We have a tradition in Judaism, that when Jews start and want to forget they are Jews, the non-Jews come around and remind us. Usually the method involves a lot of discrimination, violence and ultimately mass-murder.
Yesterday we witnessed something very different, something unusual.
President Trump, who has been nothing but pro-Israel and pro-Jewish, reminded American Jews that they are Jewish, and as Jews they have a responsibility and obligation to their family and community of fellow Jews. He said it out of concern (with a little politics thrown in).
At this point there should be no question in anyone’s mind that Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are virulent anti-Semites, and they are building a political and ideological base who are legitimizing their behavior.
There’s no question that all decent members of the Democratic party should be unequivocally vomiting them out – especially the Jewish members of Congress. This goes far beyond party and partisan politics.
But we’re not seeing that. We are not seeing them doing the right thing, and certainly the Jewish thing.
We are not seeing the Jewish Democrats unequivocally rejecting these anti-Semites. Instead we see them falling into the petty political traps traps that Tlaib and Omar are putting down.
Trump said a basic truth yesterday – and because, I believe, he honestly likes and respects the Jewish people, he tried speaking to that basic truth – Jews have an obligation to defend and protect their fellow Jews, which includes Israel, from these dangerous haters.
Trump said it from a position of concern. He wasn’t claiming Jews have dual-loyalty as one Jewish writer incredibly claimed. Trump understands basic Jewish history. Trump understands we’re one big Jewish family and people. Trumps sees this unchecked antisemitism, and I believe it concerns him.
Regardless of his motivation, Trump reminded the Jews that have forgotten, they have an obligation to protect their own – and he said it in a nice way.
When Tlaib, Omar and friends get into power – they’ll be reminding the Jews of that same basic truth – but they’ll be doing it the old-fashioned way.