicit in racial inequality, and the extreme right can accuse the Jews of being an insidious enemy of the white race. The recent explosion of anti-Semitism awakens in me a dire, depressing, demoralizing dread. If there is one lesson to absorb from the Holocaust, it is when someone proclaims an intention to exterminate the Jews, believe them. Take them seriously. Iran threatens Jewish extermination all the time. Hizbullah threatens Jewish extermination all the time. Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad threaten Jewish extermination all the time. What in the world are progressives doing supporting such people? I am not opposed to legitimate criticism of Jews or the Jewish state. Yet it is undeniable that hatred of Israel foments hatred of Jews. Attacks on Israel lead to attacks on Jews. The extent and manner of the single-minded, blind obsession with Israel often bleeds into hatred of Jews, and normalizes Jew-hatred to an extent not seen since the darkest days of the 20th century. Wild accusations of ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, genocide - against the only actual democracy in the Middle East - are blood libels, different only in form, but not in substance, from Jews poisoning the wells. I am a liberal rabbi leading a Reform synagogue composed of mostly liberal Jews. And in my view, many liberal Jews are misled by the high-sounding rhetoric of anti-Zionist professors, thought leaders, influencers, and media personalities. Pro-Palestinian activity is often led by those who do not seek accommodation with Israel, but its annihilation. That is anti-Semitism. More than half of all Jewish children in the world now live in Israel. Threats to destroy the Jewish state are threats to destroy the Jewish people. The writer, senior rabbi of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan, is former executive director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America/World Union for Progressive Judaism.

2021-10-18 00:00:00

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