The Anti-Liberal Left Poses the Greatest Danger to American Jewry

Oct. 16 2020

When the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced that she would not attend a commemoration of the assassination of Yitzḥak Rabin, some American Jews were shocked or surprised that a Democratic politician wouldn’t want to participate in an event organized by liberal Jewish groups and dedicated to the memory of a hero of the Israeli left. But there is no reason to be surprised, writes Bari Weiss, and it was not “confusion” that led to Ocasio-Cortez’s decision:

The savvy politician had read the room and was sending a clear signal about who belongs in the new progressive coalition and who does not. The confusion—and there seems to be a good deal of it these days—is among American Jews who think that by submitting to ever-changing loyalty tests they can somehow maintain the old status quo and their place inside of it.

At the heart of the problem is a set of ideas known alternately as “anti-racism,” “critical race theory,” or simply “wokeness” that has penetrated educational institutions (from kindergarten through the university), the left wing of the Democratic party, and even the culture of major corporations. Its foremost proponent, Ibram X. Kendi, wishes to amend the Constitution to state that “racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals.” Weiss considers the potential effects of these proposed reforms on Jews:

To back up the amendment, [Kendi] proposes a Department of Anti-Racism. This department would have the power to investigate not just local governments but private businesses and would punish those “who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.” Imagine how such a department would view a Jewish day school that suggests that the Jews are God’s chosen people, let alone one that teaches Zionism.

It should go without saying that, for Jews, an ideology that contends, [as Kendi does], that there are no meaningful differences between cultures is not simply ridiculous—we have an obviously distinct history, tradition and religion that has been the source of both enormous tragedy as well as boundless gifts—but is also, as history has shown, lethal. By simply existing as ourselves, Jews undermine the vision of a world without difference. . . . This is no longer a fringe view.

It does not matter how progressive you are, how vegan or how gay, how much you want universal healthcare and pre-K and to end the drug war. To believe in the justness of the existence of the Jewish state—to believe in Jewish particularism at all—is to make yourself an enemy of this movement. . . . Jews who refuse to erase what makes us different will increasingly be defined as racists, often with the help of other Jews desperate to be accepted by the cool kids.

Of course, it appears to have been some of those Jewish “cool kids” who convinced Ocasio-Cortez not to attend the Rabin event in the first place.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: American Jewry, Judaism, Political correctness, Racism

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter