March 11, 2015
Baral struck back this year by nominating for the student court Rachel Beyda, president of a Jewish sorority. Four pro-BDS student legislators, three of them students of color from South Asia or West Asia, spent 40 minutes questioning her about whether her ethnic activism would allow her to “maintain an unbiased view,” rather as Democratic senators interrogate Catholic Republican nominees to the Supreme Court (although, the Democrats usually have the luxury of delegating Catholic Senators to grill Catholic nominees over Roe v. Wade).
This 40-minute delay in Beyda’s confirmation became a cause celebre among Jewish groups and then among Republicans. Eventually, the New York Times front-paged an Adam Nagourney article, “In U.C.L.A. Debate Over Jewish Student, Echoes on Campus of Old Biases.” Nagourney misleadingly omitted the names of the three non-white students who had interrogated Beyda, focusing attention instead on the one coed with a German surname, thus implying that this was some kind of atavistic Nazi anti-Semitism rather than state of the art diversity politics.
It’s uncomfortable for liberal Jews to admit that the massive immigration they”ve backed so viscerally is destabilizing the America in which they”ve attained such a central role. They”d rather continue to portray themselves as unprivileged outsiders, a strategy that has worked well with American gentiles. But with about one-third of American billionaires and about one-sixth of global billionaires being Jewish, it’s not a marketing tactic that’s very convincing, perhaps especially to recent immigrants, who typically come from much less pro-Semitic cultures than America. (The ADL recently announced that over a billion foreigners were anti-Semites; but the organization still supports heavy immigration to America from anti-Semitic cultures for reasons of nostalgia, and perhaps to make work for itself in the future.)
There are several ways for American Jews to respond to this trend emerging out of California of the next generation of immigrant politicians viewing Jews as The Privileged:
– Buy off nonwhite politicians.
– Double down on victimism by using Jewish media power to insist that Jews are not privileged; in fact, they”re still the biggest victims of them all.
– Turn the heat down on the Social Justice War launched by the Obama Administration by satirizing SJWs and victimism in general.
The first option has worked well in the past, at least since the days when the Waxman-Berman Machine helped Tom Bradley, a black moderate Democrat, to five terms as mayor of Los Angeles. But it has become controversial among undergrads at UCLA, where accepting a free trip to Israel has been declared a conflict of interest.
The second alternative “ to emphasize Jewish victimhood even harder in the media “ is currently establishment protocol. The New York Times coverage of the UCLA incident, for instance, recalled comedienne Sarah Silverman’s anecdote of being publicly criticized by an Asian activist over her racial insensitivity: “As a Jew”as a member of the Jewish community”I was really concerned that we were losing control of the media.” Similarly, Nagourney wrote that the 40 minute delay in approving Ms. Beyda:
… has set off an anguished discussion of how Jews are treated, particularly in comparison with other groups that are more typically viewed as victims of discrimination, such as African-Americans and gays and lesbians.
The Atlantic quoted Trinity College professor Barry Kosmin explaining:
“It’s not animus, it’s ignorance,” Kosmin said, arguing that part of the problem is a blind spot in the complex of political correctness. “The message has gone out [on campuses] that certain types of victimization, or victims, are privileged. The young people have picked up that Jews aren’t on the list of protected species.” One reason for that is assimilation: “The Jewish community is regarded as part of the privileged white community,” just as other ethnic groups have become part of an undifferentiated white mass.
But in a state where the traditionally whitest UC school, surf-crazy Santa Barbara, is now only 36 percent white, this strategy of humorlessly emphasizing the now 70 year old Holocaust to guilt-trip whites may not have much of a future. And as goes California, so goes the country?
The third and least discussed option is to use the media to make social justice warriordom uncool: Laugh at it.
Since at least about 2010, it’s been evident that increasing numbers of comedians, comic actors, and comedy writers are tiring of the Obama coalition and its suffocating political correctness. For example, the de facto ban on joking about the fact that the reason Obama is President is because he’s black annoys people who make jokes for a living.
But it’s not clear if many naÃ¯ve young people have noticed yet.
As diversity destabilizes America, perhaps the central political question will be: In which direction Jewish centrists will tip?
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