Reflections on these Unsettling Times

By Steven Windmueller

As we are set to observe Yom HaShoah, we are confronted with a new political reality. In this state of social madness, commentators and writers link all forms of hate and all acts of violence as a singular expression about our contemporary society. Why is anti-Semitism different? If one looks carefully at the websites of the alt-right, the white supremacists and the neo-Nazis, their unique and particular focus on Jews is striking, if not scary. Hatred of everyone that is non-white represents their generic mantra. Jews are seen as distinctive for being the intellectual outliers, charged with framing the ideas and political protocols for “multi-culturalism, pluralism, and globalism.”

The anti-Israel expressions must be seen as likewise problematic. Here, historical realities are distorted to create “new truths.” This is where our enemies are expropriating the imagery of Hitler’s Germany onto the Jewish State, with Jews being defined as the new Nazis.

All forms of hatred are odious and dangerous, anti-Jewish behavior in each of its diabolic forms represents a different proposition, the destruction of a people and its nation.

Steven Windmueller is the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of HUC-JIR, Los Angeles.