How Exactly Do You Catch Covid-19? There Is a Growing Consensus and CAROLINE GLICK The silent American Jews Why are American Jews refusing to stand up for themselves? and EVEN WITH VIRUS, 'WE CAN OPERATE SAFE CIVILIAN AVIATION' and even Moses has to tow G-d's line
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column
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Even Moses pays a price when he doesn't listen to G-d
Even Moses pays a price when he doesn't listen to G-d
The Bible is not just a story and history book, but is also a teaching tool for running our lives in today's world.
G-d who created us and our special individual minds, knew that we don't accept direct directions very well. He/she could have made us robots, that you could just program, but that is not a partner. G-d looked to create partners that would appreciate him/her, but also capable of standing up to him/her so that he would not be lonely in the world.
Imagine what it would be like to the only being in the world, and you are master of time as well. How long would it take to be bored if you had no partners to play cards with? (of course not to eat with or sleep with as well). G-d created human beings to be his/her eating and sleeping and playing partners. When you are G-d you can dream up anything including creating a partnership that never bores you or that you can get bored.
We know that the human mind doesn't like to take orders. That is the essence of being human and being able to rise to the ability to tell your creator to shove off. Only if you have that strength to say no do you have the ability to be a loving partner by choice. G-d wants his partners to come to him/her by choice. When we say brachat and eat Kosher food, G-d is there with us. When we come into the marital chamber, G-d is in the bed with us as a third partner. Who says three is a crowd? When we bring babies into the world, G-d is in there with us. He and we are man and woman, child and adult, lovers, and friends all rolled up into one.
So what vehicle did G-d choose to teach us what he wants? The Torah. Each of the stories and history in G-d's book is there to teach us how to act and to connect to G-d.
In the Parsha (the weekly Torah section) of Korach, we learn that G-d had to teach the world that Moses was unique and G-d's special messenger to give the Torah. As I said if the Torah was given as black and white instructions that we had to follow as robots we would be robots, not free agents. When Korach doubts that Moses is THE messenger from G-d, Moses threatens him with the Earth opening up and swallowing him, AND IT DOES.
Now the next step after knowing that Moses's Torah is G-d's and not Moses's is to show that if Moses himself steps out of line, he too will be punished. That is the Parsa of Chukut. Aaron and Miriam die to show that they are human not G-d's themselves, and Moses gets angry and hits the rock instead of speaking with it. With his anger, he doesn't obey the boss. If Moses has the strength to be not only G-d's partner and say no but to override him, we will have a dysfunctional partnership. This is the way marriages work, the partners are equal and you have to constantly satisfy the other in some way in order to avoid arguments, but it doesn't work so well in the creation of the world.G-d has to lay down the law. He/she has to say that Moses is bringing my book, and it is my book and my book alone. Moses didn't write it, he is the messenger.
It is done this way to allow us to read the story ourselves and get the point. If it was shoved down our throat we would rebel even if it was good for us, because that is how G-d made us. Not such a simple concept.
Chukut is therefore the culmination of the Torah. Yes, there are more stories, Balak, and two more parshas in Numbers, before we get to the rehash in Deuteronomy, but the main final points are made in Koach and Chukut. This is G-d's book, brought down from the infinite to the finite by Moses, and don't doubt that it is my book and even Moses has to tow the line.
EVEN WITH VIRUS, 'WE CAN OPERATE SAFE CIVILIAN AVIATION'-- As I wrote yesterday--Europe is doing it so can we!
Airport chief warns Israeli aviation is 'days away from point of no return'
Ben Gurion CEO Shmuel Zakay calls to renew flights, says months-long stagnation under pandemic endangers tens of thousands of jobs, could cause 'huge strategic damage'
The CEO of Israel's main airport warned Friday that the country was "days away from reaching the point of no return" for its aviation industry, after long months of an almost complete lack of flights due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Shmuel Zakay said in a Facebook post that after so much time without activity, many professionals, from pilots to ground crews, had had their operational competency eroded. "Bringing them back to efficient and safe flights will take months," he said.
In Israel, where most travel in and out of the country is through the air, long-term damage to the aviation industry would cause "huge strategic harm," he added.
