Americans have gone insane hating each other - opinion

Ordinarily, we could have blamed such American insanity on the paranoia that comes from a global pandemic. But then we’d just be shifting responsibility away from ourselves.

US President Donald Trump speaks at White House Hanukkah party in Washington (photo credit: REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump speaks at White House Hanukkah party in Washington
(photo credit: REUTERS)
 Last week I attended the White House Hanukkah party. You would think I had opened fire on a school bus.
The amount of hatred that my attendance unleashed on my social media pages was unprecedented.
“You’re an enabler. You enabled Trump’s denial of his election loss to [President-elect] Joe Biden.” Actually, I attended a White House Hanukkah celebration.
“You participated in a super-spreader event.” Actually, I attended a White House Hanukkah party.
“You allowed Trump to get away with trying to steal the election.” Actually, I ate latkes.
The irrational, near-demonic hatred for US President Donald Trump has now been extended to anyone in his vicinity, including those who simply celebrate Jewish holidays in the people’s house.
In my career as a rabbi I have experienced lots of controversy and hatred, from those who opposed my publishing Kosher Sex, to those who fought me on the publication of Kosher Jesus, to those who way back in the early 90s thought I had lost my mind when I appointed a young Cory Booker as my student president at Oxford University.
“You made a non-Jew the head of a Jewish student organization? You’re promoting intermarriage.”
But nothing I have done seems to have been as controversial as being in Trump’s orbit on Hanukkah.
It’s time to respond.
Now that he has exhausted all legal recourse, Trump should concede the election. And the Republicans should embrace Biden’s “time to heal” approach in trying to unify the country.
But the political left has got to halt the cancel culture they’re fostering. If not for the sake of decency, then for the sake of the country.
Maturity requires an ability to parse the good from bad in people, things and ideas. Immaturity is where you simply reject – in totality – something you find distasteful, even when it has things that deserve to be applauded or embraced.
I need not vote for Biden to agree that in a fifty-year public career he has displayed decency and humanity. And I need not agree with all of Trump’s policies to concede that in four years he has not only emerged as Israel’s greatest-ever friend in the Oval Office but utterly reshaped the Middle East.
Just a day after even some of my closest friends were castigating me for being at the White House, Trump announced a peace deal between Israel and Morocco.
Let's not forget that Secretary of State John Kerry swore that Israel would never have peace with its Arab neighbors or the Gulf states unless they first made peace with the Palestinians.
Kerry could not have been more wrong. It turns out that the Arab states were as weary of Palestinian intransigence as were the Israelis. Far from Trump and senior advise Jared Kushner having been wrong about ignoring the unmovable Palestinians, their initiative lead to the breakthrough that no one else had achieved before.
 None of us would have believed the miracles that are taking place in the Middle East. Those who hate Trump so much that they will give him no credit are as blind as those who are pretending that Biden did not win the election.
I am grateful to Trump for having secured a lasting peace for Israel with so many previously implacable foes. And I’m grateful to have been invited to celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah at the White House. I hope that Biden will continue Trump’s policies of unrivaled support for Israel which has led so many Arab countries to conclude that Israel’s around to stay and it’s time, therefore, to embrace an entity which is not transient, God forbid, but permanent.
It’s a challenging time in America because so many Americans has gone insane with hatred, both on the left and the right. And we’re talking real hatred. It’s disgusting, embarrassing, inane and depressing. Ordinarily, we could have blamed such American insanity on the paranoia that comes from a global pandemic. But then we’d just be shifting responsibility away from ourselves when we know we’re the ones to blame.
Each of us. Every single one of us.
The Trump haters – including some close friends – who told me they won’t speak to me anymore because I went to the White House Hanukkah party should be ashamed of themselves. My Republican friends who told me that they will never accept a Biden presidency – just as so many of the Democrats never accepted Trump – should likewise be embarrassed. They’re harming the country. And humiliating themselves.
Because the only thing worth hating in life in unalloyed, unconditional evil. Mass murderers, perpetrators of genocide, and those who destroy human life warrant what I call “Kosher Hate,” the kind of emotional revulsion that causes us to resist and fight them. But your political opponents? Hating them as if they were murderers and terrorists? Seriously?
Hating mere political opponents is not only wrong because it destroys a nation, it also allows the true evildoers to go unchecked. We misdirect our revulsion away from the legitimate targets.
The US was a bystander for more than two years after the Third Reich launched the Second World War and had Japan not attacked Pearl Harbor, America would certainly have delayed its entrance in the war even longer if not stayed out altogether.
For some reason, we as a nation could not summon sufficient hatred of the Nazis to fight them even as they conquered all of Europe and began the annihilation of the Jewish people.
After the Holocaust, Jews and others adopted the slogan, “Never Again,” and yet the slaughter of innocents has happened again and again in the 70 years that have passed since the liberation of Auschwitz.
The history of the modern world is a history of genocide and the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent men, women and children. Historian Paul Johnson estimates that at least 100 million civilians were murdered in the 20th century alone by murderous tyrants. This is a staggering number. The world could not summon enough hatred of these individuals, or their dastardly deeds, to stop them and bring them to justice.
Depressingly, the trend has continued into the 21st century. December 9, 2004, was the 56th anniversary of the approval of the Genocide Convention by the UN General Assembly. Meanwhile, genocide was taking place in Sudan.
In this, the sixth millennium that Judaism counts since creation and the third Christian millennium, evil still has not been subdued and seems to be growing with increasing strength, with brutal regimes continuing to control hundreds of millions of lives and terrorism striking throughout the world. Seventy years after Hitler’s demise, madmen run countries; gas their own people, torture men, women and children and fill mass graves with the bodies of innocents.
Amid the world’s protests of “Never Again!” and the ratification of the treaty against genocide which was supposed to commit the great powers to step in to stop mass murder, no fewer than five genocides have occurred – perhaps as many as 5.4 million people were killed in the civil war in the Congo, two million Cambodians were murdered by the Khmer Rouge, 800,000 Tutsis died at the hands of machete-wielding Hutus in Rwanda, tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims were ethnically cleansed by the Serbs, and at least 400,000 poor black Africans were slaughtered by the Islamic Janjaweed militias in Sudan.
Those genocides were in the recent past. Now one is taking place before our eyes in Syria. Since 2011, dictator Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has murdered more than 500,000 Syrians and used chemical weapons against his own people. Other than a missile strike launched by the US following one of the chemical weapons attacks and for which Trump – unlike former President Barack Obama – deserves the credit, the world has been a bystander.
Instead of “Never Again!” the reality has been “Again and Again!”
And one of the principal reasons? We have to learn not only to love the victims of murderers but to hate and resist the murderers themselves. And when we spend all our time directing our hatred toward one another, we allow those who are truly deserving of our revulsion to be overlooked.
It’s time for Americans to stop hating each other and instead work together – amidst legitimate political differences – toward making the world a place that is bereft of injustice and filled with the light of love and peace.
The writer, described as “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the author of The Israel Warrior and is an international best-selling author. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RabbiShmuley.