The Jewish community is approaching meltdown.
A perfect storm of events has culminated in one of the nastiest communal food fights in recent memory. Among other things, Democrats are incensed at President Trump’s reckless and offensive accusations, and at Prime Minister Netanyahu for following Trump’s partisan games; while Republicans are incensed, among other things, that Democratic leaders haven’t held anti-Israel Democrats like Reps Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar accountable.
The only happy ones are those benefiting from the madness. The media sees ratings and dollar signs when it sees a good battle. Fundraisers and television pundits are geniuses at monetizing outrage. Political activists, who would kill to win in 2020, are ecstatic when they see the other side mess up.
It’s as if we’ve all become political activists. Our marching orders have the rhythm of an Alcoholics Anonymous mantra: “I will say and do only the things that help my side. I will never say or do anything that helps the other side. And I pray that I will always know the difference.”
Anything that smacks of a mistake is an opportunity to pounce.
We’re so on edge that any word can set us off. Trump’s “disloyalty” comment set off hysterics about “classic anti-Semitic tropes.” The only calm reaction I read came from a leftist intellectual and frequent Israel critic, Shaul Magid:
“Not to diminish the insanity of Trump’s ‘disloyalty’ comment but isn’t he actually inverting the anti-Semitic canard? Dual allegiance (disloyalty) usually accused Jews of being disloyal to their country of residence in favor of the Jewish people or later Israel.
“Trump is saying Jewish Democrats are being disloyal to Israel in favor of their American values as embodied in the Democratic Party.”
That attempt at subtlety, whether you agree with it or not, has no place in tribal warfare.
Every news event is filtered through a partisan lens. If a Democrat says anything bad about Israel or the Jews, one side pounces. If a Republican politician blunders (including, most prominently, the man in the White House), the other side pounces. Anything that smacks of a mistake is an opportunity to pounce.
Rarely will you see one side take on its own. The offending side will usually keep mum or try to change the subject. Just as Democrats have been shamelessly dismissive of the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel antics of Tlaib and Omar, Republicans have been shamelessly dismissive of the irresponsible and divisive antics of the president.
I guess that makes sense: If the goal is to win, why beat up your own team? Winning the White House in 2020 is a fight to the death. All’s fair in love and war.
Unless we figure out a way to calm down and call at least a temporary cease-fire, the merchants of outrage will fuel our fight until it permanently divides us.
The Jewish community, always so actively engaged with the world, has been sucked into this confrontational vortex. We bash and slash with the best of them.
Of course, the great maestro of this gigantic food fight is President Trump, a man for whom confrontation is like breast milk for a hungry baby.
Someone high up in the Jewish world told me yesterday that “it will only get worse,” partly because Trump loves nothing better than to double down and triple down on a good mud fight.
His latest accusation of “disloyalty,” inverted or not, has sent us over the edge. Neither side feels like throwing water on the fire. We’re too wound up. Now it’s drag-down, hand-to-hand combat, hide the children. Dignified debate? That feels as distant and ancient as our forty years wandering in the desert.
We’ve convinced ourselves that the stakes are life and death. If Trump wins again, some people tell me, they will leave the country. If Trump loses, others tell me, they also will leave the country.
Don’t worry, I’m not claiming any perfect equivalency here—moral or otherwise. I’m just pointing out the simple fact that there’s more than one side in this ugly battle. I’ll let you do the moral math as you see fit.
Here’s my moral math: Unless we figure out a way to calm down and call at least a temporary cease-fire, the merchants of outrage will fuel our fight until it permanently divides us.
Maybe we can all channel Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday to let her know that Israel-US ties “are not dependent on the relationship with one particular party.”
That’s right—our ties, our lives, our well-being, should not be dependent on a political party. The fact that politicians and professional activists routinely bash one another as part of their job description does not mean we have to.
The White House is important, yes, but so is keeping the Jewish House from crumbling.
Publishes in the LA Jewish Journal
(Photo: Aish.com / YouTube)
Despite advances in modern medicine, China is setting up roadblocks to cope with an outbreak of an ancient plague that once wiped out one-third of the world’s population and may have been one of the plagues that God used to strike Egypt.
