The Times of Israel published my new article “Anti-Semitism in Mainstream American Politics”
How many times do freshman lawmakers from the Democratic Party need to apologize for anti-Semitic remarks until we understand what truly lies in their hearts and minds toward Israel and the Jews? Rep. Ilhan Omar’s allegation that the Jewish lobby and money are buying American politicians seems to be only the tip of the iceberg of a larger anti-Semitic problem of a vociferous and growing radical wing against Israel within US Congress and political circles.
Only after a strong condemnation and ear pulling from her own party, Rep. Omar stepped back from her comments, sort of. It was certainly not the first time she sparked controversy with inflammatory remarks. Back in 2012 she tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized the world,” among other accusations during her political career. Meanwhile, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), a firm supporter of Israel’s boycott, has been busy taking pictures with a pro-Hezbollah activist and accusing American Jews of “dual loyalty.” Both lawmakers have been warned by Republicans that “actions” will be taken if their incitement against the Jewish nation continues.
Extreme Minds Think Alike
Jew-hatred appears to reach consensus regardless which side of the coin the anti-Semites belong to. Holocaust denier and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has weighed in on this controversy, aligning with Omar’s conspiratory views toward Jews. He didn’t miss the opportunity to add more fuel to the anti-Semitic flame. Since Jews, Israel, are blamed for anything and everything in the world, this time Duke brought Trump’s wall to the public discourse, no less, demanding Israel pay for it.
One of the ways the nations of the world blame the Jews is by stating that Jews control the world and all evil comes from us. By saying so, they imply that changing the world for good depends on the Jewish people. From Nature’s perspective, meaning the inner forces that operate our world, this is, in fact, what we are destined to provide humanity. This is also the underlying reason for the growing hatred and demands toward us if we fail to fulfill this mission.
Jewish thinker Rav Yitzhak HaCohen Kook made this principle clear on his seminal work Orot [Lights]: “The construction of the world, which is currently crumpled by the dreadful storms of a blood-filled sword, requires the construction of the Israeli nation. The construction of the nation and the revealing of its spirit are one and the same, and it is one with the construction of the world, which is crumpling in anticipation for a force full of unity and sublimity, and all that is in the soul of the Assembly of Israel.”
An Outcry Against Israel Is An Outcry Against All Jews
There is no fine line between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Simply put, there is no line; they are the same. It is just easier and more comfortable for anti-Semites to hide their true colors under virulent criticism against Israel. When the Jewish nation is attacked from all sides, it is clear that we are the only ones we can rely on. Our good future depends solely on our unity.
Our nation was forged precisely through that unity, when individuals of different descents pledged to be “as one man with one heart.” Once our ancestors made that vow, they were tasked with passing unity on to the rest of the world, thereby becoming “a light unto nations.” When Jews disassociate from one another—and thereby abandon their commitment to humanity—they cease to be a light unto nations, and in so doing, invoke hatred toward them.
As it is written in The Book of Zohar, “Because they are of one heart and one mind … they will not fail in doing that which they purport to do, and there is no one who can stop them.” Our sages also stated, “Although the bodies of the whole of Israel are divided, their souls are a single unity at the root. …This is why Israel are commanded to unity of the hearts, as it is written, ‘And Israel encamped there,’ in singular form, which means that they were corresponding below, meaning they had unity” (Rabbi David Solomon Eibenschutz, Willows of the Brook).
Unity above differences is the true commodity of the State of Israel and what Jews in general have to offer the world, because this is our foundation as a people. We possess the method for bringing people together. Once we reach this unity, it will reverberate around the world to neutralize anti-Semitism. As the Midrash Rabbah writes in Song of Songs, “Israel bring light to the world.”