While acknowledging that the coronavirus is "a dangerous and lethal pandemic," Zakay said it was imperative to learn to live with its presence and manage its risks, as it did not seem to be going away anytime soon.
He accused the government of "stagnation" in its response to the disease, calling its handling of the crisis "the opposite of leadership."
"This week civilian flights resumed in the world even in countries whose illness levels are high," he stated. "We can operate safe civilian aviation even under the shadow of coronavirus."
Zakay argued he was not urging a return to flights so Israelis could "go on vacation," but rather he was trying to prevent "fatal harm to an industry comprised of tens of thousands of people, hundreds of professions."
Israel's national carrier, El Al, has entered deep financial trouble due to the pandemic. On Thursday it furloughed 500 more staff, including 100 pilots, amidst a labor dispute.
Tensions at the airline have been high after it slashed the vast majority of its workforce and dipped into pension funds to stay afloat amid the coronavirus crisis. The airline is seeking a government bailout to save it from insolvency and collapse.
On Wednesday, the airline stopped flights altogether after labor talks blew up between the pilots committee and management.
Prior to the latest round of furloughs, it had put 80 percent of its 6,303 workers on unpaid leave, cut management salaries by 20%, halted investments, and signed accords for the sale and lease-back of three Boeing 737-800s.
Hundreds of food service workers at El Al subsidiary Tamam, which produces Kosher airline meals for multiple carriers operating through Ben Gurion International Airport, have also been furloughed, sparking concerns regarding the possibility of mass layoffs.
According to the Ynet news site, Wednesday's flights were canceled after negotiations between pilots committee representative Nir Reuveni and airline CEO Gonen Usishkin ended without resolution on Tuesday evening.
The pilots then refused to staff Wednesday's flights, with the airline's management reportedly responding that if they would not fly, they would be transferred to other active positions in the company, with many of them needing to be furloughed as a result.
The airline has prolonged the suspension of scheduled commercial flights until the end of July, but had said it would continue to use its aircraft for cargo and occasional passenger flights.
In Vienna where my wife went last week, they have a medical center at the airport to test you for the virus. Why can't that work here? Yehuda
Ideas, that help explain how the world works-George Orwell/Quotes
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. Big Brother is watching you. Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows. Four legs good, two legs bad. If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
US inmates got virus relief checks, and IRS wants them back
US inmates got virus relief checks, and IRS wants them back
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in coronavirus relief payments have been sent to people behind bars across the United States, and now the IRS is asking state officials to help claw back the cash that the federal tax agency says was mistakenly sent.
The legislation authorizing the payments during the pandemic doesn't specifically exclude jail or prison inmates, and the IRS has refused to say exactly what legal authority it has to retrieve the money. On its website, it points to the unrelated Social Security Act, which bars incarcerated people from receiving some types of old-age and survivor insurance benefit payments. "I can't give you the legal basis. All I can tell you is this is the language the Treasury and ourselves have been using," IRS spokesman Eric Smith said. "It's just the same list as in the Social Security Act."
Tax attorney Kelly Erb, who's written about the issue on her website, says there's no legal basis for asking for the checks back. "I think it's really disingenuous of the IRS," Erb said Tuesday. "It's not a rule just because the IRS puts it on the website. In fact, the IRS actually says that stuff on its website isn't legal authority. So there's no actual rule — it's just guidance — and that guidance can change at any time."
After Congress passed the $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package in March, checks of up to $1,200 were automatically sent in most cases to people who filed income tax returns for 2018 or 2019, including some who are incarcerated. A couple of weeks later, the IRS directed state correction departments to intercept payments to prisoners and return them.
The IRS doesn't yet have numbers on how many payments went to prisoners, Smith said. But initial data from some states suggest the numbers are huge: The Kansas Department of Correction alone intercepted more than $200,000 in checks by early June. Idaho and Montana combined had seized over $90,000. [AP]
How Exactly Do You Catch Covid-19? There Is a Growing Consensus
Surface contamination and fleeting encounters are less of a worry than close-up, person-to-person interactions for extended periods
By Daniela Hernandez, Sarah Toy and Betsy McKayUpdated June 16, 2020 10:39 am ET
Six months into the coronavirus crisis, there's a growing consensus about a central question: How do people become infected?
