Opinion

No, American Jews Should Not Hide Their Stars Of David

   DailyWire.com
Star of David
Nito100 via Getty Images

In recent days, Jewish Americans have been assaulted in broad daylight by supposedly “pro-Palestinian” activists. With easily-identified Jews being targeted, Aaron Keyak, an official of the Biden 2020 presidential campaign, told Jews to hide items such as kippot or Stars of David if they are fearful of falling victim to such attacks.

On Twitter, Keyak wrote, “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.)”

Keyak 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.”

Back in October 2020, Keyak laid the blame for another spike in anti-Semitic attacks at the feet of former President Donald Trump, saying, “We see how Trump has been remarkably weak on anti-Semitism and has endangered Jews by making us all less safe.”

“As a Jew in the United States of America, under Trump, I constantly have to look over my shoulder to see how people are looking at my yarmulke,” Keyak continued. “When do I need to cover it up in fear of my own safety?”

Setting Keyak’s obvious partisanship aside regarding the change in attitude under a Democratic and Republican president, he does raise an important question: when should Jews — or, indeed, any minority — hide who they are?

Such decisions are clearly personal for each individual, based on their own set of priorities and principles, but is there an objective answer here?

It is difficult to even discuss the necessity of “hiding” one’s identity without implying some form of “victim blaming,” in which we hold some culpability for an attack which is “triggered” by our choices.

However, it’s also important to understand that such culpability exists along a spectrum of reasonable defensive action. One extreme end of this spectrum is to live in complete isolation, out of fear of any attack. The other extreme is to exhibit one’s identity while actively seeking out dangerous situations.

In the context of American Jews, the former extreme would involve a form of self-ghettoization, an unacceptable solution for any individual or group. The latter extreme would involve wearing “Jewish symbols” and marching into a meeting of Hamas operatives, another unnecessary risk (despite remaining an invalid reason for any ensuing violence).

Of course, the reality of daily life for American Jews exists between these two extremes. With that in mind, the ultimate decision becomes motivated by certain factors, defined by both religious faith and our rightful membership as part of American society.

  1. The principle of religious freedom in the United States includes the right to display images of one’s faith without fear of reprisal.
  2. Public spaces should carry no increased risk for members of any given faith.
  3. Choosing to ignore (1) or (2) accepts the premise that such threats are somehow a normal aspect of daily and civilized life.

It is one thing to remain wary of your surroundings if you are someone at risk of victimization, but it is another to fundamentally undermine your own religious rights out of fear of a collection of bigots who seek to leverage violence and fear to drive you from your own land.

Rather than accepting the premise of anti-Semitic threats on the streets of America, the Jews who decide to proudly display images of their faith should instead demand that their fellow freedom-loving Americans stand alongside them and protect our collective religious freedom, which made this wonderful country the brightest beacon of liberty in human history.

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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