“We are our choices,”
“Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”
I am not really sure when it happened that an adult is no longer responsible for the choices they make.
In Judaism we are told that we become adults at the age of 13. In modern times 13 has become synonymous with being responsible for your own sins. Basically you are charged with knowing right from wrong and bearing the consequences of your choices.
In secular society the age of majority varies depending upon the action . For some adulthood means being able to drive a car at 16 or 17, being able to vote and contract at 18, being able to buy alcohol at 21. Yes, these age differences may make no sense. But at some point we do become adults in total, and that is when we also need to take stock of what we do and withwhom we associate.
Young adults, scientists tell us, do not have fully developed brains. Somewhere around 25 apparently, the brain molds and meshes so that the adult mind comes into being. Before that, there is unnecessary risk taking, poor choices, and foolish mistakes.
Let’s be honest, choices early on in life may not have been the best that a person makes. I am certain that there are choices we all made during these years that we would really like to forget. No one is without fault or blemish. It is simply part of the human condition.
The question though becomes, at what age in life do we stop forgiving our poor choices? At what age do we require people to adult?
Now it appears that the grown-ass people on the Left of the political spectrum, like Bernie Sanders, are not responsible for those they choose to keep around themselves at any age. They tried that with Corbyn in the UK, and now they are trying it with Sanders. Somehow having his campaign run by BDS supports and his surrogates be abject antisemites, does not mean Bernie, because he is Jewish is an antisemite. Suddenly Bernie likes to call himself proIsrael when he hires people who work towards the goal of ethnically cleansing Israel of her Jews. He also says he can’t be an antisemite because he is a Jew, but is happy to be endorsed by surrogates who traffic in the grossest of antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracies.
An old adage I was taught, is that you will know a person by their friends. If you choose as a friend a bigot. You are a bigot. If you choose as a friend a misogynist. You are a misogynist. if you choose as a friend an antisemite. You are an antisemite. It truly is very simple.
Choice means human autonomy,. No one is forcing Bernie to pick these Jew-haters to run his campaign or represent him. He is making an active, self realizing choice. And why should he not be held to account for this?
If you choose as an adult to fight for a political system that demonizes Jews in general and calls for their eradication from the public sphere, Marxism, you are an antisemite. If as an adult you supported a regime, the USSR, that propagated the lie that Zionism is racism and that Israel is an apartheid state, and is responsible for the modern form of left-wing antisemitism we see today, you are an antisemite. If as an adult you support the persecution of Jews who simply wanted to live as Jews, like the Refuseniks in the USSR you are an antisemite. If as an adult, you choose to associate with people that think Hamas and Hezbollah are good guys, you are an antisemite. If as an adult you hold the world’s only Jewish state to a double standard you are an antisemite. Bernie chose all of the above (without apology) and then some.
In truth what we are seeing here, and it is quite insidious, is the attempt by the Bernie Sanders campaign to change the definition of what it means to be proIsrael, and what it means to be an antisemite. This form of Judenhass is nothing new. Those seeking the destruction of Israel, like to say they are only criticizing the Israeli government. As if crictising any government means you have a right to call for genocide against that nation. Is this how they approach every other nation on the planet? No it is not.
(And just as an aside: The American Nazi David Duke supports BDS. You can think you are Woke, and start as many conversations as you like with declaring your pronouns, but when you are on the same side of a political issue as a Nazi, you are a f**g Nazi.)
Bernie thinks he can tie himself in as many gordian political knots as he likes without suffering repercussions. So far he is right. Unbelievably, he has never been held to account by the American political system for his support of America’s enemies. Moreover, he has lived his life repudiating everything about his Jewish heritage. In fact, until recently, he liked to tell the world his relatives were refugees from Poland, not that they were forced out of Poland because they were Jews. And up until this current political season, he never consistently mentioned that he had family that died in the Holocaust. Now that the Left has decided to equate the refugee camps in the US to Nazi concentration camps, Bernie is all into reminding the electorate of the suffering caused by the Holocaust on his extended family. Suddenly the Holocaust has its advantages for him.
It is his campaign’s mantra, by the way, that since Bernie had family that died in the Holocaust he can’t be an antisemite. His campaign also likes to tell us that he is criticizing Israel because of his love of his Jewish heritage, despite the fact that he has supported every left wing antisemitic regime in the world since he was a young man.
This is beyond cynical. It is quite an example of Orwellian thinking as well. Simply put, it is reprehensible. Gaslighting extraordinaire. Considering Bernie’s past (and present) political affiliations, and who Bernie chooses to have at his side, anointing him as not only the savior of the US, but as the Jewish savior of the Jewish People is revolting.
In the end, if adults are their choices, and we are known by the company we keep, the question is, why isn’t Bernie held to this basic level of adulting? Why are so many bending over backwards to make excuses for him?