By Charles Jacobs
August 7, 2014
As Israelis confront tunnels that deliver jihadists to their doorsteps, Jews in the West too are having to face angry, sometimes violent –in France and Belgium, deadly — adversaries, emerging from what seem subterranean anti-Israel networks onto our streets. Anti-Israel ideologies have long been flowing in the West’s groundwater and the war in Gaza is bringing the accumulating hatred to the surface. If things continue as they are, every Jewish community in the world may soon be affected by an emergent, globalized anti-Semitism.
On August 1, the ADL (8/1) issued a nation-wide Jewish community security advisory, urging all Jewish institutions to reach out now and develop working relationships with local police authorities.
Here, on American campuses, in Christian denominations long thought to have given up ancient Jew-hatred, and in American mosques considered to have been moderate, anti-Israel partisans are mobilized and lashing out against the Jewish state and its defenders.
Of course, in Europe it’s a hundred times worse: anti-Semitism there now gushes into the open, with mob attacks in Paris and leftist/Muslim mobs threatening Jews in London. Jew-hatred surging again in Europe is frightening and sad, but perhaps not quite unexpected. More Jews will be surprised by angry demonstrations in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Boston, where Jews have been screamed at, cursed, spat upon, and assaulted.
Right outside the White House, Jews caught in the middle of a huge pro-Palestinian demonstration were menaced and had to be evacuated by the police. The hate surging from leftist and Islamist comes from movements planted decades ago and allowed, like Gazan tunnels, to develop without sufficient response.
The Israelis were at first surprised, and then shocked at the nature and extent of their adversaries’ tunnels, dug sixty feet deep and extending miles long into Israel. Many there are wondering how the tunnels were allowed to develop without intervention. Perhaps now is not the time, but to avoid such errors in the future, a stern assessment will surely come.
But what of the Jews in the West? Who will point to the ideological tunnels dug for decades beneath our communities from which now surge angry adversaries? Who will ask how we got to this point? How did it come about that more and more young Americans, according to the polls, do not side with Israel? It didn’t used to be that way. Who is boiling up all this anger at us? Who didn’t create an effective response? What must be done now?
Many worry about the situation Jewish students will face in the fall when this generation’s American campus brown-shirts may look a bit more like the mobs in Paris. As the “international community” thrashes out against Israel, and as President Obama and his State Department act more “even handedly,” condemning Israel for defending itself in the only way it can, many are concerned things will get much worse for Jews in general.
At the proper time, Israelis will ask tough questions of its defense establishment about those tunnels. We here should ask: Where was our Jewish “defense ministry” as the trenches of anti-Israelism were being dug?
In America, anti-Israelism developed not from classical Christian or neo-Nazi Jew-hatred, but from a new way of thinking that has slowly snaked beneath American soil for decades. Colloquially called “Politically Correct thinking,” more formally known as “post-modernism,” it stems from the hard left’s animosity towards Western societies.
As it has taken hold in the popular culture, the schools, and the news media, more and more Americans, especially our youth are taught and believe deeply in a certain set of ideas that frame their worldview: that the West is morally soiled from having committed the unforgivable sins of land theft, slavery and imperialism; that “the other” is at least our equal if not morally superior and must be more respected; that the weak are always right; that the poor are to be canonized; that all cultures are morally equivalent; that no inherent conflicts exist between human beings which “empathetic understanding” and “better communication” cannot resolve. And finally, that the solution to world conflicts is to weaken the strong and strengthen the weak. Anti-Israelism is experienced as a natural derivative of these thoughts. Leftist professors drill that lesson home. It’s in liberal churches and now the high school curricula as well. The mainstream media, run by people steeped in PC, rehearses anti-Israel narratives daily, now with drama and horror-videos. What is to be done?
Over the years, adherents of this leftist ideology have made the long march through America’s educational and cultural institutions and now the Democratic Party, according to the latest Pew Poll statistics, sides more and more with Hamas terrorists over Israel. What is to be done?
The task in the immediate future is to do all we can to support Israel: rallies, charities, lobbying. But American Jews also need strong and thoughtful leaders to create a strategy to deal with this crisis. It is not a strategy to tell Jews, as some local leaders are doing, that they should go on to the social media sites to make Israel’s case. That’s a fine thing to do, but it is only a tactic. A serious strategy would lay out a plan to build resources, thought leaders and dedicated teams to deal with each of our “tunnels” — the media, the campuses, the high schools, the liberal churches, the radical and moderate Muslims, the blacks. It would delineate a plan to reach out to our natural allies – the millions of Americans – Christians from the Middle East and Africa, Hindus, Sikhs — whose people are being targeted by Islamists. It would put a stop to defensive messaging and begin to publicize what radical societies – left and Muslim — are actually doing to people. It would, for example, educate American blacks, who are dangerously moving to the Arabist side, about today’s black slaves in Arab lands.
Above all, an effective strategy requires that the Jewish establishment shift from its peacetime fundraising strategy of having a foot in every faction’s political camp, to becoming the leaders that our people need at this time. With the pro-Israel rallies in Boston, we are seeing glimpses of this shift. It is up to us to keep pushing this, the most important possible development – hard!