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Sun Dec 29, 2019, 11:31 PM

Jews Under Attack Deserve Better Than Selective Outrage

By Benjamin Wittes
Contributing writer at The Atlantic and editor in chief of Lawfare

The Jewish community has turned selective outrage over anti-Semitism into a kind of norm.

There was a time—and it was not that long ago—when regardless of what separated Jews, we made a certain common cause over those who traded in the themes that had caused so many Jewish deaths. You could be religious or secular, liberal or conservative, but protecting Jews in the Soviet Union was a fight we all fought. Jews didn’t look the other way when Louis Farrakhan or David Duke spouted hatred. And an attack on a synagogue was, well, an attack on a synagogue.

Times have changed. Over the past few weeks, Orthodox Jews in the New York area have been targeted in a series of violent attacks. Yet the reaction has been muffled, including from people—especially but not exclusively Jews—who one would expect to be up in arms. The reaction is about what you’d expect for unpleasant graffiti-writing or anti-Semitic name-calling. It is certainly not what I would have expected in response to a wave of hate crimes, including attacks with guns and machetes, that have left people dead and in critical condition.

Why the comparatively mild response? For many American Jews, the answer is that these aren’t “our” kind of Jews—and the attackers aren’t motivated by the kind of anti-Semitism we most want to talk about.
Batya Unger-Sargon, the opinion editor at the Forward, put it bluntly and correctly this morning:

After the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Shabbat that killed 11 people last year, and another fatal shooting at a shul in Poway, California six months later, one often heard that the great threat to Jews—even the only threat—comes from white supremacy. Conventional wisdom said it was the political right, and the right’s avatar in the White House, that was to blame for the rising levels of hate against Jews.

But the majority of the perpetrators of the Brooklyn attacks, and the suspects in Jersey City—who were killed in a shootout with the police—and now Monsey, were not white, leaving many at a loss about how to explain it or even talk about it. There is little evidence that these attacks are ideologically motivated, at least in terms of the ideologies of hate we are most familiar with.

And therein lies the trouble with talking about the violent attacks against Orthodox Jews: At a time when ideology seems to [reign] supreme in the chattering and political classes, the return of pogroms to Jewish life on American soil transcends ideology. In the fight against anti-Semitism, you don’t get to easily blame your traditional enemies—which, in the age of Trump, is a non-starter for most people.

In our political moment, a great many people seem more outraged by the other side’s anti-Semitism than by their own side’s. Only recently, Jewish supporters of the president seemed not to notice when Rudy Giuliani—the president’s lawyer—disparaged the Judaism of a Holocaust survivor. Trump trades in anti-Semitic stereotypes on a relatively routine basis; he once suggested that Jews had to vote for him because Senator Elizabeth Warren would take away their wealth, and he ran an ad at the close of the 2016 election insinuating that a Jewish elite holds too much power and control. Trump’s Jewish supporters have looked the other way even as they have seen a menace to the Jewish future from Democratic—but not Republican—members of Congress who have advanced similar ideas.

Rest at link: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/what-monsey-attack-says-about-jewish-community/604228/?utm_content=edit-promo&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_term=2019-12-29T21%3A48%3A31&utm_campaign=the-atlantic&fbclid=IwAR2AlUkfrHHr3yUx3nggC1rBWQ7ACe41GdPGb2K0f82GNv4FS6OWRfUWqYE


This article is spot on. We need to quit pretending anti-semitism is only a feature in the right wing.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Jews Under Attack Deserve Better Than Selective Outrage (Original post)
EllieBC Dec 2019 OP
elleng Dec 2019 #1
EllieBC Dec 2019 #2
elleng Dec 2019 #3
no_hypocrisy Dec 2019 #4
EllieBC Dec 2019 #5
Behind the Aegis Dec 2019 #6
EllieBC Dec 2019 #7
JudyM Jan 2020 #8
MosheFeingold Jan 2020 #9
EllieBC Jan 2020 #10
MosheFeingold Jan 2020 #11

Response to EllieBC (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2019, 11:46 PM

1. by Benjamin Wittes Contributing writer at The Atlantic and editor in chief of Lawfare

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 29, 2019, 11:53 PM

2. Sorry! Will edit! Nt

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Response to EllieBC (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 29, 2019, 11:55 PM

3. OK, was in link,

and I thought it was useful.
Caption under title: 'If you’re not willing to confront the diversity of anti-Semitism, you’re just not being serious.'

