The terrorist attack outside of a Jerusalem synagogue Friday evening was the deadliest since 2008. Media coverage was predictable: A sadistic equivalence was made between the seven murdered civilians and the raid on an Islamic Jihad cell in Jenin the day before.
False equivalencies—or worse—are standard operating procedure for leftist media regarding anything to do with Israel. For leftists, the intersection of neo-Marxist theory and antisemitism means Israel is always to blame. Facts are irrelevant.
What surprised me, though, was that much of the left ignored the attack entirely. No hashtags, no profile pic changes, no virtue signaling at all. It was as though nothing of note happened last weekend. I used to call this segment of the left “status leftists.” Whatever they may think about an issue in private, they believe their public persona must show a rock solid alliance with neo-Marxists and Islamists. After all, why would they say or do anything that could possibly hurt their highly cultivated status in society?
But given that the attack occurred on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it does seem appropriate to upgrade “status leftists” to a new and historic title: The New Good Germans.
“Good Germans,” of course, is the ironic term given to German citizens who, after World War II, claimed they had not supported the Nazi regime, but remained silent and made no attempt to defy the regime while it was in power.
That’s not fair, you may be thinking. The original Good Germans knew that if they said or did anything they could be immediately executed.
But there’s another way to look at it. What’s the worst that could happen to a status leftist—a professor, writer or head of a non-profit—who publicly supports Israel? Cancellation? Not so much anymore. Hounded on social media? Who isn’t? Not invited to the most radical chic dinner parties? Yes, that could be worse than execution for some.
My point is that the stakes are far lower than in the 1930s and 1940s. Yet the status leftists still say nothing. They say nothing despite the fact that they know that much of the rising antisemitism in the U.S. is a direct result of the wild success of “Palestinianism”—the lies that have allowed the Arabs who call themselves Palestinian to fit nicely into neo-Marxist intersectionality. Yet the leftists who know better would prefer to risk allowing, for example, Jewish children to be bullied by Islamist antisemites than publicly show any support for Israel during these pivotal times.
But today’s Good Germans aren’t so different from the old ones. Their cowardice and complacency still lead to horrific violence. They might not be (immediately) executed, but the rest of us could.
In the summer of 2014, it was the silence of my friends on the left that pushed me to begin focusing on Israel in my work. So I suppose I should offer them a bit of gratitude: If it weren’t for their lack of bravery, I wouldn’t have reconnected with my identity and homeland in such a profound way. And the truth is, I do feel sorry for them. Imagine being so insecure that you can’t even “come out” as a Zionist.
But more than anything, it’s both terrifying and sad. The silence of status leftists has already enabled the Democratic Party to move to an anti-Israel extreme—both in policies and rhetoric. Yes, some have abandoned the party because of it or chosen to fight this disturbing trend from within. But most, regrettably, have at least publicly gone along with it.
Like the original Good Germans, their consciences were turned off a long time ago.
Karen Lehrman Bloch is editor in chief of White Rose Magazine.
Originally published by Jewish Journal.
Be a part of our community
JNS is your ideological home. Situated at the center of the pro-Israel ecosystem, we provide readers with the critical context they need on issues facing Israel and their Jewish world.
You can help support our efforts — and enjoy an ad-free experience, as well as premium content and other community benefits.
Join our community and help us continue to keep you engaged and informed.