One leading topic dealt with in American Jewish organizations is anti-Semitism in the United States. Oy vey, we expect anti-Semitism in Europe, but here? Is it because cable news makes every incident into a headline story?
Or is part of the problem that the mainstream media, which almost all fair and independent observers agree is overwhelmingly liberal, distorts itself like a pretzel to connect every act of anti-Semitism to President Donald Trump? An example of exploiting non-critical thinking: following the October 2018 Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, the liberal mainstream media and Democratic Party made it appear that the tragic shooting was somehow President Donald Trump’s fault.
In his “JLife” viewpoint article “Anti-Semitism: Why and What to Do as American Jews,” (December issue) Rabbi Elie Spitz referred to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting several times, but never once pointed out that the shooter did it because he hated President Trump. And why did the shooter hate President Trump? Because the President is an ardent supporter of Jews and Israel.
In the days following the shooting, James S. Robbins wrote in USA Today “Synagogue Shooter Hated Donald Trump and Shows What Real Hatred, Anti-Semitism Looks Like”–
Linking Trump to anti-Semitism is factually incorrect and morally wrong. You never heard it before he ran for office. He has a history of giving generously to Jewish charities, including the Anti-Defamation League, and he received the Jewish National Fund’s “Tree of Life” award.
This is a president whose high-profile daughter Ivanka is an observant modern Orthodox Jew and whose Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is a trusted White House envoy and personal adviser. President Trump also has longstanding ties to Israel’s conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and, unlike three of his Oval Office predecessors, made good on a pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
As a reminder, Ivanka converted to Judaism, which speaks volumes about her Jewish faith. Regarding the U.S. embassy, the three immediate past presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – had unfettered opportunities to move the embassy, as repeatedly promised during their campaigns, but they never had the courage shown by President Donald Trump to follow through.
If the Jewish American community truly wants to combat growing anti-Semitism in the United States, we must have an honest discussion and admit that overwhelming blind loyalty to the Democratic Party is part of the problem. In an analysis of the Jewish vote by the Mellman Group on behalf of the Democratic Council of America –
Jewish voters overwhelmingly chose Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. Among Jewish voters, 82 percent of the two-party U.S. House vote went to Democrats and 18 percent went to Republicans.
With the most pro-Israel/pro-Jewish president to ever occupy the White House, it is perplexing that a majority of Jews remain with the anti-Israel/anti-Jewish Democratic Party. Many Christian Republicans, staunch defenders of American Jews and the State of Israel, can’t understand why the American Jewish community supports a political party that promotes anti-Semitic candidates and positions.
In late October, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was on CNN’s “The Lead” program with Jake Tapper. This is what Schilling said to Tapper, who is Jewish –
“I would like to ask you something as a person who is practicing the Jewish faith and has since you were young. I don’t understand – and this is, maybe this is the amateur, non-politician in me – I don’t understand how people of Jewish faith can back the Democratic Party, which over the last 50 years has been so clearly anti-Israel, so clearly anti-Jewish Israel. I don’t know what else would need to be done, said or happen for people to understand that they don’t – the Democratic Party is aligned for Israel only because we have agreements in place to make them have to be.”
Tapper responded that he was speaking for himself and opined that the reason could be that Jews support social welfare programs.
As a former Democrat, now an active Republican, I am frequently asked that question, too.
Although not very religious, I am very proud of my Jewish heritage. Growing up in Jewish neighborhoods in Queens, my immediate and extended family were all Jewish as were all my friends and we all kept kosher homes. I belonged to B’nai Brith, only dated Jewish boys and married a Jewish man under the chuppah. Everyone attended temple on the High Holy Days and registered as Democrats because back then the Democratic Party fought against anti-Semitism and supported Israel.
That was then. Just look at some of today’s voices of the Democratic Party:
- Congresswoman Ilhan Omar wrote in a 2012 tweet that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings in Israel.”
- Bernie Sanders makes anti-Israel, anti-Jewish comments standard in most of his speeches. As Daniel Greenfield wrote in “Bernie Sanders is Not a Jew”
The very thing that makes Bernie Sanders seem suspect to Jews makes him more appealing to anti-Semitic hate groups.
- Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wants to cut aid to the Jewish State because supporting Israel “doesn’t fit the values of our country.”
- Keith Ellison, acolyte of anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, was a top Democratic Party official. The former congressman was elected Minnesota’s attorney general.
- Women’s March co-founders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour are supporters of Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam anti-Jewish rants. Many Women’s March participants want the two to step down due to their immense anti-Semitism.
- Al Sharpton; there isn’t enough paper in the magazine to list all of his anti-Semitic comments.
- Former Congressman “Beto” O’Rourke ran against Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas in one of the most closely-watched midterm election senate races. O’Rourke was one of only eight House members in 2014 who voted against funding for replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome rockets when Hamas rockets were raining down on border towns. O’Rourke also joined other Democrats in walking out of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 2015 speech to a joint session of Congress denouncing the Obama administration Deal.
- Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ramblings are often so incoherent that it’s difficult to know if she’s anti-Semitic or simply ignorant.
Jews who worry about growing anti-Semitism in the United States should consider their political party affiliation. In “Republicans are Now the Pro-Israel Party, as Democrats Distance Themselves from the Jewish State,” Democrats Andrew Stein (former New York City Council president) and Douglas Schoen (former pollster to President Bill Clinton) closed their article with –
There are 5.3 million Jews in America. While it would be ignorant to characterize every last one of them as pro-Israel, there is still truth to the idea that many of them are. In a short time, growing numbers of them will take their votes and donations to the Republican Party if Democrats leave them in the shadows.
Anti-Semitism in America is on the rise because as a society we have forsaken the morals and values that our forefathers sacrificed in giving us the Constitution and Bill of Rights – both founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. The American Jewish community must question whether its overwhelming support for the Democratic Party and the party’s many anti-Semitic politicians indirectly fuels the fires of anti-Semitism.
While we have this discussion, let me add that one of the best places to meet other Jews outside of traditional venues (synagogues and community centers) is at Republican organizations where Jews are truly welcomed.
Robin Itzler is a writer and speaker with a background in communications.