The tragedy of the assimilated American Jew with nowhere to go

Wise Jews understand that we cannot blindly trust the right or left, Christians or Muslims or Jews in positions of secular prominence. Op-ed

Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer ,

We have only our Father in Heaven
We have only our Father in Heaven
Daniel Strabo
Two thousand years of persecution have made most Jews in the world crazy. They can’t take it, but they retain a “Jewish-spark” quality of stubbornness that precludes them from just giving it all up and walking away. They don’t know what Judaism is nor value it especially, but they got from their parents or grandparents that it is a thing more precious to inherit than the mere anomaly of being, say, a lefty or an Italian (or even an Italian known to the FBI as “Lefty.”)

Thus, they may identify as Jewish Communists or as Jewish Democrats or as Jewish Republicans. A few seem to have chosen to hide — Rodney Dangerfield (Jacob Cohen), Lauren Bacall (Betty Perske), Tony Curtis (Bernie Schwartz) , Mike Todd (Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen), Ayn Rand (Alice Rosenbaum). Others have not: Schumer, Nadler, Milton Friedman, Larry David.

The less they know — which, by now, defines the vast majority of American Jewry — the less they have on which to base their Jewishness, other than knowing that “THEY” have been trying to kill us, often successfully, for 2,000 years. As it happens, inasmuch as most of “civilized” society has been ruled by right-wing systems for 2,000 years (Greek and Roman emperors, Holy Roman Empire, Vatican and Catholic church, Protestant churches, Tsars, Cossacks, Kaisers, Sultans, Muslim Religionists, Nazis of the Nationalist Right, etc.), it happens to be that most of “THEY” reflect 2,000 years of murderous persecution from the right.

For Jews who do not know an Aleph from a Pickle, it makes perfect sense that, now that it is OK to marry non-Jews in America because the American reform rabbinate assures them that the grandparents still can see their little ones “bnai mitzva’d,” their only take-away from childhood is that “THEY” of the Right are our sworn eternal enemies to be destroyed before “THEY” destroy us.

Thus, the blissful ignorance among America’s majority-assimilated Jews that, ever since the Left emerged as a viable governmental alternative, “THOSE” also have deserted us and, when possible, acted to take us down, hate us, or destroy us: Communists everywhere they are found, Third World types, Nazis of the Socialist sort, etc. Voltaire. FDR. Jesse Jackson. Al Sharpton. Louis Farrakhan. Jeremiah Wright. “The Squad.” The BDS movement. Black Lives Matter. Antifa. As the lyrics in the old song “Henry the Eighth” go: Second verse, same as the first.

And yet, depending on the moment in time, there are those on the Left who have their reasons for standing with us — Napoleon tearing down the ghetto walls. Henry Fonda, Paul O’Dwyer, Hubert Humphrey, and the whole American Left when they perceived that Israel was the land of socialism and kibbutzim, and a small underdog facing extinction so soon after the Shoah. Jane Fonda inherited that from her dad. Paul O’Dwyer never abandoned us. Nor did HHH or Henry Jackson, who also was an anti-Communist.

By contrast, we presently live in a moment when the non-extreme Right are our better friends: the vast majority of Republicans and denominational Christians who adopt the Pastor John Hagee-Pastor Jerry Falwell interpretation of Breishit (Genesis) 12:3.

But we also have lived through the prior era of 1920s-1950s America Firsters on the right like Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford, Catholics like Father Charles Coughlin, Republicans of the “Gentleman’s Agreement” world, the James Bakers and George H.W. Bushes.

For incomprehensible reasons, we know from his internal White House tapes that Nixon privately despised Jews, almost surely because so many opposed him politically, but he was G-d’s paradoxical vehicle to be Israel’s bulwark in 1973. On the other hand, Reagan, whom many pro-Israel conservatives remember as having loved Israel (especially after the awful Carter years), actually condemned Israel severely for bombing the Iraqi nuclear reactor, condemned and neutralized Israel for its efforts to eradicate Arafat and the PLO from South Lebanon in 1982 — leading to his foolishly inserting U.S. Marines into a war theater they and he did not understand and where they did not belong, resulting in 241 American servicemen getting blown up — and sold AWACS to Saudi Arabia.

In his earlier years, Rush Limbaugh often attacked Israel — presumably because he hated the hypocrisy of anti-war pacifist Democrat liberals who then opposed all military arming anywhere and everywhere, except for Israel. In time, after 9-11, Rush became fabulously pro-Israel, as have the entire class of Right Wing and Christian Talk Radio.

Even so, there are other Christian evangelicals, epitomized by Jimmy Carter and his ilk, who are anti-Israel and pro-“Palestinian,” defaming Israel by using the mendacious “Apartheid” label, while lamenting the “poor defenseless Palestinians” as the meek who will inherit the earth. Such Jew-haters on the Left are fed and their Jew-hatred is given cover by the likes of apostates like George Soros and Bernie Sanders.

Wise Jews understand that we cannot blindly trust the right or left, Christians or Muslims — or Jews who rise to positions of secular prominence. A Schumer watches out for Schumer. There have been millions of wonderful non-Jews over time, “Righteous Gentiles,” and we have experienced eras when Arab Muslims were great to us, eras like now when Christian evangelicals are great, times when Leftists stood at our sides, times like now when Rightists in certain places stand at our sides. And there are other times and places when those same types have been our worst tormentors. It is a matter of time, place, personalities, circumstances, and often who else is threatening whom.

Our only reliable ally is our Father in Heaven. Those who understand that simple lesson of 3,300 years of Jewish history grasp all. Those who don’t are destined — or, if they are lucky, it will not be they but their descendants who actualize that destiny — to be disappointed or exiled or rounded up or shot or axed or gassed or cremated or whatever else the future holds.

And their next-generation survivors who still do not “get the memo” will think that the ticket to prevent yet the next recurrence will be to build museums and monuments to the fallen, everywhere they can find an open space and get a zoning permit. But the monuments soon enough will be treasured, as are so many Holocaust monuments in America, mostly by pigeons and budding graffiti artists, while the museums soon enough will be converted to honor homosexuals who rioted at Stonewall, Hutus and Tutsis who fell in Rwanda, Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo who converted Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, and whatever else the future brings as part of liberationist theology .

Assimilated Jews like the vast majority of America’s Reform Jews never will get it. But, tragically, they will get it.