After the 9/11 attacks, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said that countries now had to choose between fighting terror and abetting it, that there was no neutral ground. In his metaphor, you were either sitting in the smoking section, or the no-smoking section.
In the wake of the worst attack on Jews in American history, all of us, but especially American Jews like me, face a similar decision. We either support Donald Trump and the movement of hate he has unleashed, or we oppose it. There is no neutral ground, no justification that the benefits outweigh the costs. You’re in the smoking section, or the no-smoking section.
For American Jews in particular, this is a moment of reckoning. In the Jewish community, support for Trump is lower than it has been for most Republican presidents, but it’s still around 21 percent. The majority of Jewish Trump supporters are either Orthodox or right-wing on Israel—in most cases, both. Among Orthodox Jews—who comprise about one-fifth of American Jews—support for Trump runs as high as 90 percent.
For two years, Jewish Trump supporters have said that the anti-Semitic alt-right isn’t Trump’s fault; that the president is not personally anti-Semitic (after all, his daughter and son-in-law are Jewish); and, most importantly, he has been a staunch supporter for Israel.
This, they say, outweighs whatever reservations we may have about Trump and the bigotry of his most ardent supporters.
As of October 27, 2018, that jig is up.
No amount of pro-Israel policies—no embassy in Jerusalem, no encouragement of settlements, no increased aid—outweighs the existential danger to Jews of the Trump movement’s coddling, or even overt encouragement, of anti-Semitism, racism, and nativism. Even those Jews not motivated by solidarity with Muslims, Mexicans, the media, and others singled out by Trump for opprobrium must now recognize that we Jews, ourselves, are at risk. [Continue reading…]