A New Book Falsely Accuses the American Jewish Establishment of Indifference to Anti-Semitism

In 2016, when the alt-right emerged from the corners of the Internet and into the public eye, Jonathan Weisman—a deputy editor of the New York Times—found himself a target of online anti-Semitic attacks. That experience, combined with the violent demonstration last year in Charlottesville and his conviction that the current president is at best an enabler of anti-Semites, led him to produce a book titled (((Semitism))). In it he concludes that in the face of today’s rising tide of hatred, Jews, and especially leaders of the organized Jewish community, have been indifferent. He also laments what he sees as American Jews’ division between Orthodox Jews and Zionists with their regrettable “tribalism” and those Jews whose identity lies wholly in the fact that they “read Philip Roth” and “eat bagels and babka.” Emma Green writes in her review:

[Weisman] complains that American Jewish organizations have all become “enthralled with [the] same mission; . . . all spoke of, lobbied on, and raised money for Israel, Israel, Israel.” Meanwhile, he says, neo-Nazis grab headlines, shouting slogans like “Hail victory!” and “You will not replace us!” at rallies on the National Mall. When this happened last summer, Weisman says, “the Jews slept.” . . . Weisman, alarmed by swirling hatred and lack of Jewish communal cohesion, seems to have cast about for someone to blame and settled on Jews themselves; his facts are wobbly and his prescriptions are thin. . . .

Throughout the book, Weisman seems to think he is the only Jew in America who sees the need to stand up to the forces of authoritarianism. . . . [But] Jewish institutions, from synagogues to activist groups to local community centers, have hosted innumerable events on this topic; . . . it is the concern I have heard most frequently in my reporting on Jewish communities over the past three years. . . .

[As for Wesiman’s claim] that major Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of North America . . . have been “remarkably quiet” about the “brewing storm” in America, instead focusing exclusively on Israel: maybe he just isn’t signed up for the right press releases. Both of these organizations and their local counterparts discuss anti-Semitism in the U.S. and abroad constantly. Both direct significant institutional resources toward countering bigotry.

The book is equally confused about the way that fractured Jewish identity is complicating this moment in American Jewish life. . . . [I]t’s not clear what [Weisman] wants from Jews. He yearns for a response to bigotry “grounded in a principle, a belief, a morality,” but doesn’t get any more specific about what that would mean. He seems to call notional, cultural Jews back to the roots of Judaism, but dismisses ritual and tradition as nothing more than the “mechanics of religiosity.” He makes many generalizations about what American Jews are like—often in the same weird idiom anti-Semites use, like “the Jew thrived” or “the Jew flourishes”—but he doesn’t spend much time excavating the experiences and differences among real, living people.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Alt-Right, American Jewish Committee, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump, Jewish Federations of North America, Politics & Current Affairs

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror