Four questions for Jewish Trump supporters

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Donald Trump. Credit: Albert H. Teich, via Shutterstock

Donald Trump. Credit: Albert H. Teich, via Shutterstock

Some of my best friends are Republicans. Jewish Republicans.

I cherish our friendship, even and especially when we do not agree on political issues.

This is what I want to say to my Jewish Republican friends: For the sake of our friendship, and for the sake of the Republican party, and for the sake of the United States of America, I wish that you had better presidential choices.

Donald Trump. Credit: Albert H. Teich, via Shutterstock

Donald Trump. Credit: Albert H. Teich, via Shutterstock

You deserve them; your party deserves them, and America deserves them.

That being said, as it appears that Donald Trump might very well be the Republican presidential nominee, I wonder if Jewish Republicans will support Trump’s candidacy.

I have have four questions for Jews who are faced with the possibility of voting for Donald Trump:

Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke has said: “Voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.”

The American National Super PAC, a white supremacist super PAC, has been using a robocall to drum up support for Trump. In the message, white nationalist American Freedom Party leader William Johnson says: “The white race is dying out in America because we are afraid to be called ‘racist.’”

In the 2008 campaign, When Senator John McCain detected bigotry in his campaign against Barak Obama, he shut it down — and fast.

Not Donald. The ADL called on Trump to disavow his white supremacist support. If he has done so (big “if” here), it has been weak and begrudging,

Even worse: Trump, incredibly, claimed ignorance about such supremacists groups, including the KKK!

Note to Jewish Trumpers: you might actually support Trump’s railing against Muslims and immigrants.

All I am asking is this: Check out the people who are applauding those statements.

Do you see yourselves in their faces, and in their eyes?

Are you absolutely sure that the xenophobic fury that those crowds are feeding upon will not, ultimately, turn against Jews?

Because if you really think that, once they’re done verbally (and otherwise — may we be spared such things) picking on other Others, that they wouldn’t turn on Jews, then you would be kidding yourselves. Study some history.

  • Are you comfortable supporting someone who has declared his “neutrality” on Israel-Palestinian talks? To be sure: the history of American presidents and their relationship with Israel has been a mixed bag (see Dennis Ross’s new book on the subject). And perhaps Trump is simply viewing Israel-Palestinian negotiations the way he would view any other negotiation. Still, to hear that he would be neutral on Israel is both puzzling and disturbing.
  • Are you comfortable supporting someone whose greatest weapon is the insult? At last count, he has insulted about 199 people. The list goes on and on. He insulted women, by vulgarly alluding to menstruation (come on — what are we, in tenth grade or something?) He criticized Hillary Clinton for needing to go to the bathroom during a debate. He has insulted handicapped people.

If you want to support Donald Trump, go ahead. I am merely saying that he has violated every principle of civil speech that Jews (and presumably, the rest of the civilized world) holds dear. Ask yourselves: would you want your child to speak this way?

 

An essay in the Washington Post puts it this way:

It is Trump’s style, his defiance of convention and political correctness, that seems to explain the intensity of his support. “We’re voting with our middle finger,” said a Trump supporter in South Carolina. 

There you have it — this is the politics of the middle finger. Jews should know better.

  • Are you comfortable supporting someone who has declared war on democracy by threatening to sue the press? “I’m gonna open up our libel laws, so when they write purposely negative and horrible, false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas.

Each of those points might be sufficient to worry anyone about Trump’s candidacy. And, to be sure, people are worried — and many of those people include steadfast Republicans.

But, Jews have different values, a different history, a different mindset — each of which is crucial to our self-definition if Judaism is not going to be simply an ethnic memory.

Christians are asking the same questions.

Again, the Washington Post: “For Christians, the price of entry to the Trump movement is to abandon their commitments to kindness and love of neighbor. Which would mean that their faith has no public consequence at all.”

Now, some will say: You think Obama was so great? You think that Hillary’s judgement has always been so wonderful?

Those questions are, at this point, a distraction. We are talking about Donald Trump. Let’s not change the subject.

All I’m asking is: Come November, and t’s time to enter the voting booth, and they are faced with the possibility of voting for Donald Trump — what will Jewish Republicans do?