It's not common to contract Covid-19 from a contaminated surface, scientists say. And fleeting encounters with people outdoors are unlikely to spread the coronavirus.
Instead, the major culprit is close-up, person-to-person interactions for extended periods. Crowded events, poorly ventilated areas and places where people are talking loudly—or singing, in one famous case—maximize the risk.
These emerging findings are helping businesses and governments devise reopening strategies to protect public health while getting economies going again. That includes tactics like installing plexiglass barriers, requiring people to wear masks in stores and other venues, using good ventilation systems and keeping windows open when possible.
Two recent large studies showed that wide-scale lockdowns—stay-at-home orders, bans on large gatherings and business closures—prevented millions of infections and deaths around the world. Now, with more knowledge in hand, cities and states can deploy targeted interventions to keep the virus from taking off again, scientists and public-health experts said.
"We should not be thinking of a lockdown, but of ways to increase physical distance," said Tom Frieden, chief executive of Resolve to Save Lives, a nonprofit public-health initiative. "This can include allowing outside activities, allowing walking or cycling to an office with people all physically distant, curbside pickup from stores, and other innovative methods that can facilitate resumption of economic activity without a rekindling of the outbreak."
The group's reopening recommendations include widespread testing, contact tracing and isolation of people who are infected or exposed.
A Recipe for Infection Getting the Covid-19 virus involves three steps.
Coughing, talking and breathing creates virus-carrying droplets of various sizes.
Enough virus has to make itself over to you or build up around you over time to trigger an infection.
The virus has to make its way into your respiratory tract and use the ACE-2 receptors there to enter cells and replicate.
Illustration: Erik Brynildsen/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
One important factor in transmission is that seemingly benign activities like speaking and breathing produce respiratory bits of varying sizes that can disperse along air currents and potentially infect people nearby.
Health agencies have so far identified respiratory-droplet contact as the major mode of Covid-19 transmission. These large fluid droplets can transfer virus from one person to another if they land on the eyes, nose or mouth. But they tend to fall to the ground or on other surfaces pretty quickly.
Some researchers say the new coronavirus can also be transmitted through aerosols, or minuscule droplets that float in the air longer than large droplets. These aerosols can be directly inhaled.
That's what may have happened at a restaurant in Guangzhou, China, where an infected diner who was not yet ill transmitted the virus to five others sitting at adjacent tables. Ventilation in the space was poor, with exhaust fans turned off, according to one study looking at conditions in the restaurant.
Aerosolized virus from the patient's breathing or speaking could have built up in the air over time and strong airflow from an air-conditioning unit on the wall may have helped recirculate the particles in the air, according to authors of the study, which hasn't yet been peer-reviewed.
Sufficient ventilation in the places people visit and work is very important, said Yuguo Li, one of the authors and an engineering professor at the University of Hong Kong. Proper ventilation—such as forcing air toward the ceiling and pumping it outside, or bringing fresh air into a room—dilutes the amount of virus in a space, lowering the risk of infection.
A gym in Chino Hills, Calif., on June 12.PHOTO: WILL LESTER/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/ZUMA PRESS
Another factor is prolonged exposure. That's generally defined as 15 minutes or more of unprotected contact with someone less than 6 feet away, said John Brooks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's chief medical officer for the Covid-19 response. But that is only a rule of thumb, he cautioned. It could take much less time with a sneeze in the face or other intimate contact where a lot of respiratory droplets are emitted, he said.
At a March 10 church choir practice in Washington state, 87% of attendees were infected, said Lea Hamner, an epidemiologist with the Skagit County public-health department and lead author of a study on an investigation that warned about the potential for "superspreader" events, in which one or a small number of people infect many others.
Members of the choir changed places four times during the 2½-hour practice, were tightly packed in a confined space and were mostly older and therefore more vulnerable to illness, she said. All told, 53 of 61 attendees at the practice were infected, including at least one person who had symptoms. Two died.
