First of all, I want to explain the title of this and similar posts.
As Jews, we are instinctively defensive. History has given us plenty of cause to be wary. Current events, such as the President Drumpf’s failure to mention Jews in the Holocaust are not very reassuring. We have a general feeling of being exposed and vulnerable. Remember the scene in “Annie Hall” where Woody Allen’s character goes to visit Diane Keaton’s family? If you don’t. . .
The corollary to this is the collective belief that, ultimately, that we are responsible for our own survival and well-being. Assimilation with the dominant culture will not protect us. Institutions and laws will protect us, but only up to a limit.
Add to that the tendency of a minority to either feel collective guilt or feel that collective guilt is being put upon the entire minority. Do you worry whether or not your state was on the right side of the Civil War, even though your great-great grandparents were still stuck in European ghettos? When Bernie Madoff was arrested, did part of you say, “Aw shit, did he have to be Jewish?”
So no, it’s not my responsibility, it’s not my fault, it shouldn’t reflect anything on me or any other Jew that Jared Kushner is one of Drumpf’s closest advisors. It shouldn’t reflect on me that his multi-millionaire father engaged in fraud and witness intimidation. It shouldn’t say anything bad about any of us that Kushner had Chris Christie sacked for doing his job as New Jersey Attorney General and sending his dad to prison.
But we feel like it does. And in the minds of many others, it does. When a member of a minority does something we don’t like, there is a tendency of too many in the population to attribute collective blame to the entire group.