Chinese officials installed temperature scanners at airports and checkpoints on main roads in an attempt to stop the spread of Bubonic plague as a fourth case was discovered in less than three weeks. A program to exterminate rats and fleas, which carry the disease, was also launched in Inner Mongolia where the disease seems to be originating.
Demonstrators gather in solidarity with anti-regime protests in Iran outside the Iranian Embassy in Helsinki, Finland. Photo: Reuters / Lehtikuva / Heikki Saukkomaa.
Four human rights lawyers currently imprisoned by the Iranian regime have been awarded with the annual prize of Europe’s most prestigious lawyers’ association.
The Iranian lawyers received the 2019 Human Rights Award from The Council of Bars and Law Societies Of Europe (CCBE) — a body that represents the bars and law societies of 45 countries and through them more than 1 million European lawyers.
The University of Bristol campus. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
The University of Bristol in England has adopted “in full” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, the school’s Epigram independent student newspaper reported on Monday.
The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and Bristol’s Jewish Society (J-Soc) welcomed the move, saying, “The University of Bristol has not been free of antisemitic incidents and the adoption of this definition is an important first step in helping the university tackle anti-Jewish racism. We now expect the university to use this definition in outstanding disciplinary cases.”
Pope Francis Meets Thailand’s Buddhist Patriarch in Golden Temple (screenshot)
Pope Francis topped off his three-day visit to Thailand last Saturday with a meeting with Thailand’s supreme Buddhist patriarch Somdej Phra Maha Muneewong at Bangkok’s Ratchabophit Temple. The meeting took place in front of a 150-year-old gold statue of Buddha. The Pope followed Buddhist custom by removing his shoes.
During the meeting, the Pope gave the Buddhist Patriarch the Declaration on Human Brotherhood. The Declaration s a joint statement signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, last February in Abu Dhabi. The Pope met with the Imam last month to reinforce the Declaration.
An Israeli company says it is using space travel technology to help solve one of the most pressing problems down on Earth — the reliance on diesel fuel, a major source of pollution.
Israeli startup GenCell has developed an electric generator based on a hydrogen-energy technology used to power some of the most-famous space missions in history.
The verse (Deuteronomy 6:4) Shema Yisrael – “Hear Oh Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is One” – is understood to (in Wikipedia’s words) “encapsulate the monotheistic essence of Judaism.” It’s understood to be a declaration not only there is one and only one God, but also that God’s oneness is all-inclusive. God includes every particle of existence is within Him. God is not just ruling over the world. God encompasses the world. Time and space and all of us are within God. Nothing stands outside of God’s Oneness, and God encompasses all existence equally
Watching events unfold in Israel is an experience in split-screen living. On the right side of the screen is the chaos outside our gates, in neighboring lands. And on the left side of the screen is the chaos inside.
On the left side of the screen on Tuesday, 15,000 Israelis gathered Tuesday evening outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to demand legal justice for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the face of what they view as an anti-democratic usurpation of political power by Israel’s legal fraternity.
It hard to believe that two weeks ago, Israel was on the brink of war. With the Palestinian Islamic Jihad firing nearly 500 missiles from Gaza into Israel within a 48-hour period, even Tel Aviv was put on alert and certain train routes were canceled. My mind immediately raced to a Christian group I was going to host for Shabbat in Jerusalem Israel – Pastor Leroy Armstrong of Proclaiming the Word Ministries.
Turkey’s little remarked on but ongoing mistreatment of historic churches is increasingly reflective of that nation’s growing sense of Islamic supremacism.
Before the Turks invaded it, Anatolia (present day Turkey) was an ancient Christian region; a large chunk of St. Paul’s epistles were sent to or dealt with its churches, including the seven of the Apocalypse. With the Turks’ conquest, colonization, and subsequent Turkification of Anatolia—hence why it’s now simply called “Turkey”—tens of thousands of churches were systematically desecrated and turned into victory mosques.
Sorek was the grandson of a Rabbi who survived the Holocaust, and was universally described as a kind, gentle soul. His funeral was interrupted by Palestinians shooting off fireworks celebrating his murder.
Two terrorists, including one affiliated with Hamas were arrested for the murder. And at the time, Hamas said in a statement, “We salute the hero fighters, sons of our people, who carried out the heroic operation which killed a soldier of the occupation army,” Hamas said in a statement. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad also hailed the killing as “heroic and bold.”