Culture, Identity

Jews Are All Going to Die! Soon! Like, now! Any second!

Or so Charles Jacobs and Seth Klarman, of the alarmist David Project write in this week’s Jewish Week:

A rush of shocking events is creating a “tipping point” in Jewish consciousness…The recent events include Iran’s nuclear threats and Holocaust denial, Hamas’ electoral victory, the torture and murder of Ilan Halimi in Paris by a Muslim gang, the “discovery” by a Harvard dean that Jews actually do conspire to control Congress and American foreign policy in the service of Israel and to the detriment of U.S. interests, and the British academic boycott.
All of these demonstrate for many that there is a new assault on the world’s Jews. The hostility is based on a unique and intense hatred of Israel and deep resentment of its supporters, accompanied by a growing willingness to use violence.

Read the whole lot.
New assault? Boloney. American anti-Semitism is particularly laughable. I grew up in the Christian Great Plains and attended a Catholic University, and I seriously have difficulty putting my finger on experiencing a single instance of genuine, Jew-slandering, violence-mongering American anti-Semitism. Jews are the most widely accepted religious/ethnic group in America. American Jews live in peace, wealth and harmony.
So where are Jacobs and Klarman getting their alarmism? Innumerable studies of the Jewish generation gap recently point to major differences between our parents/grandparents and us, primarily the general attitudes of “we’re under attack” and “dude, can I just drink my latte in peace?”
Enter the twin heroes of Jewish fundraising/organizing, of Holocaust guilt and victimization:

No one wants to think that 60 years after the Holocaust, a new evil threatens Jews everywhere. But reality cannot be avoided or minimized.

Jews need to consider the profound impact of losing an ideological battle that could destroy the Jewish state. Such a threat requires courageous and talented leaders to grasp these new realities and create strategies to defeat the latest defamations based on a libelous portrayal of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

American anti-Semitism exists. As do plenty of run of the mill xenophobias. But as a creditable threat to the Jewish state within America’s borders, to world Jewry, and Judaism as a whole, Jacobs and Klarman are silly. From their safe and insultated lives in Boston in the hub of East Coast Jewish life, they have the gall to cry wolf. From a myriad of unrelated acts and dubiously-proven opinions which displease them, they raise anti-Semitism’s equally-evil twin: anti-everyone-else-ism.
Jacobs and Klarmen round out their death cry with a threat to replace Jewish leadership:

If the Jewish leadership in this ocuntry, which has been so good to the Jewish people, can’t or won’t do these things, then this small but enormously talented people will have to get new leaders. For in this, the Jewish community cannot and must not fail.

Amen to replacing the Jewish leadership. Here’s to a leadership which won’t find enemies under every rock, which memorializes instead of the Shoah the beautiful resurgance of Jewish life post-Holocaust, and finds more imporant things to do (like end Jewish poverty, or world poverty at that) than sound the claxon everytime The David Project wants a new infusion of funds.
[Editor’s Note] Kung Fu Jew sez: “I seriously have difficulty putting my finger on experiencing a single instance of genuine, Jew-slandering, violence-mongering American anti-Semitism.” Mobius sez: Is that so? Take a look at these comments on your post.

27 thoughts on “Jews Are All Going to Die! Soon! Like, now! Any second!

  1. Yeah, I found this article alarmist as well. But I have to disagree with you on the “no anti-Semitism in the U.S.” statement. I grew up in a coastal city in liberal, cosmopolitan, California and dealt with anti-Semitism on the regular. Granted, nobody was burning down shuls but they did get vandalized. I was informed by more people than I would care to admit that “the Jews” control “hollywood and the media”. And I can’t tell you how many times when someone got burned they said they got “Jewed”. Now this was not “violence-mongering American anti-Semitism” but there was “Jew-slandering” and it happened fairly regularly.

  2. yea, i feel like we gotta take the middle ground on the article’s content. Antisemitism exists, clearly. At the end of the day, the david project, which ran a few programs at my college, including a sudanese lost boy lecture, is interested in presenting Jews as having higher moral ground in many political debates, especially the Israel/Arab conflict. The Sudanese lost boy angle? Look you stoner! A black man oppressed by Arabs: that’ll get those left wing hippies to listen to pick the right victim. I hate that game.

