Archive for March 18th, 2021
Some of you may have thought it never went away, but judging from the attitudes of what passes for American Jewish leadership these days, it’s at a minimum been in deep hibernation.
This bold statement announcing a new campus-based Zionist organization seeks to revive its spirit among contemporary American Jews. Blake Flayton, a senior at George Washington University in Washington, DC is one of the co-founders of the New Zionist Congress, and he writes with a moral clarity and purpose of vision rarely overtly expressed by mainstream Jewish organizations.
The New Zionist Congress will educate: hosting weekly discussions on all issues pertaining to Jews worldwide, promoting a book-of-the-month for members to read and discuss, and producing a new podcast where young Jews will speak with leaders of our community about the complexities of our people. New Zionist Congress will charter campus chapters, and send speakers to individual universities to mobilize and inspire Jewish students to be fierce activists and teachers. We will sponsor debates, lectures, movie nights, and trips to Israel. We will advocate for Jewish people, not only in the United States, but everywhere in the world, and spearhead efforts to oppose BDS resolutions, fight for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, and combat the new incarnation of Soviet-style conspiracy theories that manically obsess over Zionism and target the only Jewish state as the root of all earthly evils.
Flayton also recognizes the root of the problem – intersectionality and the iron grip it has on college campuses and, increasingly business and broader society. The Jewish left, which includes almost all of the non-orthodox communal leadership, has willingly submitted to its dictates in the hope of recruiting allies against anti-semitism and its contemporary manifestation, anti-Zionism.
I’m sorry. If a Jew is called a Nazi on campus, is it really his or her responsibility to invite the offending student to share a bagel on the quad? If someone bans me from their organization, is it really my responsibility to, as one individual put it to me recently, “internalize ways in which I am not welcoming, and strive for a more intersectional approach to dialogues about oppression and power”? What the hell does that even mean? What other minority community would be forced to endure this jargon-filled hellscape? Every time Jews speak out about anti-Semitism, we’re immediately told to endure a corporate diversity training seminar, one which concludes that it’s still our fault for causing all the drama.
And yet for many in the Jewish community, this is a tolerable price to pay to sit at the table. Well, I don’t want a seat at that table. I don’t want to be anywhere near that table. I am in fact determined to flip that table over.
The mainstream approach has been a spectacular failure. When the Colorado state legislature considered and anti-BDS bill a number of years ago, only Jews showed up to testify in favor of it. That failure has been completely lost on the Colorado JCRC, whose main page is full of “anti-racism” resources and devoid of pro-Jewish ones.
What give Flayton a chance at succeeding is that he’s not a conservative or a Republican. He’s a left-of-center Democrat from Scottsdale, Arizona. His efforts at combating toxic intersectionality received an early boost from Bari Weiss. So this isn’t an attack from outside the Democratic tent.
We’ll be following the New Zionist Congress with great hope and interest.