Hip, young people with pronouns in their bios are not just chanting the slogans of a genocidal death cult. They are tearing down the photographs of women and children who are currently being held hostage in the tunnels that run under the Gaza Strip. They do so with pleasure. They laugh. They mock the 9-month-old baby who was stolen from his parents. …
The easy answer is that the human beings who were slaughtered on October 7 were Jews. And that antisemitism is the world’s oldest hatred. And that in every generation someone rises up to kill us. “They tried to wipe us out, they failed, let’s eat” as the old Jewish joke goes.
But that is not the whole answer. Because the proliferation of antisemitism, as always, is a symptom.
Not Jewish? You’re next. (To be interested in this blog or this piece says a lot about you.)
When antisemitism moves from the shameful fringe into the public square, it is not about Jews. It is never about Jews. It is about everyone else. It is about the surrounding society or the culture or the country. It is an early warning system — a sign that the society itself is breaking down. That it is dying.
It is a symptom of a much deeper crisis — one that explains how, in the span of a little over 20 years since Sept 11, educated people now respond to an act of savagery not with a defense of civilization, but with a defense of barbarism.
Woke finally gets to Bari:
It was twenty years ago when I began to encounter the ideology that drives the people who tear down the posters. It was twenty years ago, when I was a college student, that I started writing about a nameless, then-niche worldview that seemed to contradict everything I had been taught since I was a child.
At first, things like postmodernism and postcolonialism and postnationalism seemed like wordplay and intellectual games — little puzzles to see how you could “deconstruct” just about anything. What I came to see over time was that it wasn’t going to remain an academic sideshow. And that it sought nothing less than the deconstruction of our civilization from within.
It seeks to upend the very ideas of right and wrong.
It replaces basic ideas of good and evil with a new rubric: the powerless (good) and the powerful (bad). It replaced lots of things. Color blindness with race obsession. Ideas with identity. Debate with denunciation. Persuasion with public shaming. The rule of law with the fury of the mob. …
And so, as an undergraduate, I watched in horror, sounding alarms as loudly as I could. I was told by most adults I knew that yes, it wasn’t great, but not to be so hysterical. Campuses were always hotbeds of radicalism, they said. This ideology, they promised, would surely dissipate as young people made their way in the world.
They were wrong. It did not.
Over the past two decades, I saw this inverted worldview swallow all of the crucial sense-making institutions of American life. It started with the universities. Then it moved beyond the quad to cultural institutions — including some I knew well, like The New York Times — as well as every major museum, philanthropy, and media company. It’s taken root at nearly every major corporation. It’s inside our high schools and our elementary schools.
And it’s come for the law itself. … When you see federal judges shouted down at Stanford, you are seeing this ideology. When you see people screaming outside of the homes of certain Supreme Court justices — causing them to need round-the-clock security — you are seeing its logic.
The takeover of American institutions by this ideology is so comprehensive that it’s now almost hard for many people to notice it — because it is everywhere.
Equality of opportunity — or systemic oppression?
For Jews, there are obvious and glaring dangers in a worldview that measures fairness by equality of outcome rather than opportunity. If underrepresentation is the inevitable outcome of systemic bias, then overrepresentation — and Jews are 2 percent of the American population — suggests not talent or hard work, but unearned privilege. …
But it is not only Jews who suffer from the suggestion that merit and excellence are dirty words. It is every single one of us. It is strivers of every race, ethnicity, and class. That is why Asian American success, for example, is suspicious. The percentages are off. The scores are too high. The starting point, as poor immigrants, is too low. From whom did you steal all that success? …
Decolonization isn’t just a turn of phrase or a new way to read novels. It is a sincerely held political view that serves as a predicate to violence.
If you want to understand how it could be that the editor of the Harvard Law Review could physically intimidate a Jewish student or how a public defender in Manhattan recently spent her evening tearing down posters of kidnapped children, it is because they believe it is just.
Their moral calculus is as crude as you can imagine: they see Israelis and Jews as powerful and successful and “colonizers,” so they are bad; Hamas is weak and coded as people of color, so they are good. No, it doesn’t matter that most Israelis are “people of color.”
That baby? He is a colonizer first and a baby second. That woman raped to death? Shame it had to come to that, but she is a white oppressor. …
Always look on the bright side of life:
New York coffee shop owner Aaron Dahan had all of his baristas quit when he placed an Israeli flag in the window and began fundraising for Magen David Adom — the Israeli Red Cross.
But his café didn’t close — quite the opposite. Suppliers sent him free shipments of beans and cups. Community members picked up shifts for free. There were lines around the block to buy a cup of coffee. The cafe made $25,000 in a single day.
Just this week, American cowboys from the Great Plains and the Rockies traveled to Israel to tend to the fields and animals of Israeli farmers who were killed in the past month. This is the opposite of the cheap solidarity of standing with Hamas that we see across our campuses and city centers. This is the essence of the West — of the idea that free societies must stand together.
It is not just, as I believe James Woolsey said, that we are all Jews now. The reverse is also true. Israel is a mirror for the West, and for the United States — whose founders saw a version of themselves in the biblical nation that also inspired modern Zionists whose grieving descendants today are looking toward America with gratitude, but also with alarm, sensing a shared struggle ahead.
It must be tough being a Jewish lefty at the moment. Turns out your political buddies want to kill you, just because of who you are, and there is nothing you can do about it. The non-left is growing, as another class of refugees from the left join us. What took you so long?
If Jews are as influential in the media and western government as the conspiracy theorists would have us believe, the left will be roadkill in a few short years.
hat-tip Stephen Neil, Scott of the Pacific