WASHINGTON, NOV. 20, 2021: When Bernie Sanders won the presidential election in a squeaker last year, progressive Jews enthused that a glorious new era in American Judaism had dawned.
Synagogues in Park Slope and on the Upper West Side took turns hosting thought leaders such as Peter Beinart (author of “The Crisis of Zionism”) and Max Blumenthal (“Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”) to explain how American Jews were heading into a “post-Israel” era — and why that was a good thing.
Lefty rabbis published lengthy Facebook posts about how mainstream and center-right Jewish organizations are all actually racist — and how the Sanders administration will help Jews overcome the community’s “particularist obsession” with “Jewish security.”
Yet a year into his term, the first Jewish president hasn’t, in fact, ushered in a Jewish golden age. For one thing, violent attacks against Jews, particularly the Orthodox, continue to escalate, triggering an exodus not seen since that of French Jewry in 2015-16.
The $17 federal minimum wage has sharply increased the unemployment rate among unskilled workers, and Jews have been an immediate scapegoat on the far right and left. Harsh new housing-development standards enacted as part of the Green New Deal, meanwhile, have deepened the existing homelessness crisis.
“Jewish landlords” has emerged as a catchphrase seen on many signs at “Free Homes Now” protests. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Linda Sarsour has voiced her support for the movement on Twitter. Confronted with evidence of overt anti-Semitism, she said Team Sanders “deplores all hate,” while urging “privileged communities” to “think and act intersectionally.”
When three synagogues were burned to the ground in Los Angeles, White House Press Secretary Bill de Blasio said: “Let me be very clear. We won’t stand for these white-supremacist attacks on any community.” When law enforcers discovered that the arson was the work of a radical Black Hebrew Israelites faction, the White House declined further comment.
Other members of the administration have done nothing to calm the anxieties roiling the Jewish community — quite the opposite.
After being caught on a hot mic trashing Israel as a “s - - - ty, little, racist state,” Secretary of State Rashida Tlaib apologized, noting her intention had been to criticize the actions of Prime Minister Benny Gantz’s government.
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