By Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer
(JUNE 5, 2023 / ARUTZ SHEVA) With much fanfare, the Biden Administration recently unveiled a plan that supposedly aims to counter anti-Semitism in America. Several “mainstream” American Jewish organizations fell over each other, racing to be first to distribute their press statements praising the Biden paper. I differ.
I live in various worlds including those of the secular legal profession, opinion journalism, and academia. I also know the American Jewish organizational universe from the inside. Among the many in that alphabet universe of ADL’s and AJC’s and XYZ’s, each has its own publicists, and they all race to get their press release out before “the competition” does. Their dream: maybe, if they are fast enough and say the words coveted by the leftist mainstream media, their organization’s name will be cited and their leader will be quoted, wistfully in the New York Times. Or at least in some left-wing “Jewish” outlet like the JTA, the TOI, or Haaretz.
So they all rushed out their praise for Biden’s Balderdash.
In truth, the Biden document on confronting anti-Semitism is a sham, a fraud, and the first insult came in its timing. The day it was published, traditional Jews hurriedly were absorbed in their last-minute preparations to observe the Biblical holy festival of Shavuot, which began that evening. American Jewish mainstream organizations exposed their own inadequacies by their prioritizing praising Biden’s 60-page document that they barely had read when Jewish priorities instead demanded they focus on welcoming that evening’s Shavuot festival. While I was awake all night learning Torah and munching on cheesecake, they were awake all night waiting with bated breath for the next day’s newspapers: would they be quoted?
Even deeper, I was disgusted once I did read the paper and saw how little Biden really offered in his plan to “combat anti-Semitism.” Two main points:
- Black and White
The Democrats and their mainstream media, academia, and other “progressives” — the Woke — absolutely refuse to speak the truth about Black anti-Semitism and Muslim anti-Semitism in America. Perhaps the overwhelming majority of American Blacks and even some American Muslims like Jews. If so, that’s nice. We all should like each other. I like them. But there is no question that a great many Black opinion makers are toxic, poisonous Jew-haters: Ilhan Omar, Alice Walker, Louis Farrakhan, Kanye West — and all of “Black Lives Matter.” Plenty, plenty of others.
As for Muslims, Jew-hatred on college campuses stems greatly from campus Muslim groups and their self-hating J Street-type allies. In New York City, the keynote student speech at the CUNY Law School graduation was a pastiche of venom, lies, and hate. Yet the Biden document assigns chief blame for anti-Semitism in America on White Supremacists.
When Democrats and The Woke manipulate anti-Semitism to beat up on their preferred targets, they insult Jews and all other Americans of conscience. Anti-Semitism is not a White problem. Yes, disgusting haters do exist among discrete pockets of Caucasians, but they are summarily rejected. Condemnation of White Supremacist anti-Semitism has meaning only when it also acknowledges the breadth and depth of Black Jew-hatred in America. Jews who identify openly and proudly as Jews know Black anti-Semitism first-hand. They are its targets not only in the public sphere but in the inner cities because they easily are spotted by their more distinctly Jewish garb — yarmulkas, tzitzit, black fedoras, Hasidic attire, modest dress, and the like.
The liberals and “progressives” who raced to praise Biden on Shavuot Eve for his “Sop to the Jews” do not live among People of Color. They live in lily-White neighborhoods with the Gavin Newsoms and Nancy Pelosis, and they send their children to lily-White secular private schools to keep them away from the BIPOC minorities (except Asians) over whom they preen with their “charitable” virtue signaling.
The Jonathan Greenblatts who head the likes of ADL are more interested in bolstering Obama Democrats and defending despicably wicked evil mongers like George Soros than they are in fighting the defamation of Jews.
The ADL’s Greenblatt was an Obama White House official. When Obama’s eight years expired, Greenblatt was imported into ADL to bring the Obama Agenda into an organization that had been founded to defend Jews a century earlier as Leo Frank was being lynched in Marietta, Georgia. Meanwhile, the new head of the American Jewish Committee, Ted Deutch, is a partisan lifelong professional Democrat and was a Democrat Congressman for twelve years from 2010-2022. Before that, he served four years as a Democrat Florida State Senator. Now he speaks for the AJC in praise of Biden. That is the mindset of such “Jewish” organizations.
And don’t ever forget: Between 30-40 percent of the people in America who say they are “Jews” in fact are not Jews but are the children of intermarried non-Jewish mothers who express their “Jewishness” by putting a Jewish star on their Christmas trees and boycotting Israel.
