Last week, in the face of numerous attacks against Jews around America by supporters of the Palestinians, an official of the Biden 2020 presidential campaign tweeted that Jews should take off items that publicly identified them as Jews, such as kippot or Stars of David, if they were in fear from those threatening them.
Aaron Keyak, whose Twitter and LinkedIn bio explain that he “led Jewish engagement for the Biden-Harris campaign and transition,” wrote, “It pains me to say this, but if you fear for your physical safety take off your kippah and hide your magen david. Obviously, if you can, ask your rabbi first.”
He added, “It’s important that those who wear kippot don’t feel more pressure to put our lives in unnecessary actual danger — especially when actions are attempting to be grounded in halacha. Given the rise in Jew hatred and antisemitic attacks, we must stand with all Jews.”
It pains me to say this, but if you fear for your life or physical safety take off your kippah and hide your magen david. (Obviously, if you can, ask your rabbi first.) https://t.co/Dca2hpfY2s @shirahanau @BenjaminSales
— Aaron Keyak (@akeyak) May 21, 2021
It’s important that those who wear kippot don’t feel more pressure to put our lives in unnecessary actual danger — especially when actions are attempting to be grounded in halacha.
Given the rise in Jew hatred and antisemitic attacks, we must stand with all Jews.
— Aaron Keyak (@akeyak) May 25, 2021
Keyak defended his remarks by noting that the idea of Jews hiding their identity has been discussed for centuries:
Rabbi @asherlopatin: "One of the most basic principles in Jewish law is that human life comes first. Almost any religious commandment can be broken in order to save the life of a human being. While the Torah goes to great lengths to tell us how important some of the …
— Aaron Keyak (@akeyak) May 25, 2021
"Our tradition just cannot conceive of it in a normal world. … Meiri understood that pikuach nefesh is not a loophole. It is a way to view the sanctity of human life as central to our tradition, our society and our commandments."https://t.co/yWXeUgusGI @jewlearn
— Aaron Keyak (@akeyak) May 25, 2021
But many Jews hotly disagreed with Keyak’s take:
It pains me to say this , but you sound docile and submissive
— Eli Neuberger (@thevoos) May 25, 2021
Why won’t Biden ask his supporters to stop kicking the shit out of Jews? He doesn’t want to offend the Jihad Squad and the Hamas Caucus? What would you say if Trump supporters were assaulting Jews and a Trump campaign staffer told Jews to hide their religion? You’re a coward.
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) May 26, 2021
This you? pic.twitter.com/uHKV8C0SB6
— Jeremy Rovinsky (@RovinskyLaw) May 26, 2021
Actually, the opposite. I went shopping to find a new Magen David charm today. Couldn’t find one but I plan to have a new one soon, and will wear proudly. Shabbat shalom.
— Risa A Levine (@risal770) May 21, 2021
Maybe we should just shuffle like lambs to the slaughter too. I'm religious and will always appear Jewish in my skirt and long sleeves. Better if we could rely on our govt to protect its citizens as it's charged to do – oh wait,that was thrown out the window summer 2020.
— Ravin' Maven (@GoldsteinRBG) May 25, 2021
In July 2020, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Keyak, in the process taking former President Trump’s words out of context regarding the Charlottesville 2017 rally:
“That the most powerful person on Earth would say there are fine people on both sides, and to embolden that hatred, made me feel unsafe in my own country,” Keyak said. “I’m sure he inspired these anti-Semites to feel encouraged. He exposed how fundamentally dangerous he was and remains.”
Keyak contrasts Trump with Biden, stressing what he called “the fundamental sense of decency [Biden] emanates. There are Trump supporters in the Jewish community, and they will have a well-funded effort we will have to combat.”
Keyak stated of Biden, “During the Obama years, I got to know Joe Biden. I’ve seen him in big public events, in smaller events, celebrating Rosh Hashanah at the vice president’s residence. It’s so obvious the genuine connection and understanding he has of the Jewish community. You can tell he gets it in his kishkes.”
As The Daily Wire reported, the Obama administration was infamous for leaking sensitive information about Israel:
In 2020, John Perazzo delineated how often the Obama-Biden administration had leaked information about Israel between 2010 and 2015. In 2010, the Obama-Biden administration, eager to protect Iran, leaked information about a secret deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia in which the Saudis agreed to let Israel use their airspace in the event of an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. On March 22, 2012, the Obama-Biden administration leaked to The New York Times the results of a classified war game. Institute for National Security Studies analyst Yoel Guzansky said of the leak, “It seems like a big campaign to prevent Israel from attacking. I think the [Obama-Biden] administration is really worried Jerusalem will attack and attack soon. They’re trying hard to prevent it in so many ways.”
Israel defense commentator Ron Ben-Yishai wrote in May 2012 that the leaks would “make it more difficult for Israeli decision-makers to order the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] to carry out a strike, and what’s even graver, [would] erode the IDF’s capacity to launch such strike with minimal casualties.”
In April 2012, The New Yorker reported that the Obama-Biden administration leaked information that the Israeli Mossad was funding and training the Iranian opposition group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK). Perazzo noted, “This revelation was intended to portray Israel as being unwilling to negotiate in good faith with the government in Tehran, and to thereby undermine any moral authority that Israel might claim in the event of a future military strike against Iran.”
Perazzo continued: “In early May 2013, two Obama-Biden administration officials leaked classified information to the media indicating that Israel was behind a May 3 airstrike against a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles at the airport in Damascus, Syria. Israeli security analysts said that the leak could not only endanger any Israeli agents who were still on the ground in Syria, but could also increase the likelihood that Syrian President Bashar Assad would retaliate against the Jewish state. Again, the purpose of the leak was to paint Israel as an unnecessarily aggressive, bellicose nation.”
In November 2013 an Obama-Biden administration official leaked to CNN that a Syrian base inLatakia which held Russian-made mobile missile systems that could have been given to the terrorist group Hezbollah had been attacked by Israel warplanes. Perazzo pointed out, “Israeli officials called the leak ‘scandalous’ and ‘unthinkable.’”
In January 2015, the Obama-Biden administration leaked information alleging that an anonymous Mossad official had opposed sanctions on Iran. Within hours, the official, the Mossad’s Tamir Pardo responded, “Contrary to what has been reported, the head of the Mossad did not say that he opposes imposing additional sanctions on Iran…. Regarding the reported reference to ‘throwing a grenade,’ the head of the Mossad did not use this expression regarding the imposition of sanctions, which he believes to be the sticks necessary for reaching a good deal with Iran. He used this expression as a metaphor to describe the possibility of creating a temporary crisis in the negotiations, at the end of which talks would resume under improved conditions.”