Woke journalists no longer see their profession as dedicated to uncovering truth, but as a means of advancing the cause
Almost 70% of American Jews, just slightly less than the percentage who always vote Democratic, believe Republicans are anti-Semitic, according to a recent American Jewish Committee poll.
That's odd. Isn't the Republican Party the one totally unified in support of Israel? Hasn't the Trump administration moved aggressively against campus anti-Semitism?
But the AJC poll was nothing compared to a recent email from one of my closest and most brilliant law school friends, who wrote with unfeigned horror of President Trump as "the opening chapter in my American Jewish nightmare saga." In the "hard core of his support, the rock-solid, rock-brained inhabitants of the 'Red States,' " my friend sees "the SS," who will become "a mass of armed, violent, encouraged, entitled, enthused pogromists roaming the land."
With the passing of the second anniversary of the massacre of 11 Sabbath worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, it is impossible to argue that there are not violent right-wing anti-Semites in America. In country of over 330 million people, there are many. But I doubt that many KKK supporters or neo-Nazis vote — Republican or otherwise — or that they see Trump, with his Jewish daughter and son-in-law, as their leader.
ADMITTEDLY, if one's only connection to being Jewish is a Jewish last name, one's chief fear might be of a neo-Nazi going through the local phone directory in search of Jewish names. But if one is concerned about the ability to live as an identifiable Jew in the United States and to pass on that identity to one's children, there are far greater reasons to fear.
The greatest threat going forward is an ideology that explicitly rejects the liberal order in which American Jews have flourished. And unlike neo-Nazis and white supremacists, who exist at far edge of American society, this anti-liberal ideology, whether styled as critical race theory (CRT) or "social justice" or something else, has made deep inroads into the main institutions of American life — the universities, the press, corporate America, and the Democratic Party.
Angela Harris, a proponent, writes in Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, "Critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law."
In "The Roots of Wokeness," Andrew Sullivan analyzes the major elements of the ascendant ideology. First, the rejection of "objective truth," borrowed from post-modernism, in favor of "competing narratives," to be employed to gain power, in a zero-sum game between oppressed groups and their oppressors. That explains why today's woke journalists no longer see their profession as one dedicated to uncovering truth, but rather as a means of advancing the cause. They view censorship with equanimity.
Thus Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told a Senate committee last week that Hunter Biden's authenticated and never denied emails are the kind of "misinformation" that Twitter bans. But Ayatollah Khamenei's Holocaust denial or a senior Chinese minister's assertion that the US deliberately spread COVID-19 are not.
The AP stylebook instructs journalists to eschew the word "riot" in favor of "protest," no matter how violent or destructive the unrest. "Looting" is also racist, according to AP, and only distracts from the underlying grievances of the looters.
In the new dispensation, group identity is everything, and the individual members of oppressed groups have no right to think for themselves. As Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a "Squad" member, puts it, "We don't need any more black faces that don't want to be a black voice." When Joe Biden quipped, "If you don't vote for me, you ain't black," he was in tune with critical race theory.
EVIDENCE OF THE INROADS of the new ideology and its deleterious effects on Jews are all around us. Take the mainstreaming of Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton. Farrakhan has been haranguing against "Jew devils" for decades. Yet leading Democratic congresswomen, the attorney general of Minnesota, and one of the chief organizers of the Women's March — which could make no room for Jewish groups — are acolytes. A glowing op-ed in the New York Times on the 25th anniversary of the Farrakhan-organized Million Man March made no mention of his open anti-Semitism, prompting former Times editor and columnist Bari Weiss to tweet that the Times has adopted "a worldview in which Jew hatred does not count." (Weiss, it will be remembered, resigned from the Times after it did nothing to address the hostile workplace created by woke Times colleagues who publicly labeled her a "Nazi" and a "racist," put ax emojis by her name, and repeatedly asked her whether she was "writing about the Jews again.")
Sharpton was one of the principle inciters of the Crown Heights riots and the arson of Freddie's Fashion Mart (owned by Freddy Harari), in which seven employees died. Today, Sharpton is a regular on TV and Democratic politicians seeking higher office regularly kiss his ring.
BDS supporter Linda Sarsour addressed a forum at the recent Democratic National Convention. And even after the Biden campaign disavowed support for BDS, the candidate still apologized to Muslim leaders for the criticism of Sarsour. Biden has repeatedly called for more teaching about Islam in public schools. AOC recently withdrew from an event sponsored by Americans for Peace Now honoring the late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin as a peacemaker, after discovering that in better woke circles her attendance would be considered consorting with the enemy.
Corporate America has been fully in the tank for Black Lives Matter (BLM), despite the openly proclaimed neo-Marxism of its founders and the targeting of Jewish businesses and places of worship in BLM "protests."
On campus, campaigns are regularly waged in student government organizations to expel Jewish students who have been to or expressed support for Israel.
NONE OF THIS is accidental. CRT ideology has a particular "Jewish problem." According to Ibram X. Kendi, the current superstar of the CRT movement — his How to Be an Antiracist was suggested orientation week reading at one Ivy League school — all differences in outcomes between different racial groups (except, presumably, NBA rosters) can only be explained by historic, systemic racism and must be remedied by the government. He proposes a constitutional ban on inequities in outcomes between groups, and a government agency charged with policing racist ideas. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech," with its call for a world in which Americans would no longer be judged by the color of their skin but by the character of their souls, is objectively racist by Kendi's lights.
The phenomenal success of Jews in every area — e.g., 30 percent of Nobel Prizes since 2000 — despite a millennia-long history of being the victims of expulsion, mass murder, and genocide, is an open refutation of the claim that only racism can explain why some groups are less successful, and that cultural factors are irrelevant. In some ways, Indians and black immigrants to America constitute an even bigger challenge. Two-thirds of the black students at Harvard are children of immigrants, despite constituting only a small fraction of the American black community. That suggests that skin color is not the sole determinant of success. Not surprisingly, a black student group at Cornell recently demanded that the university's affirmative action guidelines exclude African immigrants.
The solution for CRT theorists has been to elide the unique history of the Jewish People and simply lump them into the general category of whiteness — dismissing, for instance, the Holocaust as just a case of "white-on-white violence." As Blake Flayton, a "progressive" Jewish student at George Washington University, recently wrote Bari Weiss: "We don't fit into 'oppressor' or 'oppressed' categories.... The hatred we experience on campus has nothing to do with the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is because Jews defy anti-racist ideology simply by existing. So it's not so much that Zionism is racism. It's that Jewishness is."
In her recent wake-up call to American Jewry, "Stop Being Shocked," Bari Weiss decries the fashionable dismissal of the America's "capacious" liberalism, with which we all grew up — equality before G-d and the law, due process, the belief in pluralism as a source of strength, and pride in tolerance for the liberty of thought, faith, and speech of others — as the products of dead white men. Many of these ideas have their source in the Hebrew Bible: the view that each person should be judged not by his lineage but by his deeds; the insistence on human agency and free will.
"We should never be shocked," she concludes, "that any ideology that makes war on these true and eternal values will inevitably make war on us."