I have an Orthodox rabbinic colleague on the American political left, one of the very few still to be found among American Orthodox Jews. The latest Pew survey has us at 75 percent Republican conservative. Others had us at 83 percent for Trump. Even 90 percent. My colleague was in media demand last autumn, promoting the Biden campaign and attacking President Trump. In fact, because there are so very few of that mindset still left among American Orthodox rabbis — needles in a haystack — he found himself getting quoted and featured everywhere, as media desperately sought an Orthodox rabbi for Biden over Trump. He was the only one they could find. I used to hear and read lots from him last October about how great it will be for Israel and Jews if only Biden and the Democrats replace Trump and the GOP. Alas, I have not heard or read a political insight, not a peep, from him the past six months. I almost miss reading his wrong political predictions. A few weeks ago, I invited him to share his political views with some of my rabbinic colleagues and me. But no response. Alas, he seems to have been hidden away with the chametz for Passover but never found again afterwards. The afikoman rabbi. Crickets. Maybe we can get his face onto some milk cartons to help find him. Like the bald eagle and honest journalists, he is an endangered species.
We know where the anti-Semites in America are. Arabist Islamists rampaging on streets from Los Angeles to New York, Chicago to Atlanta. Jew-haters presenting as TV “comedians” of the political “progressive” Left. When it comes to Israel-haters like John Oliver and Trevor Noah, I don’t even know their last names. And then there is “the Squad” in Congress, the AOC Democrats — AOC: Anti-Semites of Color.
Missing amid the minor chaos are Joe Biden’s little Jews. Remember them? Brave Chuck Schumer described himself to the Jewish voters of New York as “Schumer the Shomer.” He told the voters that his surname means he stands as their shomer, their guardian. And yet, behold this guardian of Israel both slumbers and sleeps (Cf. Psalms 121:4). Thus, we are reminded in Psalm 146:3-4 — and we recite it every morning: “Do not put your faith in princes, in humans from whom there will come no saving. When his last breath leaves, he returns into his spot in the ground. On that day his thoughts disappear.” Schumer the Shomer? Feh. There is only One Guardian of Israel in whom to put faith (Psalms 121:4).
I remember the New York State Democrat presidential primaries in the 1960s and 1970s, when candidates fell over themselves pledging support for Israel. Likewise the U.S. Senate primaries there. The days of Hubert Humphrey and Henry Jackson, Walter Mondale and Daniel Moynihan. Those days are so over. Nowadays, the major Democrat candidates take one look at their Democrat Jews, as securely tucked in their pockets as their Black voters, and they don’t even bother getting photographed biting into a knish. If Schumer eats cheeseburgers, why not they? Instead, they pledge to protect abortion on demand and promise to open the borders to Muslims like Ilhan Omar begging to come in from Somalia and Syria. I empathize with devout Catholics who watch Biden and Pelosi, and Cuomo and Sotomayor tell America that it is they who are the real Catholics. At least we committed Jews can sigh, “Oy vey.” What can truly devout Catholics mutter under their breaths as they see their faith made into a mockery by the Catholics whom the left media propel to the fore?
The reason so many American Jews today side with Hamas and with BDS and J Street and all those variations, bewailing the “lack of proportionality” in the recent Hamas War, is the same reason that J Street gives its platform at its annual convention to Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), to Israel-haters like Elizabeth Warren, and to apostates like Bernie Sanders. The reason is that so many of these organization’s “Jewish” members simply are not Jewish under the traditional definition of Judaism that defined us for 3,000 years. That now even includes many of their cantors and rabbis. So the plethora of “Jewish groups” on the American left like J Street, “IfNotNow,” “Jewish Voice for Peace,” “NeverAgainIsNow,” and so many others of that ilk now have so many non-Jews among their “Jews” that even they don’t know who among them is Jewish. Huge numbers of today’s “progressive” American Jews simply are not Jews under any traditional definition.
Beyond that, in 2018 New York’s own AOC — Anti-Semite of Color — exposed a fascinating flaw in the American democratic electoral system that always existed but rarely was highlighted. In America, there are 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and each seat demands reelection every two years. Nowadays, each House seat represents approximately 700,000 or more people. Keep that number in mind.
Many congressional districts in America are “competitive,” where either a Democrat or Republican might win the November “general election,” but a great many more are not. For reasons beyond this discussion’s purview — reasons including reapportionment, redistricting, gerrymandering, and the simple preference of people to live among like-minded people of a shared race or ethnicity or language — most November congressional “general elections” result in landslide wins for the candidate of the party that predominates that district. No matter the comparable qualities of the contenders, a Democrat will win the November “general election” in predominantly Democrat districts, and a Republican will win in predominantly Republican districts. Therefore, the more important congressional race in essentially “one-party districts” is not the November “general election” but rather the springtime intra-party primary to determine who gets to be that party’s candidate in November.
