Meeting and engaging American Jews from both sides of the political aisle on my current trip to the USA, has left me increasingly bewildered. Despite the Congressional impeachment inquiry led by Democratic Jewish Congressional leaders, or the high profile given to American Jews in the anti-Trump campaign with two prominent Jews running for the Democratic presidential nomination; Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont and Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York city. American Jews are for the most part silent about how all this is perceived by the non-Jewish American public. They seem to be ignoring the possibility of this being the real driving force empowering antisemites to come out of the woodwork and act.
The deafening silence on the part of Jews in response to the highly visible profile of other Jews leading the anti-Trump campaign is undeniable. Whether this silence vindicates and gives Jew haters a semblance of justification and confidence to come out publicly against Jews is at the epicenter of mainstream Jewish dissonance, when responding to expressions of antisemitism.
This week's impeachment hearings had the Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, bringing three Jewish witnesses out of four— all constitutional legal scholars, all outlining a legal interpretation that enables and justifies the impeachment of President Trump. They are Prof. Noah Feldman of Harvard, Prof. Pamela Karlan of Stanford and Prof. Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina. The leader of the impeachment drive, Rep. Adam Schiff (Chairs Select Committee on Intelligence) is Jewish, as is Nadler, and so is the Democrat counsel Norm Eisen. Does their Jewish identity matter?
This past week two major anti-Semitic clips were broadcasted on social media. On one side, a right wing anti-Semitic Pastor and on the other side the NAACP Both came out with antisemitic tropes publicly and in their own name without any hesitance or fear of reactions. Florida Pastor and founder of the TruNews, a YouTube channel, Rick Wiles called efforts to impeach President Donald Trump part of a “Jew coup.” The clip was removed by YouTube but the Florida Pastor was not banned from posting additional clips, so it’s relatively easy for him to continue and spread the word of a blatant anti-Semite and Jew hater. Wiles said, “That’s the way the Jews work. They are deceivers. They plot. They lie. They do whatever they’ve have to do to accomplish their political agenda. “The impeach Trump movement is part of a Jew coup, and the American people better wake up to it fast.”
“We have until Christmas to take a stand because of this Jew coup in the United States,” Wiles said. “We have weeks to stop it. That’s why I’m speaking out. That’s why I’m putting everything on the line saying this is a coup led by Jews to overthrow the constitutionally elected president of the United States.”
Rick Wiles was not dragged down to his local police station, he was not accused of any hate crimes, and no local or federal prosecutor took action against him in response to these dangerous accusations against American Jews. The Florida Pastor also took to Twitter to accuse “Jewish socialist Jerry Nadler” and his “three Jewish witnesses” of “escalating the Jew coup.”
TruNews also informed us that Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University scholar and the fourth witness called by the Republicans is a Roman Catholic. Turley testified convincingly and effectively that the evidence for impeachment is below the accepted legal standard, therefore should result in the dismissal of the impeachment inquiry. TruNews has more than 185,000 subscribers on YouTube and its videos have garnered 17 million views on the site.
At the same time, US Jews got a slap in the face reminding them of how the antisemitic coalition has expanded to both sides of the aisle. NAACP of Passaic, NJ, has turned the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, into an excuse for antisemitism. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)'s Passaic, N.J. Branch on Wednesday published a Facebook post claiming that African-Americans "are dying so that Jews can live." In the post, NAACP Passaic shared a Disclose.tv article titled "Israel gets $50 billion while America cannot afford clean water for Flint." The article focuses on the town of Flint, Michigan, which has been "terribly affected by the presence of contaminants in their drinking water and yet the people who live there have not been deemed worthy of federal funding. ”It claims that the Democrats have tried to push to give $400m to Flint for "the worst public health crisis the United States has endured in recent memory," but were rebuffed by Republicans. It then claimed Israel had "demanded" the US increase its budget to $50 billion." All fabricated lies against Israel and its supporters; conservative American Jews.
Along with nationwide broadcasted antisemitic declarations of antisemitism on social media, let’s not forget the local antisemitic attacks occurring daily throughout the country, whether savage physical attacks against haredi Jews on the streets of Brooklyn, or the widespread defacing and destruction of Jewish cemeteries, and communal Jewish buildings such as the recent hate crime, one of many, against the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington D.C where the word “JEW” was carved into the wooden entrance door and a swastika was painted onto the synagogue’s steps.
Despite these antisemitic clips reaching millions and millions of Americans, and the proliferation of local attacks on Jews, it seems as if American Jews and the combined leadership of the major Jewish organizations in America have put their heads in the snd. Those who call out are considered to be affected by the “Chicken Little Syndrome”; an allegory for people accused of being unreasonably afraid, or people trying to incite an unreasonable fear in others. Most Jews, and their leadership among major Jewish organizations refuse to rattle the cage and opt instead to tolerate the proliferation of antisemitic attacks everywhere thereby downplaying wht they see as the “Chicken Little Syndrome”.
Self-deception has become a widespread response for Jews, as they tell themselves that things have never been better for Jews in America. With Jewish organizations ability to enlist voluntary and almost unlimited legal assistance pro bono, I find it hard to understand why these antisemitic prophets of the takeover of Jewish power or “lone wolf” anti-Semitic attacks on Jews are not aggressively and publicly hounded, brought to justice and forced to pay for their hate crimes. Demanding criminal and financial accountability for antisemites simply doesn’t see daylight, but the meek and submissive response on the part of American Jewry invites more antisemites to act and cross the threshold. For antisemites, American Jews are perceived today as weaker than ever before. This bottom-up approach by antisemites is their way of rebelling against a false belief that Jews control the world, simply by going after the Jews one by one.
Anti-Semitic acts of violence have become a daily event no different than routine muggings or the destruction of property. Media generated declarations of antisemitism have become widespread and seemingly unchallengeable. It seems as if the Jewish American public has undergone a slow process of vaccination against antisemitism and has immunized itself so that it feels no need to do something about the phenomenon. The time has come to put American Jewry on Notice.
Ron Jager made Aliyah in 1980 from New York, served for 25 years in the IDF as a Mental Health Field Officer in operational units and then as Commander of the Central Psychiatric Clinic for Reserve Solders at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring he has been involved in strategic consultancy to NGOs and communities in the Gaza envelope. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org