On the day of the massacre in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the political commentator Franklin Foer wrote in the Atlantic that “any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning Trump’s Jewish enablers. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed their community in danger.” Foer was not alone in this sentiment, which was echoed by at least one influential rabbi. Seth Mandel warns of the dangers of this passion for anathematizing political opponents, made even more dangerous by the tendency to blame Israel for the anti-Semitic violence:
Two versions of this [claim] predominate: one, that Israel’s strength has deceived Jews into weakening their position in America; two, that Israeli policies are to blame for the bloodshed. . . . The former Anti-Defamation League official Harry Reis [stated that] Benjamin Netanyahu, the Knesset member Naftali Bennett, the Israeli ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer, and the U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman “are enablers and defenders of [Donald Trump’s] hate and the white supremacists who support him.”
The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson took the next logical step in this progression and—ironically, endorsing a key neo-Nazi talking point—proclaimed: “The bizarre and terrifying nexus between Israel and white nationalism actually starts to make sense when you understand the ethno-nationalist literature. Extreme-right Zionists and anti-Semitic white nationalists have the same core beliefs.” Liberals have thus unwittingly been reprising the old “Zionism equals racism” calumny with the 2018 version: Zionism is borderline Nazism. . . .
So there you have it: the Jews are the authors of their own destruction, supporters of Israel are disloyal Americans, Zionism is a first cousin to Nazism, right-wing Jews are Nazi collaborators, and Trump-supporting Jews should be expurgated from Jewish communal life.
Why are [Foer and others] fixated on excommunication? [There] is a great irony here: liberal laymen and clergy are deploying one of the most heavy-handed rabbinical retributive powers on the menu. . . . But of course the religion we’re talking about isn’t Judaism, is it? It’s progressivism—the Torah of Liberalism. In leftist politics, isolation is the first, not the last, line of defense against upsetting ideas.