Like most American Jews, Professor Dershowitz grossly overstates the threat of anti-Semitisim in America today. American Jews need to feel threatened. "If I’m hated, then I still exist as a Jew," is their Cartesian formulation.
Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League skillfully exploits irrational fears to raise his organization’s $50,000,000 annual budget. His perpetual quest for headlines, however, stirs more anti-Semitism than in prevents. By leading the futile charge against Mel Gibson’s The Passion, for instance, Foxman caused Jews to be perceived as attacking the Christian gospels. There were plenty of Christian scholars eager to expose Gibson’s inaccuracies. (Meanwhile, I do not know of a single anti-Semitic incident attributed to viewing The Passion.)
Dershowitz and Foxman warn darkly of the disappearance of an American society in which Jews have prospered. The disappearance of Jews within that society is a far greater and more imminent danger.
And if the latter takes place, it will be due in part to an absolutist interpretation of the separation of state and religion, which prevents states from aiding religious schools in any fashion, no matter how indirect. As a consequence, a Jewish day school education – by far the best protection against assimilation – is beyond the means of all but the richest or most committed.
Dershowitz asserts, but does not prove, that when evangelical Christians condemn secularism, they are using codes for Jews. False. They are condemning what they view as the hedonism and disregard for the sanctity of life of secular society. That critique includes many secular Jews. But with respect to the Jews as a people and Israel, their favorite Biblical verse is: "Those that bless you, I will bless, and those who curse you, I will curse."
Christian evangelicals have failed to enact a single aspect of their legislative agenda. The one area in which they have had a major impact is on American support for Israel. America is one country in the world where public opinion is solidly behind Israel largely due to them. Until Israel manufactures F-16s or is economically self-sufficient, that American support is crucial.
Evangelicals are at least 15 times as numerous as American Jews. And Israel’s security is at the top of their concerns as voters, unlike American Jews for whom easy abortion and gay rights rank far higher. Evangelical support for Israel has never been conditioned on either American Jews or the state of Israel toeing their political line, a few anecdotes to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given how crucial Christian support is for Israel, it is madness for prominent Jews like Dershowitz to demonize Christian evangelicals as the great enemy.