Leave it to American academia today to produce an article that simultaneously claims that anti-semitism in the United States is and has always been much worse than commonly believed, and suggests that “the opportunities and privileges [American Jews] gained came not because America held particular promise for Jews, but rather because it withheld that promise in so many ways to so many other people.”
And leave it to the Mainstream Media to publish such simultaneously incoherent and offensive garbage – perhaps in part because author Lila Corwin Berman managed to inject into her diatribe major swipes at President Trump.
I’ve read and re-read the sentence quoted above, which appeared in this morning’s Washington Post, numerous times for fear of misinterpreting it. But I can’t understand how it can mean anything other than that throughout their history in this country, Jews in general have at the very least selfishly “seen no evil” as they’ve basked in America’s tolerance – and at the most bear significant responsibility for the oppression of other minorities, either actively, or passively, through their determination to keep affixed their self-serving blinder.
Not that anyone, including me, should rule any of these possibilities out of hand. But the author – a Temple University historian of American Judaism – offers no serious evidence or even detailed argumentation to support the charges. And absent any grounding in fact, how are the allegations not simple antisemitic slurs? Alternatively, to employ some terms widely used these days to link the President to atrocities like the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, how does their simple voicing not “activate” or “encourage” or “release” or “embolden” such prejudice?
Further, how does Berman square these contentions with her belief – strengthened by the Pittsburgh murders – that the United States has not been “an exceptional place for Jews,” and that they have been wrong to “see an exceptional future for themselves and their children in the United States”? Spoiler alert: She can’t. Worse, she doesn’t even try. And her editors at the Washington Post somehow missed this whopping contradiction.
What could possibly explain such evident incompetence? How about Berman’s decision to make sure to blast President Trump for displaying:
“how easily [American] exceptionalism can become a weapon for exclusion; this is the very purpose of ‘Make America Great Again.’ The president legitimizes white supremacy as one of ‘both sides’ of American life. He declares himself to be a nationalist without bothering to distinguish between his nationalism and the dark history of xenophobic and genocidal nationalism. He routinely gives cover to those who abuse vulnerable populations — trans people, refugees, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, children and women — by telling his followers that they are the victims. In all cases, what he calls the ‘greatness’ of this country is its ability to exclude whole classes of people as unfit and undesirable for its blessings.”
In other words, Trump Derangement Syndrome has reached new lows. As the Washington Post has just made clear, a newspaper’s flagship opinion section will publish in the same article claims that American Jews have had no reason to be grateful for the haven the United States has provided them, and insinuations that these Jews have been complicit in the nation’s failures to treat other groups justly. Just be sure to depict the President as an enabler of every form of bigotry under the sun.