It’s been a long week, especially for those of us who became obsessed with the Reddit Revolution over GameStop. I was going to wait to send this item out on Monday, along with a New York Post column set to run that day. But when a friend is smeared one shouldn’t wait a moment to speak out in her defense.
You all know that I’ve already been critical of the barely-a-week-old Biden administration and how it — like so many institutions — fails to stand up to the illiberal left. But Biden and his team deserve praise for the way they handled the spurious attacks this week on a woman named Anne Neuberger.
Who is Anne Neuberger? She is a career national security official who has led cybersecurity at the NSA and was recently appointed to the Biden administration’s National Security Council. She’s one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met — kind, brilliant, and a natural leader — the type of person you want running things.
She’s also an orthodox Jew and the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. NPR covered her background in 2015:
As a girl, Anne Neuberger went by her Hebrew name, “Chani.” She grew up in a Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., largely segregated from the secular world. She spoke Yiddish at home and attended an all-girls Jewish school, where half the day was devoted to religious instruction.
Only in America does the Orthodox, Yiddish-speaking granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, child of a refugee from Europe, become the nation’s top national cybersecurity official. Not only is she the first woman to hold this position, she’s the first person to hold it at all.
At the NSA, she worked under Republican and Democratic administrations. She’s a total professional, and one of the very few in America qualified for the job. The fact that you likely don’t know her name speaks to her modesty.
On Wednesday, Mother Jones and NBC ran hit pieces on Neuberger, which left readers with the unmistakable impression that her loyalty to America should be questioned. (NBC has since retracted its piece). The basis of their smear is that Anne and her husband had been philanthropists, through a family foundation, to Jewish causes in Baltimore, Md., and to various national Jewish organizations.
Among the organizations that the Yehuda and Anne Neuberger Foundation has supported is AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel organization that seeks to strengthen ties between America and Israel. It does this as Americans, for Americans, on consensus U.S. politics, and there’s nothing wrong with it in the least.
Mother Jones, parroting the age-old canards about Jews in government, suggests that there’s reason to suspect Neuberger’s loyalty to America. Of course there isn’t. But the magazine printed the following quote from its unnamed sources who: “point out that the Israeli government does maintain an aggressive campaign of espionage against the United States and has a deep interest in US cyber policy.”
This is a charge — the insinuation of dual loyalty or espionage — that Jews in American government have faced for decades and that Jews have faced wherever we have lived for thousands of years. It’s disgusting and beneath even Mother Jones. (NBC, remember, chose to retract.)
Instead of entertaining the absurd, the Biden administration, through spokesperson Emily Horne, shot down this story for what it is: Dreck.
Good for the Biden administration. They are lucky to have Anne Neuberger. So are we.
What flavor of Jew-hatred should we be the most worried about? It’s a question I’m often asked. This week in America offered us a real pu pu platter.
The most viral of these stories was surely that of newly elected congresswoman, Majorie Taylor Greene, who has never met a conspiracy theory she didn’t like. Jonathan Chait has a list of some of them here. No surprise, QAnon and “Zionist supremacists” who are opening Europe’s borders to Muslims (this is the Great Replacement theory) are among them. But the one that I was not expecting: she blamed wildfires on a Jewish space laser. Cue the memes.
Should we be worried about the fact that this woman is now a sitting representative in Congress? Yes. Yes, we should. Same goes for Lauren Boebert of Colorado who this week decided to use her considerable public platform to troll Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg.
But the story that scared me more than Greene’s captive mind concerns the minds of millions of children the most populous state in the country.
Perhaps you have heard a bit about California’s Ethnic Studies curriculum and how it frames Jews as privileged oppressors. I knew it was bad. It is much, much worse, as Emily Benedek reports in Tablet.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s speechwriter, Clarence B. Jones, also weighed in with “a plea for moral reasoning and decency” in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom. He says that the mandatory curriculum perpetrates a “perversion of history.” Read the whole thing.
Thank God it’s Shabbat. I’m planning to make a decadent breakfast for Nellie and to read David Baddiel’s new book. Looks uplifting, right? (I kid! Or else I’d cry!)
See you Monday with a column I’m excited to share.