By Ron Jager—
For most American Jewish liberals, November 8 was not only a watershed election, but a day in which the music died. They have been left speechless and silent, unwilling to fathom the implications. These liberal Jews have become disoriented and unsure about what to do and what to say; they seem to be suffering from a bad case of PTSD (Post Trump Stress Disorder). For many of these liberal Jews, they are slowly waking up to a new reality of losing their political clout, being left out of the multiple loops of power and access to the White House; they have been demoted to the rank of irrelevancy.
Betting on the wrong horse is always a wrenching experience. Over the past 8 years liberal Jews supported and abetted a President and a Democratic Party that was overtly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. During this period, Islamic terror attacks have spread throughout America; anti-Semitism has blossomed in America’s Universities and campuses poisoning the minds of America’s future political and business leaders. Real anti-Semitism, not the made-up anti-Semitism associated with the emerging Trump administration. In recent years, Jews have been attacked and vilified at levels never seen before in recent history. All this didn’t matter; the Democratic Party was a sure bet as far as they were concerned.
Jewish liberals became drunk with Jewish power. In a wide variety of domestic spheres: immigration and refugee policy, civil rights and affirmative action, abortion rights, church-state separation issues, Jewish liberals became major players helping to make the rules and call the shots on matters from health care to zoning. It was during these 8 years that Jewish liberals felt free to preach and moralize to us Israelis publicly about how Israel conducts itself nationally and internationally. Many Jewish liberals freely accused Israel of being non-democratic verging on Apartheid, they demanded of Israel to agree to political concessions that clearly endangered Israel’s national security; they funded and lead many of the organizations that spread the poisonous message of Jew hatred by the BDS movement. It is easy to see why a Jewish liberal never saw it coming, actually believing that the invented narrative of BlackLivesMatter/Transgenderism/ObamaCare/Unrestricted Immigration are all actually good for America. Donald Trumps’ election might very well signal the beginning of an era in which Jewish liberals refrain from preaching and moralizing to us as if they have a monopoly on social justice and truth.
This interesting parallel of how Jewish liberals have distanced themselves from mainstream America and Israel equally is also the key to undoing the trauma of the election. For starters, despite years of dismissive rhetoric and holding Israel to a double standard, never demanding a similar standard from Israel’s enemies has also spilled over to Jewish liberals’ attitude and support for movements and policies that have been rejected by the majority of the American public. Now that the liberal ideology in America has lost its grip on the White House, with right wing governments being voted in throughout the Western World, with the continuing re-election of a right wing government being repeatedly led to electoral victory by Benjamin Netanyahu, now is time for Jewish liberals to take one step back and question many of their givens.
For many years Jewish liberals have blamed Israel for the daylight between themselves and the State of Israel. It never occurs to them to question their own values and behaviors such as their decision not to engage with organized Jewish communal life, or belong to a synagogue, or never visit Israel let alone marry out of the Jewish religion being reasons that might explain less attachment or the lack of any special feelings towards the Israel and the Jewish nation. A similar blind spot surfaces when Jewish liberals deny the election results and embrace leftist progressive movements in the United States. The delegitmization of the results of Democratic elections, the arrogant use of arguments about “saving” America from itself, and about organizing “sane liberal forces” to fight the “darkness” that is creeping into America’s “soul” are all essentially two sides of the same liberal coin.
Jews rise or fall together. For Jewish liberals, the quickest path to overcoming their collective PTSD as a result of the election of Donald Trump might very well be defined by their attitude and affiliation to the State of Israel. With the Democratic Party moving left and expected to be led by a known anti-Semite and supporter of the Hamas terror group, maybe this is the needed signal to question if the Democratic liberal path is still the path needed to be taken by Jewish liberals in America.
So, rather than engaging in rhetoric that gave American Jews an excuse to distance themselves from Israel, now is time to embrace Israel and reaffirm their affiliation and sense of belonging to the Jewish nation. Likewise, embracing America, the Democratic process, and American exceptionalism is just one step away.
The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psycho education programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Today Ron is a strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org