Am I overreacting to think that BYU’s online government class slipped in a gratuitous, classically antisemitic trope about Jews controlling foreign policy?
I’ve written before about BYU’s online high school government class and, frankly, didn’t have much nice to say about it. It’s poorly written, poorly structured, and poorly informed. Thinking about it, that probably makes it the equivalent of an average high school government class.
Today, though, while keeping my Bookworm company, I read language that struck me not just as below average but as wrong. Really wrong.
You guys are my reality checkers. Does the language I’ve highlighted in the following passage from the course’s section on religious diversity constitute important information, random information, or the unnecessary insertion of a classic antisemitic trope?
The so-called “Black Church” (churches comprised primarily of African Americans) has contributed significantly not only to the religious and cultural richness of the United States, but it has also played a central role in the political sphere. Numerous black religious leaders, including the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., have been and continue to be hugely important in numerous civil rights and public policy causes. Meanwhile, Jewish Americans have had significant influence on the United States’ policies in the Middle East, and millions of other religious and nonreligious Americans influence politics and public policy every day in elective office, through participation in the political process and through civic activities in their neighborhoods and communities.
Here’s my take: Jews make up only 2% of the American population. To the extent there used to be unanimous support for Israel across both political parties, that wasn’t driven by this 2%. Instead, it came from (a) anticommunism during the Cold War, because Israel sided with America against the Soviet Union, which backed the Arab states; (b) respect for a beleaguered liberal democracy in a sea of totalitarian theocracies and thugocracies; and (c) an American prophetic Christian belief that Israel is the Jewish land and Jews need to return to that land to initiate the Second Coming. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that America’s conservative Christian community currently loves Israel more and fears Islam more than America’s predominantly Progressive Jewish community does.
My view is that ti’s antisemites, such as Walt and Mearsheimer, who argue that a cabal of evil Jews is directing America’s Middle Eastern foreign policy. For BYU to slip in what I see as a gratuitous remark about Jewish control over foreign policy is a bow to the antisemitic world of Walt and Mearsheimer, and all the others who trail in their wake.
What’s your take? Again, a reality check is always welcome. I’m willing to concede that I’m hypersensitive, but it seems to me that BYU is either careless or worse.