NY Post To Liberal Jews: You're Doing It Wrong

Jun 2014
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The following OpEd was written by Jonathan Neumann is the author of “To Heal the World?: How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel” (All Points Books), out now., and appears in today's New York Post, November 4, 2018:

The aftermath of Pittsburgh has been a disgrace.

In ordinary times it would have been unseemly to comment on the atrocity at the Tree of Life Synagogue so soon after it unfolded. It was the most deadly anti-Semitic attack this country has ever seen. It should have given us pause and brought us together.

But these are not ordinary times. Donald Trump is president.

Before the bodies of the dead had gone cold, let alone been buried and mourned, the Jewish left sacrificed an opportunity to cry in unity and chose instead to call for division.

Bend the Arc, reputedly the largest Jewish social-justice organization in the nation, published a letter blaming the president for the attack. Other groups, such as The Jewish Vote and If Not Now, also saw the attack as a chance to castigate the president.

Apparently these liberal groups need reminding that the shooting at a Jewish community center in Kansas occurred during the Obama administration.

Instead of trying to score political points, would not a more appropriate response have been to urge calm upon the hyper-partisanship that has seen both sides court incivility?

Yet more egregious, however, was the excoriation by Jewish liberals of their fellow Jews who support President Trump. Another three Jewish social justice groups — Torah Trumps Hate, Hitoreri and Uri L’Tzedek — penned an open letter to the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), blasting the Orthodox synagogue umbrella group for its statement condemning the attack.

NCYI’s sin?

Concluding its heartfelt statement by expressing appreciation for “the strong words of support from President Trump and the administration in urging everyone to work together to combat anti-Semitism.”

Meanwhile, Franklin Foer, the former editor of The New Republic, wrote: “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.”

This brazen attempt to blame Jewish backers of the president for the attack and excommunicate them from their community is scandalous. It is also a dog whistle for animosity toward more traditionalist Jews, who constitute one of the most pro-Trump demographics in the country (indeed several serve as high-ranking officials in the administration).

Such sentiments reveal what underlies the entire liberal Jewish response to Pittsburgh: For them, Judaism is synonymous with liberalism. Donald Trump is cast as an enemy of the Jews not because he has shown any hostility to the Jewish people or the Jewish State (quite the contrary) but because he is an enemy of liberalism. The same goes for his “Jewish enablers,” who have allegedly betrayed their community by backing him.

As it happens, Trump has done more than any other president to prevent attacks on Jews, including by cutting funds to the Palestinian Authority. This courageous decision thwarts its pay-to-slay policy of issuing financial reward to terrorist murderers of Jews. But no matter. The Jewish social-justice chorale serves at the altar of liberalism and Trump is their Antichrist (just as, lest we forget, George W. Bush was before him).

Degrading Judaism to advance their petty politics, as the Jewish social justice movement has always done, is insulting enough. Using Pittsburgh’s dead to do so is altogether grotesque.

But if these critics really want to talk about betrayal of the Jewish people, consider who supported the nuclear deal with Iran, which enriched the world’s most heinous terror state and which legitimized the pursuit of the bomb by an Islamo-fascist regime bent on annihilating over 6 million Jews.

And consider who for decades paid lip service to the justice of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State and moving the American embassy but then, when it actually happened, opposed it or gave it only half-hearted support — solely because it was implemented by a president whom they detest.

Following the shooting, a number of American Jewish newspaper editors came together and authored a joint editorial sounding the alarm on rising anti-Semitism in the US, and declaring #WeAreAllJews. This is a fitting retort to those who have tried to claim that some of their co-religionists are not.

Such expressions of solidarity within the Jewish community are welcome and must be encouraged. That, and not partisanship, is what will make the memory of those who lost their lives in Pittsburgh a blessing.
The Jewish Left Botched Its Response To The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

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I do think just being a human being qualifies me to have an opinion here. I also think that once American Jews are massacred at a synagogue, there are no safe Americans in any safe, public places anywhere.

The Canary Is Dead.....Beware

So my non-Jewish identity doesn't disqualify me, although I have never heard of any of the groups Mr. Neumann referenced. I get my "Jewish news" from The Tablet, the Times of Israel, and My Jewish Learning, but like the NYT, I find the process of trying to reduce "Jewish History" or "Jewish Thought" to a single, coherent narrative to be largely fruitless.

