Former New York Times editor Bari Weiss recently lauded the initiative of a Jewish American man to move to Israel from the US.
Blake Flayton was a student at George Washington University (GWU) – the same school where a drunk female student was caught on video in 2019 saying, “We’re going to bomb Israel, you Jewish pieces of s–t.” That same year, Flayton sent a letter to Weiss after reading her book How to Fight Antisemitism because he wanted to tell her “more about the atmosphere he was facing as a pro-Israel, gay, progressive on campus.”
Weiss, who also served as an editor at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), said that Flayton was “exactly who I wrote my book for.”
Before her highly publicized resignation, Weiss was considered among the few centrist voices at NYT. She said that she faced bullying at the paper for her views adding that the free exchange of ideas on the opinion pages was now dead. She said that the search for truth has been replaced by “orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.”
In another op-ed published several months later, Flayton revealed some insight into Jewish life at American college campuses and the disturbing dilemma they face, which Weiss paraphrased: “disavow Israel or be cast out from the right-side-of-history crowd.” Although most choose the former, Weiss seemed impressed that Flayton chose the latter. According to Weiss, Flayton suffered all sorts of social consequences that go along with that decision.
But instead of waiting for the ADL, the Jewish Federation, or any other organizations claiming to fight antisemitism on campus to come up with a solution, Flayton decided to take matters into his own hands. He planned to move to Israel.
In a recent piece Flayton authored, he described a long list of harrowing incidences of antisemitism on campuses across the US. It included his experience of being called “Yahud” (Arabic for Jew) when wearing a kippah following a Shabbat dinner while being blamed for starting the covid pandemic. This event, along with the others he highlighted, inspired Flayon to relocate to the Jewish State.
“In the face of all of this, the thought of moving to Israel became an idea that wouldn’t go away—a conversation I kept having,” he wrote. Announcing his intention to move to Israel, Flayton said: “When I get to Israel three weeks from tomorrow, I’m putting my luggage away. I’ll be done wandering, and I’ll be done asking other people to accept my Jewishness and my Zionism. I’ll be home.”
Weiss commended his move, writing: “What inspires me about Blake and his circle of young American Jews is that they aren’t waiting for the grown-ups to make things right. They’re building a new future all by themselves. For some, that means doing something they never imagined they would do: leaving America to start new lives in Israel.”