The following article was posted on January 17, 2017 in the Times of Israel:
Below is a commentary on this article by Dr. Rene Levy
1. Yossi Klein Halevi’s article shows in a step-wise fashion how discord among Jews opens the doors to antisemitism.
2. He diagnoses the causes of the deep fragmentation within the American Jewish community as follows:
For American Jews, all the guidelines that once helped define their community have eroded. The generation of American Jews after the Holocaust was united around two commitments: support for Israel and opposition to antisemitism. American Jews have long since lost their ability to unite around Israel. And now, with this election, they have lost their final common ground – the ability to agree on anti-Semitic threat.
3. He also shows how it affects the perspectives of the two presidents and how:
In today’s America, then, one measure of how the worldviews of its leaders diverge is in their opposing understanding of Judaism. Trump and Obama reflect the divide between Jewish particularists and universalists – those whose primary Jewish commitment is protecting their people and those whose primary Jewish commitment is engaging in social action.
For the outgoing president and the president-elect, the Jewish people is divided between “good Jews” and “bad Jews.”…..
The intense identification of Obama and Trump with opposing Jewish camps is a dangerous blessing. Affection for the “good Jews” can readily turn into contempt for the “bad Jews,” who betray the particular aspect of Jewishness each man has embraced.
4. The link between internal divisiveness and antisemitism is not limited to the succession of presidents:
The danger that the venomous nature of internal Jewish argument will be adopted by outsiders and ultimately turned against all Jews has a precedent.
5. In the end, Yossi Klein Halevi warns us that unless we “maintain the integrity of communal discourse”, we will open the door to antisemitism and we may (G-d forbid!) witness the end the most successful Diaspora in Jewish history.
This article is one of the few analyses that demonstrates how, we Jews, bring about antisemitism when we become obsessed about our internal differences. This adds significance to our efforts to provide the tools needed to learn to live with our disagreements.