We sent Shira Feder’s article that is reprinted in this newsletter (Jewish life in 2021: Predictions about the future of politics, culture and anti-Semitism) to a group of people and asked what their predictions were about what life would be like for Americans in general and American Jews specifically in 2021. What follows is an amalgamation of their responses, which are, in a word, pessimistic.
Q. What is your set of predictions for Americans in general and American Jews specifically in 2021?
A. From the point of view of the far right’s assault on our democracy through the Republican party:
1. Despite many arrests of the January 6 insurrectionists, the huge amount of ink spilled on this despicable uprising will only embolden those intent on de-stabilizing our democracy. It will serve better than any recruiting poster.
2. Donald Trump’s failure to acknowledge Joe Biden’s win will continue to be a ‘dog whistle’ to his die-hard loyalists that the election was stolen, and will lead to more ‘January 6 insurrection-like’ events.
3. Popular among right wing nationalists in Weimar Germany after the end of World War was the ‘stab-in-the-back’ legend (Dolchstosslegende) that gave momentum to those who wanted to topple the government. The ‘stolen election of 2020’ falsehood will be elevated to this status.
4. Those Republicans who voted for the second impeachment will have primary challenges from the far right and many will likely lose their seats, thereby cementing a more extreme position of the Republican party.
5. The possibility that members of Congress were, at least tangentially involved in the uprising will embolden more extreme partisans to run for and win on both the state and federal levels.
6. Public manifestations of anti-Semitism will become more common and will be promoted without shame. There is great fear of more violent ‘Pittsburg’ and ‘Poway’ shootings.
A. From the point of view of the far left’s ascendancy on college campuses, the media, and within elements of the Democratic party:
1. Far from being marginalized figures, the ‘squad’ will gain more influence in a government controlled by Democrats and this will manifest itself in a push to demonize and marginalize Israel in American eyes.
2. Despite abject failures of the BDS movement, the noise it creates will continue to harm Jewish students on college campuses, who will be targeted for abuse simply because they are Jewish.
3. Anti-Zionism will become the new calling card of the far left as a means to say that these people are not anti-Semitic, just anti-Israel.
4. The U.S. will re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, once again negotiating as if it were in a position of weakness, as opposed to one in which the U.S. has all the cards. The boycott of Iran will be rescinded, thereby freeing up vast sums for Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and others to wage war against Israel.
5. Jews will continue to be harassed, excluded, and marginalized from panels, marches, and other civil and human rights events due to their ‘whiteness’ and ‘privilege’, which will continue the trend towards de-humanizing Jews, a frightful echo of what went on in Germany in the 1930s.
6. The steady drumbeat of (misrepresented) anti-Israel writing in the major media outlets will lead to a defection of moderate Jewish voters from the Democratic party. (Editor’s note: this response from almost all queried was usually accompanied by a comment that this was part of a longer trend and was not intended to suggest that there would be a major shift in 2021.)