The paradox is that, behind the curtain, these secular “progressive” Jewish groups and their leaders are in chaos. Their children are marrying out of the faith in droves and rearing non-Jewish grandchildren. Donald Trump has more Jewish grandchildren than most of them do. They have lost almost all their influence — as Jews. As a result, those Jewish groups watch as anti-Semitism grows more severe in their own political backyard among the Left, pervades university campuses they once attended and still moronically support as alumni, and now even becomes institutionalized in the Left’s latest authoritarian putsch: DEI — “Diversity, Equity, Inclusiveness” — under which less qualified but politically correct chosen intersectionalist groups are pushed to the front of the line while Jews are cast aside.
Biden’s paper does not address any of this.
As a result, colleges and graduate schools are admitting fewer Jews than ever before. Not since the 1930’s-1950’s have so many Jewish applicants to colleges been turned away because their identity failed to comport with the prevailing race-based admissions quotas. Jewish students who get admitted face ubiquitous anti-Semitism, as American campuses curiously have converted the country of Israel to a surrogate for Apartheid South Africa. If the “N-word” once was the noun of bigoted hate, today it is the “Z- word”: Zionism.
Today’s Campus Woke harbor no complaints about human rights in China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and various parts of Africa. Only Israel is their bane: her Western freedoms and democratic institutions, her technological successes, her survival surrounded by a sea of Muslim terrorists who lose more ground every time they launch a war against Jews.
Biden’s words offer no meaningful plan to stop the Jew-hatred on campuses. His special advisor on anti-Semitism, Deborah Lipstadt, has proven useless. No promises to defund campuses that normalize Jew hatred. No forthright condemnation of the “BDS” scheme of Jew hatred. For that, it falls on White Christians in Arkansas to take the lead in supporting Israel.
And that brings us to the document’s second major glaring failure: the very definition of anti-Semitism.
- The Definition
Today’s Left has embraced the subterfuge of attacking “Israel” and “Zionism” instead of “Jews.” So if someone Woke says “That guy is a cheap, miserly, hook-nosed Zionist,” he-she-they-it-whatever then follows with “I am not against Jews, just against Zionists.”
As a result, a simple definition of Jew-hatred was drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) that actually is quite inadequate. But it includes useful examples of Jew-hatred. Some of them make the point that it is anti-Semitic when someone attacks Israel and Zionism based on a standard not applied to any other country. Think of the likes of George Soros and Squad types like Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ocasio Cortes. Think of Ben & Jerry and Betty McCollum and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Biden was implored by all the Jewish groups to adopt that IHRA definition. He balked. Instead, his 60-page paper acknowledges three different definitions of anti-Semitism, two of which allow for Jew-hatred disguised as “anti-Zionism.” It is a joke.
So he promises to expand Holocaust education? Has anyone noticed that the more Holocaust education there is in America, the more anti-Semitism there is? When bad people are educated that Jews are easy to murder in the millions, maybe that is not so effective. Better to educate them on what Israel did in 1967 and still does every so often when they decide to eliminate six terror leaders in a week.
There is no better way to gauge Biden’s words than by his actions. The Democrats had been enamored with Israel through her first thirty years when Israel was governed by coalitions of Labor Party socialist Marxists like David Ben-Gurion, Yitzchak Rabin, Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, and Shimon Peres. Those days are over. Menachem Begin’s election in 1977 as Israeli prime minister heralded a political earthquake, and the country now is majority center-right. Several polls predict the socialist Marxist Labor Party may disappear in the next elections. As Israel has moved from socialism to capitalism, and from left-wing woke policies to greater respect for conservative family values and religious tradition, Democrats have abandoned Israel in many significant ways, while Republican conservatives and Christians have embraced her.
So the same Joe Biden who issues a paper on anti-Semitism amid fanfare on Shavuot eve simultaneously has found other opportunities to single out the country’s two most vile Jew-haters in Congress — Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar — for praise whenever the opportunity arises. His paper even massages the Jew-hatred of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, making those Jew haters seem like allies in the fight against anti-Semitism. He continues negotiating a deal with Iran. He interferes with Israel’s internal debate over judicial reform. He tells Israel they may not build a yeshiva in Chomesh. He won’t meet with Bibi until Bibi genuflects to his orders. George Soros’s son has visited the Biden White House at least seventeen times.
Ever since the emergence of Donald Trump on the American political scene, anti-Semitism has been wielded by the Left as a cynical tool with which to club political opponents, often shamefully and dishonestly. Thus, they had the audacity to tar the most pro-Israel president in American history, Donald Trump, as an anti-Semite, while they make excuses for George Soros, Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and the rest of The Squad.
Biden’s insulting release of his paper is not worth the paper it is written on. Amid all its highfalutin’ publicity, it does absolutely nothing. It is a sop and an insult to American Jews. And the ridiculous race to praise this meaningless document further apprises the Jewish community of the state of the “American Jewish leadership” that speaks in its name.
This op-ed was originally published in Arutz Sheva and can be viewed here.