Several factors conspired, Ms. Hamner said. When singing, people can emit many large and small respiratory particles. Singers also breathe deeply, increasing the chance they will inhale infectious particles.
Similar transmission dynamics could be at play in other settings where heavy breathing and loud talking are common over extended periods, like gyms, musical or theater performances, conferences, weddings and birthday parties. Of 61 clusters of cases in Japan between Jan. 15 and April 4, many involved heavy breathing in close proximity, such as karaoke parties, cheering at clubs, talking in bars and exercising in gyms, according to a recent study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The so-called attack rate—the percentage of people who were infected in a specific place or time—can be very high in crowded events, homes and other spaces where lots of people are in close, prolonged contact.
An estimated 10% of people with Covid-19 are responsible for about 80% of transmissions, according to a study published recently in Wellcome Open Research. Some people with the virus may have a higher viral load, or produce more droplets when they breathe or speak, or be in a confined space with many people and bad ventilation when they're at their most infectious point in their illness, said Jamie Lloyd-Smith, a University of California, Los Angeles professor who studies the ecology of infectious diseases.
But overall, "the risk of a given infected person transmitting to people is pretty low," said Scott Dowell, a deputy director overseeing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Covid-19 response. "For every superspreading event you have a lot of times when nobody gets infected."
The attack rate for Covid-19 in households ranges between 4.6% and 19.3%, according to several studies. It was higher for spouses, at 27.8%, than for other household members, at 17.3%, in one study in China.
Rosanna Diaz with her son Tomas.PHOTO: ROSANNA DIAZ
Rosanna Diaz lives in a three-bedroom apartment in New York City with five other family members. The 37-year-old stay-at-home mother was hospitalized with a stroke on April 18 that her doctors attributed to Covid-19, and was still coughing when she went home two days later.
She pushed to get home quickly, she said, because her 4-year-old son has autism and needed her. She kept her distance from family members, covered her mouth when coughing and washed her hands frequently. No one else in the apartment has fallen ill, she said. "Nobody went near me when I was sick," she said.
Being outside is generally safer, experts say, because viral particles dilute more quickly. But small and large droplets pose a risk even outdoors, when people are in close, prolonged contact, said Linsey Marr, a Virginia Tech environmental engineering professor who studies airborne transmission of viruses.
No one knows for sure how much virus it takes for someone to become infected, but recent studies offer some clues. In one small study published recently in the journal Nature, researchers were unable to culture live coronavirus if a patient's throat swab or milliliter of sputum contained less than one million copies of viral RNA.
What to Expect When Flying Now (and in the Future)
Air travel is full of opportunities for coronavirus transmission. Touchless check-in, plexiglass shields, temperature checks, back-to-front boarding, and planes with empty middle seats are all now part of the flying experience, and the future may bring even more changes
"Based on our experiment, I would assume that something above that number would be required for infectivity," said Clemens Wendtner, one of the study's lead authors and head of the department of infectious diseases and tropical medicine at München Klinik Schwabing, a teaching hospital at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
He and his colleagues found samples from contagious patients with virus levels up to 1,000 times that, which could help explain why the virus is so infectious in the right conditions: It may take much lower levels of virus than what's found in a sick patient to infect someone else.
Based on this emerging picture of contagion, some policies are changing. The standard procedure for someone who tests positive is to quarantine at home. Some cities are providing free temporary housing and social services where people who are infected can stay on a voluntary basis, to avoid transmitting the virus to family members.
The CDC recently urged Americans to keep wearing masks and maintaining a distance from others as states reopen. "The more closely you interact with others, the longer the interaction lasts, the greater the number of people involved in the interaction, the higher the risk of Covid-19 spread," said Jay Butler, the CDC's Covid-19 response incident manager.
If the number of Covid-19 cases starts to rise dramatically as states reopen, "more extensive mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again," a decision that would be made locally, he said.
CDC guidelines for employers whose workers are returning include requiring masks, limiting use of public transit and elevators to reduce exposure, and prohibiting hugs, handshakes and fist-bumps. The agency also suggested replacing communal snacks, water coolers and coffee pots with prepacked, single-serve items, and erecting plastic partitions between desks closer than 6 feet apart.