  3. Yeah, I’m not sure that the anti-Semitism of today is much different than it has ever been… in fact, it’s probably less intense today than before the Holocaust.

  4. Although we may not have pogroms in America and are not dealing with widespead violent anti semetic attacks, of course the predjudice is still there. It’s been bred into American life. Not to make a steritypical general statement BUT most American Christians I know don’t study their religion as much as your average Jew does, therefore when they hear predjudice remarks about Jews being this or that, they believe it. I am amazed every time I read a Jewish history book (reading Telushkin ‘Jewish Literacy’ right now) about how much info they FORGOT to teach us about in secular school. So yes, eventhough my coworkers may not be plotting my death, don’t think I notice the glares or rolling eyes when I say I can’t work Saturdays or am “explaining” Jewishness to an interested person. But keep in mind that one of the reasons for their ignorance is that as Jews, we don’t prosalytze. We’re not out educating non-Jews about our history, we just keep to ourselves. And sure, we know all the lies are bullshit, and so does any other religion that actually pays attention and knows the facts. This, unfortunetly is the minority.

  5. So Jews are the most popular(77%) and Atheists are the least popular(35%).
    CLEARLY, Atheists need to get in touch with Abraham H. Foxman…

  6. 1. Anti-semitism today comes on the left.
    2. American Jews need to emphasize (and invent at times) anti-Semitism because it’s what makes them Jewish. That is to say, it’s the only thing holding them on to their ethnic identity, particularly those who, sadly, are estranged from teh halakhic tradition.

  7. antisemitism can come from either the right or the left and it’s still just as prevalent on the right as it ever was. and if you think evangelical philosemitism is anything other than antisemitic, you’re deluding yourself.

  8. just because you have been fortunate enough not to experience real antisemitic threats doesn’t mean antisemitism, or screw that word because it was made by a racist, anti-Jewish hatred doesn’t exist.
    I loathe the whole alarmist ADL/JDL mindset as much as anyone, but at the end of the day, i’m an unwanted outsider in my community. I’m a loathed guest. Some tolerate me, some don’t. Some threaten to beat me up, just for being a Jew. To brush off American Jewhatred as something that doesn’t really exist just because you’ve never been a target of it frustrates me.
    Sure, antisemitism isn’t really a big threat to MOST American Jews. For the rest of us though, it’s a reality.

  9. As usual, I have to agree with Mobius (even though he won’t add me as a myspace friend…). The “Zionism” by Christians on America’s right stems from the same antisemitism that fed the fires Europe for a few hundred years that eventually led to the Holocaust. The basic premise of Christianity says that Jews have to accept the Messiah for him to be the TRUE Messiah. If we don’t, then Christianity is either bullshit or we have fallen out of favor with G-d…and I don’t think they’re willing to accept the former. Make no mistake, Mobius is right that this philo-semitism on the right is nothing more than a ploy to round us up in Israel where will be (a.) detroyed when Jesus comes back or (b.) convert to Christianity when Jesus comes back in order to affirm his divinity (and thereby be destroyed through assimilation). Either way, the motivation for their friendship is our destruction. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re evil. They really do think that they’re helping or “saving” us, but the thing of it is, we don’t need saving.

  10. Jacobs and Klarman are Jews on a mission from G-d. Let them do their jobs for heaven’s sake. Here is their Mission:
    “The David Project Center for Jewish Leadership is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote a fair and honest understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We work to develop educated, skilled and courageous leaders to defeat the ideological assault on Israel that is taking place on campuses, in high schools, in churches and in the general community.”
    Like Fox but “honest” instead of “balanced”. I think that is better, don’t you?
    We need educated, skilled and courageous leaders – and heck there is no other way to get them. Good thing these guys came along!

