I don’t know what is worse about Talia Lavin‘s article calling me a Trump Jew: is it her blatant McCarthyism or her insistence that Jews behave like “guests” in an alien country?
Let’s begin with her mendacious McCarthyism: I am not a Trump Jew. I voted, campaigned and contributed against Trump and for Hillary Clinton. I have criticized many of Trump’s policies and statements. I am not his lawyer. I have never provided him with “legal advice.”
I am doing what the ACLU is failing to do: defending the constitutional rights of all Americans, including this president’s. I would be doing the same thing had Hillary Clinton been elected President and Republicans were trying to “lock her up.”
When, as a student at Brooklyn College, I defended the right of Communists to speak, McCarthyists called me a “Communist Jew.” When I defended the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, McCarthyists called me a “Nazi Jew.” When I defended unpopular criminal defendants, McCarthyists said I was a Jew who was complicit in murder. Associating an advocate of civil liberties with those whose liberties he advocates is the worst kind of McCarthyism.
What is even more disturbing is her shanda fur di goyim mentality based on her father’s belief that “you’re just a guest in America.”
In my book “Chutzpah,” written over 25 years ago, I lament the fact that many American Jews still regard themselves “as second-class citizens – as guests in another people’s land. [They] obsess about what the “real” Americans will think of [them]”… and “don’t accept that we are entitled to first-class status in this diverse and heterogeneous democracy.” Lavin seems to believe that Jews in America do not have first class citizenship. In her America, Jews are not allowed to be supportive of a President or the Party of which she (and I) disapprove. Lavin even goes so far to suggest their “herem – expulsion from the fold.”
I will not allow Lavin to define what it means to be an American or a Jew. Although I have been a lifelong Democrat, I would never want to live in a country where Jews cannot be supportive of any political candidate or party they choose. That’s what it means to have equal citizenship under the law, something Lavin seems to deny those Jews, who make her “experience a cringing sense of shame.”
It is important that Israel remain a bipartisan issue, and this requires that Jews remain free to support any party or candidate of their choice without fear of offending our “hosts” or of being placed in “herem” by our fellow “guests.”
Of course there are neo-Nazis in America today who would explicitly deny Jews the right to equal citizenship. Ironically, Lavin seems to be adopting language similar to that of Der Stürmer, when she writes that “Trump has a tendency to surround himself with badly behaved Jews,” making their Jewishness, no matter how significant or insignificant in their lives, their primary identifier.
As a first-class American and no one’s “guest,” I will act no differently from other Americans. I will continue to advocate what I believe, regardless of what “di goyim” or fearful Jewish “guests” like Lavin think.
Alan Dershowitz’s latest book is “The Case Against BDS: Why singling our Israel for boycott is anti-Semitic and anti-peace”.