Opinion: Our golden calf

How would most American Jews react to the following historical assessment by a noted Yiddish scholar, professor Gennady Estraikh of New York University?

“It is hardly an overstatement to define Yiddish literature of the 1920s as the most pro-Soviet literature in the world.”

I assume that most would shrug it off as no big deal.

But is it no big deal? If a historian at New York University had written, “It is hardly an overstatement to define Catholic literature of the 1930s as the most pro-Nazi literature in the world,” how would Jews react?

We all know the answer. Jews and others would trumpet this as another example of the inherent bigotry and anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church.

But the fact that Jews were producing the most pro-Soviet literature in the world at the time that Lenin was creating the greatest totalitarian state, the least free country, indeed the largest prison in human history means nothing to most Jews.

The most pro-Soviet press in America and in Europe was Jewish. So was the leading Marxist/socialist in Germany during Germany’s short-lived Weimar democracy, Rosa Luxemburg; the Stalinist dictator of Hungary, known for his brutality, Matyas Rakosi; two of the three leaders of the Polish Communist Party at the end of World War II, Hilary Minc and Jakub Berman; the Communist dictator of Romania Ana Pauker; three of the five possible Bolshevik successors to Lenin: Leon Trotsky, Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev; Howard Zinn, the radical historian who believed the world was worse because the United States existed; Noam Chomsky, who has devoted his life to undermining America and Israel; and so many more.

Leftism, not liberalism, has been the Jews’ golden calf — except that the calf never led to all the evil that leftism has. From Karl Marx, the grandson of two Orthodox rabbis, to the many Jewish professors who teach Western young people about American and Israeli perfidy, leftist Jews have a lot to atone for.

Leftism has so poisoned many Jews’ minds that it has otherwise decent Jews believing and saying terrible things.

Take, for example, the best-known American commentator on foreign affairs, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times. He recently wrote that the reason members of Congress gave standing ovations to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was that the ovation “was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

The charge that the support of all the congressmen and senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, can be bought and paid for by the Israel lobby is a classic anti-Semitic libel. Friedman’s left-wing defenders have written that Friedman never wrote “Jewish lobby,” but for nearly every person reading the term — not to mention all anti-Semites — “Israel lobby” means “Jewish lobby.”

The point here is that Friedman is an identifying Jew who has no interest in harming Israel. The only reason he would write something so profoundly helpful to anti-Semites and Israel-haters is that he is on the left.

It was leftism that that led another Jewish New York Times columnist, Frank Rich (now with New York Magazine), to belittle Kristallnacht, when he wrote that American Tea Partiers engaged in a “small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht.”

Kristallnacht, the “Night of the Broken Glass” of November 1938, is considered the opening act of the Holocaust. Why would a Jewish writer trivialize the Holocaust and cheapen Jewish suffering by likening Kristallnacht to Tea Party rallies? Because of his leftism.

A few years ago at UCLA, I debated a UCLA professor on the question: “Is there a moral difference between Israel and the Palestinians?” The professor argued that the two parties were morally equivalent; I argued that there was a huge moral gulf separating them. Who was this man? He was the head of the department of Jewish Studies. Another example of leftism perverting a Jew’s conscience.

And the former head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, in a speech to the Islamic Society of North America, said, “Why should anyone criticize the voluntary act of a woman who chooses to wear a headscarf or a veil? Surely the choice these women make deserves our respect, not to mention the full protection of the law.” The rabbi’s commitment to left-wing multiculturalism was so strong, it led him to defend —even “respect” — the Muslim practice of covering women’s faces with a veil, one of the most dehumanizing behaviors to women practiced in the world today.

If we Jews are ever to be the “light unto the nations” we are called to be, we will first have to abandon the golden calf of leftism.  Among other reasons, it makes otherwise good people do and say bad things.

Dennis Prager’s nationally syndicated radio talk show is heard in Los Angeles on KRLA (AM 870) 9 a.m. to noon. His latest project is the Internet-based Prager University (prageru.com).