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‘Betrayal: The Failure of the American Jewish Leadership’

American Jewry is under siege, ideologically and physically. A new critically acclaimed book details how establishment Jewish organizations have failed to respond effectively to these mounting assaults.

American Jewry is under siege, ideologically and physically. In the media, on campuses, in the streets of major cities, now in high schools, and in Congress, Jews and the Jewish state are smeared, hated, and attacked. Celebrities spew anti-Jewish ravings, including praise of Hitler and denial of the Holocaust, to tens of millions of followers. This is a new time for Jews in America.

Jews cannot control the forces arrayed against us, but one thing we should be able to do is influence our own leadership. It is clear that the establishment Jewish organizations—the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Conference of Presidents, Federations, Jewish Community Relations Councils, Jewish Public Affairs Council, and most rabbis—have failed to respond effectively to these mounting assaults.

These essays explore the nature and extent of this failure of American Jewish leaders, including specific examples and an analysis as to why Jewish leaders are failing in their mission to protect the community.

This collection of essays is intended to publicly critique a failing Jewish establishment with the full understanding that many Jews view such action as divisive and that showing unity may be more appropriate at this time. As a vulnerable minority, Jews have usually made public criticism of their leaders a near taboo. In recent decades, criticizing Jewish leaders has been acceptable, even common, when the target is “right-wing” Jews. In addition, for many American Jews, the democratically elected leaders of the Jewish state can be pilloried time and again, while criticizing undemocratically, donor-selected leaders is derided as “breaking Jewish unity.”

We believe we have a duty to tell the community what we know from experience about the very dangerous consequences of the current establishment of Jewish leadership’s policies, thinking and actions. We know that there are many American Jews who think as we do, and many of them are working hard to compensate for the failures of our leaders.

We have spent the last decades fighting our “external enemies,” but we no longer believe that the community can prevail against a surge of anti-Semitism without the full resources of the Jewish community.


Advance praise of ‘Betrayal’

“When Jewish histories of the second half of the 20th through the early decades of the 21st centuries are written, there will be particularly dark chapters concerning the moral and Jewish demise of American Jewry. In the 1960s, virtually every non-Orthodox synagogue along with secular Jewish organizations began abandoning both Jewish and liberal moral values and replacing them with the left-wing values of the universities and the mainstream media. If academia and The New York Times said there were more than two sexes, or that America was a fundamentally racist country, that is what most American Jews said. Even American Jewry’s legendary support for Zionism and Israel began to dissipate. By the turn of the twenty-first century, the most pro-Israel Americans were evangelical Christians, not Jews. To cite one example of far too many, the Anti-Defamation League, founded to combat antisemitism, now foments more antisemitism than it combats. If you want to know why and how this happened, this is the book to read. It is also the book future historians will study to comprehend the almost incomprehensible: how the Jews of the freest, most opportunity-giving, and most pro-Jewish country in history came to align themselves with forces that embraced anti-American values.”

— Dennis Prager, co-founder of Prager University, (PragerU) and author of 10 bestselling books, including three of a projected five-volume commentary on the Torah called “The Rational Bible”


“The authors of this courageous twenty-two essay collection show that the U.S. Jewish establishment consists of weak, politicized bureaucrats who ‘seem more loyal to a progressive ideology than to the safety of Jews.’ Covering topics ranging from theory (history and psychology) to gritty detail (Virginia and North Carolina case studies), Betrayal loudly rings the alarm for a somnolent American Jewry. Read it and wake others.”

— Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum


“Today’s America is scarred by ever-increasing anti-Semitism. It befouls the nation’s colleges and universities, now seeps widely into K–12 education, has established an ugly foothold in our political institutions including the halls of Congress, permeates virtually all of social media, once more defiles our workplaces, and inexorably redounds in attacks, including physical assaults, on Jews and Jewish institutions. The glaring failure of most major Jewish organizations, particularly legacy bodies, to confront the assault and the threats, to mount a forceful campaign to fight the bigotry, is a scandal. That organizations and their leaders too often even embrace the Jew-haters, cultivating agendas that consign protection of the community to a low priority, amplifies the disgrace. The essays of the present volume offer vivid evidence of those failures and their dire ramifications for American Jews not only in threats unchecked but in threats intensified by the dereliction of feckless leaders. It is a wake-up call that must be heard, internalized and acted on by American Jews if they hope to turn back the hate-mongering sweeping over them.”

— Kenneth Levin, psychiatrist, historian, and author of “The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege”


“If you want to believe that all is well in the Jewish world … don’t read this book. If you want to keep your faith in the Jewish legacy organizations and establishment leaders … don’t read this book. If you want to bury your head in the sand and decide that America—and especially Woke America, which most Jews worship—is not changing and turning anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist, don’t read this book. If, however, you think it’s time for the American Jewish community, its organizations and its leadership, to have an honest, challenging, vigorous debate about where we are going—and what mistakes we have made—then, indeed, read this important, illuminating, sometimes depressing, but ultimately inspiring, book.”

— Gil Troy, distinguished scholar of North American history at McGill University and editor of the three-volume set “Theodor Herzl: Zionist Writings”


“With anti-Semitism on the rise and violence simmering, American Jews are frantically looking for leadership. Tragically, all too often they find muddled minds and moral cowardice, ossified institutions, and partisan affinities winning the day. Dr. Charles Jacobs and Avi Goldwasser have given us not only a maddening, stirring, and absolutely necessary record of this colossal communal failure, but also just the hopeful catalyst we need to start rebuilding amid the wreckage.”

— Liel Leibovitz, editor-at-large, “Tablet” magazine

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