As anti-Semitic incidents have increased dramatically since the election of Donald Trump as President, not only has Trump failed (until this week) to address the escalation of anti-Semitic hatred in the alt-right wing of his political base but so too has Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to relate to American Jewish fears.
In his recent visit to the White House, the Prime Minister tried to reassure American Jews that because Donald Trump is his old friend and he knows that he is not an anti-Semite that we American Jews have nothing to worry about.
It seems to me that Bibi has had a choice and that he picked wrong. Either as the Israeli Prime Minister, he could take the position that anti-Semitism in the United States is an internal American affair and that he’d be wise to give no response to it in order not to offend the thin-skinned President by calling him out to speak against the haters who helped elect him. Or, as the Prime Minister of Israel, he has the responsibility to be concerned about the safety of the Jewish people everywhere in the world.
The truth is that at almost every opportunity in the past, Bibi has called out anti-Semitism everywhere it occurs, especially when it’s committed by Muslims. He has utterly failed to do so here in the United States.
Yes – we American Jews can take care of ourselves, but the Prime Minister ought to be saying publicly that he’s concerned about us and the rise in anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish community centers, synagogues, and cemeteries. Netanyahu’s refusal to do so has had the effect of white-washing Trump’s support of the alt-right’s extremism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, misogyny, and homophobia.
I am worried that the Prime Minister has so dramatically failed to publicly relate to the fears of American Jews. Mr. Netanyahu seems only to be concerned about right-wing American Jews and the evangelical Christian community while ignoring the 70% of American Jews who supported Hillary Clinton.
Just as the American Jewish community needs to maintain its non-partisan support of the State of Israel, so too ought the Israeli Prime Minister support the needs and fears of all American Jews.
Note: I speak as an individual and do not claim to represent my synagogue or any other organization.