Posts tagged " anti-Semitism "

Is Airbnb anti-Semitic?

December 5th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 19 comments

I’m currently an AirBnB host to earn extra money (I don’t need the extra income).  Recently AirBnB came out with a new policy not allowing Jews in the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria to rent out their homes. 

To me this seems like anti-Semitism and would like your advice on what to do?  I’m debating about canceling all future reservations, so AirBnB doesn’t receive any income from my property.

Thanks,

Justin L.

Dear Justin,

We feel so privileged to have people like you reading our columns. You hold yourself to a high ethical standard and are willing to back up your convictions with action.

We’re not crazy about the term anti-Semitism because we don’t know how to define it, any more than we can define racism, misogynism or most other “isms.” Try defining these terms for yourself.  You’ll see, it is not easy.  It is far too easy to hurl labels and take refuge by claiming that you recognize it when you see it, as Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography in the 1964 Supreme Court Case. We are not fans of terms that change depending on the speaker, the day and whims and fancy.

However, what we can define is when one group is treated completely differently from all or most other groups. This is the standard that Airbnb (as well as the BDS movement, the United Nations and many others) meets. Israel is penalized for behavior that is excused, ignored or even lauded in others.

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Tragedy in Pittsburgh

November 1st, 2018 Posted by Susan's Musings 80 comments

I feel the need to respond in three ways to the murder of Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue. As a human being, as an American and as a Jew.

As part of humanity, the only proper response is sorrow. Each and every day, around the world, people do abominable things to each other. Sometimes it is to people they know, other times to strangers. Sometimes a specific group is targeted, other times attacks are seemingly random. As a member of the human race, one must sadly deplore this.

As an American, I grieve as I have grieved too many times in the past. It is a tragedy that human beings are targeted whether it is when they go to synagogue or to a Batman movie, to school or to a country music concert, to work or to church. I grieve that we do not know how to identify or deal with the dangerously mentally ill among us. I am sickened by those whose first reaction to the tragedy on Saturday was a political one. Their hatred of President Trump informed their first reactions and suppressed their ability to respond with love to the families and friends of the victims.

I worry about the ease with which malevolent ideas are spread on social media and also about the dangers of tampering with the First Amendment. I fear that we are incapable of having reasoned discussion about so many topics that need to be faced, not in isolation and not with arrogance but in one far-reaching conversation, including but not limited to: guns, social media, violent video games, abortion and the devaluing of life, the entertainment industry, the press, education, politics, and the place of God and religion in society. The litany is almost endless, but each area affects all others.

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Letter to the Editor: Wall Street Journal

July 24th, 2018 Posted by AAJC Happenings 8 comments

We submitted the following to the Wall Street Journal and  an abridged version appeared in the August 1, 2018 edition:

I appreciated Liel Leibovitz’ article (Is Brett Kavanaugh Bad for the Jews? July 24, 2018 ) confirming that the Anti-Defamation League currently serves more as a partisan branch of the Democrat Party than fulfilling its founding mission as an organization combating anti-Semitism.

However, I want to point out that while Jonathan Greenblatt has moved the ADL further to the Left, that shift was already well under way during the tenure of the organization’s prior president, Abe Foxman. During the 90s, the ADL became actively hostile toward Evangelical Christianity as seen in many of their publications such as “The Religious Right: The Assault on Tolerance & Pluralism in America”.  This notorious 200 page polemic, for which the ADL eventually was forced to apologize, excoriated leaders like Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Sr. and Phyllis Schlafly.  The American Alliance of Jews and Christians was founded in response to the leftward tilt of many Jewish groups like the ADL.  Our credo is to “promote traditional values while opposing bigotry against traditional faith, particularly the war on Christianity.” 

Sadly, many groups founded by Jews express hostility to Judeo-Christian values, not only abandoning their lofty founding goals but  converting them into vehicles hostile towards religious Jews and Christians but nearly always supportive of Moslems.

Mr. Leibovitz wrote that the ADL should, “…realize that the threats to Jews these days come as fiercely from the left as they do from the right.” That is not entirely accurate. Anti-Semitism on the right is from the fringe, while anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bigotry  from the left increasingly represents the position held by rising stars in Democrat politics who are seldom denounced by the establishment. 

Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Mercer Island, WA

President, American Alliance of Jews and Christians

Anti-Semitism That Worries Me

May 1st, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings 17 comments

Over the last months, there has been a spike in Anti-Semitic activity. Graffiti has been sprayed on Jewish Community Centers, bomb threats have been called into synagogues, and cemeteries have been vandalized.  Pundits on the Left lay blame to this development, strangely, not on a metastasizing of Anti–Israel sentiment cultivated by President Obama, but on the rise of the blue-collar voter, given voice and vitality by the Trump administration.   While I disagree with their assessment, talk of blue-collar Anti-Semitism brings back memories of a day some 30 years ago when I was almost beaten up by blue-collar teens in a small town in New Jersey.

