Washington Post speaks about antisemitism from ivory tower, misses the cure

In "Fighting the virus of antisemitism" (1/10/20), Washington Post opinion writer Michael Gerson, in the name of evenhandedness, points fingers at both sides of the political spectrum as culpable for the antisemitism occurring in America today.  But Gerson doesn't seem to understand that antisemitism predates the very existence of Democrats and Republicans by over a thousand years.  So it can't be that.  Hate crimes against Jews have dwarfed the number of hate crimes against all other religions combined for decades, despite the fact that Jews currently make up only 2% of the U.S. population.  So blaming the current administration for antisemitism is irresponsible.

Gerson correctly states that "[a]ntisemitism is not a simple or single thing."  But then he adds that the level of antisemitism is "a measure of a nation's social health, or the lack of it."  If that is the case, then this nation (and every other nation) has always been sick.

Gerson's cure for antisemitism is a "concerted community response."  Fat chance — for starters, in New York, with Mayor de Blasio loosening prison sentences, paying lip service to the problem, and diluting the issue by treating it as just another one of many ethnic prejudices, when this one is absurdly disproportionate.  As other solutions to the age-old hatred of Jews, Gerson cites "aggressive prosecution by police," "aggressive condemnation from political leaders," and the advice that "when antisemitic tropes crop up in our discourse, they need to be effectively marginalized."

But these methods are not new.  They have been tried and are insufficient.  For more than a millennium, Jews have not been able to trust their host nations to protect them.  Granted, in today's America, life has never been better for Jews as a minority.  But it has never been good.  Why else have there been armed security guards around Jewish institutions for decades?  Guards don't exist, by and large, around Christian or Muslim places of worship or community centers.  Gerson concludes that "[t]he virus of bigotry is defeated by a healthy cultural immune system ... all must be carefully taught."  By whom — Gerson?  Should they read his column?  Arrogance and ivory-tower lecturing won't cure antisemitism.

However, self-defense will.  The approach might be dismissed by many, but Jews can't depend on police to protect them because police logistically can't respond quickly enough in each instance.  And security guards aren't enough.  As seen in the recent shooting incident at a Texas church, the first person shot by the perpetrator was the security guard.  Jewish communities could opt for what airlines did after Sept 11 when plainclothes air marshals were incorporated with regular passengers, for example.

What potential antisemitic murderers need to understand is that when they enter a Jewish area, the Jews are locked and loaded and on alert.  These terrorists should be too fearful to set foot in a Jewish institution.  Aggressive self-defense is how we stop them.

In "Fighting the virus of antisemitism" (1/10/20), Washington Post opinion writer Michael Gerson, in the name of evenhandedness, points fingers at both sides of the political spectrum as culpable for the antisemitism occurring in America today.  But Gerson doesn't seem to understand that antisemitism predates the very existence of Democrats and Republicans by over a thousand years.  So it can't be that.  Hate crimes against Jews have dwarfed the number of hate crimes against all other religions combined for decades, despite the fact that Jews currently make up only 2% of the U.S. population.  So blaming the current administration for antisemitism is irresponsible.

Gerson correctly states that "[a]ntisemitism is not a simple or single thing."  But then he adds that the level of antisemitism is "a measure of a nation's social health, or the lack of it."  If that is the case, then this nation (and every other nation) has always been sick.

Gerson's cure for antisemitism is a "concerted community response."  Fat chance — for starters, in New York, with Mayor de Blasio loosening prison sentences, paying lip service to the problem, and diluting the issue by treating it as just another one of many ethnic prejudices, when this one is absurdly disproportionate.  As other solutions to the age-old hatred of Jews, Gerson cites "aggressive prosecution by police," "aggressive condemnation from political leaders," and the advice that "when antisemitic tropes crop up in our discourse, they need to be effectively marginalized."

But these methods are not new.  They have been tried and are insufficient.  For more than a millennium, Jews have not been able to trust their host nations to protect them.  Granted, in today's America, life has never been better for Jews as a minority.  But it has never been good.  Why else have there been armed security guards around Jewish institutions for decades?  Guards don't exist, by and large, around Christian or Muslim places of worship or community centers.  Gerson concludes that "[t]he virus of bigotry is defeated by a healthy cultural immune system ... all must be carefully taught."  By whom — Gerson?  Should they read his column?  Arrogance and ivory-tower lecturing won't cure antisemitism.

However, self-defense will.  The approach might be dismissed by many, but Jews can't depend on police to protect them because police logistically can't respond quickly enough in each instance.  And security guards aren't enough.  As seen in the recent shooting incident at a Texas church, the first person shot by the perpetrator was the security guard.  Jewish communities could opt for what airlines did after Sept 11 when plainclothes air marshals were incorporated with regular passengers, for example.

What potential antisemitic murderers need to understand is that when they enter a Jewish area, the Jews are locked and loaded and on alert.  These terrorists should be too fearful to set foot in a Jewish institution.  Aggressive self-defense is how we stop them.