When a Jewish Teacher Union Bigwig Maliciously Scapegoats Jews

Randi Weingarten, leader of the AFT (American Federation of Teachers union) has made a malicious smear against the Jewish community that would normally be characterized as anti-Semitic, but it may get a pass because she happens to be Jewish. 

She was asked a very appropriate question: "Why are the teachers across the nation in major cities still refusing to go back and teach children in the classroom in public schools?"  Instead of acknowledging the problem, she strangely shifted into a tirade against the Jewish community.  She castigated Jews by saying, "American Jews are part of the ownership class ... who now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it."  She took legitimate criticism of her union's refusal to go back to work as a prompt to demonize the Jewish community.  Historically, this was labeled "scapegoating."  Scapegoating is the practice of dodging and deflecting a legitimate concern by parlaying each issue against the Jewish people or the hard-work result of Jewish financial success and ownership.

Ms. Weingarten is tragically another example of someone denouncing her own people and inciting others against Jews in order to be the darling of the left, thereby climbing the ladder of political power.  She understands that today, power in leftist and minority circles is achieved by those who blame Jews.  This has become the left-wing formula.

If anything, those from the Jewish community, who have been critical of teachers being the last holdouts to return to work while still drawing their salary and full benefits, are acting as plaintiffs for the students in public school who will fall behind as a consequence of their school activities being shelved.  Indeed, they've been acting to keep the rungs of the ladder intact.  Thus, one would think there would be significant blowback from the "race police" against Weingarten's obvious smear of Jews.

But it has not happened.  That is because the laws of "wokeness" on behalf all minorities do not include Jews.  Jews have been excluded from the victimization monopoly; they are not in the pecking order.  You can say anything you want against Jews, just as with whites and Christians, if the accusations can be parlayed into an indictment against those pre-perceived as oppressors of the intersectional officialdom.  No doubt, as part of the "ownership class," Jews are not victims...even when they are.  It's similar to how, conversely, LeBron James is not part of the ownership class, even though he is.

Even more awkward is the silence among the establishment Jewish organizations, those normally entrusted to defend Jews against malicious and false smears intended to incite.  Part of the silence is because Weingarten is a card-carrying member of Jewish left-wing politics that most of these organizations admire.  She is a darling and big-time operative in the Democrat party and personal friend of the biggest names in the Democrat ruling class.  They protect their own first.

Also, by invoking class struggle — "ownership class" — Weingarten gets a free pass as a child of the class-struggle ideology dear to the hearts of so many Jews raised in the mindset and teachings of the left-wing New School of Social Research in Greenwich Village.

Disturbingly, the most prominent reason for silence is that in today's left-wing woke Jewish community, defending Jewish interests has become secondary to advancing the woke cause.  Worse, defending Israel or Jewish interests is considered tawdry, tribal.  For instance, establishment Jewish organizations here in America have not vigorously or even openly condemned attacks in Brooklyn and Manhattan against Jews when those attacks were perpetrated by blacks, Muslims or hispanics.  Wokeness supersedes all, even physical Jewish security.

So obsequious to wokeness are many progressive Jews nowadays that the very purpose of American Jewishness is to sacrifice itself on the altar of woke social justice.  It's head-spinning how, for leftist rabbis, to be Jewish is to, in principle, continually castigate Israel on behalf of the Muslim Palestinian cause and to indict Jews, as Weingarten did, to promote the goals of Black Lives Matter or other minority causes.  In short, one shows Jewishness today precisely by condemning Israel and condemning Jews for caring about Jews.  Yes, this is sick stuff — the stuff of people so uninterested in the organic value of Torah observance and Jewish peoplehood as an imperative unto itself that Jewish is no longer about Judaism.

Very often today, the big-time wealthy on the left and in Hollywood condemn capitalism and "ownership" and scold us for not being "inclusive."  They do this from their guarded high-rise apartment buildings and gated mansions.  Their scolding us regulars frees them from the spotlight of being so very rich and exclusive.  Living like a capitalist while preaching socialism and Marxism is their shield of protection — as if to say to the angry masses: Gee, we wish we didn't have all this capitalist wealth.

It turns out the matron of scolding against "ownership", Randi Weingarten, just so happens to have lived in East Hampton, the toniest of America's towns, and in glitzy and fashionable digs in Manhattan.  For many years, she earned above $600,000.  Just sayin'.

Rabbi Spero is president of the Conference of Jewish Affairs and author of Push Back: The Battle to Save America's Judeo-Christian Heritage.

Image: US Department of Education via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

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