It’s one of the foundations of antisemitism:
The Jews are guilty. Always. Even when Jewish blood is shed by a demented mass-murderer. This is the fault of the Jewish people.
It’s one thing for anti-gun advocates to raise their voices again in the aftermath of the synagogue slaughter: “We must get guns off the streets! Without our current gun laws, this massacre would never have taken place.”
We can understand those sentiments, even if we disagree with them.
In the same way, we can understand why President Trump called for armed guards at synagogues and churches. People may scoff at this idea as well, but it too is understandable.
Some, however, go even farther, using the tragedy to make a very strong political statement.
A small group of “progressive” Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh blamed President Trump directly for the massacre.
They wrote, “For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.”
They made clear that Trump was “not welcome in Pittsburgh” until you fully denounce white nationalism . . . until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities . . . until you cease your assault on immigrants and refugees . . . until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.”
Either these liberal Jewish leaders spoke with prophetic insight, or they made an extraordinarily ugly and irresponsible statement claiming that the violence was the “direct culmination of [his] influence.” (See here for perspective.)
Others made the bizarre claim that it was Trump’s moving our embassy to Jerusalem that caused the bloodshed.
Julia Ioffe, who writes for GQ, tweeted, “And a word to my fellow American Jews: This president makes this possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there, where you don’t live was worth it.”
And how, pray tell, does she know this? The vast majority of the Muslim world has gone quiet about the moving of our embassy, and it has not produced the level of backlash we were told to expect for years. Yet Ioffe somehow knows that a Nazi-loving shooter in America slaughtered Jewish men and women – one of them 97-years-old – because President Trump had the courage to move our embassy.
But Ioffe remains confident, stating that “... pogroms didn't happen without the person at the top, the tsar, the president, condoning it either tacitly or explicitly.”
Not only is this irresponsible. It is inaccurate. The pogroms in Eastern Europe happened repeatedly because the antisemitic governments looked the other way (or worse). President Trump, a proven friend of Israel with close ties to the Jewish community (right within his own family), wants to do everything possible to prevent another such attack in America.
But who cares about facts when a political point can be scored? And who cares about the fact that violent, antisemitic acts have taken place during the administrations of quite a few American presidents? (Speaking of antisemitic acts in Skokie, Illinois, conservative journalist Joel Pollack, himself an Orthodox Jews, writes, “The fight against the Nazi march took place when Jimmy Carter was president; the statue was defaced under Ronald Reagan; the shooting took place under Bill Clinton; the vandalism happened under Barack Obama. Antisemitism knows no party.”)
And yet there is more, and now it gets even uglier.
A Messianic Jewish friend of mine sent me this note today (Monday, October 29). She was shaken and shocked: “A couple of people, both Jewish believers [in Jesus], after a dynamite message by our pastor [on Sunday], mentioned that they were saddened by the fact that he had not mentioned the synagogue shooting.
“I responded that he very rarely mentioned anything that might be construed as political, which now pretty much includes everything.
My non-Jewish hostess then said ‘Well, he probably avoided it because people might think differently about it because they were...you know...Jewish.”
In other words, this wasn’t like a church shooting or a school shooting. The victims were, you know, Jewish. That makes things a bit more controversial. Best not to mention it from the pulpit.
Even if this was not what the pastor was thinking, the fact that this Christian woman had these thoughts was telling enough.
But it gets even uglier.
Baroness “Jenny Tonge, a British House of Lords lawmaker with a history of making anti-Semitic statements, suggested that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was the fault of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians.”
She posted on Facebook on Saturday – so, just hours after the massacre – “Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi [Netanyahu] and the present Israeli government that it’s [sic] actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism?”
She added, “I suppose someone will say it is anti Semitic to say so?”
Yes, Baroness Tonge, it is antisemitic to say so.
But it is nothing new.
It is classic antisemitism, restated with the latest flavor of the hour.
When Jews are killed, it is the fault of the Jews, since the Jews are always guilty.
In one generation they are guilty of deicide, a nation of Christ-killers.
In one generation, they are parasites, bleeding their host country dry.
In another generation, they are trying to take over the world.
In another generation, they are guilty of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
But in every generation, they are guilty. And when they are killed, it is ultimately their fault.
This is the heartbeat of antisemitism. To call it evil and satanic would be quite fair.