 

  • David Golush

    Are the Clinton’s moral lapses any better?

  • David Schneier

    In order for our country NOT to lose all of its Judeo-Christian foundation I would vote for for any Republican in November, 2016. For now, the Democrats are not the friend of the Jews or Israel. Our people need to wake up to that reality and vote for the party that supports the essence of what we believe. We have seen what Socialism does for the Jews in Europe so Bernie is not an option. As for Hillary her uselessness in Benghazi and the possibility that the cuffs are going on her for security crimes and that her social values have nothing to do with Jewish values leave no option for Jewish voters. And I’m a Rabbi too.

  • Phil Bandy

    Donald Trump is a bully and a very vulgar man who has no respect for anyone who might stand in his way to power and money. His message and language are reprehensible. This from an Evangelical Christian who wants to reflect the love of Christ to all people.

  • Garson Abuita

    What a surprise, you change the subject — just as Rabbi Salkin warned you would. Yes, adultery is better than fascism.

  • Cantor Penny Kessler

    I’m glad you’re a rabbi; I’m a cantor. Please leave “Judeo-” out of it. NOTHING Mr. Trump says speaks for me as a Jew. And the US was not founded on “Judeo-Christian” values; it was founded on Christian/Deist/Masonic values. And just in case you were wondering, it also rests on the US Constitution.

  • David Schneier

    Hey Cantor Penny. Here’s the bad news. I’m also a lawyer so when I say Judeo-Christian I know what I’m talking about despite the fact that the founding fathers were Deists. Further, the Democratic Party wants Jewish people to give their money and vote for them but they are not for the Jewish people or Israel. The last 8 years should tell you as much. We don’t need more of the same so Israel will cease to exist. And the US Constitution? Where do you think equal protection comes from. Try the Tenach. Is Trump painful? Yes. But the question really is do we agree with the Democratic part’s vision for the US? And the answer should be no unless you see the teachings of the Tenach as optional or situational. What do you want to pass down to your children and grandchildren? What is the responsibility of Jewish leaders such as Rabbis and Cantors in that regard? Shall we we just sit idly by while the foundations are undermined ushering in the “nones” generation that “knew not the Lord…

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    David,

    The foundation of the United Sates is not Christian, nor is it this recently invented “Judeo-Christian.”

    When it is dignified with a philosophy, its foundation is Enlightenment. In terms of practical engineering, it is a Constitution to keep Christians away from each others’ throats.

    I’m ignoring the rest of pour post: paranoid blither.

    -dlj.

  • Garson Abuita

    Are you the same person that identifies himself as the rabbi of a messianic congregation in Alabama? If so, your failure to mention this salient point and instead masquerade as a legitimate member of the Jewish communal clergy is telling.
    This isn’t about policy disagreements anymore. Trump just this weekend said that he was unsure whether the KKK should be condemned. That should be frightening to any Jewish person. When Trump’s brownshirts are done with the Muslims, they’re coming for us.
    By the way, I’m a lawyer too. Please tell us how the Equal Protection clause is consistent with a document that condones slavery and treats women as second-class citizens.

  • Jack

    Rabbi, your ire is conspicuously one-sided.

    While you’re right in all you say about the horrible Trump, where was your voice when Jewish Democratic fundraisers and donors refused to stand up to Obama by using their obvious leverage with Democratic senators to stop the anti-Israel Iran deal in its tracks?

    They should have marched into the DNC offices and said, “As of today, not a single dime for you or for any of your candidates for the 2016 cycle until you get the Democrats in the Senate to kill the Iran deal.”

    That would have blown up the deal, but they shrunk back, putting their relationship with Obama over their love for Israel. They talked a good game, but didn’t do the obvious.

  • Obviously no clue where the principles of equal justice under law came from or the balance of justice and mercy.

  • You’re totally right about the Iran fiasco. My voice is on my blog.

  • Jack

    Agreed, Phil.

  • Jack

    David, you couldn’t be more mistaken. Trump brings with him a whole host of problems that potentially dwarf those of Hillary and Bernie. If either of the two are elected, the Republicans in Congress this time will stop them from following through on their absolute worse depredations. But if Trump wins, how in the world is a GOP Congress going to stop one of its own? Even if they hate the guy now, they will kow-tow to him as president and he will be unstoppable.

