Slippery Slope Is Getting More Slippery


I have been very careful trying to “walk the line” on whether anti-Zionism is antisemitism. There are those who will adamantly say they are not linked. Others believe anti-Zionism is inherently antisemitic. It is a slippery slope that is getting more slippery.


What happened in the early morning hours on Wednesday in Brooklyn, New York is making me personally rethink things. The homes of the Jewish director of the Brooklyn Museum and two other museum leaders were vandalized in a coordinated attack. Anne Pasternak, director of the museum, had her home smeared with fake blood and drawings of inverted red triangles, a symbol Hamas uses to identify targets or others will say it is to signal peaceful support for Palestinian liberation. There was also a banner hanging across the entry of her apartment building accusing her of being a “white-supremacist Zionist.”


Senator Chuck Schumer, who lives in Brooklyn, was very clear about the vandalism. “It is vile. It is nasty. It is un-American and, sadly, this kind of evil is something every Jew on Earth can recognize in an instant,” he said.


Here is what New York City Mayor Eric Adams said on X, formerly Twitter:


This is where anti-Zionism is, in fact, antisemitism. Maybe it really cannot be de-coupled?


On Monday, anti-Israel protesters would not even let a tribute to Israelis murdered at the Nova Music Festival on October 7 be held in peace. Anti-Israel protesters waved flags of terror groups and chanted slogans championing the attacks on Israeli civilians during a demonstration outside the Nova Music Festival Exhibition in New York. The exhibit shows objects that were gathered from the deadly festival, including charred cars, bullet-riddled bathroom stalls, and camping tents. 


The organizer of these protests says cultural institutions are “drenched in the blood of Palestine’s martyrs” – seemingly meaning the museums’ Jewish donors. Signs declared “Abolish the settler state,” which can only mean abolish Israel and the Jews are the settlers.. And how would you like to hear a New York subway rider repeatedly shouting, “Raise your hand if you are a Zionist. This is your chance to get out.” If the Hamas-Israel war was not taking place and someone shouted such things, would they be viewed any other way than antisemitic?


Even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said Monday that the “progressive movement is undermined” by the antisemitism that is on the rise in the United States. Ocasio-Cortez has never been shy about being critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza and has stated many times that criticism of the Israeli government is not inherently antisemitic, nor is criticism of Zionism (I can agree with both). She did say, however, “That does not mean that we should not recognize when that criticism crosses a line into real harms against our Jewish community.” 


I am very concerned! Events like what took place in New York could happen here (we already saw what happened to PSU's library). Every study shows antisemitism is on the rise and with greater extremism. But those who say ugly things about “Zionists” claim they are not talking about the Jews. I am not so sure that is possible anymore. What do you think?


Following Shabbat last Saturday night, I sent a note acknowledging the daring rescue of four Israeli hostages from Gaza (here is an interesting story of how they did it). It was an exciting event to bring them home. Perhaps not surprising, I woke the next morning and received several responses decrying the Palestinians who were killed during the operation.


You can watch this short video of a BBC reporter interviewing a former IDF spokesperson and basically asking why Israel did not warn everyone in the area before launching the rescue. HUH?


Hamas, and Hamas alone, bears responsibility. Hamas was hiding these four hostages in Gaza’s crowded Nuseirat market area in people's homes. This is what Hamas has done with many of the hostages knowing many civilians may die during any rescue attempt. It is not the operating forces (Israel) responsibility to tell the enemy where to hide hostages. It is solely their imperative and obligation to bring hostages home.


This week, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution to bring an end to the Hamas-Israel war. They approved a three-phase plan that begins with an immediate cease-fire, the release of all hostages in exchange for Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, the return of displaced Gazans to their homes, and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.


The second phase calls for a permanent ceasefire with the agreement of both parties, and the third phase would consist of a multiyear reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the remains of deceased hostages.


According to the United States, Israel has agreed – and, once again, Hamas said no. I repeat what I wrote last week. Where are all the “ceasefire now” voices? Why aren’t they protesting Hamas to sign the deal? The silence is deafening.


One group that is not silent is the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) and their continued efforts to teach an anti-Israel curriculum. Here is an editorial from last Sunday’s Oregonian about this issue. And here is an article in the Willamette Week where the PAT asked city council candidates, “Do you believe Portland elected officials have done their due diligence in responding to the ongoing genocide in Palestine?” Who knew this would be a prerequisite to get the endorsement of the PAT?


Unfortunately, Portland is not alone. The Boston Teachers’ Union is joining with the anti-Israel organization Jewish Voice for Peace to try and develop new anti-Israel curriculum for Boston’s public schools.


Sadly, this is not new. Here is an article from October 2005 about this very issue. Schools, often bypassing school boards, were disseminating materials that were anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish. Expert analyses of these materials found them to be full of inaccuracies, bias, and proselytizing – just like what the PAT and Boston Teachers’ Union are pushing.


We will continue to monitor the situation.


On a happier note, congratulations to the students and teachers on completing the school year. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful summer.


Shabbat shalom, happy Father's Day, and next week I hope to write about new and happier topics.



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