Evelyn Gordon: The Real Trump Link in the Threats on Jews
Evelyn Gordon: The Real Trump Link in the Threats on Jews
In short, for all the criticism he justly earned for his belated and reluctant condemnations of anti-Semitism, Trump took action to stop it in a way his predecessor never did–a point to remember for anyone who believes that actions speak louder than words.Political narratives collapse
Many commentators have already noted that by rushing to blame Trump and his supporters for the bomb threats despite the complete absence of any evidence, the U.S. Jewish community has made the fight against anti-Semitism more difficult, because next time, its claims are liable to be met with considerable skepticism. But the new police information indicates that the damage was even worse than that: The anti-Trump hysteria actually encouraged the very attacks it was meant to combat.
The lesson here obviously isn’t that Jews shouldn’t react to anti-Semitic acts. But by tying the bomb threats into a broader anti-Trump narrative for their own political purposes, American Jewish leaders and their non-Jewish left-wing allies generated a degree of media hysteria that the acts on their own would not have produced. And that is precisely the type of hysteria that attracts copycats–in this case, not just the original perpetrator (who copycatted his own attacks once he saw they produced the desired media attention), but also the only other person arrested to date.
Absent this media hype, it seems unlikely that Juan Thompson, a black, left-wing radical who was stalking his girlfriend, would have come up with the idea of making trouble for her by phoning bomb threats into Jewish community centers and trying to make them look as if they were coming from her, instead of choosing any number of other possible targets.
In short, by making the bomb threats part of a broader anti-Trump narrative without a shred of evidence, American Jewish leaders discredited both themselves and the battle against anti-Semitism while also actively encouraging copycat attacks. Obviously, they didn’t mean to do any of those things. But there’s a lesson that needs to be learned here, and it goes way beyond the narrow issue of Donald Trump: Jewish interests aren’t identical to those of any political ideology, either liberal or conservative. And when you conflate Jewish interests with political ones, Jews are usually the ones who end up the losers.
The past week had more than its share of big political stories -- a London terror attack, the collapse (for now anyway) of the Obamacare repeal and replace effort, and the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on U.S. President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Buried among this collection of breaking news was the arrest of an Israeli teenager on suspicion that he had orchestrated a campaign of phoned-in bomb threats at over 150 Jewish institutions across America, plus a few in other countries since the start of the year.Ben-Dror Yemini: Mosul, Gaza and the world’s hypocrisy
The arrest, made in Israel, undermined a recent theme in American politics since Trump's election: that the president had helped unleash a toxic strain of hatred directed against various ethnic/racial groups, especially Jews, supposedly demonstrated by the wave of bomb threats. The president's nastiest critics portrayed him and his administration as neo-fascists, if not actual fascists. Steve Bannon, the president's campaign adviser and later his strategic adviser, was seen by these misguided Trump haters as the godfather of the "alt-right" and an anti-Semite.
Cartoonist Scott Adams argued that this week marked a very important turning point in the fledgling Trump presidency. According to Adams, the defeat of the health care bill marked the end of the narrative of Trump as Hitler and the emergence of the new narrative of Trump as incompetent. A president who is viewed as incompetent is hardly new to American politics. In fact, it is about as mainstream a criticism as you can get. Conservatives thought Obama was incompetent. Liberals thought George W. Bush was incompetent. If leftists now come to view Trump as an incompetent, it means they might no longer need to be so scared of his presidency, since he is unlikely to get much done that would really disturb the Left (even if he were a fascist).
The arrest of the Israeli teen seemed to be a disappointment as well as a great surprise for many among the organized American Jewish community. A few weeks earlier, an African-American journalist, Juan Thompson, had been arrested in St. Louis for calling in some bomb threats to Jewish organizations. That arrest may also have been a disappointment to the organized Jewish community. After all, if the president is inciting the hard Right and other assorted anti-Semites, an African-American named Juan does not fit the perpetrator profile.
Op-ed: ISIS learned from Hamas how to use civilian populations as human shields. While hundreds of civilians have been killed in US-led airstrikes in Iraq, there have been absolutely no protests and no claims of ‘war crimes.’ Those are reserved for one country only—Israel.Why Isn't There a Palestinian State?
Hundreds of women and children were killed in west Mosul last week. The Americans bombed the area, as part of their cooperation with the Iraqi army against the Islamic State. The tragedy did not make the headlines. Claims of “war crimes” were nowhere to be found either. Neither was something more moderate like claims of “a disproportional response.” There were no protests whatsoever. The hostile sentiments, like the condemnatory headlines, are reserved for only one country in the world—Israel.
The United Nations issued condemnations—not against those who bombed the area, but against the use of civilians as a “human shield.” The New York Times, which constantly condemned Israel during Operation Protective Edge, argued mostly with Trump: “Taken together, the surge of reported civilian deaths raised questions about whether once-strict rules of engagement meant to minimize civilian casualties were being relaxed under the Trump administration.”
One might have assumed that since 2003, or maybe only from 2008, the strict rules of engagement had led to minimum civilian casualties. Well, the figures show that 268,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq since the war began there in 2003. There is no proof that former President Barack Obama reduced the number of casualties. The use of drones, for example, was 10 times higher during the Obama era than during the George W. Bush era.
Why don't the Palestinians have their own country? Is it the fault of Israel? Of the Palestinians? Of both parties? David Brog, Executive Director of the Maccabee Task Force, shares the surprising answers.