OpinionIsrael at War

Dear status leftists

To you, jihad is the new black.

Protesters in Los Angeles, many of them Jewish, participate in a rally to demand an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as well as an end to U.S. military aid to Israel, Nov. 15, 2023. Credit: Ringo Chiu/Shutterstock.
Protesters in Los Angeles, many of them Jewish, participate in a rally to demand an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as well as an end to U.S. military aid to Israel, Nov. 15, 2023. Credit: Ringo Chiu/Shutterstock.
Karen Lehrman Bloch
Karen Lehrman Bloch
Karen Lehrman Bloch is editor in chief of White Rose Magazine.

If only you hadn’t unfriended your publicly pro-Israel friends, ashamed to be connected to us even on social media;

If only you hadn’t mocked us privately, as though defending the one Jewish state was a sin equal in outrage to being insufficiently botoxed; 

If only you hadn’t withheld information about anti-Israel nonprofits, information that could have saved Israeli lives;

If only you hadn’t shown numerous times that your Judean identity was dispensable, to be “used” only when it could help build your status. That your obsession with maintaining your status came before not just your extended Judean family but your close family and friends. Even your kids.

And then Oct. 7 happened. I truly believed this would mark a turning point in your lives. And for some, it did. Hamas’s barbarism had finally crossed too many lines, awakening an existential fear and the corresponding desire to fight back.

But for most of you, it was business as usual. If anything, you seemed to withdraw even further from your Jewish identities, boasting incessantly about your careers, as though that was the only thing of note happening in the world.

At that point, you embarrassed me. How could I have ever been friends with people who are loudly ignoring the worst atrocity to our people since the Holocaust?

And then you ignored the details as they emerged: The rapes, the beheadings, the burning of children and the elderly alive. The hostages. The campus intifada also had no effect on you, even though many of you have kids in the Ivies (of course).

And then you ignored the horrific video showing the barbarians kidnapping five young female Israeli soldiers, covered in blood. And the interrogations in which the terrorists bragged about gang-raping and then murdering women.

And then I began to understand. Conforming to trends—ideological or sartorial—is everything to you, even if those trends could eventually kill you and your family. Indeed, you would literally rather be dead than be seen fighting for the truth, correcting the avalanche of lies that have been thrown at our people. 

You have somehow convinced yourselves that the barbarians and their cult followers now set the trends: Jihad is the new black.

But it’s deeper than that. We all have a moral obligation to speak out in the face of evil. Moreover, many of you are in positions—as professors, heads of nonprofits, on boards—to have stopped the tsunami of antisemitism that is now consuming us. Your silence this past decade is not just immoral. It is complicity.

It’s also a form of moral narcissism. You adopt a moral position only if you think it will improve your status. As Richard Landes wrote, “Signaling virtue trumps acting virtuously.”

I used to wonder how you could look at the photos of the hostages and say nothing. I no longer wonder. You feel nothing.

The hypocrisies abound: You call yourselves liberal, but liberalism entails bravery. You call yourselves feminists, but feminists don’t look away when the victims are Jewish.

And then there are the ironies. None of you have reached the level of “fame” that motivates everything you do. Why? Most likely because of your obsessive hyper-conformity. The Judean people innovate, create, change the course of history because we have always been the ultimate nonconformists—from Abraham and Moses to Theodore Herzl, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Ayn Rand and Leonard Cohen.

In stark contrast, life for you is a never-ending popularity contest. But one literally cannot innovate while pathologically idolizing fame.

At some point, a 21st century Tom Wolfe will write an updated “Radical Chic” about today’s status worshippers. The term “terrorist chic” has already been coined. Most of you don’t actually wear keffiyehs. But what you’ve enabled in the past decade is far worse.

At the end of my book Passage to Israel, I wrote: “Israel is indeed a mirror to one’s soul. Those who see the beauty, who stand up for the truth, who understand the meaning, will never regret where they stood in this moment in history, when silence is not an option.”

Little did I know in 2016 that some who I considered my closest friends would proudly show the world that they are soulless.

Originally published by Jewish Journal.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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