The Jews vs. The World

Men pray on Jerusalem's Western Wall, 2019 (Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images)

As a weak and sclerotic Democratic leadership cowers before the anti-Israel zealotry of the Squad and its acolytes in the House of Representatives, American Jews are getting a glimpse of what the future may hold: a return to a not-so-distant past in which Jews stood alone to face either slaughter or survival.

There are differences between now and then, of course. The Jews now have a state and an army, facts that provide the fig leaf for the new anti-Semitism now exhibited by left-wing Democrats, academics, and Jewish radicals. The old hatred has found new life in characterizing Jews as oppressors and the genocidal Hamas as victim.

In a kind of provincial stupidity the left would abhor in almost any other context, the liberal elite has conflated caricatures of the Palestinian experience with that of the minority experience in the United States.

The left-wing congressman Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.), his anti-Semitism cloaked in the argot of the social justice warrior, has called on Israel to stop brutalizing and murdering "Black and brown bodies."

Members of the Princeton University faculty on Tuesday released a similar statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people that rejects what they call "Jewish supremacy"—an inartful attempt to liken Jews to their tormentors in the Ku Klux Klan.

The faculty statement will have no impact on world events, but it sends a clear message to Jewish students at the university. It will be familiar to any Jew who managed to sneak into Princeton between its founding in 1746 and the infamous "dirty bicker" of 1958, in which Jews were systematically excluded from the school's social clubs. University-sanctioned anti-Semitism has been the rule, not the exception, at Princeton.

Finally, there are the Jews who will give cover for this Jew-hatred. Many signed the Princeton letter. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), who made a name for herself arguing that congressional support for Israel is "all about the Benjamins," has a Jewish spokesman. Hamas has retained a Jewish lawyer, too.

We don't despair for two reasons.

First, the enmity of the world around us is the strand that connects the Jews of today to their ancient ancestors.

The brief moment in which the majority of the world's remaining Jews found safety in Israel and the United States is a historical aberration, but Jewish culture has well preserved the outsider mentality that will be necessary as we brace for the return to normalcy.

Second, Zionism was incubated and refined for moments just like this. The good will of the United States was a blessing for Israel; it was not, however, a prerequisite for Zionism's success. The very premise of the movement was that the Jews could rely on no one but themselves for their own survival.

And for American Jews who can imagine no other home and no other life, we still have righteous and stalwart allies, from our Evangelical Christian friends to Republicans in Congress (with the notable and ignoble exception of Indiana senator Todd Young) to the vast majority of the American people.

Despite a steady diet of anti-Israel invective by the media, Americans seem largely immune to the prejudices and fads of the country's elite: The latest Economist/YouGov poll shows that 63 percent of Americans have the decency and common sense to say that protecting Israel should be either "very important" or "somewhat important" to the United States.

The future may yet be as dark as the past, but not yet. Hamas and its many sympathizers here and around the world will have to endure at least another day of unrepentant Jewish survival.