Monday, May 07, 2012

Expert Warns of Possible Anti-Semitic 'Firestorm'

Sobering Words of Wisdom from Steven Windmueller 

America's largest-circulation and most influential Jewish community newspaper, The Jewish Week, has published an important, thought-provoking essay by one of the nation's leading experts on issues facing the community, Dr. Steven Windmueller. The piece is titled "A Perfect Firestorm of Anti-Semitism." It begins:

The story of world Jewry covering the past six decades must be defined as one of achievement and recognition. American Jews have achieved extraordinary success and influence, and Israel, despite threats to its existence, has flourished as a democracy, and absorbed and resettled millions of Jews. Yet, as the world marks the 80th anniversary of the rise of Nazism, the status of Jews in the world seems to be seriously eroding. 
During this period international politics was influenced by the powerful motif of memory. The images of past atrocities that tarnished the 20th century created a baseline for moral action. Over time, though, the power and integrity of this historical record has seemingly faded.
Earl Raab, a prominent social scientist and communal professional, once posited that two factors aligned together could create a serious threat to the Jewish people. An unstable economy and a growing set of tensions between Jerusalem and Washington would present, according to Raab, the “perfect firestorm” for potentially accelerating anti-Semitism and in creating a destabilizing environment for Jews in this nation and beyond. Both factors seem to be in play at this time. 
The economic dislocation facing this nation and the international community has triggered political and social conflict. Similarly, tensions over policy options with respect to handling the Iranian nuclear crisis have emerged between the United States and Israel. The “storm” before us however seems even more complex and problematic than Raab’s initial scenario. Beyond the current economic crisis and the emerging underlying disagreements involving Israel and America are an array of parallel concerns and a growing set of uncertainties. 

Click here to continue reading. The article should be essential reading for all those who are sincerely concerned about the future of the Jewish State and the Jewish people.

Disclosure: This reporter, a former managing editor of The Jewish Week, many years ago served as president of a New York-based communal organization, the Jewish Association for College Youth (it eventually merged with Hillel) that Dr. Windmueller headed (quite brilliantly) as executive director.