Current CDC workplace guidelines don't talk about distribution of aerosols, or small particles, in a room, said Lisa Brosseau, a respiratory-protection consultant for the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
"Aerosol transmission is a scary thing," she said. "That's an exposure that's hard to manage and it's invisible." Ensuring infected individuals stay home is important, she said, but that can be difficult due to testing constraints. So additional protocols to interrupt spread, like social distancing in workspaces and providing N95 respirators or other personal protective equipment, might be necessary as well, she said.
Some scientists say while aerosol transmission does occur, it doesn't explain most infections. In addition, the virus doesn't appear to spread widely through the air.
"If this were transmitted mainly like measles or tuberculosis, where infectious virus lingered in the airspace for a long time, or spread across large airspaces or through air-handling systems, I think you would be seeing a lot more people infected," said the CDC's Dr. Brooks.
Sampling the air in high-traffic areas regularly could help employers figure out who needs to get tested, said Donald Milton, professor of environmental and occupational health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
"Let's say you detect the virus during lunchtime on Monday in a dining hall," he said. "You could then reach out to people who were there during that time telling them that they need to get tested."
Erin Bromage, a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth associate professor of biology, has been fielding questions from businesses, court systems and even therapists after a blog post he wrote titled "The Risks—Know Them—Avoid Them" went viral.
Courts are trying to figure out how to reconvene safely given that juries normally sit close together, with attorneys speaking to them up close, Dr. Bromage said. Therapists want to be able to hold in-person counseling sessions again. And businesses are trying to figure out what types of cleaning and disease-prevention methods in which to invest most heavily.
He advises that while wiping down surfaces and putting in hand-sanitizer stations in workplaces is good, the bigger risks are close-range face-to-face interactions, and having lots of people in an enclosed space for long periods. High-touch surfaces like doorknobs are a risk, but the virus degrades quickly so other surfaces like cardboard boxes are less worrisome, he said. "Surfaces and cleaning are important, but we shouldn't be spending half of our budget on it when they may be having only a smaller effect," he said.
Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. has a medical advisory panel that's reading the latest literature on viral transmission, which it is using to develop recommendations for bringing back the company's own workers safely.
To go into production facilities, some of which are in operation now, scientists must don multiple layers of personal protective equipment, including gloves, masks, goggles and coveralls. That's not abnormal for drug-development settings, said Lilly Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Skovronsky. "The air is extensively filtered. There's lots of protection," he said.
The places he worries about are the break rooms, locker rooms and security checkpoints, where people interact. Those are spaces where the company has instituted social-distancing measures by staggering the times they are open and how many people can be there at once. Only a few cafeterias are open, and those that are have socially distanced seating. In bathrooms, only half the stalls are available to cut down on the number of people.
"We'll never be more open than state guidelines," Dr. Skovronsky said, but "we're often finding ourselves being more restrictive because we're following the numbers."
CAROLINE GLICK The silent American Jews Why are American Jews refusing to stand up for themselves?
The silence of the Jews of America in the face of rising anti-Semitism is stunning.
Over the Shavuot festival on May 30, members of Black Lives Matter (BLM) carried out a pogrom in Fairfax, the oldest Jewish community in Los Angeles, largely populated today by ultra-Orthodox Jews. They vandalized five synagogues and three Jewish schools. Most of the Jewish businesses on Fairfax Avenue were looted.
As Daniel Greenfield reported at Frontpage, Allyson Rowen Taylor, a co-founder of StandWithUs, shared an account of the riots in which they chanted, "F**k the police and kill the Jews."
Aryeh Rosenfeld, whose store was looted, toldTheJerusalem Post that when he came to defend his store there were people driving through the streets screaming "effing Jews" at the Jewish store owners.
Greenfield revealed that the Jews were not incidental victims in a larger night of "anti-racist" rioting by BLM. BLM in Los Angeles is led by outspoken anti-Semites with intimate ties to the virulently anti-Semitic Nation of Islam.
