Some may wonder what caused Kanye to go public with his anti-Semitism after years of keeping it a secret. The answer is obvious as we see an abysmal race towards the bottom among Trump supporters. Even Trump may have underestimated the abject servility of his deluded devotees, who not only remain silent, but seek to emulate and imitate the worst aspects of his depravity.
Yet Kanye was censored while Trump’s anti-Semitism has gone mostly unnoticed and unpunished. As Trump correctly observed, his deluded followers will continue to support him even if he shoots someone on 5th Avenue. But Kanye is not Trump and does not command the undying loyalty of battalions of the brainwashed, legions of lunatics and millions of mindless minions. Moreover, out of ignorance, Kanye was a bit premature in advocating his Final Solution for the Jews. Even Hitler waited until his ranting and raving had taken hold of society before he openly and brazenly announced his Final Solution. Similarly, Trump has gradually increased the intensity of his anti-Semitic tropes and rhetoric from calling Jews disloyal, projecting his obsession with money upon Jews, to proclaiming himself “King of Israel” and the “second coming of God”, to conspiring with Christian nationalists and vigilantes, praising those who say Jews will not replace us in Charlottesville as “good people” and calling anti-Semites who stormed the Capitol patriots, to recently warning Jews to “get their act together” and show more gratitude towards him “before it is too late.”
While the Democratic Party has taken steps, insufficient though they may be, to isolate those within their ranks, who vilify Israel, the one place in the Middle East where abortion and LGBTQ rights are protected, while absolving surrounding nations that stone to death women and gays who dare to stand up for who they are, no such self-reflection or monitoring can be seen in the Republican Party, which has failed to censure or rebuke the anti-Semitism of Donald Trump. This is no surprise from a Party that condones his daily moral outrages, which include sedition and stealing top secret archives.
Today’s Republican Party seeks to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state, which our founders established to keep the anti-Semitism of Europe from staining the soil of America. We see this in abortion laws which establish right-wing Christianity as the law of the land and criminalize Jewish law and other moral codes. Sadly, many right-wing Jews, who are otherwise vigilant about exposing and rejecting anti-Semitism, in the case of Trump and his Republicult Party, continue to rationalize the irrational, justify the unjustifiable and permit the impermissible.
Elie Wiesel noted that “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." Similarly, Dr. Martin Luther King, as well as such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Rabbi Joshua Heschel observed that what makes the world a dangerous place is not so much those who do evil, but those who say and do nothing which allows it to happen.
In this week’s Torah reading, we read a cautionary tale of how destructive the sin of silence can be. In Noah’s day the world was inundated with wickedness and awash in hate because no one would take a stand for goodness. Sadly, most Rabbis may not apply the lessons of this story to today’s world and may even commit child abuse upon impressionable children by telling them that this story is literally true, thus undermining their understanding of science and reason. While the story of Noah did not happen, its lesson is all too real. Unless we have the courage to stand up against evil, it will eventually destroy the world. The recent comments by Kanye bear this out and provide further evidence of the truth of the adage, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” Kanye, like Trump’s other acolytes in the world of entertainment, politics and cyberspaces spread hid toxic behavior. But if society and the world has the courage and integrity to “Just say Noah”, as it did with Kanye, then we can stop hatred and save our world.
There are those who say that Rabbis should not discuss anti-Semitism when it rears its ugly head in the Republican or Democratic Party because rabbis should not discuss “politics”. Rabbis who warned about the Nazis were also accused of being “political” and this self-imposed silence is the reason for the spread of evil.
In the story of Noah, the Hebrew word used to describe the corruption and violence that had taken over the world is “Hamas”. Appropriately enough, Hamas, is also the name of the implacably anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic terrorist group that seeks to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews according to its charter and its actions. This blatant anti-Semitism which comes mostly from the left, has been largely ignored and condoned by the United Nations and the world community, which poses a threat not only to Israel, but to freedom loving people and democracies throughout the world.
Jamas in Spanish means “Never” as in “Never again” should we remain silent to hate and anti-Semitism whether it comes from the left or the right, from our political party or another. As we learn from the story of Noah, silence allows the plague of hate to spread before the truth can put on its jogging shoes. But the story also tells us that any one of us, if we are willing to “Just say Noah” to evil can save the world, or as courageously stated by Malala Yousafzai who risked her life to defy the Taliban, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
Rabbi Barry Silver will offer an inspirational message on the story of Noah and the need to “Just say Noah” to hate and bigotry this Friday night at 7:00 which can be heard at ldorvador.org. He can be reached at Barry@RabbiBarrySilver.com