Morris: Liberal Secular Jews Growing Disillusioned with the Left

Pro-Israeli Activists Hold Rally In Chicago
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A deluge of stories and columns have been published throughout Western media with the same refrain over the past week: indifference among those on the left after the barbaric attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians has liberal Jews taking a second look at their political alliances.

The Times of London, the New York Times, Tablet, and the Free Press (founded by former Times editor Bari Weiss) have all, in the past week, featured pieces detailing how secular Jews in the West — generational liberals who were always supportive of myriad social justice causes championed by progressives — are shocked and repulsed by their political “allies'” dismissal of the violence inflicted on their families in Israel by despicable antisemite terrorists.

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Western secular Jews have long been left-wing; their culture is socially liberal, humanist, intellectual, generous, and communal, which has always led them into the arms of various left-wing parties in the countries where they live. They have historically played key roles in civil rights movements, have been some of the most prominent voices for civil liberties, and, more recently, have, by and large, been supportive of the modern iterations of left-wing social movements.

But after October 7, as every Jew in the diaspora went through collective loss, grief, and mourning, Jews watched virtually every left-wing institution and personality either dismiss or justify the atrocities performed by Hamas. They witnessed their people, their families, being raped, kidnapped, mutilated, and murdered in the most sadistic ways they could never imagine, and their left-wing “allies” lining up behind the perpetrators — because “resistance” against “colonialists” and “occupiers” is justified.

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American Jews watched Black Lives Matter release statements in support of Hamas — a genocidal pseudo-government with a stated purpose of murdering every Jew “from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea” — pledging “solidarity” with “resistance” of “57 years of settler colonialism and apartheid.”

American Jews watched climate activist wonderkid Greta Thunberg declare she “[stands] with Gaza,” calling for “an immediate ceasefire, justice, and freedom for Palestinians” while scores of Jewish innocents remain hostage.

American Jews watched A-list celebrity activists bemoan the “bombs [that] have been dropped on Gaza” after reserving comment on the torture of thousands of Jews some days earlier.

American Jews watched schools from the northeast to the west coast hold protests and produce letters exclaiming this atrocity — the pure horror they had just streamed on social media — “didn’t happen in a vacuum.”

American Jews watched their political heroes, like former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden, hurriedly withdraw their initial backing of Israel and shift it over to Gaza — lest “islamophobia” be borne out of Israeli support.

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And now Jews are looking around at all the people they always stood with and realizing, in their moment of tragedy, they are alone. Because Gaza is a bad place to live with an oppressed population, and Israel is a nice place to live with a thriving population— no further analysis, as the myopic and shallow modern leftist ideological binary will not allow for it.

In a story headlined “On Israel, Progressive Jews Feel Abandoned by Their Left-Wing Allies,” the New York Times wrote:

Progressive Jews who have spent years supporting racial equity, gay and transgender rights, abortion rights and other causes on the American left — including opposing Israeli policies in Gaza and the West Bank — are suddenly feeling abandoned by those who they long thought of as allies.

“Many people woke up on October 7 sympathetic to parts of woke ideology and went to bed that evening questioning how they had signed on to a worldview that had nothing to say about the mass rape and murder of innocent people by terrorists,” Konstantin Kisin wrote in a column for the Free Press, continuing:

The reaction to the attacks—from outwardly pro-Hamas protests to the mealy-mouthed statements of college presidents, celebrities, and CEOs—has exploded the comforting stories many on the center-left have told themselves about progressive identity politics.

“It’s terrifying to feel the coldness of one’s friends. You feel the walls closing in, the floor dropping from beneath you,” Boaz Munro wrote in a Tablet column titled “Jews of the Left.” “Every psychological handhold you lean on (‘America is safe,’ ‘Israel is safe,’ ‘the Nazis are dead’) turns to sand, and you fall down.”

“What is clearer than ever is that the governing classes of far too many western institutions want Israel to fail,” Times of London columnist Juliet Samuel mused, adding:

They want it to fail physically, as they state with increasing brazenness. But just as importantly for their fragile worldview, they want it to fail morally. They need this failure because without it, all their nonsensical, convoluted political theories, all the ridiculous victim hierarchies and weird psychological complexes projected on to the world, make no sense and will be revealed as the worthless, nasty nest of guilt and prejudice they really are.

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Thread these columns together, and a story is told of Western Jews realizing that the ideology of the left — fundamentally premised on every interaction being based on a corrupt hierarchy of power and a crusade to rearrange that hierarchy by any means necessary — is not “liberalism” as they knew it. And realizing that this ideological framework is an inhospitable place for a civilization whose history is characterized by thriving in the most hostile environments and making something of themselves despite all odds — the arc of Jews over generations, throughout history, across the world. Now, that triumphant arc, written in the DNA of every Jew, the manifestation of “am yisrael chai,” is oppressive and evil.

Faced with the question of antisemitism on the left in the past, many Jews dismissed the critique because antisemitism has no political ideology. That is true. However, what left-wing Jews are realizing now is that despite antisemitism having no political ideology, the left has embraced, rationalized, and mainstreamed it, whereas the right has marginalized it and advocates policies to curtail its effects.

The mainstream right abides by the values of Enlightenment: it outright rejects collectivism and identity politics; it embraces a culture of individual merit; it promotes American values of tolerance and freedom of expression and association; and perhaps most importantly, it insists on sane border policy that emphasizes discretion based on how newcomers will contribute to society and culture.

Those ideas are no longer found in the mainstream left, as liberal Jews realize their parties would mindlessly reduce everything and everyone to a Marxist model. And now liberal Jews are facing a reckoning with the left and their place in it, as they experience firsthand what they grew up reading from Hannah Arendt:

“Evil comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the banality of evil.”

Emma-Jo Morris is the Politics Editor at Breitbart News. Email her at or follow her on Twitter.


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