The Corner

Education

Randi Weingarten Knows Nothing about Jewish Values

(diane39/Getty Images)

Randi Weingarten is the president of the powerful American Federation of Teachers, a nationwide teachers’ union. When Jewish Telegraphic Agency recently asked her if she had a specific message for American Jews who have criticized her stance on school openings – which she often lies is a right-wing grievance – she answered like so:

American Jews are now part of the ownership class. What I hear when I hear that question is that those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.

Weingarten’s rhetoric immediately reminded me of Karl Marx’s anti-Semitic diatribe, “On the Jewish Question,” where the infamous crackpot argued that the “secret” of the Jew is to accumulate wealth for “practical need,” “self-interest,” and “huckstering.”

Weingarten combines two contemporary progressive doctrines, class and race struggle, to level her smear. There is not a single person who has even a mild acquaintance with American Jewry that would believe they are trying to take away “the ladder of opportunity” from others.

This brand of anti-Semitic rhetoric has been a growing feature within the progressive Left – which spends its days seeking out minor, often imaginary, thoughtcrimes. These are almost always rationalized and ignored. The fact is that not a single conservative would survive in public life after contending that the Jewish “ownership class” is working to stop the advancement of the less fortunate.

It’s one thing to regurgitate Marx’s theories on Jews, but unbelievably, she tries to create the impression that her ancient smear is actually a “Jewish value” itself.

Here, JTA gives Weingarten, who is Jewish, cover:

Weingarten, 63, knows to whom she speaks. She’s been married since 2018 to Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, a Manhattan synagogue serving the LGBTQ community, and grounds her advocacy in Jewish values.

This is one of the prices American Jews pay for replacing traditional ideas about faith and culture with vacuous leftist sloganeering and Marxist economic gibberish. Every left-wing cause is now a “Jewish value.” There is no Jewish value that tells us to undermine the ability of parents to choose where their kids learn. There is no Jewish value that tells us to keep poor minority kids stuck in failing schools. Nothing in the Mishna (that is, if the Congregation Beit Simchat Torah still deems the antiquated text worthy of reading) says that moms should be forced to stay home and watch their kids even though there is little risk to their getting sick in school.

Those are the teachers’-union values. And teachers’ unions are perhaps the most destructive force in American life. Their monopoly on state-run education has fueled two of the most injurious trends in our society: They disconnect our kids from long-held communal American values and, more than any group in the country, they’ve preserved educational inequalities among minorities and the poor. It’s not white supremacists who are responsible for school segregation today, it’s anti-choice teachers’ unions. And we have yet to find out what long-term damage they’ve inflicted on our kids during the pandemic by refusing to open schools.

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