On the last weekend of May, two very different responses to anti-Semitism came out of California.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, whose courageous response to a Neo-Nazi shooting at his synagogue in Poway won the hearts of a nation, headed off to appear at a Jerusalem Day event. Jerusalem Day or Yom Yerushalayim is a popular celebration in Israel commemorating the liberation of Jerusalem from its Islamic conquerors. “In the face of hatred and terror by our enemies in east Jerusalem, we continue to grow and thrive, despite the physical threat of violence and psychological danger that face our families every day, “Ateret Cohanim, the Jerusalem development organization, said in a statement.
In a very different response, California Democrats struggled with a hateful resolution put forward by David Mandel, a convention delegate, and a chapter leader in the hate group Jewish Voice for Peace. The hateful resolution falsely shifted blame to Israel and Jews for the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh. It also defended Muslim anti-Semitism and condemned attempts to reject terrorism against Jews.
Jewish Voice for Peace is neither Jewish nor peaceful. This is its latest episode of promoting blood libels, dating back to its association with an anti-Semitic bigot who claimed that Jews drank blood. Mandel, a chapter leader in a hate group that promoted an anti-Israel activist who appeared on white supremacist radio, cynically accuses Israel and Jews of collaborating with white supremacists.
Mandel is a contributor to Mondoweiss: a hate site which claimed that a previous anti-Semitic attack by a white supremacist was really an Israeli plot.
The work of another Mondoweiss contributor had been cited by that same anti-Semitic shooter.
One Mondoweiss editor has said, “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, but I can understand why some are.”
The vast chasm between Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein and David Mandel, between Jews who stand up to hate and radical activists with Jewish last names who collaborate with hate, also appeared in the AJC survey.
The American Jewish Congress, a liberal group that, despite its name, represents Jews no more than any of the other alphabet soup non-profits with a ‘J’ thrown in there do, has released its annual survey. The AJC’s survey of American Jews and Israeli Jews features its own profound chasm between two peoples.
43% of American Jews answered that being Jewish was very important in their lives. 35% allowed how it might be somewhat important. The other 24% deemed it unimportant.
Meanwhile 51% of Israelis believed that being Jewish was most important, 29% thought that it was very important, and 11% downgraded it to somewhat important.
Only 8% of Israeli Jews thought that being Jewish wasn’t a significant part of their lives.
35% of American Jews disagreed and 62% agreed that caring about Israel was very important. 25% did not think that Israel is important to the future of the Jewish people. 49% identified as Democrats.
Only 18% identified as Republicans.
91% of Israeli Jews believed that Israel was vital to the future of the Jewish people. 79% of Israeli Jews supported President Trump’s handling of the relationship between America and Israel.
45% of American Jews strongly disapproved of President Trump’s handling of relations with Israel. 36% listed Russia as the greatest threat to America. Only 14% put down Iran.
50% backed Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights. 39% opposed the move.
88% of Israeli Jews were in favor of recognition.
Since last year, the number of American Jews caring about Jews dropped from 70% to 62%. Among 18-29 year old American Jews, the number stands at 44%.
Less than half.
These numbers are consistent with a previous Pew survey in which 42% of American Jews complained that President Trump was favoring Israel too much. To put those numbers into perspective, historically black churches were less likely to complain that Trump was too pro-Israel than American Jews.
Pew’s mistake was contrasting members of religious groups with a dissipating ethnic identity.
The AJC’s numbers show that support for Israel is linked to a strong Jewish identity. When respondents were asked about the importance of being Jewish, the responses, ranging from 100% among the Orthodox to 63% among Conservative Jews to 35% among Reform Jews to 15% among secular Jews, reflected the overlap between traditionalism, religiosity and support for Israel.
That’s also what the split between Rabbi Goldstein and David Mandel reflects.
A Gallup poll in 2015 found that among Jews who attended synagogue services at least once a week, 60% disapproved of Obama. Among those who didn’t, 58% supported Obama.
The split was equally obvious in New York City where the left-wing Forward tabloid noted that, “Nearly every election district that Trump won in Brooklyn was in a Jewish neighborhood.”
Some of the most left-wing and right-wing neighborhoods in the Big Apple in 2016 were Jewish areas.
Like the rest of America, Jews are coming apart into two very different groups.
At the end of May, California faced the same split, with Rabbi Goldstein celebrating the liberation of Jerusalem, while David Mandel tried to find a way to blame murdered Jews for their own deaths.
Rabbi Goldstein and Mandel are both perfect examples of a particular type. The Chabad Rabbi who lost several fingers in the Poway attack, embodies the Jewish tradition of faith. Mandel, a JVP leader who is active with the National Lawyers Guild, a radical group with historical ties to the Communist Party, represents the traditional animus of leftists for everything Jewish. Israel is just one example.
Mandel and Rabbi Goldstein believe in two very different sets of ideas.
At the White House, Rabbi Goldstein, in a quote, urged introducing a moment of silence in public schools, “So that children, from early childhood on, could recognize that there’s more good to the world, that they are valuable, that there is accountability, and every human being is created in God’s image.”
While Rabbi Goldstein quoted the Lubavitcher Rebbe, a key religious leader in his movement, Mandel quoted Bernie Sanders in his hateful resolution. Bernie is also the avatar that the anti-Israel activist uses. While the leaders of Rabbi Goldstein’s Lubavitch Chassidic movement faced persecution by Communists, Mandel boasts of a “Progressive-Labor Alliance comrades” and a “post-capitalist world”.
And, while all this was going on, I was burying my mother, who had spent her life fighting Communism, in a dusty grave in the hills of Jerusalem.
Thousands of miles and a century later, the struggle between Jews and the anti-Jewish Left goes on.
P.S. I’ll be speaking on The War Against Us in Los Angeles on Wed, June 19, at 7 P.M.