Ethical Stranger: How Far Jerusalem (Letter to My Liberal Jewish Friends)

How Far Jerusalem (Letter to My Liberal Jewish Friends)


There’s a predilection among Jews in general but particularly ones in Europe and America to take for granted their Jewish existence. Never mind Jewish businesses are being firebombed on a weekly basis in France. Never mind the British Labour Party blames Jews for Brexit resulting in increased violence against Jews in England. Never mind the American Democratic Party supports a Presidential platform that is historically the most anti-Israel and anti-Zionist in the history of American politics. And further never mind this same Party has politically aligned itself with two virulent and violent neo Marxist social movements, Black Lives Matter and Antifa, two organizations openly Anti-Semitic in policy and practice.

What do all these geographically diverse situations have in common? If you answered, “Mark, that’s just predictable anti-Jewish sentiment during turbulent times” —-you would be guilty of gullibility by accepting conventional rationalizations meant to placate you. Placate as in lulling you to sleep until the mob comes for your life. In nearly every instance in Europe and America the Jewish victims of arson assault or assassination were fully integrated members of that society. Most convinced beyond reason their Jewish identity was a private matter since their nationality would insulate them from targeted hate. This sad state of affairs is a classic example of repeating history due to ignorance of its collective message: hate is part of the human condition and cannot be exorcised through cultural compromise.

Any cooperation with establishment institutions responsible for mainstreaming antisemitism will not shield Jewish citizens from criminal retaliation, civil obstruction or mindless variations of psychological and emotional abuse. Jewish tradition of supporting social causes is both a hallmark of religious outreach and a natural nexus for education, business and social networking. Such practices are not unconventional in good faith circumstances yet spin politically schizophrenic upon realization that the same social organizations also promote discrimination and demonization towards your distinct group of people.

One of the most repeated inquiries I have been subjected to during this election cycle revolves around the question: “How can liberal Jews support organizations that routinely show hostility towards Jews, towards Israel and towards Zionism?”

I posed this question to liberal Jews during the past two months using personal contacts, business associates, artistic acquaintances and random folks identifying as Jews whom I met on social media. In all I was able to sample 358 answers from the inquiry but pared down to 300 since 58 were apolitical and could only answer in the abstract. I feel only fair method uses data from Jews who directly support these organizations. I don’t claim this informal investigation is scientific but it is revealing to a certain extent.


Results of Questionnaire:


125 — believed anti-Semitism wasn’t a major part of the orgs they supported


66 — declined or evaded answering


35 — sees as hype from right wing media


28 — just volunteering in synagogue tasks


24 — opposing Zionism is not antisemitism


16 — would try to verify the claims


6 — this question is or might be anti-Semitic


On such an important question as (I paraphrase here) Why support your enemies? Over 57% of respondents refused to answer or was willing to tolerate what they deemed “low level” antisemitism. What can we make of these replies?

Anti-Semitism is surging in Western Europe, Canada and America at an alarming rate. My family persuaded a French Jewish to emigrate to Israel because of repeated attacks on his person and ultimately residence by gangs of racist thugs. French police barely responding for calls for help as hate-driven criminals fleeing the scene screaming in French “lls sont d’accord” or “they agree.”

Ugly scenes such as this will become more common place in America which is turning more and more hostile to Jewish existence each day. It’s a fair question to ask a Jewish person in present day in America, “How can you support people calling for your destruction?” Please save the replies that involve they can have a problem with Israel or with Zionism. Anyone presently who calls for boycotting Israel or rejecting Zionism had a deep-seated problem with Jewry. Period.

The time is long past making excuses for haters who happen to inhabit the organizations or causes you find vital to your beliefs. Jews willing to divest themselves from such hotbeds of hate can both send a message of unacceptability and instead build their own organizations to service such causes in manners that do not betray present day Jewish existence or the future of the State of Israel.

I am not ignorant to the fact that Israel is not in the forefront of mind of the typical liberal Jewish American. It is often portrayed as an ultra-religious land full of conflicting politics and uncompromising people. Defending a Jewish homeland is no less messy than forming it from scratch seventy-two years ago. Yet despite its imperfections it remains a place that welcomes and protects Jews from a world increasingly willing to blame others for self-created disasters.

History is replete with examples of societies supposedly assimilating Jews but then slowly turning on them. In each scenario the Jews made appeals for better communication or made excuses by accepting toothless rationalizations (like the above survey) to no avail. Not only did these deeds of denial hasten the demise of thousands but it clearly indicated more remember the importance of Passover than the lessons of past pogroms.

I say to you now with all my heart, Western Civilization, particularly America, is infected with the evil invective relating to hating Jews. We shamefully have an alphabet soup of anti-Semitic acronyms Antifa, BDS, BLM, DNC, JVP, NOI & SJP. Consider my words. Research these organizations. How Far Jerusalem is the perfect metaphor for each of us willing to take a journey to a place matching our highest aspirations for civil society and honest discourse. We cannot be sidetracked with defeatist denials and blind compromise.  

Please think for yourself and think about a future more secure because you stood up, remained vigilant and did not explain away your Jewishness as a problem but instead lived it honorably as a sacred promise. Millions before you gave everything to ensure a Jewish culture did not leave this planet. Do not be a party to those willing to wipe that culture away. Do not.



Mark Antony Rossi

Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and host of the podcast "Strength To Be Human"





  1. i was one of the folks you preached to about researching whom i am supporting and seeing with clear eyes and not past idealistic notions. And you were right many of the groups I supported are not Jew-friendly or want Israel destroyed. I am not fond of the man in the WH but he is not the enemy of Jewish people. We need to use that as our guiding point otherwise we waste precious time and money on people who will sooner line us up against a wall.

  2. leaning towards this way when noticing how many anti-israel comments made by so-called social progressives. i thought we were on the same side. I am a Jew. We are not.

  3. Well presented, but unfortunately falls on the deaf of ears of J-Street and their mindless self-hating Jewish ilk. These are the Jews who thought they were Germans when Hitler took power; these are the Jews that worshipped the golden calf.

  4. I used to think people like you were bigots and then I saw with my own eyes Jews for Trump (mostly elderly) attacked with rocks and pepper spray by Antifa members in broad daylight. It can only be counted by anti semitic hate and there is little on mainstream media about it. I have been blind too long. Thanks for writing this article.

  5. for the record i am not a jew and i once this stuff was just drama exaggerated until i looked at what the article point to and the guy's right there's a real danger there in the bias which seems on the extreme side. This is not where i want my country to go. We saved these folks from evil europeans please not try to hurt them as americans. this is not american behavior.

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