Given my past involvement with foreign affairs, many of my friends share with me their views and concerns about current events. Presently, many of my Jewish friends have told me of their outrage over the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel and their grave concern for Israelis going forward. Exacerbating their anxiety is not only the overall international reaction, which is inveterately anti-Israel, but the reaction of so many in America’s legacy and social media, academia, and within the Biden administration and Congress. In sum, they are concerned by how the American Left has reacted to the terrorist attack by offering “nuanced” moral equivalencies to rationalize and, in the most egregious instances, to justify Hamas’ barbaric attack by blaming Israel for necessitating it.
Historically, dangers to the Jewish people have come from the political Right, such as the Nazi’s genocidal murder of six million Jews. Yet, since the creation of Israel and the advent of post-modern Progressivism, within a few decades Israel was despicably being libeled as a “Nazi occupier” of Palestine and oppressor of Arab peoples. This cancerous blood libel metastasized into mainstream Leftist ideology from the 1960s onward within European and American political and cultural institutions. Today, we witness its consequences; but only Jewish-Americans bear their full brunt.
In the present crisis, America’s Jewish community is rightly concerned about foreign terrorists infiltrating the country to commit mass terror attacks on synagogues and shuls and the targeted assassination attempts on prominent American Jews. Moreover, the Left’s equivocations and prevarications regarding Hamas terrorists has – for the first time in their lives – led many American Jews to fear antisemitic violence against them by progressives, especially the young. In fact, while antisemitic attacks have increased following the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, for years antisemitic incidents have been rising throughout the world, including Europe and the United States.
Yet, this attack has spurred many on the American Left to remove their masks and reveal their patent and latent – indeed, their institutionally indoctrinated and condoned – antisemitism. This is not to argue that someone must support Israel or be deemed antisemitic. But when someone cannot bring themselves to outright condemn terrorist atrocities perpetrated upon Jews without adding an “if, and, or but,” one has a problem. And such individuals constitute a problem not just for Jewish Americans, but for every American.
Throughout America’s history, while it may often have been more honored in the breach, one of the foundational governing principles of our free republic is that every American is entitled to tolerance. This is not to be confused with acceptance – and certainly not the coerced “acceptance” demanded by the Left’s ideological insanity and lust for political domination. No, true acceptance can only be voluntarily given. In fact, the Left’s continuing conflation of acceptance and tolerance, and its attempts to coerce the former have resulted in the diminishment of the latter within the populace, including both sides of the political spectrum. Bluntly, as the Left promotes one group (largely on the subjective basis of past “victimization” real or imagined) another group is often demeaned and demoted. Ultimately, citizens of the latter group become ensnared in this intersectionality sweepstakes, a vicious political crosscurrent roiling and rending asunder the entire body politic within the Left’s remorseless political vortex. To wit: the present plight of Jewish-Americans.
Tragically, the unconscionable Hamas terrorist attack upon Israel has again placed Jewish-Americans in the maelstrom of American politics. They did not seek it and, doubtless, wish it were otherwise, abetted in their pursuits of happiness by the tolerance and, hopefully, voluntary acceptance of their fellow citizens. For it would be a uniquely American tragedy that, in this nation of immigrated huddled masses, Jewish-Americans, whose forebearers arrived seeking shelter from the chaos and antisemitic violence of the Old World, would find a similar fate on in the New World at the hands of those who would violate our nation’s foundational principle of tolerance; and ignore the lesson of history that, where one person’s rights are abused, all people’s rights are endangered.
Surveying the American political landscape, my friend, the “Learned One,” dispiritedly expressed to me: “During my lifetime, our country had largely overcome its antisemitic past. I truly thought America would become the historical exception and prove a lasting sanctuary for the Jewish people. I no longer can.”
I reassured him that our nation will remain an historically exceptional haven for Jewish-Americans. That the vast majority of our fellow citizens are decent, honest, and fair people who reject antisemitism and racism. But that was easy for me to say, as my blood relations were not gassed by Nazis, nor raped and beheaded by Hamas, nor am I the target of rising antisemitic violence. Far harder will be performing the deeds required by everyone of us to fulfill America’s promise to Jewish-Americans and, indeed, all Americans.
An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003-2012, and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars; and a Monday co-host of the “John Batchelor Radio Show,” among sundry media appearances.