For most of high school I attended a yeshiva in Edison, New Jersey.  The neighborhood the yeshiva called home was white, working class; small homes on small lots, dignified by well-cared lawns and well-kept cars.

The locals were proud, patriotic Americans.  Every Memorial Day and July Fourth, large flags fluttered throughout the neighborhood. I distinctly remember a tremendous outpouring of support for the troops during Persian Gulf War I, in 1990.

The yeshiva was in the neighborhood but not of the neighborhood. It had bought an old City Hall building and then an old public school across the street. Most of the teens were from Brooklyn, and we were a foreign entity in the area. Many of the locals wished we hadn’t come. The neighborhood was generally safe, but there was a steady, low-level stream of anti-Semitism. It usually happened on Friday nights, when the riff-raff was on the way to or from the pub.  I remember pick-up trucks driving by, their occupants throwing pennies at us and yelling “Jew bagel.”  Every now and then a window would be broken. There was one fist fight behind the gym that ended poorly for both parties.

But the date that comes to mind was a Sunday in the Spring of 1987.  What had been a weekly Sunday afternoon pickup softball game quickly developed into a “yeshiva boys vs. local teens” rivalry.  That particular day it seemed as if every girlfriend and cousin had come to watch.  Loud music and the smell of alcohol pervaded the park.

The locals had a lead on us most of the game. They were up by two in the bottom of the ninth and we were having our last.  We had runners on first and third with two outs. A tall, strong yeshiva boy named Reuven Stengel came up to bat.  He took his time, waited for his pitch and barreled the ball deep into left field, over the road that ran through the outfield, into the cemetery behind it. The locals went stark-crazy.  As the tying run crossed third base, the teen taking third knocked him down.  Reuven, in a world of his own, ran right by both of them and scored.  The yeshiva boy on third got back up and scored after Reuven. The locals said we lost because our runners scored in the wrong order. We said we won because their man had knocked our man down.

It was chaotic and time to leave. We started walking towards yeshiva when one of the locals began to yell, “They stole my glove; the Jews stole my glove!”  I was walking with my friend Uriel Gleiberman and he was holding two gloves. I asked him who owned the second glove; he said it belonged to a friend who asked him to bring it back to school. The locals began searching us. If Uriel had picked up the wrong glove we were in for a beating. The locals searched Uriel and let him go. He didn’t have their glove.

The way I remember it, that Sunday was our last baseball game.  The rabbis at yeshiva found out what had happened and put an end to the games.

This past February, some thirty years later, I flew from Dallas to New Jersey to attend the rededication of the yeshiva building.  After the scheduled program, I drove around the neighborhood to take in the old sights.  The houses around the school were much the same, small houses on small lots, with well-manicured lawns and nice cars up front. Occasionally, I would see a new brick facade or fence added.  I sensed a definitive acceptance of the yeshiva by the locals. The school is now there for over three decades, and it is there to stay.

I drove back to the baseball field and parked the car. It was a cold day, but I stepped outside, closed my eyes and relived that Sunday afternoon in May, 1987.

I thought about primitive, blue collar anti-Semitism. And I was at ease. It was not and is not a serious deal. The primitive offering of the lower class, it is entirely insignificant.  It begins and ends with the bottom rungs of society.  The best and the brightest of the bunch, individuals who move from the lower class to the middle class, leave it behind. What I do fear, however, is Leftist Anti-Semitism.  It begins at the very top, championed by professors, academics and writers; people of influence.  It is they who have know-how and political acumen, it is they who have morphed Anti-Semitism into its newest, politically acceptable version of “Anti-Israelism.”  It is they who have forged common cause with radical Muslim groups. The combination of secular intellect and Muslim wealth and numbers is indeed a formidable threat.

That alliance will hurt us much more than teens in pickup trucks calling us names, largely because, in the sum of things, our lawns weren’t as neat as theirs, and our cars weren’t as polished.

I’d bet that most of the locals voted for President Trump.  I did too.  I am ever so glad that their patriotism blossomed, that they feel empowered to push for a stronger America.  I was an original supporter of Senator Cruz, but have come to realize that this country has moved too far from dignity and discipline to expect a majority to vote for conservative principals.  At this point, only raw, blue-collar nationalism can garner a majority to turn the tide back, and thankfully it did in the last election.

I look back at the locals in Edison, NJ and respect them. They are hard-working folk. It is they, fired up by patriotism, who will bring this country back from the brink, away from divisions of class and race, away from victimhood and dependency, motivated by a mission to Make America Great Again.

I believe that greatness is its Judeo-Christian value system.  They believe its greatness is its tenacity.   One thing I know for certain is that I want to play ball with them once again.  And this time, it will be with them, not against them.

 

The author of two books, Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt serves as the Director of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC)

This article first appeared on World Net Daily

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