  11. We’re the only group that can’t play the racism card without getting some backlash. And we do it less than others.
    2000 years of anti-Semitism and you think that there is no reason to worry? It’s not that there is no anti-Semitism now and Jews are banking on the history of persecution. Anti-Semitism is alive and well everywhere, and will rear its ugly head when given the chance.
    After Passion of the Christ came out, a church in Colorado suddenly puts up a sign that says “Jews killed Jesus.” They surely believed that all along. Anti-Semitic filth comes from leftists in groups like ANSWER and IRC. Every now and then on a message board someone will suggest that Hitler should have finished the job he started. Fuck, at my own university you can find written in the stalls “Zionists suck” and “Jews go home.” At Berkeley, the Hilllel was vandalized a number of times. (Apparently, that place is a haven for anti-Semitism.)
    Are we in danger of another Holocaust? I don’t think so, especially because Jews have gained prominence here in the US, and there are so many people as well as a Constitution who would never allow it to happen. (Well, tell that to the Indians. I don’t think any clause in the Constitution saved them in the 19th century, but I digress.)
    The point is, it’s easy to sit in an ivory tower and say that anti-Semitism does not exist, when there are people in other places in the US who have to deal with anti-Semitic garbage everyday. I mean, Jews are the #1 victims of hate crimes out of any group. (I heard this, but I need proof.) Fortunately, I believe that anti-Semitism mostly exists in sentiment rather than in action, but it’s out there.

  12. There always was antisemitism, and probably always will be. It has all the pretexts: “Jews are not enough like us”, “Jews are too much like us”, “Jews control our lives”, “Jews have all the bad traits”, “Jews are bolcheviks”, “Jews are capitalists”, “Jews are too internationalist”, “Jews are too nationalist”; we never seem to be comply enough to whatever great formula for all-encompassing happiness is fashionable.
    Antisemitism exists everywhere, in varying degrees (and US Jews have had it good for the last fifty years or so).
    We are fortunate that most of us live in liberal countries (notably our own one) where antisemitism is frowned upon, and in case these countries cease to be so, there still is a Jewish country, we’re not powerless anymore.
    So, while antisemitism is not eradicated, now we can deal with it, and get over it.

  13. I, too, have to disagree with Kung Fu Jew’s downplaying of current anti-Semitism. It’s certainly not as vehement in the US as it is in, say, Russia, but it’s very real. I think that it’s important to keep in mind, too, that anti-Semitism has long been cyclical, and that Jews have been in many situations where they felt that they were very safe, and then found themselves scapegoated or attacked yet again. It hink that this informs many people’s fear of anti-Semitism, even when that fear seems disproportionate to the immediate threat at hand.
    The David Project knows this–and they exploit it. Here in Boston, they’ve worked with other groups to create a big rift in Jewish-Muslim relations around a mosque being built by the Islamic society of Boston. There have been various legitimate questions about statements made by some leaders in the Islamic Society, and various Jewish groups were engaging on them. The David Project’s approach, it appeaers, was to feed negative articles containing a mix of reality and distortion to the local tabloid newspaper and the Fox News outlet. When the Islamic Society sued the news sources for defamation, they ended up extending their lawsuit to the David Project, which then cast it as a matter of Jews being “sued for asking questions.”
    If fear of anti-Semitism wasn’t based in reality, the David Project would not have the success it does. And if the left dismisses anti-Semitism, then the right will continue to win, because other Jews will view the left as dismissing their concerns. I’m proud when I see the left challenging anti-Semitism, and I hope that more of us will do so!

  14. It’s sad when Jews down play very real threats, by saying “it can’t happen here” or “I’ll beleive it when I experience it for myself” or “that little man with the funny mustache, he’s harmless”.
    That fact is that in Cambridge Massachusetts, (i.e right next to Boston) “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt was published. I doubt that many folks reading this blog know who Seth Klarman is. Seth Klarman is the President of The Baupost Group, a hedge fund manager with $5.4Billion under management. Seth wrote the book “Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor”. Seth’s personal style is be *10 times more cautious* than anyone else in the room.
    And so the David Project is an outgrowth of that thought style. Maybe it seems are alarmist, but it is far better to be safe than sorry when the smoke clears. The future attacks on the Jewish community will be inspired by Leftism, Islamofascism or Both. And so it is this generations task to respond to those ideologies.

  15. I would agree, yet it seems surprising they wouldn’t mention specific incidents. I don’t know exactly what to make of it, that’s why I posted it.

  16. “The “Zionism” by Christians on America’s right stems from the same antisemitism that fed the fires Europe for a few hundred years that eventually led to the Holocaust.”
    I don’t doubt this is the case for hard-core fundamentalist zealots but are most conservative Chrisitians fundamentalist zealots? I think not. Do most conservative Christians support Israel because they want all the Jews to return to Israel so Jesus can come back? I’m not sure, but most of the Christians I know in the U.S. support Israel because it is a democracy and they feel the interests of our two countries are very similar.

