The Torah is not ‘politically correct’: On Antisemitism

The radical Left and liberal Progressive's supposed opposition to antisemitism is dangerous.

Dr. Chaim Charles Cohen, | updated: 06:35

Chaim C. Cohen
Chaim C. Cohen

The radical, liberal and progressive (politically correct) Left claims it opposes the words and the forces of antisemitism. Torah socio-political philosophy also opposes the words and forces of antisemitism. So what is the difference?

The radical liberal Left’s opposition to antisemitism is not only a dangerous illusion, but actually acts to encourage antisemitism. ‘Words can kill’ so it is urgent that we understand the dangers inherent in this liberal progressive supposed 'opposition’ to antisemitism.

The double standard, ‘discount bonus’ that pc liberalism gives the anti-social  behavior of selected, ‘oppressed’ minority groups:

A radical (pc) liberal will gladly say that of course he opposes prejudicial hatred against Jews, just as he is against prejudicial hatred against lesbians, homosexuals, Blacks, Hispanics, women, Muslims and any other gender, ethnic minority, or sexual preference group that is not accepted and treated equally.(Do not laugh, this is the terminology of the Democratic backed resolution on prejudice that the House of Representatives passed). 

Our antisemitic enemies are judged by a ‘bonus-discount’ standard of social morality. Much antisemitic hate speech will be understood and excused as ‘indigenous cries of suffering caused by an oppressive, colonial social environment’.
So the politically innocent reader can say, “That sounds pretty good to me. What can be wrong with this radical liberal opposition to antisemitism?”

Well there is a lot wrong with this liberal approach when you start reading ‘the small print’ at the bottom of the ideological page of radical liberalism’. This radically liberal stance against hatred and prejudice of minority populations must be read in the context of their overall political-social philosophy.

In tune with post modern moral relativism and subjectivity, the moral theory of pc liberalism divides the world into two basic categories: social groups that are oppressors of others, and social groups that are oppressed by others. And now here is the key point, these two groups are judged by two different codes of morality. There is one code of social morality with which to judge the ‘oppressor’ class, and another code of social morality for judging the 'oppressed' class.

For example, if an indigenous, non white tribe attacks, kills, rapes, or steals from another indigenous, non-white tribe in a territorial dispute these acts are not judged by a universal, objective moral code, but judged by the code of their indigenous, non white social culture.

However, if the U.S. Federal cavalry attacks a Native American tribe, and performs the same belligerent acts  as did the indigenous, non white tribe did, the US Federal cavalry will be judged by a different moral code. They will be considered ‘colonial war criminals’ based on a novel moral code derived from the historic-cultural academic theory of ‘colonialism’. ‘Colonial ‘oppressors (the US cavalry) are held to a much higher standard of social behavior that the ‘oppressed’ social group (who are always victims, according to the refrain ‘don’t blame the victim’)

The anti social behavior of an oppressed class is thus excused, and granted a double standard, a ‘bonus discount’ for anti social behavior because the minority group has been historically ‘exploited and cruelly treated.’ We have to ‘accept and understand’ the ‘oppressed group’s’  anti social behavior, on two accounts- one as an act of ‘courageous’ rebellion against its oppressors, and two, as an expression of his indigenous ethnic social culture.

Hate speech against Jews is judged by a different standard than Hate speech against other persecuted, indigenous, minority social groups  

So now when we are discussing anti Semitism, we want to answer the key question, into which category do the Jewish people fit, that of the ‘oppressors’ or that of the ‘oppressed’? Will Jewish social behavior be judged by the ‘same’, or by a different code of the social morality, than that of the anti-Semites that attack us?

The very sad answer seems to be that despite the Jewish people’s 2000 years of exile, persecution and massacres, today’s radical liberal Academics have decided not to bestow upon us  the ‘cherished’ designation of an ‘oppressed social group’.

Our antisemitic enemies are judged by a very different, ‘bonus-discount’ standard of social morality. Much antisemitic hate speech will be understood and excused as ‘indigenous cries of suffering caused by an oppressive, colonial social environment’.

For example,

1) if Arab terrorists indiscriminately shoot rockets on civilians they are termed militant freedom fighters. If Israeli acts of self defense cause civilian deaths we are called war criminals.

2) If a religious Jew is loyal to 2000 year old teachings on sexual morality he is castigated as a homophobe and denied his rights of freedom of public speech particularly in academia. If Muslims throw LGBT persons off roofs, it is considered their culture.

3) Farrakhan’s antisemitism is excused in many radical liberal circles as semi legitimate expressions of historic black suffering, and thus not similar to the ‘antisemitism’ of White Supremacists.    

The empathetic ‘discounts on hate speech’ that other ethnic groups receive on the basis of being an ‘indigenous’ social culture ‘ somehow just do not apply’ to the 2000 year old Jewish people and their religious social culture.

Why do Radical liberal Academics ignore 2000 years of antisemitic persecution of Jews?