Thanks for posting.

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Response to EllieBC (Original post)

Sun Dec 29, 2019, 11:55 PM

4. And the Genie is out of the bottle.

Don't think this mass attack of antisemitism will stop if Trump leaves in 2021.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 12:02 AM

5. The genie was never in the bottle.

We all pretended it was.

Jewish students on college campuses have been harassed for years. Orthodox Jews have been regularly harassed in cities for years. Jews in Europe have been treated like...well like Jews in Europe.

And no one cared. People kind of care now but only because there’s a white supremacist in the WH hurting other groups of minorities. No one cared when it wasn’t or when it isn’t white supremacists.

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Response to EllieBC (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 04:32 AM

6. YES! YES! YES!

Attacks like this last one is an "inconvenient" form of anti-Semitism. It seems some only want to combat (or care about) anti-Semitism when it can be tied to white supremacy/neo-Nazis. I have watched as people desperately try to tie this to the asshole squatting in the White House. While it is true, he and his administration have made open bigotry more acceptable, not every act of hate, including anti-Semitism, can be tied to him. I am even more disgusted by those who keep trying to tie this to Israel, or worse yet, blaming Jews for acts of anti-Semitism; usually Netanyahu, but also Miller, Jarvanka, etc.

Just like this article states, it seems there are some Jews who "deserve" acts of anti-Semitism. Not that long ago there was an anti-Semitic video bemoaning Jews moving into the neighborhood. If that video had been about any other minority, the same people who made excuses, would be screeching like deranged, lobotomized parrots, "BIGOTRY!!" But, because it was a version of Jews they don't "approve of", it was seen as "not anti-Semitic."

Both sides of the fence, including our own kind (Jews), have a real issue confronting anti-Semitism when it comes from their own pasture. It was appalling watching Jews bark like trained seals when the "president" was making one anti-Semitic comment after another, but it was just as disgusting watching so-called liberals telling Jews like Nadler to "Shut the fuck up!" when he spoke out against what he felt was anti-Semitic remarks from our side. Both sides only seem to attack the other side's anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism!

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 11:15 AM

7. I'm getting so tired in LBN.

“Ok ok SOME attacks are made by non-white people but LOOK AT TRUMP!!!”.

They literally cannot say, “hey antisemites come from everywhere.” and leave it at that.

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Response to EllieBC (Original post)

Wed Jan 1, 2020, 12:58 PM

8. Well conceived and timely article.

Glad to read it. The growing rumbling of thunder is surrounding us, and we have to get real about accountability.

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Response to EllieBC (Original post)

Thu Jan 2, 2020, 09:39 AM

9. The church shooting in Texas

Coupled with the Chanukah attacks caused my shul to have a very heated discussion regarding firearms, down to the minutiae of what can and cannot be carried on Shabbos.

Long story short, several of our ex-IDF members and other ex police or military are taking an active shooter class, the local police are giving us a plan and there will be armed people (including two women) during all services, with a specific plan.

It’s the times in which we live.

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Response to MosheFeingold (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 2, 2020, 11:18 AM

10. The OU has an excellent piece on if they are muktzah.

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Response to EllieBC (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 2, 2020, 07:54 PM

11. Great Link

And paralleled much of the discussion that was had.

Two things came to mind:

(1) about once or twice a year we have a serious disrupter, generally someone who is crazy and had asked for money (same as with the church in Texas) and

(2) that preservation of innocent life is superior to almost all other mitzvah (and, in fact, all we could think of that were in play)

The unfortunate thing is this particular shul is not in a great neighborhood and is next to apartments that many of us stay in for Shabbos (that have to travel). They have a lot of "Section 8" housing and troubled people. Lots of rude comments, but no real problems, yet.

Because of the nature of the space, it is also hard to secure it.

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