  17. The problem with Anti-Semitism or Jew Hatred (which ever you prefer) in the United States is that, as someone said already, it’s become completely ingrained within the social mindset. Seemingly passive comments like “Oh you don’t look Jewish” or “You’re Jewish? You must be rich!” are deeply rooted in anti-Semitic fueled stereotypes. And this does indeed span both the left and the right politically (and I guess socially) speaking as well.

  18. That fact is that in Cambridge Massachusetts, (i.e right next to Boston) “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt was published.
    Market Participant, I’m not sure what the point you’re trying to make with this. I have to guess that you don’t live in the Boston area. Because if you did, you’d know that what’s published by someone at Harvard is quite detached from what goes on in greater Boston. Not to mention that while Walt is a dean at Harvard, Mearshimer is in Chicago.
    The paper really has little bearing on the situation with the mosque that I mentioned. If you want to make an argument about the actual situation, feel free, but I fail to see how an analogy to a hedge-fund manager is a good guide to community relations or to dealing with anti-Semitism.
    The future attacks on the Jewish community will be inspired by Leftism, Islamofascism or Both.
    Beg pardon? Leftism and Islamofascism in one sentence? In my comment above and in a thread a week or so back, there’s been a lot of discussion of Left anti-Semitism as a real problem and a complex phenomenon. For you to refer to leftism it in the same breath as Islamofascism sounds liek some pretty sloppy analysis to me.

  19. This is a fascinating group of conversations. I would like to pipe in, and I basically am in 100% agreement with Kung Fu Jew, that the charge that Jews have been eternally oppressed throughout time and space is entirely overly simplified. Salo Baron in the ’30s dubbed this understanding the ‘lacrimose history of the Jewish People.’ He was the first Professor of Jewish Studies ever in a secular university (Columbia). This concept that Jews live with some type of eternal and endless suffering was created in the 19th century with the creation of Zionism. I do not claim, by any means, that anti-Jewishness did not exist, of course. It has, and does.
    Of course there’s also a difference between anti-Jewish and anti-Semitism, the practice of Judaism versus the race of Judaism. Certainly many American Jews can be accused of anti-Judaism, the early Reform Jews for one.
    I think that the reason for so many of today’s American Jews’ affluence has been our ability to ‘become white,’ or define ourselves against those who really have been (and are still, in many ways) oppressed in the U.S., African-Americans. Some of the earliest Jews in the U.S., including Jewish relatives of mine, were slave owners. Jews benefited from the GI bill like any WASP down the street.
    American anti-Semitism exists, but does so without significant amounts of political power, Jews are too beneficial to the U.S. for it to be any other way. I believe the greatest threat to today’s Jewry is when organizations like AIPAC claim to speak for all of American Jewry, when they don’t and can’t do any such thing. ‘Jew’ is not a homogenus category, particularly in regards to Israel. Forgetting that fact is a tremendous danger.

  20. “Of course there’s also a difference between anti-Jewish and anti-Semitism, the practice of Judaism versus the race of Judaism.”
    A Jewish “race”? There is no Jewish race. A Jewish people, a Jewish nation, a Jewish ethnicity, a Jewish religion but not a Jewish race.
    “I think that the reason for so many of today’s American Jews’ affluence has been our ability to ‘become white,’…”
    The works of the scholars of “whiteness studies” provide some insight regarding identity but, in the case of Jews, more attention should be paid to the construction of ethnicity as a social cateogy. Are you familiar with “The Menorah Journal”? The authors affiliated with this journal spilled a great deal of ink discussing Jews, race and ethnicity during the 1920s.

  21. In fact, Jews (and here we’re obviously talking about Ashkenazi Jews, not, say, Jews from Yemen, who are clearly not “white” insofar as such a scientifically void category exists can be said to apply) have been white in the USA for only about 30 years -less in some parts of the country. There are severl good books abot the construction of a Jewish white identity in the US, but they all agree from historical record that Jews really only begin to be accepted as white in the 1960-70’s. And even Ashkenazi Jews often only saw themselvews as white as they aspired up the class ladder and attempted to marry out (this was a particular problem with male exogamy patterns, since women didn’t marry out in large numbers until a few decades later). For example, I grew up in the 70’s and had no idea that other Jews -even Ashkenazi jews- considered themselves white until I hit high school.

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