    If you are a true conservative, you should not want any human being to be unstoppable…..because as Lord Acton famously said, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  • Jack

    David is right about the foundations of our country. While most of the Founders and Framers could hardly be called fully orthodox Christians, the influence of Judeo-Christian values on their thinking about government is so obvious as to be beyond debate.

    But Garson is absolutely right when he says about Trump that “this isn’t about policy disagreements anymore.” The core of what’s wrong with Trump is that it never was about policy disagreements. It was about his personality and character which (1) are unstable and (2) the perfect combination for a wannabe dictator — more so than that of any American politician I have seen in my lifetime. People really need to wake up about Trump and quit looking past his personal and character problems which point to a threat to American democracy which could well be unprecedented.

    And I write as a conservative Republican. I know a threat to my country when I see one.

  • Jack

    But I would have to disagree with you on Trump. To go for him is to leap from the frying pan into the fire. Lay aside issues for a moment and concentrate carefully on his personality and character. Combine that with a creepy ability at mass manipulation and media control and tell me that Trump won’t spent every working day as president trying to eliminate any road blocks to absolute power…..and tell me that he won’t have the ability to manipulate his followers to agree with him at every point, all in the name of “winning” and “getting things done.”

  • David Schneier

    Hey Garson. Couple of questions about your masquerade comment. Were the followers of Rabbi Akiva Jewish? Didn’t he pick the wrong Messiah or at least believe Bar Kochba could have been the Messiah? How about Rabbi Schneerson’s followers? Are they Jewish? Read “The Rebbe, the Messiah and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference” for one answer. Are Jews who are ok with same sex marriage Jewish? How about Jewish congregations that have women rabbis? When you answer these questions I’ll answer your statement/question about “masquerading.” BTW, in a courtroom you probably couldn’t get by using that word since it is a characterization that doesn’t answer the question which was in this case about Donald Trump and not “who is a Jew?” Also one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations in Israel is a Messianic Jewish one and there are over 100 Messianic Jewish congregations in Israel alone whose young members serve faithfully in the IDF. And I’m just getting started.

  • Norma Wierman

    Trump is another Nazi and I dare you to say otherwise. I am not Jewish I am Christian, an Anglo Saxon, 70 year old female born and raised in the Chicago melting pot. He is a woman hater, he is playing on the middle class insecurities, on the Superior feeling educated white men. Of the intolerance of the majority who feel superior to anyone who does not hold strictly to their own beliefs. Do you actually think the only walls he will build will be on the Mexican Border. What a joke. He will give us the newest form of ghetto. Can’t you see what is happening. He has no plan other than to attack anyone that doesn’t agree with him. He is really an ignorant, tyrannical, spoiled, bastard. And don’t talk of adultery of others, look at his track record, or has he had it expunged like he wants to do to the free press reporting.
    Wake up and smell the roses or you will be smelling something else. He is another Hitler. Read your own history, because it is now repeating itself.

  • Jack

    Norma, I think you’re Jewish, but that makes your post more powerful. While I don’t know that Trump is another Hitler in terms of potential for genocide, Trump more than flirts with fascism and is clearly the greatest danger our nation has faced in our lifetime. I have little doubt in my mind that if he gets elected president, he will come after people’s basic liberties, starting with the First Amendment.

  • joel

    Yes. Hilary Clinton’s moral lapses and seriously alleged lapses, don’t compare. (Last I checked, Bill wasn’t a candidate for President again, although that wouldn’t change my answer.) I’m sure your response is well-intended, but endorsement of white supremacy, or the Klan, or its former Grand Wizard, or mere silence in the face of his endorsement, should be both abhorrent and a disqualification. I can’t conceive of a situation under which Trump gets a pass for that from any Jew in any circumstance.

  • joel

    There is no moral equivalency here. Trying to defend a vote for Trump on the theory that he would be “better for the Jews” (not as I see it, of course) would accept that there might be any justification whatsoever for not standing up to a white supremacist. What Jew would associate himself or herself with a candidate who does not object to a viewpoint that has openly supported lynching of African-Americans, with Jews and Catholics not far behind? Who are we?