AOC’s district has 696,664 people. More than 540,000 of them are old enough to vote. Half of her district (347,621) are Hispanic or Latino, and the other half (349,043) are not. The district has the third-highest concentration of Hispanics in New York State. It is sixth among 27 districts in people below the poverty line. In November 2018, when AOC ran for her first time in the Democrat primary against the incumbent Joe Crowley, she won with 16,898 votes to his 12,880. Understand what that means: AOC got the vote of 3 percent of her district’s eligible voters, but her opponent got only 2 percent. More than 90 percent did not vote. Digest that. That primary victory allowed her to run as a Democrat that November in a district where no Democrat has lost in more than a century. In that election, she got 110,318 votes, barely one-fifth of her district’s eligible voters. In 2020, her second time, she got 46,582 votes in the intra-party primary as she ran a more heavily funded campaign and had a more experienced team. Even so, she drew only 8 percent of the eligible voters. Then in the November election — again, it basically is a one-party district — she drew 152,661 votes (approximately 28 percent of the eligible vote).
These data evidence several facts that explain the disappearance, possibly forever, of Democrat Jews who actually will stand for Israel instead of equivocating for terrorists like Hamas and others whom Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and AOC support:
Now, let’s take a Jewish congressman who once stood solidly with Israel, Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan. His one-party congressional District has 732,732 people. Approximately 570,000 are of voting age. In the 2016 Democrat House primary, he won with 25,527 votes, less than 5 percent of eligible voters. In the 2020 primary, he got 51,054 votes, less than 9 percent. With that track record, if someone dynamic challenges him in a primary within the Democrat party, he totally can be defeated.
And there it is. On the one hand, Nadler rose to become chair of the House Judiciary Committee. He also became a disturbingly nasty lout, as when he refused to allow former Attorney General William Barr a brief restroom break. So he seems now to be very important and powerful. But not really. He is one primary away from displacing Marie Osmond in those commercials.
What happened to Nadler? He saw what AOC did and what some other extreme-left AOCs — Anti-Semites of Color — have done by running successful House Democrat primaries and successfully unseating incumbents although attracting less than 10 or even 5 percent of the eligible vote. He is terrified. He likewise knows that this new crop of AOCs deeply hate Jews and particularly Israel. So, to ward off a primary challenge next year, this is the despicable “even-handed” statement that this morally compromised Democrat issued during the recent Hamas War: “I unequivocally condemn the abhorrent terrorist attacks being committed by Hamas and other groups against innocent Israeli citizens. There can be no justification for these indiscriminate acts of terrorism and I support Israel’s right to defend its citizens against such violence. I remain deeply concerned by the violence in Jerusalem, including Israeli police violence, and I urge all parties to exercise restraints. I also encourage the Government of Israel to halt the unjust eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.” (Emphases added for balance.)
Thus another of American Jewry’s “guardians.”
Schumer the “Shomer” is terrified of a primary challenge next June, so he now has transitioned to Schumer the Shtummer (“the Silent”) — the brave Senate Majority Leader who now is a Jew of Silence. Nadler is terrified that AOC will primary him, so he now condemns “Israeli police violence” and issues his own court verdict on the landlord–tenant eviction dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem without even knowing the facts, just the AOC primary threat. Other Democrat Jews in Washington now are similarly terrified that any unequivocal support for Israel against terrorists can spark an AOC primary challenge that will evict them from Congress and force them, suddenly mid-life, to earn an honest day’s living. So they now focus passionately on abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, gender-fluidity pronouns, reducing effective policing, leaving the country’s southern border unprotected, and the “science” of irreversible climate change. (AOC says the world will end in less than 10 years. The science is settled.)
Biden’s Little Jews of Silence are correct about that last one. The climate in Washington indeed has changed, possibly irreversibly. Even so, as Mordechai the Jew told Queen Esther, “If you remain silent and hold your peace at this time, then relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish. And who is to know whether it was precisely for a time like this that you reached the highest echelon of power?” (Esther 4:14). As the Schumers-qua-Shtummers and Nadlers fade away, cowering in fear of the AOCs — the Anti-Semites of Color — new support for Israel has emerged throughout the Republican Party and in centers of the American Christian community. President Trump explicitly said that much of his support for Israel, from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, to defunding the Palestine Authority and UNRWA, stemmed from the pressure he felt from pro-Israel Christians. Others can debate “replacement theology,” but we are witnessing an era of replacement politics where Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Christians like Pastor John Hagee and the 10 million members of Christians United for Israel, have smoothly stepped into the vacuum left by the Schumer–Nadler abandonment of Israel overseas and the Jews at home.
Jews of faith know that our survival relies only on the True Guardian of Israel Who neither slumbers nor sleeps. But I do still wonder whether that ultimate endangered species, the liberal Democrat Orthodox rabbi, might better be found if we put his face on a milk carton.
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