Inside or Out: Are Jews part of the American power elite or a vulnerable minority – Self-defense and the battle for rights

27 Sep, 2016

Much of the organizational structure of American Jewry reflects an historical preoccupation with self-defense and the dangers of anti-Semitism in the U.S. or abroad. The majority of Jews seem to see this as a valued mission while a vocal and growing minority attack what they claim is an unnecessary preoccupation with the Jewish defense business. An increasing percentage of Jews are not so interested in Jewish defense at all. Yet, the summer 2014 events in Israel and Gaza brought up many of the dormant questions of anti-Semitism as we viewed ugly incidents in Europe and Australia.

  1. In a society where race and immigrant status rather than religion often seems to be the dividing line, what role should self-defense play as a Jewish concern in the U.S.?
  2. What are the costs and benefits of communal resources being directed toward battling anti-Semitism?
  3. As Jewish leaders how do we address the disappearing lines separating anti-Israel and anti-Jewish attacks?