Editorial: Antisemitism has to be called out wherever and whenever it shows up.
It was a pleasure reading the column by Rabbi Pinchas Gold of Yeshiva University titled “If Only I Had The Opportunity to Talk to President Trump” published in the Washington Post on March 20, 2019. Rabbi Gold’s column was based on an interview he recently had with Trump, who had not yet met the man. Gold is highly regarded and respected in the community, while Trump is not. Gold is a man of integrity, while Trump has repeatedly engaged in scandalous behavior in the past, and, as revealed below, may be involved in further scandalous behavior in the future.
Gold is a long-time and well-respected activist in the Jewish community. This is evident by the fact that despite his status in the community, his views do not always find a sympathetic reception among the mainstream. He has been a leader in the community’s efforts to combat antisemitism and support Israel. He has been an outspoken critic of the boycott against the Jewish state. He has also been outspoken in his support of the Palestinians and the boycott that seeks to end the state of Israel. He has publicly questioned the morality of the BDS movement. And he has challenged the notion that Jewish life is not worth defending.
Nevertheless, Gold’s support for BDS and his defense of Israel do not automatically make him a pro-Israel activist. As one who has spent a lifetime defending Israel from the efforts of antisemitism, I think it is important to distinguish between Gold’s defense of Israel and his support for BDS, and which do not necessarily go hand in hand. As I will explore below, there is clear overlap in many of Gold’s positions, and I would argue that they both amount to the same thing.
Rabbi Gold’s support for BDS is based on his concerns for the safety and security of Jews in the country of Israel. Unlike many of the public Jews who support the BDS movement, Gold understands that anti-Zionist Jewish Americans are a real danger. He believes that the BDS movement, which uses false claims of Jewish power, money and privilege to advance an anti-Jewish agenda, can’t be trusted and is likely to threaten the safety of Jewish communities. He believes that anti-Zionist Jewish activists are likely to cause harm to the public good and to the Jews — in the form of