Last Monday night/Tuesday, Jews observed (not celebrated) Yom HaShoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day—on the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. After World War Two, Jews insisted, “Never again!” Israel built a military to defend the Jewish State. It’s what’s happening in America that disturbs me.

Carolyn and I didn’t do anything formal for Yom HaShoah. We discuss the Holocaust year-round. We see movies. We read books. I recently finished the 1933 novel “The Oppermanns” by Lion Feuchtwanger about Germany’s early Hitler years and “The Postmistress of Paris” by Meg Waite Clayton, a recent novel about smuggling Jewish refugees out of occupied and Vichy France.

To be clear, the United States isn’t Nazi Germany. But America has a long tradition of anti-Semitism. Given today’s political far-right, I worry that enough Americans won’t stand up and be counted against Christian nationalism and its anti-Semitic views. 

Example: Conservative (anti-Trump) New York Times opinion columnist David French, in “How Tennessee Illustrates the Three Rules of MAGA” (April 13), cited “National Conservatism: A Statement of Principles” by members of the Edmund Burke Foundation: 

“Where a Christian majority exists, public life should be rooted in Christianity and its moral vision, which should be honored by the state and other institutions both public and private. At the same time, Jews and other religious minorities are to be protected in the observance of their own traditions . . . in all matters pertaining to the rearing and education of their children. Adult individuals should be protected from religious or ideological coercion in their private lives and in their homes.”

Take a moment. Like dhimmis (non-Muslim monotheists) in Muslim lands, Jews would be relegated to second-class citizenship. Christians make the laws? Jewish law permits abortion when a mother’s health or life is threatened. Christian legislatures banning abortion take a position that supersedes Jewish law. 

Do the statement’s signers really believe their religio-political philosophy will allow Jews, Muslims and others to retain equal footing in America’s affairs? If you need convincing, look to one of the nation’s biggest political disgraces, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R.–Ga.). 

In a tweet, Greene defended the alleged leaker of classified documents Jake Texeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman. Her justification: “Jake Texeira is white, male, Christian, and antiwar. That makes him an enemy of the Biden regime.”


Greene believes that Biden and Democrats represent much of the world’s evil—although Biden is a Christian. Then again, Biden’s Catholic. Greene finds Texeira justified because he is white, male and Christian. Anti-war? He’s military. Further, most Americans support Ukraine’s defense against Russia. Only a handful of Special Forces are reported on the ground there. Ukrainians do the dying. After Afghanistan and Iraq—a few troops combat ISIS in Syria—few Americans hanker for war.

Question: If a Jew—perhaps Black and female—had stolen and published those top-secret documents, would Greene have defended her?

Greene lives on a fringe that’s disturbingly large. Witness the 74 million votes (not all from the fringe) in 2020 for Donald Trump, the sitting President, who stated of the white-supremacist, anti-Semitic 2017 march in Charlottesville, Virginia: “There were good people on both sides.”

The black smoke that ascended from the crematoria in Europe eighty years ago warns Americans today. Don’t look at the U.S.A. through rose-colored glasses.

My new novel, The Short (Pun Intended) Redemptive Life of Little Ned, is now available in softcover or e-book from Amazonbarnesandnoble.com, and iuniverse.com. Or order from your favorite bookstore.

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  1. David Newman on April 21, 2023 at 11:59 am

    That was bracing! The recent spate of anti-antisemitism and anti-hate billboards and PSAs gives me some hope that there is a strengthening counter-movement to the Christian ethno-nationalist tide. The notion that America was founded on “Christian” principles belies the actual history. The founders had recent historical memory of the impact of attempts to create national religions — the Cromwell revolution in England, France’s religious wars, the expulsion of the French Huguenots from Nova Scotia. While most of them professed an adherence to Christianity, many were pretty agnostic or humanistic, and references to “endowed by their Creator…” are probably more an attempt to use the language that most people would have found comfortable than an actual profession of belief.

    One response is for Jews, Muslims and other members of minority religions to stand up proudly for who they are, asserting the right to define their own identities, including their religion and culture as well as their status as full-fledged Americans. We should not be tolerated or protected by the Christian majority, nor relegated to being some sort of second-class others. We are co-equal threads of the American tapestry. Nothing less is acceptable.

    • David Perlstein on April 21, 2023 at 12:16 pm

      One word, David: Amen!

  2. JEAN WRIGHT on April 21, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    It is insidious Christianity coopting the public that worries me. Christmas trees and carols throughout our political, social and economic environments, bunnies and egg tosses celebrated as the absolute norm, Passover and Ramadan as an afterthought. This is the boiled frog syndrome, and we Jews are in that pot. We all need to be aware and vocal.

    • David Perlstein on April 21, 2023 at 1:45 pm

      I agree, Jean.

  3. Sandy Lipkowitz on April 21, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    No Majority should be in total control. There should always be protections for all to be equal under the law. Israel needs to get on board with that too. I fear the same thing is happening there but in reverse. Jews are superior to other minorities. Of all people we should know better.

    • David Perlstein on April 21, 2023 at 3:39 pm

      We should know better, Sandy. In America, too many—hardly all— haven’t a clue. Sadly, many on the far-right who do know better pander to “the base.”

  4. RONALD EATON on April 21, 2023 at 3:45 pm

    David, Your statement, “Christian legislatures banning abortion take a position that supersedes Jewish law.” is first of all non-sensical and secondly hardly unprecedented. First of all, there is no Christian legislature in this country. There are certainly legislatures in which Christians are no doubt the majority, but many legislatures probably contain a fair amount of skeptics, non-believers, and religious minorities. And given that this is a still a majority Christian country, what else could one expect? A majority Buddhist or Sikh legislature? Secondly, there is nothing illegitimate, per se, in secular law overriding religious law. It is done all the time. Moslems and certain Mormon sects may not legally practice polygamy. The government will give Jehovah’s Witness children blood transfusions against their parents’ wishes. Christian fundamentalist parents who practice only faith healing may see their children captured and given medical treatment and find themselves criminally prosecuted. The society would not permit a religious group to refuse to let girls be educated. We don’t tolerate Female Genital Mutilation. No matter how ferverently a believer in reincartion believes that the hadicapped are unclean, he may not refuse to serve them in his store. You seem to be saying—although not explicitely—that abortion restriction is in itself anti-semitic. So what is a society which wishes to restrict abortion to do? I see only three paths, two universalist and one confessional. The society may generally restrict abortions, Jews included; it may defer to Jewish sensibilities and pass no abortion restrictions, allowing the Jewish minority to determine abortion law for the whole population; or it may take the confessional path and make a carve-out for Jews, allowing them but no one else to practice abortion. Our country has, wisely I think, with a few exceptions (the Amish and Quaker pacifists come to mind) refrained from confessional legislating. I don’t think that we want one law for Christians, another for Jews, another for Moslems, etc. That really is a recipe for gradations of citizenship.

    • David Perlstein on April 21, 2023 at 3:52 pm

      On abortion, Ron, how about leaving that to the individual woman? Permitting abortion is not the same as mandating it. As to the argument you present, I’m glad you’ve placed it here for others to consider. We’ve discussed this ad nauseam, so I’ll leave it that.

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