It was not at all surprising to discover that Jacob Blake Sr., father of Black American Jacob Blake Jr., who was shot on August 23 by a White police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has a long history of racist, antisemitic posts on social media. Antisemitism is growing everywhere; the tension is in the air, and even where it is still quiet, it feels as though the ground is shaking under our feet. When the levee breaks and the flood begins, no one will be sorry to see the Jews drown.
The level of antisemitism is skyrocketing not only in America, but the world over. But the US, where the Jewish community is the most prominent and powerful in the world, will be the epicenter of the cataclysm.
It’s hard to tell when the critical point will come, but if the trajectory does not change, it will come for sure and American Jewry will experience what every Jewish diaspora has experienced since the exile began two thousand years ago: extinction and expulsion.
In a world so full of hate and so devoid of humanism, we cannot ignore our obligation to the nations: to be “a light unto nations,” to set an example of unity and mutual responsibility. We do not need to please the nations or appease them. They don’t judge us by how we relate to them; they judge us by how we relate to one another! When we hate each other, they blame us for spreading war among them. Simply, without an example of unity, they cannot unite and begin to fight. And deep inside, they feel that it’s because of us.
We have given the world science and technology, art and culture, knowledge and wisdom, yet the world hates us more and more and does not show us any gratitude. It is time we realize that these are not what it expects from us; it expects from us to set an example of Arvut Hadadit (mutual responsibility).
We became a nation only once we united “as one man with one heart” at the foot of Mt. Sinai (the mountain of hatred). Immediately thereafter, we were ordered to be “a light unto nations,” to bring the world the unity that we have gained. The absence of that light of unity is the cause of the chaotic world we live in, and our obligation is to bring that unity by setting an example.
We can deny it but denial won’t discharge us from our duty or convince the world that we are not to blame. So we can choose to unite above our hatred, do what the world expects of us, and win its favor for the first time in history, or take the flogging of humanity as we did in Europe eighty years ago.