Monday, June 25, 2018

Judaism Bifurcated

It is shocking, to say the least. President Donald Trump is celebrated in Israel. After the nightmare of the Obama administration, with its open hostility toward Israel and its dogged efforts to elevate the anti-Semitic terrorist regime in Tehran, Trump did not have to do very much to inspire confidence in Israel.

And yet, when we arrive at the American shoreline, the attitude changes. Most American Jews despise Trump. Some even consider him the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler. To their mind the glory days for world Judaism occurred when Barack Obama gave Iran a pathway to obtaining a nuclear weapon that they want to drop on Tel Aviv.

To measure the depths of American Jewish insanity, consider Jonathan Neumann’s account of the views of two prominent liberal Jews:

When two of the Jewish community’s most celebrated writers, Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelet Waldman, write an open letter stating that: “Any Jew, anywhere, who does not act to oppose President Donald Trump and his administration acts in favor of anti-Semitism; any Jew who does not condemn the president, directly and by name, for his racism, white supremacism, intolerance and Jew hatred, condones all of those things,” you don’t have to look far to see why.

Boundlessly arrogant stupidity... how else would you describe it. Chabon and Walkman are fanatics. They allow for no doubt or even the occasional shade of gray. They do not see two sides of the issue. They only see one, theirs. Trump, the anti-Semite. Trump, the racist. Trump, the white supremacist. You wonder which world they inhabit, because just as surely as they have taken leave of their senses they have taken leave of reality.

To be a Jew, in the Chabon/Waldman version, an individual must openly oppose Trump. One might ask oneself what gives them the authority to speak for all members of a religion-- one that they do not see as a distinct religion. One would draw a blank.

Neumann continues that they are not fighting for Judaism. They have no loyalty to the community or the state of Israel. They are fighting for social justice, a term that roughly translates the Hebrew “tikkun olam,” a term that was imported into Jewish thinking before World War II.

The phrase “tikkun olam” was quietly lifted out of context from a Jewish prayer before the Second World War to mean social justice. It was popularized in the 1970s and 1980s by radicals like Michael Lerner, who founded the extreme left-wing magazine, Tikkun.

Since then, we have been led to believe that the purpose of the Jews in the world is to campaign for higher taxes, sexual permissiveness, reduced military spending, illegal immigration, opposition to fracking, the banishment of religion from the public square and every other liberal cause under the sun — all in the name of God.

Through the agency of “tikkun olam” Judaism was given over to the pursuit of a liberal social and political agenda.

But above all, this liberalism — this tikkun olam — teaches that the Jewish People is an outdated and chauvinistic relic, with no need for a nation-state of its own in its ancient homeland. Consequently, Jewish social justice activists help to defame Israel and weaken America’s bond with the Jewish State.

Consider the timing. The phrase was imported into Judaism before World War II. Who was president at the time? Presumably, Franklin Roosevelt, a man who many Jews considered their Messiah. Before leftist Jews chose Barack Obama as their Messiah, they had FDR.

Thus, my view varies slightly from Neumann’s:

This dangerous ideology culminated in the election and administration of Barack Obama, who was hailed as the “tikkun olam president” and (synonymously) as the “first Jewish president.” He repeatedly referenced the significance of tikkun olam to his own life, nurtured by his liberal Jewish mentors in Chicago, and it was because of this commitment to tikkun olam, not in spite of it, that he was the most hostile president toward Israel in history.

Speaking of Hitler, because the left wants to speak of nothing but Hitler these days, when Hitler ruled Germany, when Hitler implemented the Final Solution, when Hitler went to war against Western civilization, we only had one president. Franklin Roosevelt. How did that work out?

We have noted in previous posts that FDR was anything but a friend of the Jews. How did FDR respond to Nazi persecution, concentration camps and death camps? He did everything in his power to keep European Jews out of America? Most especially, he sent his representative and his personal friend Breckinridge Long to Europe to refuse entry visas to Jews. By the time FDR was induced to change his mind, millions of people had been murdered. Millions more had their lives destroyed.

You might remember the S. S. St. Louis, a ship filled with nearly a thousand European Jewish refugees that FDR sent back, consigning its human cargo consigned to the gas chambers.

One might mention that Imperial Japan, an ally of the Third Reich, saw what was going on in Europe and did everything in its power to resettle European Jews into Manchuria and occupied China. Whatever the reasons, and they were not always of the most noble stripe, the Japanese government had the moral sense to try to save European Jews. To imagine that the United States could not have done so, is to live in extreme denial. Extreme denial produces fanatical beliefs that reject all questioning.

During the Hitler years, FDR was a Messiah to the Jews. Some protested. To no avail. The rest kept quiet… because they trusted Franklin. And yet, those who bought into the cosmopolitan madness of the social justice movement would not have been able to argue that Jews were any more special than anyone else. Thus, by their ideology Jews were not deserving of special treatment, even when they had been singled out for extermination.

