Monday, June 24, 2024

America and the Jewish People

A supporter of Israel with blood on his face (TOI)
There is a difference between being antisemitic and being critical of Israel. One indeed can be very critical of Israel for a variety of reasons while at the same time not being all.

I think it is safe to say, for example, that there are plenty of mainstream  - even Orthodox Jews that have said some pretty nasty things about Israel. From Charedi leaders to extremist right wing religious Zionist leaders. As well as the left half of the entire Israeli populace.  

The question is when non Jews do it. Can they be critical of Israel and claim not be antisemitic? Absolutely. The most obvious and recent example of this is the President. He does not have an antisemitic bone in his body, His grandchildren from his late son Beau are actually Jewish. And he has been highly critical of Israel’s conduct in the war. (Badly mistaken though he is.)

But what is happening at many of the pro Palestinian protests is clearly a function of antisemitism.  It’s become obvious that they are using the war as an excuse to express hatred of the Jewish people. Seeing every Jew as a Zionist supporter of an evil Apartheid regime that must be destroyed.  So wherever one finds Jews they are a legitimate target for violent protest. As was the case yesterday in an LA Shul:

Anti-Israel protesters gathered outside the Adas Torah Synagogue in the Pico-Robertson section of Los Angeles on Sunday where an Israel real-estate fair was taking place.

According to reports from the scene, the protesters surrounded the synagogue and prevented Jews from entering.

In one video, protesters, their faces covered by "Palestinian" keffiyehs, are seen linking arms by the entrance of the house of worship.

Pro-Israel counterprotesters are also at the scene. A page on X named "Jews Fight Back" called on the community to protect the synagogue, stating: "We need to gather in overwhelming numbers to ensure our community is not left defenseless."

It added: "Bring your friends, your family, and your passion. Fly your Israel and American flags proudly. Let's unite and show our strength and solidarity. Don't let our house of worship stand alone—be there!"

First of all, if you believe in what you ae doing, you don't hide your face These Palestinian protesters (just like the vast majority of similar protests that until recently were limited to college campuses) knew what they were doing was illegal and tried to hide their identity. 

Needless to say, violence broke out. The Palestinian protestors came ready for a fight. And they got one. They weren’t fighting to end the war in Gaza. They were fighting against their common enemy - Jews. The LA mayor understood this and said he following: 

"Today’s violence in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood today was abhorrent, and blocking access to a place of worship is unacceptable. I’ve called on LAPD to provide additional patrols in the Pico-Robertson community as well as outside of houses of worship throughout the city…. 

"I want to be clear that Los Angeles will not be a harbor for antisemitism and violence. Those responsible for either will be found and held accountable. I will be joining Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky, the Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation Los Angeles Rabbi Noah Farkas, and other law enforcement and faith leaders in a community meeting this week as we talk about steps forward, together." 

I think the way the city reacted to it shows where most of the American people are. I do not see many Americans sympathizing with these protesters. I think they instead see these protesters as a gang of violent hooligans that ought to be thrown in jail. 

That was the feeling I got by the reaction of a tourist in Chicago yesterday. He was denied the magnificent sight of a Chicago icon, Buckingham Fountain. It was vandalized by Palestinian protesters and the city had to shut it down. He was interviewed by a local reporter and said that he understood their right to express their beliefs, but they did not have the right to damage public property and ruin his family’s vacation. 

By calling it their right. he hinted that he didn't agree with them. I think he represents what a lot of Americans quietly think about all this right now. Palestinian protestors are not winning the hearts and minds of the American people. No matter how much the mainstream media has tried to focus on them. Americans have not forgotten October 7th and understand why Israel went to war. They know there are hostages, that they were kidnapped, and are being mistreated.  Despite the fact that the media hardly ever mentions it anymore.

I have said this before but it bears repeating. I believe that the fears being expressed by so many of us about this being 1930s Germany all over again is unwarranted. Despite the dramatic increase in antisemitism. It is not  coming from mainstream America. Not now and not any time soon.  

It saddens me that the historical trauma of the Holocaust raises fears among so many of my brethren that they feel we are reliving pre Holocaust Germany, But I just don’t see it.

We still have a lot to be thankful for in this country. Can things improve? Of course they can. There has surely been a dramatic and unprecedented uptick in antisemitic acts in recent years. That needs to be fought with everything we’ve got. But I think that the vast majority of the American people agree with that. As does the vast majority of our representatives in government.