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The day the music died for progressive Jewry

Perhaps the progressive Jewish awakening can be a lesson for Western civilization in general.

Pro-Hamas demonstrators rally in support of the terrorist organization's Oct. 7 mass terror attack that killed over 1,400 Israelis, in New York City, Oct. 9, 2023. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Pro-Hamas demonstrators rally in support of the terrorist organization's Oct. 7 mass terror attack that killed over 1,400 Israelis, in New York City, Oct. 9, 2023. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Ron Jager
Ron Jager served for 25 years as an IDF mental health field officer in operational units, including as commander of the Central Psychiatric Clinic for Reserve Solders at Tel-Hashomer. Visit his website at www.ronjager.com.

The Oct. 7 Hamas massacre will be remembered as the day the music died for progressive Jewry. What was will no longer be.

Hamas showed for all to see, in many cases live on social media, a level of barbarism and cruelty unseen since the days of Nazism. But Hamas also shattered the dearest delusions of progressive Jews, because its savagery was quickly justified and celebrated throughout the West by progressives. This has forced an overnight exodus of Jews from the progressive movement.

Hamas not only shattered the lives of numerous innocent Jews, but also decades during which Jews were part of the vanguard of the progressive world. Within 24 hours, progressive Jews woke up and realized that what they so wholeheartedly believed was based on the illusion that if we just say the right things and advocate for the politics and policies of progressivism, we will not only be doing tikkun olam but also become senior partners in the “woke” revolution.

Progressive Jews sympathetic to “woke” discourse now see that they signed on to a worldview that has nothing to say about murder, mass rape, killing children in front of their parents, killing parents in front of their children, beheadings and burning babies alive.

The response to the attacks from pro-Hamas Muslim and progressive protestors, along with university presidents and student organizations, celebrities and mainstream media personalities crushed progressive Jews’ sense of solidarity and security.

For many years, progressive Jews dismissed the poisonous antisemitic environment on campus. They rationalized the actions of campuses antisemites by claiming that students shutting down events that don’t embrace the “woke” narrative is irritating, but its what students do. Now these Jews see the results: Campus antisemitism has spread overnight into our communities and cities and on to our streets. Many if not most Jews have lost their sense of personal safety outside their own homes.

Progressive Jews saw Muslims and their progressive supporters march like storm troopers through the streets, brandishing swastikas and chanting “gas the Jews” at the top of their lungs. Progressive organizations like Black Lives Matter glorified Hamas terrorists who beheaded and murdered babies. Jewish schools were forced to close down because of safety concerns prompted by these violent “demonstrations.” Jews watched on their TVs and smart phones as, throughout the U.S. and Europe, the mainstream media gleefully broadcast Hamas lies, propaganda and blood libels as they were hard news.

The events of the past three weeks have shown these Jews that progressivism now has nothing to do with aiding the oppressed or differentiating between good and evil. It is about killing people, especially Jews.

This shattering of the progressive worldview, however, is ultimately a good thing. Delusional beliefs may well be replaced by a life-affirming embrace of the views of the overwhelming majority of world Jewry.

The question now is whether this wake-up moment will persist. Will progressive Jews revert back to an illusory utopianism? Or will they be able to resist the urge to indulge in magical thinking and soothing myths over harsh realities?

They’d better, and not only to save themselves. What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews. With its embrace of terrorism, barbarism and mass murder, today’s progressivism has made it clear that it is a threat to civilization itself. Progressive Jews can use their awakening to teach this lesson to all of society. The West has made the value of human life a basic tenet of its civilization. If it embraces the new genocidal progressivism, this value will die, and with it the West. Understanding this is an existential necessity. The alternative is the savagery we witnessed on Oct. 7.

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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