Over the past several years both the BLM-L.A. head Melina Abdullah and her daughter Thandiwe Abdullah, who is the co-founder of the BLM Youth Vanguard, have racked up long records of anti-Semitic rants and fawning praise for Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan. Farrakhan, who has praised Hitler, recently called Jews "termites" and obsessively rails against Judaism and Jews.
As its charter makes clear, BLM itself is structurally anti-Semitic.
While accusing Israel of committing "genocide," BLM blames Israel for the U.S. war against militant Islam. Its charter states, "The U.S. justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people."
According to the BLM charter, U.S. military aid to Israel is the foundation of America's problems. Because of U.S. military aid to Israel, BLM alleges, "Every year billions of dollars are funneled from U.S. taxpayers to hundreds of arms corporations, who then wage lobbying campaigns pushing for even more foreign military aid. The results of this policy are twofold: it not only diverts much needed funding from domestic education and social programs, but it makes U.S. citizens complicit in the abuses committed by the Israeli government."
In other words, Israel is the root of America's troubles at home and abroad.
The charter accuses Israel of being an "apartheid state," and supports the anti-Semitic boycott, sanctions and divestment campaign against Israel. It calls for local, state and federal action against Israel. Among other things, BLM demands that the U.S. military budget be cut by 50 percent, "which will lead to the closure of over 800 U.S. military bases in the U.S. and around the world, and the elimination of the sale of weaponry to violators of human rights, reduces the use and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and return all troops back from the current theaters of war."
So for BLM, anti-Semitism isn't a bug. It is a feature. Hatred of Israel and the Jews is part of its DNA.
This brings us back to the pogrom over Shavuot in Los Angeles.
Two aspects of the Shavuot pogrom expose the increasingly problematic nature of the relationship between the American Jewish community and the American left.
The first is the media's indifference to anti-Jewish violence. Aside from a few Jewish reporters and Orthodox websites, the Shavuot pogrom was largely ignored. And when it was reported, the deliberately anti-Semitic character of the attacks was either downplayed or ignored altogether.
The media's refusal to cover the pogrom makes clear that most U.S. media outlets have accepted the limits on freedom of speech dictated by the left. Identity politics now dominate the left in America. BLM controls identity politics.
BLM considers Jews oppressors, not victims. So attacking them is not an act of bigotry. Jews—particularly Israeli Jews, Zionist Jews and Jews who dress in ways that identify them as Jews—are fair game. After all, if Zionism is Nazism and apartheid, then Israelis, Zionist Jews and "Jewy" Jews are racists. The graffiti on Beth El synagogue in Fairfax told the tale: "F**k Israel, Free Palestine."
The media's subservience to the identity politics mob was exposed earlier this month by the forced resignation of The New York Times' op-ed editor James Bennet and his deputy for the thought crime of publishing an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton calling for the riots to be quelled—by military force if necessary.
This week, NYT announced their replacements. Charlotte Greensit from the Intercept will be associate op-ed editor and managing editor of the Times.
Greensit is a member of the mob. As such, last month she participated in the left's newest blood libel that Israel is responsible for the alleged systemic racism of American law enforcement agencies when she tweeted, "Israeli security forces are training American cops despite history of rights abuses."
The Times, which has long peppered its news stories with anti-Semitic undertones, can be expected to double down on its anti-Jewish slant with Greensit in place.
The second aspect of the Shavuot pogrom that bears consideration is the low-key responses it generated from the Jewish community. Aside from a pro-forma statement by the Anti-Defamation League's Los Angeles office, the Jewish organization that proclaims itself the go-to place for calling out and fighting anti-Semitism has been mum. Even the modern Orthodox communities in Los Angeles failed to condemn the attack on their ultra-Orthodox neighbors.
Greenfield reported that while the modern Orthodox synagogues quickly removed their Torah scrolls from their prayer halls to protect them from possible looters, the modern Orthodox communities refused to condemn the rioters even as they quickly removed their Torah scrolls from their synagogues to protect them. Rather than condemn the BLM rioters targeting their community and expressing solidarity with the victims and the police who stopped the riots from spreading, local modern Orthodox leaders told their communities to support BLM bigots and atone for their own imagined racist crimes. Only the ultra-Orthodox cheered the police and thanked them.
