If You Care About Jews: Don’t Tell Me, Show Me

The woke world we have constructed in America has an unhealthy obsession with overvaluing words even as they directly conflict with deeds.
December 7, 2022
President Joe Biden shakes hands with Michael Herzog, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States after menorah lighting ceremony in celebration of Hanukkah in the East Room of the White House on December 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

President Biden last week issued a strong statement decrying antisemitism that so many of my friends reposted on their social media feeds. The words were clear and correct, and also empty. Holding them up as a demonstration of this administration’s commitment to the safety and security of Jews, as so many of my friends did, belies how little of a commitment has actually been shown. Words do matter but not if they aren’t supported by deeds.

Powerful words are routinely spoken about the unshakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, but this president and this administration have breathlessly and inexplicably been pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran that would endanger the lives of millions of Jews. They seem eager to make extraordinary concessions to a terrorist state in return for no discernible gain for American national interests, and with clear danger to Israel’s. President Biden’s intentions aren’t antisemitic, but the consequences of this deal, if it were to happen, might be. What could be more “against the Jews” than an enriched, less isolated, nuclear Iran? Antisemitism doesn’t always look like someone strapping on a swastika and running out the door with the intent to harm Jews. Sometimes it manifests when you place political interests before a group of Jews whose harm you don’t directly cause but could have easily prevented.

The president and his administration are also enthusiastic promoters of identity politics. This poisonous ideology has done more to threaten Jews in America over the last two decades than any other has. Its twisted labeling and privilege system falsely groups together and characterizes people, including Jews, for political purposes. It then creates a halo around the resulting overt bigotry launched at disfavored groups, almost impossible to defend against in “polite society” or Ivy League classrooms. It is this collectivist, revisionist monster disguised as “social justice” that our kids meet on campus and in corporate America that makes being a Jew and a Zionist so uncomfortable for so many. If antisemitism in our country has an oxygen supply today, it is the free-speech killing, politically cynical, vicious cult of identity politics that President Biden celebrates.

President Biden’s statement, of course, was issued after former President Trump’s lunch with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes. That the president whose actions have consistently threatened Jewish safety should use a statement about caring for Jewish safety to exploit a moment of advantage against a former President whose record of friendship to the Jews is unrivaled in the White House, is the definition of cynical partisan politics. Jews who fall for it are being used, not to support Jews, but to support the DNC. This may be a desirable goal for many Jews in America who are Democratic voters, but they should support their political party by some other means. Using the fight against antisemitism to do so is dangerous.

The woke world we have constructed in America has an unhealthy obsession with overvaluing words even as they directly conflict with deeds. A man’s entire history of behavior can be erased because of one conversation, one tweet, one misgendered uttering. These “gotcha” moments are shameful, hysterical outbursts of religious fervor deployed for political purposes and we have tolerated them for too long. Conversely, we have allowed people to act badly but speak sweetly and raise up empty words as shields for their bad behavior. This too is a dangerous impulse and one we ought to discourage.

Words are not magic. They don’t make everything better. When they come from a President they should be supported by action, or at least the credible belief that they might be. If they don’t then they are just ramblings, PR packages, and virtue signals. Perhaps they are even “roundtables on antisemitism” hosted at the White House. Those won’t make Jews safer.

Rebecca Sugar is a writer living in New York. Her column, The Cocktail Party Contrarian, appears every other Friday in The New York Sun.

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