“Anne Frank today is a Syrian girl”. The title –in the New York Times! – converting a Nazi-hunted Jewess into boat refugee Muslims, proves that not only a cultish fad on the fringe may take leave of its senses. The comparison was a mainstream idea. It was Ivy League endorsed. It accreted the status of media narrative. And since it was laughable the idea posed a stern and continuing threat.
The obvious objections weren’t made; could be timidity, could be reputational risk, could be not seeing anything objectionable about Anne Frank being a Syrian girl. No matter, Jews more than others trod a careworn path incurably compromised by being horribly surreal. A thousand (non-Orthodox) rabbis signed a petition to bring Muslim refugees, carriers of the antisemitic gene, into America. Others declared their temples to be the biblical cities of refuge, and sheltered illegal Muslims therein.
Even Trump-hating Huffington Post conceded the obvious:”Migrants streaming into Europe (and America) from the Middle East are bringing with them virulent antisemitism.” A warning of the consequence resonated as if from Sinai: one minority will bear the brunt of these migrants more than any other, and that is the Jewish minority.
But the makeup of most of it contains a heedless element – Jews that believe and claim, without a blush, that they are campaigners against racism, yet are dismissive when it rears up from the wrong quarter. A dark skinned racist belonging to the victim class can’t be a perpetrator or oppressor.
When a gunman took four Jews hostage in a Colleyville, Texas synagogue in January 2022 that progressives’ bible, the New York Times relegated the story to a back page. An FBI spokesman failed to label the crime as one related to the Jewish community, though later he recanted. Mainstream media was shy to identify the gunman, Malik Faisal Akram as an Islamic terrorist; he was simply identified as ‘deranged.’
Huffington Post conceded the obvious:”Migrants streaming into Europe (and America) from the Middle East are bringing with them virulent antisemitism."
LA post-denominational rabbi Sharon Brous goes out of her way not to think of Muslim racists. “I don’t feel at all uncomfortable about (Linda Sarsour),” she said. “A much greater problem would be if the Jewish community stepped out of activism because we’re afraid that someone on the stage has a position on BDS different than our own.”
Soon after Jonathan Greenblatt took over the Jewish human rights outfit, ADL, he issued two press releases on transgender rights and three on President Trump’s immigration order on Muslim visas. Remember the wave of attacks on transgender people? I don’t either. Remember how the Muslim world set the example for helping Muslim refugees? I don’t either.
Of progressive Jews it can be said their dominant thought is moral superiority – being a notch above the norm. “Never underestimate the power of feeling good about yourself,” said a critic of rabbinic support for Muslim refugees. “It feels very good to say: ‘Look, world, you abandoned us in the 1930s, but we’re better than you.”
These moral snobs from their moral eyrie sneered at Trump supporters as a lower species. Women who voted for Donald Trump, said the Guardian, suffer from “internalized misogyny.” The progressive Forward paper laughed at voters who got Trump elected over Clinton. “You can compare them to Rust Belt voters. They are hardworking people, not college educated.”
The price paid for snobbery may be stupidity. Except for progressives with college degrees what other group saw nothing objectionable about Anne Frank being a Syrian girl?
When ‘wrongly’ elected President Trump made an executive order to not grant visas to Muslims from countries that permit terror groups to flourish, he was accused of copycatting Franklin D Roosevelt denying safe haven to a shipload of Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe. Progressives made use of the Dr Seuss cartoon. “These are foreign children and it really doesn’t matter.”As if at a time of dire need Trump slammed America’s door tight shut – on Muslim travellers and migrants.
Those fool enough to equate the two cases must have been blinded by the glaring differences. For one, Roosevelt keeping stateless Jews on board the St. Louis in 1939 was, observe Walter Russell Mead & Nicholas Gallagher, following the 1924 Reed-Johnson Act which totally cut off immigration to the United States, refugee or otherwise. The two went on to describe the “almost total ban imposed on immigrants that would endure for two generations. Not even the Holocaust could pry the doors open more than a crack; large-scale immigration was not allowed to resume until 1965.”
Another difference between the acts of Roosevelt and Trump is that when the former locked the gates on refugees it was not to keep out terrorists. Roosevelt's excuse, being an antisemite, was that he reacted to the economic realities of the Great Depression. Mass unemployment and fears of foreign paupers did it for Jews seeking to escape the death camps over a decade later.
Thirdly, in Roosevelt’s day there was no Jewish terrorism, and there never has been. The ghettoes were not a breeding ground for suicide bombers. No murderous Jews were trying to infiltrate America by secreting themselves within refugee hoards. On the other hand Trump barring Muslims from certain countries was a matter of life and death for Americans. The immigration system could hardly tell the good from the bad. Neither French nor German immigration could tell the difference, and some citizens paid with their lives. Jewish desperados dying to enter America posed no such threat. They may have been paupers but none were potential mass murderers.
Note: Above cartoon reprinted from the book Cartoonists Against the Holocaust, by Rafael Medoff and Craig Yoe, with permission of the authors.
Fourth, the world map was very different in Roosevelt’s day. There was no State of Israel to offer Europe’s Jews a haven. Today the map contains several Muslim states (22 at last count) which, if they played ball, could take in every displaced Muslim at a blink. Why did they not play ball? Why did superior compassionate progressives not pressure Muslim states to play ball?
Most vapid is that degree heavy progressives that sneer at Trump voters are incapable of joining standout dots. If refugee Muslims really were like Holocaust escaping Jews, from which death camps had the Muslims fled? Invoking Anne Frank to score points can be a double edged sword. There have to be two players. Here progressives came up against no real candidate for the push effect. Where was the equivalent Third Reich from which Muslims had fled? Which regime was about to exterminate them? Narrative makers addressed the problem by expelling it from the narrative they fashioned.
Inclusivity and whatever else may be trending, Jewish progressives go after, head over heels. Engrossed with tikkun olam – erroneously understood as fixing the world – they expel from their homespun ‘Jewishness’ the untrendy bits, the Judaic bits, the factual bits. Rabbis for Refugees, Jews for Women against Trump, Jews for Palestinian rights, Jews for any right so long as it is not a Jewish right.
And they are ‘picky’ with it. Antisemitism from whites on the Right is the very devil:
“Let’s be clear about one more thing: if a politician refuses to condemn Donald Trump for hanging out with Ye and Fuentes, if a public figure mealy-mouths that “no one should have dinner with an antisemite” without naming Donald Trump, there are only two explanations. One: they themselves are antisemitic or two: they have no conscience, no sense of right and wrong, no decency.”
On the other hand anti-Semitism from whites on the Left is a joke:
“What, exactly, are Jews afraid of here? It’s not like Corbyn (Labour party ex leader) is going to bring back pogroms.” “Come on, you don’t really think he really hates Jews.” Or, “I think you’re being manipulated by bad-faith actors,” they say.
One expected a pandemic of antisemitism to bind Jews together. One hadn’t bargained for narcissistic avatars of what is right and true, encased in their virtue, wielding both the gavel of judgment and the axe of punishment.
Steve Apfel is an authority on anti-Zionism and a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction. His blog, ‘Balaam’s curse,’ is followed in 15 countries on 5 continents