Is It Safe To Be A Jew In America?

Antisemitism From The Right And The Left

Today is Monday January 24. It began as a very cold morning,45 degrees Fahrenheit. (Please, no making fun of the Canadian who has lived in South Florida twice as long as in Canada). I was not rushing to outdoor activities, so I had even more time than usual to read through multiple news sources. I read Brett Stephens’s Sunday Times article, “ An Antisemite’s Dangerous Fantasy”. I will come back to it later. I read the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news stories of the day.

After 18 years of protests every shabbat morning in front of the Conservative shule, Beth Israel in Ann Arbor, the city council officially condemned the protest as antisemitic. For 18 years people have protested with signs like, “Jewish Power Corrupts”. The protesters’ stated purpose is to critique Israeli policy, a subject we will return to in Stephen’s article, but for now it is enough to know that the group brings antisemitic signs and chants antisemitic slogans. The group’s leader is Henry Herskovitz who identifies as a former Jew and in his blog posts spreads holocaust denial and praises neo-Nazis. His parents must be so proud.

Analyzing him would yield a great PHD thesis.

The council’s resolution cannot change anything as the courts have said the protests are protected by free speech, but it does send a statement of communal support to the synagogue. The Rabbi of the shule said that Ann Arbor has a long history of progressive politics and leftist social movements and that there has been a tendency to look the other way when Jews are being targeted.

“It did feel to us, it really did- not just to me- that Ann Arbor was no place for hate, except for hating Jews”.

At the city hall meeting that passed the resolution, during public discussion, activists held up an anti-Israel sign each time someone from the synagogue spoke and after each Jewish representative finished speaking, they yelled, “Stop shooting Palestinians.”

In the same JTA release a 21-year-old woman in Brooklyn told 3 Orthodox Jewish children aged 8,7, and 2 outside their shule,

“Hitler should have killed you all. I’ll kill you and know where you live”.

Surveillance shows the woman spitting on the 8-year-old boy. She has been arrested and charged with various hate crimes and acting in a manner injurious to a child.

Here is the scarry part. She is a student at St. Francis College, majoring in EDUCATION, ENGLISH AND PSYCHOLOGY! Could she be a teacher one day?

Meantime on this same day the Sun Sentinel reports Antisemitic Covid -19 conspiracy theory flyers were distributed to hundreds of homes on Miami Beach. The flyer lists 14 prominent figures who work at the CDC and the US Department of Health and Human Services, and vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna and investment firms Black Rock and Vanguard and identifies them as Jews and in one case as transexual.

Similar flyers are on extremist websites in 8 other states. The flyers show a Jewish star and a pentagram symbol usually associated with satanism, so Jews are rich, powerful, and demonic. I haven’t heard that triple header since the days of the black plague and the accusations that Jews were responsible for the plague. Which brings me to the Bret Stephens article.

He raises two very good points about antisemitism, one from the right and one from the left. It seems that hating Jews is the one item that extremists on the left and extremists on the right can agree on.

Antisemitism from the left is now shielded in anti-Zionism. The left could never tolerate the old-fashioned racism of classic antisemites, so it expresses its hate for Jews through the façade of being against Israel. In the world of the very progressive left, Jews cannot be a minority because of their success and their “whiteness”. In a philosophy that intersects all oppressed nonwhites against the people of wealth, power and whiteness, there can be no place for the Jews, who are perceived to be all powerful, exceedingly rich and of course white, because apparently the left has never met Sephardic or Ethiopian Jews. So, they can take out their anger and hate on the Jews by going against Israel and blaming it for all the ills in the world. Israel is aided and abetted by their rich cousins from all over the western world. Take AIPAC as an example of how Jewish money controls the politicians. It is all about the Benjamins, except as Stephens shows, the pro-Israel lobby is 20th in terms of lobbies giving money to Congress. They gave away $4.5 million dollars, and retiree interest groups gave away $95 million.

Meanwhile back at the right-wing haters, Jews are all powerful and run everything.

A man travels to the US from the north of England, buys a gun in NY, and travels to Texas where he takes hostages in the synagogue. He insists on contacting the senior Rabbi of the Central synagogue in Manhattan because he has heard that she is either a leading Rabbi or she is the Rabbi of the central synagogue for all Jews and he says, “I know President Biden will do things for the Jews”.

While the service is still being streamed, he is overheard ranting about Jews and Israel and he is heard saying that he has chosen his target because, “America only cares about Jewish lives”.

Interestingly it will take the FBI 2 to 3 days to acknowledge this attack as a terrorist attack against Jews. Really!!!

So, we are under attack from the right and the left who both agree we have too much power, and with every attack on Jewish looking people, on synagogues and JCC’s, we frustratingly try to figure out where all this Jewish power is?

There is a classic joke from the Nazis and the holocaust. It eerily captures the way many of us are starting to think.

Altmann and his secretary were sitting in a coffeehouse in Berlin in 1935. “Herr Altmann,” said his secretary. “I notice you’re reading Der Sturmer. I can’t understand why you’re reading a Nazi libel sheet. Are you some kind of masochist, or, G-d forbid, a self-hating Jew?”

“On the contrary, Frau Epstein. When I used to read the Jewish papers, all I learned about were pogroms, riots in Palestine, and assimilation in America. But now that I read Der Sturmer, I see so much more: that the Jews control all the banks, that we dominate in the arts, and that we’re on the verge of taking over the entire world.

You know-it makes me feel a whole lot better.”

I used to tell that joke as a historical insight, I never thought it would become current events.

As always please share widely and all are invited to join my mailing list by sending an email to me at with your name and email address and I will add you to the list.


I am thinking about self-publishing my book on life lessons learned from my garden. I am looking for 3 beta readers who are wiling to read the book in a timely manner and honestly share their reactions with me. If you would like to volunteer, please email me.



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Rabbi Paul Plotkin

Rabbi Paul Plotkin


I am a retired Conservative Rabbi. I was a pulpit Rabbi for 40 years. I supervise a chain of kosher Delis called Ben's .