  • David Schneier

    The jury is out on the racist label

  • J.T.

    Ugh. Simply put there is not good option. Hillary & Bernie have BDS supporters in their ears, and the Trump is a huge civil liberties nightmare. Fascism is not the answer. The only good choices for Jews are Kasich, & Bloomberg!
    We need a leader with experience heart, and the ability to bring the American people together.

    If it is Trump vs Clinton, I will side with Her, but I need her to disavow Max Blumenthal, and not just be a supporter of Israel on the campaign trail.

    Russia is a huge Problem, and that issue will not be solved with a Trump in the White House. We need to do everything to avoid WW3, and being weak & isolationist is not the answer as well!

    America needs to not be the peace broker, they need the Palestinians to bring their own leader to the table..(They need a Sadat) I have had enough of whose side we should be on. Simple we should support Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion, Right to Vote, Both Women’s & LGBT Equality, and only 1 of them has that…

  • Garson Abuita

    You’re right David, the question wasn’t “Who is a Jew” and I never said you weren’t Jewish. I didn’t raise that question — you’re changing the subject once again. My assertion is that you are not a legitimate member of the Jewish communal clergy. Show me one Board of Rabbis, one Federation, one chaplain-endorsing organization, that accepts you as a Jewish rabbi. This kind of “lying for the Lord” has been the Jewish Christian movement’s stock in trade since the first century and the rest of us are sick and tired of it.
    Chabad Messianism has always been a minority, non-official position of Lubavitch Hasidism. In fact, it’s officially condemned by them. But even if it wasn’t, neither Chabad, nor Rabbi Akiva for that matter, ever asserted that the Rebbe or Bar Kochba was God! That is at the core of what differentiated Judaism from Christianity, as opposed to all the other messianic movements of late antiquity.

  • Andrew

    But, what if Ivanka is the modern day Queen Esther.

  • Jack

    Garson writes, “this kind of ‘lying for the Lord’ has been the Jewish Christian movement’s stock in trade since the first century…..”

    The first century? That’s a charge that would be exceedingly difficult to prove. You’re basically saying that the earliest followers of Jesus were speaking things they knew to be untrue. I would love to see the evidence of that charge. At the very least, the evidence strongly suggests that they sincerely believed what they were preaching. Simply put, they suffered immensely for it and many gave their lives. By itself, that doesn’t prove that the content was true; but again, it constitutes powerful evidence that they were not liars — they were not speaking things they knew to be untrue.

  • Jack

    The jury is still out, but Trump’s interview was disturbing and is exactly what one would expect to see if he was, in fact, a racist.

  • Jack

    Well said, J.T. If Trump and Hillary are the final two standing, neither is good for America or for Israel, for the reasons you cited.

    I would be open to considering a third-party alternative. If it’s Bloomberg, the smartest thing he can do right now is to assure both liberals and conservatives that as a consensus candidate, he will stay away from the most hot-button issues on each side to whatever extent that is possible.

  • David

    There are no cuffs going on her. They’d have to go on Dick Cheney and George Bush for lying us into war first.

  • Edward

    Hillary’s top 7 donors are Jewish Supremacists. All of Trumps rivals are heavily financed by Jewish supremacists who are determined to drag America into starting World War III.
    Senator Robert Byrd was in the KKK, as well as President Harry Truman (who joined at the age of 41) and Presidents Woodrow Wilson and William McKinley. Why no condemnation of them?

  • Garson Abuita

    David Schneier, call your office.

  • Garson Abuita

    Jack: He shall be called a Nazarene? Born of a virgin? Jesus and the Pharisees were like opposite ends of a spectrum? The Sanhedrin met on Passover? The Jewish authorities were occupied subjects of a Roman vassal state, yet somehow forced a kindly yet toothless Pilate to execute Jesus?
    There’s a legal doctrine I like: “Knew or should have known.” You’re right, maybe the Gospel authors or their sources believed what they were writing was the truth. That doesn’t make it any more acceptable.