Why has the pc 'Supreme Court' of radically liberal Academics ‘ruled’ that the Jewish people are an ‘oppressing’ –and not an ‘oppressed’- social group when the historical, 2000 year evidence of our minority group oppression is so overwhelming:

1) exile from our Land by the Babylonians;

2) suppression of our indigenous, religious social culture by the Hellenists (and subsequent Maccabean Chanukah freedom revolt);

3) Suppression of our indigenous, religious social culture and exile from our Land by the Romans (accompanied by five heroic ,freedom revolts and the massacre of a third of all the world’s Jews);

4) A 1700 year history of religious persecution, third rate social status, Crusader massacres, Spanish Inquisition killings expulsions and exile in the Western Christian world;

5) Second rate, social status and frequent religious persecution in the Muslim world;

6) Cossack massacres of at least 250,000 Jews in the Ukraine in the 1600’s; nineteenth century pogroms in Czarist Russia:

7) Vicious political anti Semitism in nineteenth century Europe, that culminated in the German Nazi, rationally planned, technologically executed  murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

The current ‘social crimes’ of the Jewish people that justify their being categorized as an ‘oppressing’ social group- according to radical liberal Academics:

Despite this documented history, in the eyes of radically liberal academics the Jewish people are currently designated as an oppressing, and not an oppressed, class because of our following current ‘social crimes’:

1) We are conceived as predominantly White skinned and of European origin (though 40% of Israel’s population is ‘dark skinned’ and from Mid Eastern Arab lands and there are over 100,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel);

2) Most Jews in America and Europe are highly educated and definitely middle class and up in their social status, and thus inherently part of the ruling socio-economic class.

3) Traditional Jewish social morality believes in certain absolute social values, and does not believe that social morality is pluralistic and relativistic to historical epochs and groups;

4) Traditional Jewish social morality advocates the primacy of the two gender, two parent family structure, and has a non-libertine approach to sexual behavior;

5) the return through settlement (and not military conquest) of the Jewish people to the Land in which archeology and historical texts show that they were the indigenous, dominant cultural, ethnic group from 1000 BCE to 350 CE is nevertheless mendaciously seen by radical liberal academics as a colonial project (from 1880 till 1948) that stole the land from the native Muslim-Arab population then residing in the Land.

In conclusion, pc radical liberal academia seems to rapidly becoming the breeding swamp for a new mutation of the very old plague of hatred of the Jews

As long as radical liberal Academics use ‘colonial theory’ to maintain a double standard  for Hate speech (whether the Hate speech emanates from an  ‘oppressing’ or ‘oppressed’ social group) their ‘condemnation-Semitism will ring shallow, hallow, and often hypocritical.

Jews are historically vulnerable to Hate speech and discriminatory persecution. Honest, traditional liberals thus must NOW insist that one standard of Hate speech applies to ALL social groups.

Hate speech of black nationalists must be condemned in the exact similar terms as the Hate speech of White Supremacists.  Public freedom of speech means that Orthodox Jewish teachers should be allowed to explain and teach their understanding of gender and sexual morality on the college campus with the same sense of freedom and respect as ‘queer and LGBT’ studies are currently taught. Honest liberals must insist that the history of Zionism can presented publically with the same sense of freedom and respect that BDS. and ‘Justice for Palestine’ are currently receiving on campus.

The above demands for freedom of speech were once the traditional agenda of liberalism - until fifteen years ago.  If today’s pc radical liberalism cannot fulfill this traditional liberal agenda of free speech it means that its opposition to antisemitism is hollow and hypocritical. Much more seriously, it means that pc radical liberalism will become (if it is already not) a very dangerous breeding ground for a new mutation of the very, very old plague of antisemitism.

How does the Torah explain the plague of antisemitism?

The Torah teaches that anti Semitism will be inevitable part of human history as long as the Jewish people continue to play their 2500 year unique historical role, and continue to live and teach their unique, historically revolutionary perspective on socio-culture morality. Coping with, and suffering, the result of antisemitism is the inevitable price that Jews have to pay for this unique historical role

G- d has commanded us to be different, and has given us a social culture to actualize this difference. In this vein, the Torah teaches that Jews are people destined ‘to (historically) dwell alone’. The midrash teaches that Abraham dwelt on one side of the ‘river of history’ and all the other civilizations dwelt on the other side of the river.

This historical uniqueness has nothing to do with a sense of superiority or ‘being a chosen people’which only means we were chosen to keep the commandments. Our uniqueness is simply a very blatant, objective historical fact. Here  is not the place to document, or even explain, this uniqueness. Simply put, if one looks at the list of acts of persecution listed above, one sees that all reigning civilizations  found the teachings of Jewish ethical monotheism, and the unique social culture derived from these teachings, to be ultimately threatening, and thus to be the cause of the resentment and antagonism that ends up in anti Semitic persecution.

I apologize to readers tor a depressing conclusion filled with foreboding. But the truth must be stated so we know how to cope. And as a religious Jew my only response must be that just as G-d has historically guided so far ‘through the valleys of death ’and we have ultimately flourished, so will He continue to do so in the future.