Thursday, May 16, 2019

Texas congressman ignorantly redefines antisemitism

Rep. Michael Cloud
Rep Michael Cloud | via Twitter
Rep. Michael J. Cloud represents Texas' 27th congressional district. As a graduate of Oral Roberts University, he is presumably a conservative Christian. Today Rep Cloud writes: Anti-Semitism Must Be Defeated at Home and Abroad for Heritage Foundation's blog. His piece begins:
Israel is under attack—both in its own homeland and in ours.

One week, The New York Times runs an anti-Semitic cartoon. The next week, Hamas launches 600 rocket attacks against Israel.

These are merely some of the more recent occurrences in an ongoing effort by the global anti-Israel community—which now includes members of our own Congress—to delegitimize and destroy one of our most reliable allies and to bolster a terrorist regime that harms Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Israel’s opponents employ a host of double standards. …
This is a very verbose post which concludes with:
Israel is a committed ally and a reliable friend of the United States, one that shares our commitment to peace and liberty. America must continue both to support Israel against foreign threats and to stand up against anti-Semitism here at home.
Support for Israel is not support for Jews! Support for Israel is not support for defeating antisemitism. Criticism of Israel is not antisemitism per se. I cannot read Rep. Cloud's mind but most conservative Christian support for Israel is based on End Times prophecy which goes something like this:

When the Jews rejected Jesus as the messiah, God chose the church to accomplish his mission. This, in turn, will end with the rapture of true believers. But God still loves the Jews and wants to “redeem” them. Thus, absent the church, the Jews would experience a great religious rebirth and rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. This will spark a series of cataclysmic events that would culminate in the Battle of Armageddon, the last war of humanity. It would cause the Jews to finally accept Jesus as their savior. Those Jews who do not convert will all die. Today's Jews are viewed as “un-redeemed” Christians.

The prophecy, itself, is highly antisemitic. Rep. Cloud believes that I am destined to Hell for not accepting Jesus as Lord and savior. I am not the equal of Christians. Evangelicals also oppose the two-state solution, again because of End Times prophecy.

Most American Jews (including me) are critical of some Israeli policies. Obviously that does not amount to antisemitism. I find that equating support for Israel to opposing antisemitism is offensive. It is also very ignorant.

On antosemitism, the New York Times explains:
The accumulated incidents in Europe and the United States have highlighted how an ancient prejudice is surging in the 21st century in both familiar and mutant ways, fusing ideologies that otherwise would have little overlap.

The spike is taking place in a context of rising global economic uncertainty, an emphasis on race and national identity, and a deepening polarization between the political left and right in Europe and the United States over the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
—[…]—
“There’s an ideological pattern that is common,” said G√ľnther Jikeli, an expert on European anti-Semitism at Indiana University. “The world is seen as in a bad shape, and what hinders it becoming a better place are the Jews.”
Rep Cloud is only adding to the polarization over Israel that fuels antisemitism. Next time, maybe he should ask some Jews before he tries to grandstand.

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