There’s nothing revelatory about the fact that contemporary Judaism keeps drifting towards the notion that this is primarily a religion about social justice with its tikkun olam banner now more significant than the Magen David. In fact, for a growing number of Jews, Judaism is really the opportunity to celebrate liberalism with Jewish food and ceremony - in that order. Passover, which begins next week, is viewed as an ecumenical occasion to talk about slavery and disenfranchisement throughout the world, from the gravest examples to the most petty. There’s a seat at the seder for everyone who has a gripe and a Haggadah to match it.
At Brandeis, a college founded by ardent Zionists and named for one, a recent protest was by a group called Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine who disrupted a panel discussion by Israeli legislators and Jewish community leaders. Their signs were all about apartheid, fascism and freeing Palestine. There were no demonstrators protesting the massacres in Syria, Sudan, Congo, Somalia or any of the Muslim states where tens of thousands of people have been and are being slaughtered, nor any mention of the purges against Christians in Moslem countries. The only politically correct cause du jour is Israeli “apartheid.”
Though it’s understandable why Arab propagandists have poured millions of dollars into American campuses to further their goal of eliminating Israel entirely, it’s more difficult to fathom the willing submission of so many Jewish students and adults to these tactics.
The Friends Seminary in New York, a Quaker school with a sizeable number of Jewish students, sponsored a trip to Israel in which students spent every night with Palestinian families in Ramallah compiling their oral histories, undoubtedly stressing their grievances against the Jews. Previously this year, the school invited an Israeli musician who self-describes as a “proud self-hating Jew” to perform. Alan Dershowitz lambasted them and got the school to agree to let him address the student body, a promise that has subsequently been ignored. Picture either of these American schools sponsoring similar events focused on Muslim terrorism in this country; you can’t, because that would be construed as Isalmophobic and academic institutions are too upstanding for that. New age anti-semitism, however, has plenty of Jewish participants to deceive the gullible and muddy the image of what’s going on.
The BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement, so popular throughout North American campuses, alighted at a Park Slope food co-op this month where it was eventually defeated, but not before tv cameras had the opoportunity to broadcast the views of those brave foodies (disproportionately Jewish), who were protesting Israeli “atrocities against Palestinians.” The same people who presumably read newspapers full of sickening details about the massacres in Syria were dovening over whether to boycott seltzer-makers and paprika from the country that has given more rights and opportunities to Palestinians than any Arab country in the middle east.
One of the saddest consequences of the persecution of Jews throughout history has been the Stockholm syndrome that results in their identification with their persecutors by blaming themselves for anti-semitism. We Jews have tried our hardest to disappear by assmiliating into the population of any host country that has given us that chance. If we have a holiday about the liberation of Jewish slaves, we will extend it to include all other slaves and other unrelated isms such as environmentalism and feminism. Even sadder is the the realization that the great promise offered by well-deserved pride in the Jewish state has gradually become corrupted by the compliance of Jews in attacking Israel indiscriminately. Let’s think about that as we celebrate the exclusively Jewish holiday of Passover this year.
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