Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Red-Baiting Crawls Back from the Political Fringe

I have a new op-ed up at the English edition of Haaretz. The topic is red-baiting and the target, unsurprisingly, is Bernie Sanders. The perpetrator is a bottom of the barrel, hard-right finger wagger, Dennis Prager.

As offensive as it is, Prager's line of attack is dangerous not just because it is red baiting, or because it seeks to exclude a large portion of American Jews who don't share the same values as the uber-conservative Prager. Rather, it betrays a kind of nihilistic world view, one which sees no potential in Jews who are not already exactly like him.  
But most Jews are not like Prager. Even those who are like him are likely to change positions over time.  If it can be said that there is any one experience shared almost universally by modern Jews, it is the journey, the movement between and among states. Whether if it's as a migrant from country to country, or moving from religious to non-religious (and vice versa), or even returning to Jewishness altogether (as so many new Israeli citizens have done) it is this dynamic quality of Jewish life which defines us, and which teachers like Prager ignore, at their own peril. 

Normally I wouldn't engage with the patently absurd ideas of someone like Prager, but like so many odious concepts these days, red-baiting seems to be coming back into vogue on the right, and I think we'd all do well to be extra watchful.

read more here

(A note on paywalls and such: The future of journalism is uncertain to say the least. I'm proud to be contributing to Haaretz, one of the best internationally oriented papers out there. As I'm sure you've noticed, Haaretz keeps most of its content behind a paywall, because producing quality journalism is freaking expensive and only getting expensiver. You should get a subscription to Haaretz. Seriously. HOWEVER, if you cannot afford a subscription, and you want to read what I've written, go to a social media link to the article, through Twitter or Facebook, and click through there. That will take you to the full article. And if you enjoy what you read, please think about subscribing.)


  1. Won't let me. But sh'koyekh for calling this out.

  2. Couldn't read the article because it is behind a paywall. But I have been disturbed by reading the comments to Vorwards articles. The same sentiment of red-baiting, blaming,and demonizing is the coin of the realm in the comments sections. The Vorwards!!!!! These ideologues and Israel Firsters have highjacked the discussions and have turned the place into a cesspool.