  • Tim Schwenke

    Trumps daughter Ivanka ist Jewish

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  • k

    yes

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  • holly lance

    In addition to his language his use of grammar is very poor. U. Penn and Wharton Business school should have resulted in a someone that at least knows the basics. When asked a question about Hillary Trump replied ” Me and her _____ _____ _____. He also said ” Nobody gives more money to Israel than ” me ” OMG. This is the very least of my long list of issues with Mr. T but why does he sound as if he has never attended high school ?

  • Stuart Berman

    Are you comfortable supporting someone who has the support of white supremacists? Huh? Hillary does as well. I am because it is an irrelevant question.
    Are you comfortable supporting someone who has declared his “neutrality” on Israel-Palestinian talks? As an ardent Zionist, yes. Good diplomatic move.
    Are you comfortable supporting someone whose greatest weapon is the insult? A straw man and a sign of projection?
    Are you comfortable supporting someone who has declared war on democracy by threatening to sue the press? Another strawman. You can’t recognize political posturing?

    Now I have a few questions for you.
    As a Rabbi do you have no moral qualms about demonizing people for the sake of your political views?
    As a Rabbi does assuming the worst about ideological opponents and character assassination suit you?
    And finally, does spreading gossip, insinuation, fear and hate mongering part of our tradition?

    As a Jew and Zionist I implore all other Jews to vote for Trump.

  • David Schneier

    Totally agree with Stuart and I.m a rabbi too as well as a lawyer! Shalom y’all. David

  • hollie

    you implore all other Jews to vote for Trump -Really? I would NEVER vote for Trump . He is a a liar, con man and if he is elected Pres, I will be on my way .

    Wondering if “The Donald ” will continue to use “THE”
    Will he be —- The President of the US , The Donald Trump ?

  • Stuart Berman

    They all lie. Hillary is a liar, Sanders is a liar. So don’t vote, they are politicians.

  • David Schneier

    Great idea. Don’t vote and we get Hillary! Remember not voting is voting for the winner. In Switzerland it is a crime not to vote.

  • hollie

    Ill take Hillary over “The ” Donald .

  • David Schneier

    If the Donald wins, Hillary will be in cuffs along with Lois Lerner.

  • F Callen

    1. A candidate’s supporters choose him, not vice versa. Muslim supremacists will be voting Clinton (least “islamophobic” candidate according to CAIR poll), for example, should she be boycotted at the voting booth?

    2. Trump has said he will be neutral on the NEGOTIATIONS. Because that is how a negotiator approaches any deal. He is pro-Israel per se and has said he will *not* force any deal on Israel.

    3. Insults, yes he is open with his insults rather than underhand, insinuating an “sophisticated”. Also, if you haven’t noticed, he will only go after someone if they go after him first. Maybe you think he should turn the other cheek?

    4. You’ve just complained about Trump’s lashon hara and now are defending the media’s “right” to commit libel and slander as “democracy”? There is a lot of room for improvement between the current laws and those of a police state. The laws in the UK, for instance, are much tougher than those in the US.

  • Mark

    Yes, the author’s position on speech is pretty hypocritical. I would also point out that it’s the LEFT that’s currently doing things such as blocking the roads in an attempt to stop people from attending Trump rallies. And most of the supporters of “speech codes” — basically mandatory political correctness — are liberals. If what Trump supports is fascist, how is that not?

    Oh, and one more inconsistency I’d like to point out. The author notes his opposition to Trump’s supposed neutrality on Israel, and some others who have responded have refereed to themselves as Zionists. I, myself, mostly support Israel, but still have to ask: is Zionism really all that different from what you call Trump’s racism? I have even heard the question posed of whether David Duke is really all that inherently different from Benjamin Netanyahu. I think it’s a valid point.

  • Mark

    One more point I thought of, in addition to my response to F Callen above. This is directed especially toward Rabbi Salkin. Quite simply, whom would you have voted for in 1944?

    Well, let’s say you would have voted for FDR, which I would think is quite likely given the well-known Jewish voting habits. If so, let’s call this response “one question for Jewish would-have-been FDR supporters.” Note to Jewish Roosevelters: you might have actually supported FDR’s railing against the Japanese. But now let’s say some Klan members at the time spoke out in favor of his internment of the Japanese (entirely possible). Would you have seen yourselves in their faces, and in their eyes?