When Hitler was alive and the Nazis roamed the earth the “tikkun olam” group would not have been able to argue effectively against FDR’s collusion with genocide. Now that Hitler is dead and Nazism is no longer a threat, they are up in arms against Nazis… in the person of Donald Trump, half of whose family is… Jewish.

To put it politely, they are fighting the last war. And they are fighting a war that has been over for decades. Why do people fight the last war? Why do Chabon and Waldman make themselves look like blithering idiots in order to Resist Trump? 

They are covering up their cowardice and dereliction? Where were they when Obama was betraying Israel? Where were they when Obama was treating the Israeli prime minister with contempt? Where were they when he was sending cash to the ayatollahs, the better to fund anti-Semitic terrorism? And where were they when Germany opened its arms to a flood of anti-Semitic refugees?

You know where they were. They were cheering for their Messiah, Barack Obama... a man who could do not wrong.

If you were to ask which group of people has brought back anti-Semitism, and has made life for European Jews into a new hell, the answer is not Donald Trump. The answer is radical Islamists, often migrants, whose presence in Western Europe we owe to Angela Merkel, Europe’s leading practitioner of Obama’s cosmopolitan quest for social justice.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

You well know that you are not the first to be amazed by this commitment to left-wing politics as a religion. My understanding is that this is not shared by the Orthodox, or at least the Hasidim, but is usual among Conservative Jews and universal among Reform and secular Jews. One finds the same thing among the Unitarian and UCC churches now, and the Episcopalians and Quakers are not far behind.

I have read many explanations, all of which are possible, but none of which satisfies me. I am simply astonished, and have been ever since I read an issue of Tikkun back in the 80's. I was quite liberal then myself, though I had become politically uninterested. I was a Judeophile, learning a little bit of Hebrew, buying a Haggadah and an Afikomen bag.* But the vehemence and the moral certitude alarmed me. At the time I would have said it was anti-Semitic to note that Saul Alinsky, the Rosenbergs, Noam Chomsky and Mark Rudd were Jews. Now I see that as a continuing thread of Judaism in America, though I still don't have a solid explanation. occurs to me that this may have been one of the many little steps that led me to becoming conservative, though that did not happen until a few years later.

*Yeah, I was, and largely still am, that kind of evangelical.

sestamibi said...

'When two of the Jewish community’s most celebrated writers, Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelet Waldman . . ."

I consider myself fairly well-informed on matters of Jewish politics, but I never heard of these two, let along consider them among the most "celebrated".

Note that his wife has a different last name. That says it all.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ sestamibi -

There is the interesting notion of a positional good, that is, not merely being for or against something, but being in the first slot. It's not newsworthy or serious PR to be the 100th-most anti-Trump novelist. You have to get that first spot. I suspect that at the root, they don't hate Trump as much as they like being noticed.

Gringo said...

A Jewish friend of mine is a Yellow Dog Democrat. While she owns several rental properties, she believes that 1)she is one of the little people and 2)Democrats are for the little people.

Nonetheless, by virtue of being born and raised in Morocco, with a son and sister living in Israel, she doesn't completely buy into the Democrat Progressive orthodoxy. Having lived with Arabs, with close family living in Israel. she doesn't buy the "Islamophobic" line. At the same time, she has cordial relations with a neighbor who is a Muslim immigrant from Morocco. When his mother from Morocco visited, she had several cordial visits with his mother. Moroccan trumped religion.

While she didn't vote for Trump, she doesn't buy the "Trump is a Nazi" spiel for two good reasons: Trump's Jewish son-in-law and Trump's moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem.

One difference between her and the current Jewish Trump Resistance is that she is not an intellectual, but makes decisions based on common sense. I am reminded of Orwell's remark that only an intellectual would believe such nonsense.

David Foster said...

There was a town called Eishyshok, near the border of present-day Lithuania and Belarus, which had a large number of Jews. The town was occupied by the Germans in WWI, and they made a very favorable impression on the Jewish population. They provided civic order and suppressed the anti-Semitic outrages which had been common in the area, also built sidewalks, painted buildings, and even contributed books to the local library.

As WWII approached, there were stories of Nazi atrocities...but "Many people dismissed the stories, unable to believe that the sons of the 'good Germans' of World War I could be so different from their fathers." There were apparently even Eishyshok Jews who greeted the German troops of WWI with flowers.

It was very dangerous to assume that 'German soldier' in WWII meant the same thing as 'German soldier' in WWI.

Analogously, many American Jews believed, rightly or wrongly, that the Democratic Party had historically been their friend. But it is very dangerous to assume that 'Democrat' in 2018 means the same things as 'Democrat' in, say, 1962.

(source: 'There Was Once a World,' by Yaffa Eliach.