Unknown to most, Otto Warmbier—the U.S. citizen imprisoned by North Korea who returned in a coma and died shortly thereafter—was a Jew who participated in Birthright and was active in his campus Hillel House. Warmbier’s family kept this information secret at the advice of hostage negotiators who believed it would unnecessarily embarrass Pyongyang, which was officially claiming he was a Methodist secret agent. But why, asks Liel Leibovitz, has official American Jewry remained indifferent to his fate?
You’d think that the cluster of handsomely funded Jewish organizations that fly the banner of promoting and protecting Jewish life in America and abroad would notice and acknowledge Warmbier’s murder. So far, though, American Jewish officialdom has been deafeningly silent.
The odious Anne Frank Center, whose disingenuous mission statement blathers on about a kinder and fairer world where Jewish children are safe from the death camps of tyrannical regimes, didn’t bother taking a break from bashing Donald Trump to lament a young Jew put to death by the world’s worst offender of human rights. Nor did the Anti-Defamation League, an organization quick to stand up with Linda Sarsour as she denied Jews their right to self-determination but not so swift when the victim was a young Jewish man. . . .
What you do hear are the howls of the social-justice brigades, for whom Warmbier, being white and a man, is mostly to blame for his own murder. When the young college student was arrested last year, the regressive left’s flagships . . . gleefully mocked Warmbier, arguing that white privilege was the real reason for his predicament and suggesting that when it came to oppression, there was really no difference between Portland and Pyongyang. . . .
This sort of bigoted nonsense is toxic to all Americans, but it’s particularly hazardous to Jews, whose suffering is too often explained away these days as an acceptable byproduct of excessive power and influence. It’s precisely the kind of anti-Semitic bile that Jewish organizations were founded to combat.