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    David,

    “Judeo-Christian foundation” is a very peculiar confection. You take a phrase, “Judeo-Christain,” concocted in the 1950s and 60s as cover for the American Right’s slide from America Firstism into worship of Israeli power. You then thrust it into an entirely different line of work, current politics. Finally, you backdate it a couple of centuries to take part in the Rightwing-nutso hobby of inventing new Constitutions for the United States.

    Nobody had crossed Delancey in 1776,

    But wait. There’s more. You’re so good at blending stuff, I think you must start your day with a fashionable smoothie. You confuse Israel with Likud.

    Nobody, not even your new Saint Donald of the Marble Church, is proposing neutrality about Israel’s existence. The Donald, like some others, takes the position that Likud should not run the US. State Department.

    Donald Trump is your problem, not mine. But you should not blame his positions on the Democrats.

    -dlj.

  • Granny Grammar

    Holly,

    “Me and her” is a noun phrase in apposition to the “we” in the subjective case, which you have left out of your therefore unclear quote.

    “Than me,” would be incorrect if it were followed by the verb “do” or “give.” It isn’t, English has for several centuries slipped into the equally correct format of making “than me” another noun phrase, this one in apposition to the noun “nobody.” “Me” is in the predicate case, object of the “than.”

    Granny luvs ya.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Andrew,

    You’re entitled to get drunk for Purim, but you shouldn’t post to the ‘Net at the same time.

    Besides, a slander, even if it’s both lunatic and hypothetical, is still an ugly slander.

    -dlj.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    The incoherent message above, falsely signed by me is not from me.

    The alert reader will see that it is an attack on me.

    Either the software, or the writer, or both, are malfunctioning.

    -dlj.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Greece? Ahura Mazda? Above all, the Enlightenment, David.

    -dlj.

  • David Schneier

    No, I’m talking about Torah: treat the foreigner the same as the Israelite.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    David Schneier (above or below, 4:17 am timestamp),

    There you go again: inventing your own version of the US Constitution.

    Where do you see anything about treating the foreigner the same as the American in the present US Constitution, or in the actual earlier one on which the country was founded?

    The current Constitution doesn’t even treat Americans the same as Americans, since the black ones in the South only counted for 3/5ths of a person in allocating votes in the Electoral College.

    What can you possibly be thinking?

    -dlj.

  • David Schneier

    BTW, the Torah predates the “Enlightenment,” Ahura Mazda and ancient Greece.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    David,

    You’ve discovered the things from Torah you thought were in the Constitution aren’t there? Now you’re going to tell us Torah has been supplanted by the Enlightenment?

    That seems a little edgy.

    Has the Donald Trump phenomenon spread to conservatives everywhere? You, too, now all feel the need to make up new “principles” at random?

    -dlj.

  • David Schneier

    Hey David. It’s important to actually read what I write. The principles of treating people equally are in the Torah way before the other groups or movements you mentioned. And these principles found their way into our Constitution and amendments, not perfectly at first. You. Are either negligently or deliberately misrepresenting what I am writing. So I will say it again: equal protection under law comes to some degree from the Torah. The words of Torah speak for themselves. Our freedoms come from recognizable places. You have one last chance to make honest comments. After that you’re on your own.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    No, David, your Torah principles of equality of alien and American is not in either of the Constitutions. You’re making that up. Repeating it doesn’t make it any truer.

    Yes, the Enlightenment came after Torah. The aim of the Enlightenment is to some extent to clear out a lot of nonsense written in those olde books. Christians call it supercessionism, and claim that their “new testament,” which they capitalise for importance, does the job. We have the Talmudic process — discussion and debate — which does it rather better.

    Neither is central to the founding of America. America was founded to evade taxes, to protect slavery, and simply to get rid of long communication lines to a mad German King in London. The practical items — taxation, slavery, and practicality — were basic. That the ver-ree un-Talmudic principles of Locke and Voltaire were in the air was gravy, They certainly look good on paper, don’t they?

    Cheers,
    -dlj.