anti-Israel graffiti in NY
anti-Israel graffiti in NYCory Zapatka

I recently read an article in an English language newspaper in which a progressive American Jew expresses her shock at realizing that all the progressive movements she supported so actively care so little about Jewish lives.

As a conservative Gentile I saw this coming years ago. The writing was all over the wall.

For years, progressive Jews played a preponderant role in making America resemble the Europe their ancestors fled from. They overwhelmingly supported higher taxes, more welfare, and enthusiastically supported almost every movement that denounced America as oppressive, racist, and immoral. For years, they made sure to criticize and condemn Israeli policies, portraying peaceful "settlers" as benighted brutes, while scorning fellow Jews who claimed that 1967 borders amount to Auschwitz borders. In doing all this, they were supported by a bevy of elitist leftist Israelis whose movies and novels made sure that the whole world now shares their disdain for the IDF and fear of any Jew wearing a kippah.

Why are they so surprised to have harvested what they helped to sow?

Personally, the most demoralizing aspect involved in defending Israel on social media and elsewhere are not the friendships this has cost me, the social circles I am now excluded from, or the suspicion that I am a prostitute on the payroll of the "Zionist lobby." The most demoralizing aspect of pro-Israel activism is passing as a fool: What weight and credibility do my words as an Italian goy hold against the lies and half-truths of a Peter Beinart, a Gideon Levy or Jewish Voices for Peace? When a progressive Israeli-American Jew married to a Muslim Pakistani mocks me online as a "wannabe Jew," the biting sarcasm of Henry Kissinger towards pro-Israel Senator Fulbright rings in my ears: "Jesus, when is that guy going to get circumcised?"

The reason I keep on fighting for Israel, despite the many Jews rendering my efforts Sisyphian, is that it is the right thing to do. Jews who side with the progressive camp after October 7th are no different to the "nationaldeutsche Juden“ who worshipped Germany and its Kultur while being stripped of their rights and being eventually sent to their deaths.

After witnessing the disgraceful reactions of BLM, Greta Thunberg, the Squad, progressive academia, and the official representatives of the Religion of Peace, how can progressive Jews not realize that their kumbaya universalism is morally bankrupt?!

Regardless of all legitimate political differences, I think there should be a collective consensus to which all reasonable Jews should subscribe:

1) Defend America as it was until the turn of the century. America started degenerating when resentment went mainstream and meritocracy lost its lustre. As a college student in the late 20th century I admired the fact that unlike in Latin America or Europe, accomplishments and success were nearly-universally admired. Nowadays this is no longer the case. As soon as a Yale undergraduate affiliated to a conservative political party told me a few years ago that he felt bad about his privileges as a white middle-class American, I understood how misguided American elites have become.

A society where success and wealth rouse resentment, where a middle-class background and well-educated parents cause guilt and bear the stigma of "privilege," and where gender and race trump justice and merit, will inevitably scapegoat Jews. In this sense, for Jews to defend the disadvantaged is righteous, but to enthusiastically support movements primarily driven by hatred and resentment like BLM is plain stupid.

2) Do not hold Gentiles to a lower standard than Jews. Just like no Jew would defend an Israeli who stabs German tourists on the tayelet of Tel-Aviv to avenge his murdered grandparents, there is no reason to empathize with Arabs who stab Jews anywhere in the Land of Israel or members of any "oppressed" minorities who riot and burn down cities.

3) Stop displaying empathy toward people who display none toward you. I recently saw a social media post involving dozens of Jewish professors eager to recommend books that might help them and their students "see the world with Palestinian eyes." Of course, the recommended books were mostly tear-jerking delusional narratives about how the "Palestinian Eden" turned into a living hell once Zionism triumphed. This was a tragic instance of enlightened Jewish professors willingly promoting an enemy's false narrative.

4) Care first about your own, because no one else will. The fact a genius and genuine friend of the Jewish people like Thomas Sowell is unknown to many Blacks, whereas Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan are household names among African-Americans, should have alerted you decades ago that Jewish altruism is rarely reciprocated.

On a one-to-one basis it is right to help deserving people regardless of race and religion. Nevertheless, to turn the rights of other communities into a collective Jewish priority has always backfired. Most human beings resent owing debts, thus readily finding a way to impute dark motives to those who have helped them. I am pretty sure that if Jews had played no role in promoting the Civil Rights Movement or in the fight against Apartheid, there would now be far less antisemitism among Black Americans and Black South Africans.

5) Do not project pet dreams on Israel. Israel is not perfect and does not need to be perfect in order to deserve our solidarity and support. Israelis do not need to live up to your sterling standards about what being a Jewish State involves. There are plenty of things Jews of all shades can dislike about Israel. Yet just like no self-respecting American will disown America for its flaws and no Catholic will ever disavow the Vatican‘s right to exist, there is no reason for Jews to support Israel's enemies on the basis of any of Israel's shortcomings.

Rafael Castrois a Noachide who graduated from Yale and Hebrew University. He can be reached at [email protected]