Are American Jews in ‘galut’? An American Jew's response to Isi Liebler

Thank you for your excellent article and for your efforts over the years on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people. We share a similar purpose. In the present instance  In your present article you find it “extraordinary” that Chuck Schumer would, “publicly revive the issue of Israel versus U.S. firsters and dual loyalties…” The reason for this behavior, and you provide other excellent such examples is, as you describe, rooted in “shtadlanutsilent, court-Jew diplomacy.”” The need for an “emissary” to the princes was clear in the past. Why its survival today except the need remains? Rabbi Silver may be faulted for not having adequately represented our six million strongly enough (not that it would have changed Roosevelt’s, or his State Department’s policy had Silver done so) but a more “sympathetic reading of his actions might be that he recognized the danger to Jews in the United States as potentially as dangerous as that experienced by our European community. Not much of a stretch if we remember that polling beginning in the late 1930’s described American antisemitism equal to the in Europe. Consider that even as Germany approached its götterdämmerung, as Auschwitz was literally racing against time to finish its task, “23 percent of respondents in one 1945 survey” of American opinion indicated they “would vote for a congressional candidate if the candidate declared "himself as being against the Jews and as many as 35 percent saying it would not affect their vote. Jews in America too were under great threat and shtadlanut returned as a response.   

What has this to do with Jews in America today? One may challenge whether shtadlanut remains an appropriate response to antisemitism; and here I stand with the point of your article. I only add the subconscious need, not its efficacy as response: Jews in America, whether admitted or not are and justifiably feel threatened and as if by reflex our “leaders” revert to the shtadlan. Certainly ineffective and inappropriate but still our traditional response to threat. 

It is insecurity of Jews in the United States, generally denied but present in the “kishkes,” that Schumer, et al, are responding to. 

For several years European and American Jewish “leaders” have compared the state of antisemitism in Europe approaching levels pre-Shoah. And given outrages against Jews in the headlines against the backdrop of surveys of antisemitism it is easy to overlook similar outrages occurring in the United States which, in fact, have mirrored those in Europe. An unbiased and non-ideological reading of ADL polling of antisemitism in the United States since the organization began such in the 1960’s describes a continuing identity between this country and Europe. During the Shoah we in the United States compared ourselves to Europe and convinced ourselves that FDR was our salvation, that America was “exceptional.” But self-deception does not calm “kishkes,” and Denial provides no protection from centuries of experience. 

And this is what describes the “mystery” of Schumer and Hoenlein and Harris, strong supporters of Israel and the Jewish people falling into shtadlanut: antisemitism in America today: and its denial.