Ultimately, such Jews will turn against the Jews themselves
The chickens come home to roost. One would think that a candidate who says he is a proud Jew but welcomes the support of anti- Semitic public figures, would reduce American aid to Israel, would move the embassy back from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, bashes Israel for defending itself and for using “disproportionate force” against its enemies, shows more sympathy for Palestinian terrorists than for Israeli victims, calls Netanyahu a racist, and refers to pro-Zionist AIPAC as an organization of bigots — that such a Jew would be branded a turncoat and would automatically lose the American Jewish vote.
One would think so — and one would be wrong. Recent polls show that despite all this, American Jews would have still overwhelmingly supported Sanders in a presidential election, had he been nominated.
How can this be? Simple. It can be so when you raise a generation without grounding in Jewishness, when you teach them that to be a Jew means to be nice to your neighbor and eat bagels and lox. No mitzvos, no obligations, no duties, no inconvenience, no Shabbos, no Yom Tov, no self-discipline.
It can be —when these un-Jewish Jews identify with the candidate who is the mirror image of themselves. Undoubtedly, they too are “proud Jews.”
Even if Sanders should withdraw before you read this, there is an object lesson here. When you raise a generation of unlettered Jews, deliberately removing them from genuine Jewish practices and beliefs, you are not only losing an entire generation of Jews. You are ultimately inflicting harm on all Jews, observant or not. For ultimately, such Jews will turn against the Jews themselves .
Consider the offshoots of a Sanders presidency. He would surround himself with like-minded (read: anti-Israel) aides and advisers and cabinet appointees. The warm relationship between Jerusalem and Washington would be frozen, avowed anti-Semites would have the president’s ear, and the growing anti-Semitic trends in the country would be empowered. The implications for Jewry in USA and Israel are staggering.
Sanders keeps saying he is a “proud Jew.” What is he proud of? Of his heritage, which he does nothing to preserve? Of his Torah, which he does not practice or study? Of the beautiful Jewish moments like Shabbos, Yom Tov, kashrus, tefillin, prayer, none of which he observes? What specifically is he proud of?
Does a proud Jew speak before an Islamic group, but refuses to speak before a national Jewish group, calling them bigots? Does he have praise for Fidel Castro, but heaps obloquy on Prime Minister Netanyahu, calling him a racist? Would a proud Jew move the American embassy out of Jerusalem and back to Tel Aviv?
May the L-d spare us from such “proud Jews” who cynically use their Jewish identity to obscure the fact that they are no different from their anti-Semitic supporters. Question: Can a Jew be an anti- Semite? Answer: Definitely. Jewish history is full of them — Jews who turned their backs on their people when it served their own selfish purposes. Jacob Frank in the Middle Ages converted to Christianity, tried to bring thousands of Jews with him, and led anti-Semites in blood libels against the Jews. Earlier, the Jew Nicholas Donin converted to Catholicism and led the mobs in the burning of the Talmud. The twentieth century had a number of such Jews during the Nazi era, and modern Israel has no lack of such Jews.
The Jewishness of Sanders is opportunistic, without substance. All he knows about Judaism is that there was a Holocaust. Period. But his die-hard Jewish supporters are so removed from their own Jewishness that they are blind to the dangers of their hero.
Jewish ignorance and Jewish illiteracy are not merely regrettable. They actually jeopardize the future of Am Yisrael. Sanders and his supporters are Exhibit A.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 804)
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