A recent desecration of an American Jewish cemetery.  Does the arrest of an Jewish teen in Israel for making bomb threats against Jewish institutions the world over mean that anti-Semitism isn’t a challenge?

I’m amazed and disappointed at the number of articles, posts and chats I’m seeing online that suggest that the American Jewish community overreacted to the recent spat of bomb-threats phoned into JCC’s and other Jewish institutions.  Hey -we’re being told, there are Jews in the GOP and the Trump White House, let’s not be so quick to accuse him and his crowd of being anti-Semitic.

But unlike Muslims and immigrant Mexicans, Jews wield influence in the Trump White House. They’re mostly white. They’re highly assimilated. And Republicans like them. There’s a reason that, according to Pew, Republicans are almost thirty points more likely to feel warmly towards Jews than towards Muslims. Republicans consider Jews part of the West.     The Dangers of Blaming Trump for Anti-Semitism -Peter Beinart

I am talking about moving beyond the victim-perpetrator model.  I am talking about moving toward a model which is more aspirational than it is defensive, that mobilizes people around the dreams they have, more than around fighting the nightmares they have, and that doesn’t pit communal self-defense against communal introspection.  I am talking about appreciating that, by and large, we are living the dream, and need to guard against constantly looking for boogey men, simply because they used to be more present, and defining ourselves by who hates us, rather than by what we love, even though it is often so much easier to do it that way.  THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR JEWS TO MOVE PAST VICTIMHOOD – Brad Hirschfield


Do Jews play the victim card? Hell yes.

I would even go so far as to say that many of the policies of the current Israeli government are based on Jewish victimhood:

Humanity has hated and picked on us for as long as Jews have been around; in the shadow of the Shoah the Arab world would not compromise of Palestine and has been trying to kill us and destroy Israel since 1948. How can humanity’s ultimate victims become oppressors themselves? We can treat 3 million Palestinians as second class people with impunity.

Talk about righteous indignation! On the other hand, when I look at the obscene hate 45 and his minions are generating legally and culturally for Muslims, I dare not look at the arrest of the Jewish teen responsible for the bombs threats to JCC’s and other Jewish institutions and say, oh good, the hate being openly promoted in this country is not being directed against me and my people so everything is fine.

Everything is most certainly not fine. So long as racism and Islamophobia are being winked at by Trump and Co., so long as American immigrants and American Muslims live a state of fear, so long as Muslims are banned from entering the country,  this Jew is certainly not sitting back and celebrating Jewish acceptance by the GOP and conservative American Christians. I may  not be the target of the bigotry du-jour, but I’m certainly not free to desist from the ongoing battle against injustice and discrimination that must continue, now more than ever. 

It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it. (Avot 2:21)