Why Fighting Antisemitism is Good for America

It is this quintessential Jewish idea—refusing to settle for easy victimhood—that most threatens the anti-America, victim-worshipping DEI movement that is poisoning American culture.
December 13, 2023
Nick Brundle Photography/Getty Images; franckreporter/Getty Images

Anyone who loves America should be grateful that the volcano of Jew-hatred has finally erupted and is now impossible to ignore. It erupted on college campuses, but the lava is spilling everywhere.

Why is this good for America?

Because the truth is coming out. Have you noticed that we never see an American flag in those angry, pro-Hamas marches proliferating on our city streets? That’s not a coincidence. The hatred for Jews is directly connected to the hatred for America. It’s as if the haters intuitively sense the deep bond between the Jews and America.

This bond goes beyond the common cliche of “shared values.” It’s also rooted in a shared origin story of liberation.

President George Washington understood this. In one of his letters to the Jewish community, he refers to the “wonder-working Deity, who long since delivering the Hebrews from their Egyptian Oppressors planted them in the promised land—whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation.”

As Rabbi Meir Soloveichik writes in Commentary, Washington saw “the tale of the Exodus and of America as parallel: The God Who performed miracles for Jews in the past is the same Deity Who performed miracles for America in the present. The God Who saved Israel from tyranny saved America from tyranny as well.”

From that shared origin story, the biblical ideals of Judaism have nourished America ever since. But those ideals– from monotheism to human dignity to individual responsibility to personal freedom to meritocracy to the value of community– are a lot more fragile than one might imagine.

“Civilization is fragile because civilization consists of human beings, and human nature is profoundly flawed,” Dennis Prager has written in the Journal. “Exceptional evil is as common as exceptional good. It takes a great deal of time and effort to make a decent society. But it takes little time and effort to destroy a society.”

The anger towards America we’ve seen mushroom in recent years is not the kind of anger that seeks to renew or reform; it’s the kind of anger that seeks to punish and dismantle. This internal hostility doesn’t come from tough love; it comes from hate, the same hate we’re seeing directed at Jews and Israel when marchers call to “globalize the Intifada.”

What is fueling the dismantling of America is the moral reframing of our very foundation. Our nation’s founders are no longer judged by the content of their ideas but by the color of their skin. White represents the oppressors, non-white the oppressed. Since skin color is immutable, so is the moral equation.

Jews, of all people, pose the sharpest challenge to that equation. They have been among the most oppressed people in history, and yet, through the sheer force of faith, collective wisdom and resilience, have managed to prevail over that oppression.

After losing six million in the Holocaust, perhaps the darkest example of being oppressed in modern times, they chose not to wallow in the safe haven of victimhood. Instead, they doubled down on the ultimate Torah value of choosing life—both in America and in the biblical revival of the state of Israel.

In America, despite the lingering antisemitism and the classic immigrant struggles, the Jews used the protection of the law and the opportunities offered through higher education to secure their share of the American Dream.

In Israel, despite the enormous hostility of neighbors who have never accepted the presence of a sovereign Jewish state, the Jews created a modern miracle that turned a desert into a fertile oasis of multicultural creativity and all the noise you’d expect from a free society.

It is this quintessential Jewish idea–refusing to settle for easy victimhood—that most threatens the anti-America, victim-worshipping DEI movement that is poisoning American culture.

DEI is the ubiquitous social engineering movement that stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This movement, which is anything but diverse or inclusive, has infiltrated every corner of our society, especially on college campuses. It revolves around one core principle: Social status is a fixed construct. You’re either the oppressor or the oppressed and that is how you shall stay.

That kind of binary clarity is crucial to securing power. The DEI edifice would implode if it ever embraced the aspirational idea that status is fluid, not static; that one’s victim status can improve based on individual agency. That would force it to relinquish its power and return to the America it hates.

This is why Jews are such a threat. We represent the aspirational America that DEI hates.

The failure of American universities to protect Jewish students speaks to the dysfunctional nature of DEI. Seen as a fixed group, Jews are stereotyped as white oppressors who must remain white oppressors, regardless of how many Jews were murdered on October 7 or how many Jews are bullied on campus. Once Jews move over to the oppressed side, even temporarily, the whole static logic of the movement crumbles.

The solution is not to push for entry into the oppressed club but to dismantle the DEI machinery. Certainly, protection from harassment is a must, and we should continue to fight for the physical safety of Jews everywhere. But we can aim higher.

We can help resuscitate the American Dream.

The corrosive DEI bureaucracy has undermined that dream by putting people into small boxes. It’s time to liberate them. It’s time to bring back the American and Jewish ideals of meritocracy, excellence, individual agency and the courageous pursuit of truth. It’s time to let victims of microaggressions know that they are really victims of a power-hungry DEI regime that wants to keep them as permanent victims.

Dismantling DEI would revive the American Dream, reviving America itself and empowering all of its minorities, including the Jews.

In sum, as much as the anti-America movement aims to dismantle America, we must aim with equal force to dismantle the anti-America movement.

Who better to do that than the descendants of the ancient Hebrews who overcame tyranny to rejoice in the blessed lands of America and Israel?

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