Alone as a Jew in Today’s World
Chuck Schumer defined for me what I’ve been feeling since October 7th—alone.
Not in the everyday sense of not having folks I care for, work with, say hi to on the elevator suddenly disappear. It’s in the deafening silence of those in the progressive, LGBTQ and feminist communities, whose voices have not risen up to say NO to the rising anti-Semitism that has defined the reality of Jews across our country since the attacks.
Let me be clear—I don’t support the Netanyahu government in Israel. But, I do support Israel’s right to exist. I also support a two-state solution—seemingly more elusive than ever.
What I don’t support is terrorism and that’s what happened in Israel on October 7th. This wasn’t freedom fighting. This wasn’t righteous justice. This was using rape and sexual assault as a weapon of war. This was the indiscriminate killing of women, children, babies, the elderly . . . this was a war crime.
When September 11th happened, the vast majority of us—on the right and the left—came together to support one another. It was probably one of the last times that all members of the House and Senate came together—remember them all singing America the Beautiful on the steps of the Capitol? Collectively, we understood smashing planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon was an act of terrorism. It was a deadly day.
October 7th was a deadly day too. At first, there was a collective gasp—how could this happen? It was the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.
But as facts rolled in and Israel began to defend itself, that gasp turned into screams against Israel, against its right to exist and against Jews.
Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest hates we have. The other is misogyny.
As a kid growing up in a culturally-Jewish but not religious home on Long Island, my mother—whose best friend growing up was an Italian Catholic—would say to me, “no matter what, they’ll always hate us.” I got it but didn’t want to. Those words have stayed with me my whole life and now I see it playing out most loudly in the complicit silence of the left. Or, it’s not so silent, overt anti-Semitism. The use of swastikas to depict Israel fighting back. The anti-Semitic tropes that Jews control the world, that we only care about ourselves and money. That we’re dirty Jews.
Where are the progressives, the LGBTQ and feminist communities when Jewish kids are threatened on college campuses? Where are they when anti-Semitic graffiti is spray painted on synagogues and other Jewish institutions? Where are they when rape is proudly used by Hamas as a weapon of war?
Jews have been the backbone of the progressive, LGBTQ and feminist movements. We have stood side by side with labor, with people of color, with the oppressed—because we know what oppression and genocide means. We’ve lived it for thousands of years. But, recent events have left us without the allies we expected. These events have left us, as Chuck Schumer said in his speech before the Senate, ALONE.
Those of you who know me, know I’m not interested in your pity. I’m interested in your action. I’m interested in your self-reflection and taking responsibility for your silence and inaction. I’m interested in your voice joining mine to say Never Again.
Libby Post is the President of Communication Services, a boutique political communications firm that specializes in public affairs, lobbying and advocacy campaign. She is also the managing partner of Progressive Elections, an Albany-based political consulting firm that works for pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights candidates. She has a long history as an advocate and activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.