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Antisemitism and Immigration

Donald Trump >The most pro-Israel president in modern American history

American Jews Need to Stop Being Stupid About Politics. And start taking policy seriously

In the aftermath of Oct. 7, the assault on American Jewish liberal reality has come from all sides: from universities, favored media outlets, Hollywood, and the political leaders for whom many American Jews had voted and donated large sums of money. The day following the attack, the Biden White House held a barbecue for staff—apparently the events of the day prior didn’t call for a postponement of festivities.

By Julia Hahn [TABLET]

That weekend, the administration pushed out not one, but two tweets (which were subsequently deleted) pressing for a cease-fire before Israel had finished counting its dead. Since then, the administration has made a point of emphasizing that its main priority following the war’s end is the speedy establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank. Apparently, Palestinians are to be rewarded for the mass killing of Jews, while Israelis will be forced to live with the imminent threat of a repeat of Oct. 7—this time coming from two fronts instead of one.

It is no surprise, then, that the social signaling from the White House has made itself felt wherever progressives hold power. Academics at esteemed universities made statements explaining that Hamas’ savagery was justified. It would seem that the violent gang rape of Jewish women—unlike so many unfortunate college frat house dalliances—is not black and white, and instead requires “context” and endless questioning of the victims, who are often proclaimed to be fake.

Former President Barack Obama exhibited true restraint and waited until after the weekend had passed before he put forward his statement about the events of Oct. 7. When the cerebral Obama eventually chose to elaborate on his views in an interview, he characterized the situation of the Palestinian people as “unbearable.” “You have to admit that nobody’s hands are clean, that all of us are complicit to some degree,” blathered the former president, who had championed and signed the Iran nuclear deal.

While we were perhaps not surprised to see an outpouring of support for Hamas in the Europe Angela Merkel made, conditions in the U.S. were not much different. Over 300,000 pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in D.C. for a rally in which they attempted to scale the White House gates, vandalized public property, and defaced the “People’s House” with painted red “bloody” handprints in what ABC News described as a “passionate” protest.

In New York, pro-Palestinian protesters climbed flag poles to tear down American flags and attempted to break down the doors of Grand Central station, temporarily closing access to the terminal. Jewish kids on a college campus cowered in fear, trapped in the library as pro-Palestinian students jeered outside. Hasidic Jews in Crown Heights were warned to stay indoors on Shabbat. In Los Angeles, a 69-year-old Jewish man was allegedly struck on the head by a pro-Palestinian protester with a megaphone resulting in his death, in what the medical examiner ruled as a homicide—or as an NBC News headline put it, “Man dies after hitting head.”

The insanity seemed unending. Black Lives Matter came out on the side of Hamas—could it be that the BLM movement doesnt actually care about the persecution of a historic minority? pro-BLM Jews began to wonder. Queers for Palestine made their alliances known at every major rally. All of a sudden, many American Jewish liberals began to notice that those rag-tag groups of victims with whom they had previously allied themselves did not seem superfocused on justice or peace. Rather, they were hellbent on the dissolution of the so-called “oppressor” class, “by any means necessary.”

American Jewish liberals realized in the last two months that even though they represent only 0.2% of the global population and were nearly exterminated in Nazi gas chambers 80 years ago, they do not qualify as one of the oppressed minorities that they had so passionately advocated for. They were in fact the “oppressor” that “movements for justice” hope to destroy.

Antisemitism and Political Verticals

Over the course of two months, American Jews witnessed the vaporization of what they had previously imagined to be the best era, in the greatest country, for Jews in history. Wealthy Jews began questioning what had been done with the many millions of dollars they had donated to their alma maters. Some even began to wonder about all the money they donated to the Democratic Party. But voting for Republicans still appears to be a bridge too far. In fact, the first poll of U.S. Jewish voters since Oct. 7, shows 74% approval of Biden’s approach on Israel and Gaza, and 68% of U.S. Jewish voters backing Biden over Trump.White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has given us a good glimpse into what an afterthought the Jews are for the president, who allegedly ran for office because of Charlottesville.

When asked on Oct. 23 about the rise in antisemitic attacks since the beginning of the war in Gaza, she refused both times to address them at the podium. The White House had not seen “any credible threats” of increased antisemitism, the press secretary said, as she pivoted and read from her binder about the increase in “hate-fueled” Islamophobic attacks. When asked about antisemitic protests on college campuses, she said simply that she was “not going to go into” that.

