A crisis of Jewish leadership – politics trumps Jewish issues

Biden is never challenged by the media and a progressive Jewish establishment to whom liberal politics means more than Judaism.

by Matthew Hausman

There is a crisis of leadership in the American Jewish establishment, and it was highlighted during the 2020 presidential election by communal leaders who trumpeted Joe Biden’s supposed affinity for Jews and Israel despite his record of ambivalence and hostility. 

Since the election, his cheering section has continued its delusional support despite his overt snub of Israel’s prime minister, his stated intentions to appease Iran and reengage the Muslim Brotherhood, his failure to condemn antisemitism among Democrats, and his appointment of individuals with antisemitic or anti-Israel baggage to administration posts. 

In a larger sense, the whitewashing of Biden’s record on Israel and hiring of hostile officials tracks the refusal to acknowledge antisemitism amongst progressives and Democrats. It also reflects the false conflation of liberal politics with Jewish values. 

Many Jewish leaders actively campaigned for Biden, and they certainly had the right to do so. What they did not have the right to do, however, was ignore the risk that an empowered left-wing creates for Israel and pronounce Biden “good for the Jews” without critically analyzing his background. 

It should surprise nobody that the non-Orthodox movements lined up behind Biden given their hatred for Donald Trump and elevation of secular political priorities over Torah values. Still, it was the height of cognitive dissonance to assert Biden’s philosemitic and pro-Israel credentials in view of his record. 

Biden’s history is marked by insensitivity and insult, starting in 1982 when he used his Senate seat to threaten (unsuccessfully) Menachem Begin over “settlements.” He thereafter attempted to interfere in Israeli politics, often refused to condemn Islamist extremism, and displayed an inexcusable ignorance of history when criticizing Israeli communities established on ancient Jewish land…

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