There are Jewish atheists, because for many people (Jewish and not), the identity is as much tribal as it is religious. There are "Jews for Jesus", which I guess is proof no group of humans is impervious to silliness and stupidity. There are ultra-orthodox Jews, one of whom is now advocating to become the Chief Rabbi of Israel, an affront to the non-dogmatic, non-hierarchical nature of Judaism. As a former Catholic, the idea that Jews (of all people) would be attracted to an ultra-authoritarian, ultra-orthodox version of Judaism seems insane. That aspect of Catholicism is the primary source of the vast evil the Roman Catholic Church has perpetrated on humanity for CENTURIES.

Point is, I feel entitled to say something, but not entirely comfortable sticking my oar in.

I don't think ANYONE who responded with condemnation to the Tree of Life Massacre was WRONG, or could have been wrong. If it shocked you because it was a horrible aberration from past American resistance to anti-semitic violence, that's okay. If it broke your heart because people lost their lives at their house of worship, that's okay. If you were "not surprised" and had been expecting this taboo to be broken on account of the flowering of old American WASP hatreds under Trump, that's okay. If you were appalled that Trump's CONCRETE, VITAL steps to recommit America to the survival of Israel was tarnished by the timing of this attack, that's okay.

Myself, I think the Bad Dog of American Hate is completely off the leash. Whether this is BECAUSE of Trump, or whether Trump was elected BECAUSE the Bad Dog is running free, I don't know. I'm not sure it matters at this point. We are now sitting at a few minutes to midnight and the clock is ticking.

Will Americans stop the Bad Dog or will we allow it to continue to run free and savage us all?

Cujo – either the dog itself or the deaths it rendered – is invoked in several other Castle Rock novels: The Tommyknockers, The Dark Half, Needful Things (all books, incidentally, that deal with King's addictions in their own ways). There's a bigger connection, though: to The Dead Zone, in which Sheriff George Bannerman asks for John Smith's help to catch the Castle Rock Strangler, Frank Dodd. Bannerman reappears in Cujo and meets his end at the dog's teeth. But another character also makes the transition to this book: Dodd himself. It's weird, and vague, but we're told at the start of Cujo – on page one – about Dodd, and that "the monster never dies … It came to Castle Rock again in the summer of 1980", when Cujo is set. It's suggested, briefly, that Dodd is somehow the darkness haunting Tad Trenton's closet; that he's a part of the darkness that fills Cujo and drives him to commit his horrible killings. This is another common theme of King's: the sense that evil is innate, and more powerful than the individual instance. It's never made totally explicit in Cujo, but it's definitely suggested: Cujo, Frank Dodd, the other darkness that will, in later books, invade Castle Rock – they're one and the same.
The Guardian on "Cujo"

NOTICE the Bad Dog inside yourself. (Mine is rather hard to miss.) NOTICE how you treat others, IRL and online. That person you just "destroyed" in a debate? That could be someone's Grandma, worried as hell about her grandson's heroin addiction. Or it could be a 12 year old boy, thinking about suiciding. Or it could be a man in his 40's, grieving because his wife and children have just left him.

NONE of us is only Jewish. NONE of us is only a member of this website. NONE of us is only our political affiliation. If we Americans don't stop feeding the Bad Dog, as a nation, the creature will tear our children to pieces.

Feel badly about the Tree of Life Massacre however YOU feel badly. And if you feel NOTHING, or if it brought you joy, reach out for help before you fall off the ledge completely. You're still human, no matter what you felt about this massacre -- but if you start killing people like this yourself, you won't be.

Nobody's wrong, because we are all wrong. If we hadn't been so careless about the abuse we heap on one another, this massacre could never have happened.
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I'm not sure if you understood the point of the article. It's saying for Jews to divide over this is not a good thing. To suggest that Trump supporting Jews be SHUNNED is wrong. Even w/o the divide between Orthodox and non, American Jews are often split due to issues involving Israel.

Trump is a STRONG ally to Israel. So to to shun people who support the man who supports Israel? Doesn't make any sense to a lot of Jews. I don't personally agree with moving our embassy to Jerusalem, but that is imperative to many Jews and Trump did that.

Of course people are free to disagree, but to SHUN members of one's own tribe over that disagreement? Wrong. Shunning is the mark of a cult. Leave that mess to ultra-orthodox. Don't copy them!
 

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