Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Progressive Jews playing a dangerous game


April 20, 2018

Despite the incredible contributions the Jewish people have made to civilization throughout history, envy and irrational hatred continue to plague them. It is one of the ironies of history that we have never had the luxury to not be concerned with our security, even in the lands in which we are relatively safe, and in which we enjoy full citizenship.

We are living in a very complex time of political polarization and intersection of issues in which we try to support groups who have faced discrimination and injustice, but who in turn spurn their Jewish supporters with their anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist views.

The American Jewish community, who marched with Martin Luther King and supported the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, who have consistently supported woman’s rights, gay rights, gender equality civil marriage, and a host of civil rights causes are now supporting Black Lives Matter. Unfortunately, this movement has incorporated into its platform condemnation of Israel and Jews as oppressors of a people who have made terrorism their mantra and the destruction of the Jewish state their goal.

A large segment of the American Jewish Community who call themselves “progressives” are also supporting an otherwise legitimate woman’s movement led in part by Muslim women who support terrorism, not only against Jews, but also against their own moderate co-religionists. These bigoted feminist leaders and activists claim that Jewish women cannot be feminists and Zionists at the same time.

The progressive Jewish reaction to these blatant examples of anti-Semitism has been timid at best. Instead of vigorously condemning these perpetrators of hate and prejudice and challenging their leadership, they focus their attention on condemning extreme right wing anti-Semites and white supremists.

While the Neo-nazis and haters on the right do in fact pose a danger to the Jewish community, the anti-Semites and anti-Zionists on the left are no less threatening to the Jewish community. The intruder who enters through the back door is just as menacing as the intruder who enters through the front door.

American support for Israel is very much dependent on the Jewish community’s strong support for Israel. The tepid, and in some cases non-support, of the American declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the legal and eternal capital of Israel is another example where progressive Jews have dropped the ball. There are valid reasons for hating the Trump Administration, but it does not follow that every decision of this administration is a bad one. I am reminded that even a fool occasionally makes a wise decision.

The rabbinical leader of Reform Jewry myopically encourages his members to withdraw financial and other support from Israel because of the Israeli government’s practical policy decision to postpone the promised implementation of the plan for egalitarian access to the Western Wall. By doing so, he either did not understand or ignored the negative impact this would have in undermining general American support for the Jewish State.

Ultimately, Israel will adopt egalitarian access to the Western Wall. The Cabinet’s decision to maintain a stable government was not based on religious ideology, but on the current critical security situation facing the nation from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Jews in America have the ability and moral responsibility to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism wherever and whenever it occurs; they do not have the luxury to ignore it whether from the right or the left. There are political and social developments on the left and right in our country that present a gathering storm which could change the climate for all Jews and others in America. Progressive Jews are playing a dangerous game by ignoring the gathering winds of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism blowing from the left; and they do so at their own peril and that of the entire Jewish community.

If you wish to comment or respond to any of the contents herein you can reach me at melpearlman322@gmail.com. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner. If you wish to respond by ranting and raving, please go into your bathroom, lock the door and shout your brains out.

Mel Pearlman has been practicing law in Central Florida for the past 45 years. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; on the District VII Mental Health Board, as Special Prosecutor for the City of Winter Park, Florida; and on the Board of Directors of the Central Florida Research and Development Authority. He was a charter member of the Board of Directors and served as the first Vice President of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as its first pro-bono legal counsel.


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