Being serious about antisemitism means being wise to the administration’s belitting of antisemitism by juxtaposing it with other forms of “hate.” It also means being discerning about what actually counts as antisemitism. The administration feels it can get away with its relativization of antisemitism in part because, for too long, we have allowed those in authority to claim that attacking liberal policies is somehow an attack on Judaism—or that attacking prominent supporters of Iran apologists and far-left ideologues like George Soros is inherently antisemitic.

But in pretending that anti-liberalism is antisemitism, we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted and emotionally manipulated by people who do not have the best interests of American Jews at heart, and whose preferred policies—including large-scale immigration from countries where antisemitism is rampant—pose a clear and obvious danger to Jewish lives.

The latest prominent individual to find himself the victim of the left’s faux antisemitic manipulation campaign is Elon Musk, whose crime was essentially agreeing with someone who criticized the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and some American Jews for not being in touch with reality. The White House was quick to pounce, calling it a “hideous lie.” While unartfully articulated, this claim was not antisemitic. A Tablet editorial in October, for instance, criticized the ADL for having become a “handmaiden of power.”

A well-organized campaign highlighting Musk’s “antisemitic” post is now bent on forcing advertisers from Musk’s platform—using the lie of Musk’s antisemitism to damage a public figure they see as a political enemy. Interestingly, we have seen no similar news coverage of the companies that have been pressured into joining this campaign—which include Apple, Comcast, Disney, IBM, Lions Gate, NBC Universal, Paramount, and Warner Brothers—for advertising on TikTok, the Chinese communist-run social media platform that algorithmically pushes far more openly antisemitic content than either X or Instagram.

Allowing political manipulators to play on the fears of a besieged community by convincing them to act against their own interests is worse than manipulative—it is sick and sadistic. Instead of signing on, American Jews need to be clear about their own interests and opt out of the political verticals that are pushing them to engage in self-harm.

We cannot be sidetracked from squarely facing threats to our lives and to our hard-won positions in American life. “The Jewish principle of tikkun olam” is not a commandment by which G-d Almighty mandates voting for the Democratic Party, nor is it a commandment that decrees the expansion of Jew-hating DEI bureaucracies into every corner of American institutional and corporate life.

The argument one now hears from American Jewish liberals searching for an excuse not to have to vote with conservatives is that there are right-wing antisemites, too. While that is obviously true, it amounts to the observation that vile antisemitism exists everywhere, just as it always has. The question is where is it being rewarded, celebrated, and institutionalized. As Yoram Hazony writes in a post on X: “the anti-Semitic right still has only a tiny fraction of the real public presence and political influence that is wielded by the anti-Semitic left and [its] close allies … It is the anti-Semitic left that is flooding the campuses and the streets and inciting to violence throughout the West. Nothing remotely on this scale has been organized by anti-Semitic elements on the right in the decades [sic].”

Antisemitism and Democratic Foreign Policy

The media, of course, wants you to believe otherwise. That is why it has spent the last seven years screaming that Donald Trump is literally Hitler. Yes, the president who brokered historic Mideast peace agreements, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and moved the American Embassy there, acknowledged Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, withdrew the U.S. from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council because of its anti-Israel bias, and made Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act apply to antisemitic discrimination is “literally Hitler.” This lie is no different from when Vice President Joe Biden told African Americans in 2012 that the Republican Party of Mitt Romney was planning to “put y’all back in chains.”

Israel shouldn’t be a partisan issue, many liberal Jews demur. Except, it is. In fact, pretending that Israel is not a partisan issue requires one to ignore both the evidence of the present moment as well as the eight-year long record of the Obama administration, when the Democratic Party openly threatened its Jewish voters and supporters if they didn’t support the new policy of realignment with the Jew-hating theocracy in Iran, which eventually sponsored the Oct. 7 attacks.

While the media has hosted us to a barrage of puff pieces about how deeply Biden personally cares about Israel, his administration’s policies suggest otherwise. Prior to Oct. 7, these actions included: restarting assistance worth hundreds of millions of dollars for the West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza, which the Trump administration had previously stopped; reengaging Iran and unfreezing $6 billion in funds for Tehran, and extending a sanctions waiver that allows the Iranians to access another $10 billion; and gifting Iran a monetary windfall, with which Iran could potentially fund Hamas terrorism, by failing to enforce Iranian oil sanctions. Post-Oct. 7, the administration has tried to strong-arm Israel into a cease-fire; announced it would veto an Israel-only aid bill with bipartisan support unless it also included far more controversial funding for Ukraine; and, like a Norm Macdonald joke brought back to life, launched a national strategy to counter Islamophobia less than a month after the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust.