The silence of the Los Angeles Jewish community and the national Jewish organizations in the face of the assault against it isn't unique. In New York, Jews have marched against anti-black racism while their community is subjected to repeated anti-Semitic assaults by their black neighbors. Few and far between have been the condemnations of Mayor Bill de Blasio despite his repeated acts of anti-Semitic targeting and discrimination.
Last week de Blasio sent police to padlock a playground in the ultra-Orthodox Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn for coronavirus distancing violations. As the police physically blocked ultra-Orthodox Jewish children from entering the park, non-Jewish children played happily in neighborhood parks throughout Brooklyn and the rest of the city.
De Blasio wasn't available to padlock the playground himself because he was busy participating in a mass protest with BLM in another section of Brooklyn.
Needless to say, New York Jews not only didn't riot in response to the city's bigotry against Jewish children in Williamsburg. When local Jewish leaders broke the locks on the playground in Williamsburg to let the children play, Jews from Park Slope and Manhattan didn't join them. They were alone.
This is the context in which Rep. Elliot Engel, a 16-term incumbent and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was defeated in his primary race for reelection. Engel was long one of the staunchest supporters of U.S.-Israel ties in the Democratic Party and a very liberal Democrat.
Jamaal Bowman, Engel's victorious primary opponent, supports the BLM charter's call not to legislate curbs on BDS operations. He supports conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel on Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. Bowman ascribes to BLM's racist view of Israel, saying that as a (racially oppressed) African American, he identifies with the Palestinians. Both Bowman and the media that supported his campaign, (particularly Greensit's colleagues at the Intercept) focused on Engel's support for Israel. The undertone of their focus was clear—and anti-Semitic. They communicated the message that Engel the Jew is more loyal to Israel than to the voters of his district.
Instead of decrying Bowman and his supporters for their bigotry, many progressive Jews supported Bowman. As Peter Joseph argued in the progressive Jewish newspaper Forward, "Jamaal Bowman's candidacy asks our community to return to its formerly broad-based concerns and demands that we recognize how urgent it is to address and repair the social, economic, and racial suffering in our nation.
"As this election pits a sixteen-term white Jewish incumbent offering more of the same against a younger Black voice offering a response to this moment in America, Jewish voters should express their aspirations for a better future."
In other words, Engel was too tribal and of course, too pro-Israel.
Why are American Jews refusing to stand up for themselves? Three explanations present themselves. Either they are afraid to speak up, or they are unaware of the danger, or they are part of the problem.
Like their non-Jewish counterparts, many Jews whose businesses were looted by BLM expressed the support and concern for their attackers. While some of them may actually sympathize with the people who destroyed their income source, no doubt many are too terrified to criticize them. They don't need any more trouble. And in the current atmosphere of mob rule, where the police charged with defending them are themselves under attack, caution may be the better part of valor.
The ignorant are a product of their environment. Most American Jews are Democrats and most Democrats get their news from the very news organizations that, as members of the identity-politics-dominated left, are not reporting what is happening. Large organizations and liberal synagogues are openly supporting BLM. How are average Jewish Democrats supposed to know what is happening?
This brings us to the Jews that are part of the problem.
This week, a group of far-left Jewish groups published an open letter to the community demanding that American Jews pledge allegiance to a "new covenant" based on seven new principles. The first principle: "Explicit endorsement that Black Lives Matter. Recognizing that Black Lives Matter is a statement that is inherently true and should be accepted without caveat or qualification."
The other six principles are extrapolations and expansions of the first.
So not only is the community not dealing with BLM's structural anti-Semitism, radical groups now demand that the rest of the community make supporting these anti-Semites and embracing their anti-Semitic cause the first principle of a "new covenant" for American Jewry.
So far, Hillel International, the Reconstructionist movement and the San Francisco Jewish Federation among others have written letters of support for the "new covenant."
On Monday, the Wall Street Journalcalled on members of the political left to wake up and oppose the thought policemen of identity politics. Sadly, it appears that the Jewish victims of those policemen will be the last to hear or heed the call.
Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of "The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East."