Here, too, the counterargument one often hears—for example from New York Times columnist Bret Stephens on Nov. 7, is that antisemitism is just as bad or worse on the “neo-isolationist right,” which “would be mainstreamed by a second Trump term.” In essence, people like Stephens warn American Jews against a second term for the most pro-Israel president in modern American history because that administration might also reject the views of the foreign policy establishment. American Jews simply cannot pretend that the isolationist right and its supposed lack of support for NATO are a bigger threat than those on the left calling for the eradication of the only Jewish state, justifying Hamas’ beheading of Jewish babies, and desecrating posters of kidnapped Jewish children. Now that we have seen what genocidal antisemitism looks like with our own eyes, in our own lifetimes, we cannot afford to continue to pretend that disagreements about foreign policy are somehow the same as attempts to exterminate us.

Antisemitism and Immigration

While the media will continue to generate a lot of noise about who’s better on Israel and whose antisemitism is worse, the truth is that on the other critical issues concerning American Jews, there is no doubt where our interests lie. Chief among these issues is immigration. Almost every Democratic figure, including Israel supporters like Hillary Clinton and John Fetterman, also support importing huge inflows of people who are hostile to Jews. Indeed, prominent Democrats such as Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Washington Pramila Jayapal are demanding the Biden administration allow large numbers of Palestinians to migrate to the United States.

Regardless of how you feel about the conflict or the treatment of the Palestinian people, the fact remains that according to recent polling, 75% of Palestinians say that they support Hamas’ savagery on Oct. 7. It is a gross understatement to say that bringing in huge numbers of like-minded individuals from the Palestinian territories and other places in the region where Jew hatred and terrorism are salient, will not lead America into the progressive and inclusive future liberals claim they want to create. It will, however, greatly exacerbate and increase antisemitism in America, the way it has in France, Germany, and Great Britain.

Watching the events of the past month, many American Jewish liberals have quietly begun to acknowledge what conservatives have been warning against for decades: that much of the antisemitic radicalism we see on the streets of large American cities and on college campuses does not look or feel “home-grown.” Bringing the “Arab Street” to the streets of New York and Los Angeles hardly seems like a good idea, especially if you are Jewish.

The problem posed by importing foreign nationals from countries where Jew-hatred has been normalized has proven to be particularly acute on college campuses—whose administrators have become complicit in supporting the vile prejudices of many of their students. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has acknowledged that the reason it didn’t suspend pro-Palestinian students who threatened Jews was because they could face deportation as a result, since they are not U.S. citizens. The anti-Israel students at Harvard similarly indicated that their immigration status would suffer if their universities imposed consequences for their vile actions.

Why should American Jews advocate for the admission of people to the United States who want to kill us? Why are we turning our universities—many of them generously funded by Jewish donors—into shields to prevent Jew-hating maniacs from being deported under U.S. law, which denies a visa to any alien who endorses or espouses terrorist activity, and instead educate them at our expense? How is it that when a former Hamas leader calls for a “global day of jihad,” Americans thousands of miles away— especially young Jews—have to brace themselves for it?

George W. Bush once said his war strategy in the Middle East was to “fight them over there so we do not have to face them in the United States of America.” If the pro-Palestinian protests of the last several weeks across Europe and the United States are any indication, that strategy does not seem to have aged well, thanks in part to immigration policies that verge on madness. Hundreds of thousands of American Jews have relatives and ancestors who fled Jew-hatred in countries like Iran, Egypt, Libya, and Iraq, where their families lived for centuries. The idea that Jews now willingly support importing those same murderous hatreds to America defies belief.

In a moment when American Jews seem to be asking themselves many new questions, immigration is certainly a good place to start. Where is the progressive and enlightened America that supporters of open borders promised? Is it possible mass immigration has not been an unalloyed good? Could it be that importing people who do not share the values of our nation was perhaps a risky experiment—especially for vulnerable minorities such as Jews?

In a recent piece in The Atlantic, David Leonhardt argues that if we want to have an immigration policy that serves our national interest, we must move away from the trope that more immigration is always better, and instead begin by asking not only how many people we should be admitting, but also who we want to make our fellow citizens. As a people who have always celebrated rational inquiry, Jews should be at the forefront of this effort—especially now that we have seen the consequences of avoiding uncomfortable questions.