Thanks to Jerry Nadler, I had to go back for a second go at the Equality Act. His comment indicated that he hasn’t read the Constitution, and even more, that he is entirely uninterested in the moral principles that built America as a bastion of freedom in the first place.
Mary Miller is a new member of Congress. An Illinoisan since birth, she ran on a platform of supporting farming and bringing manufacturing jobs back to her district. She won.
And then, two weeks ago, she quoted Hitler. Specifically, she said, “Hitler was right about one thing: Whoever has the youth has the future.”
A brouhaha of criticism followed, and my high-school age son asked me what the fuss was all about. I told him what she said, and he immediately declared, “That’s not anti-Semitic!”
When I explained that she wasn’t accused of being anti-Semitic per se, but of admiring Hitler, he dismissed the charge: “Saying that someone got one thing right doesn’t mean you admire that person.”
He’s correct, of course. In fact, it implies the opposite. Saying that Hitler got one thing right indicates that he got everything else wrong.
Once the full video of Miller’s remarks was released, it became apparent that those accusing her of “admiring Hitler” are guilty of nothing less than malicious slander. Miller quoted Hitler’s words to scare her audience and help them understand the danger of indoctrination – a subject Hitler understood well and exploited. If she and her audience didn’t regard Hitler as the paragon of evil, his actions wouldn’t have provided a potent example of the danger she was attempting to highlight.
Was it ill-advised for her to use Hitler to make her point? Yes. There were many better, less inflammatory examples she could have used.
Nonetheless, Rav Noach Weinberg, zt”l, once did something very similar. He took the leadership of Aish HaTorah on a tour of Nazi death camps to learn what one person with a single-minded focus and determination could do for evil, which only teaches us how much could be accomplished if we used that same single-minded focus for good.
Of course no one in his right mind would accuse an Orthodox rabbi like Rav Weinberg of admiring Hitler or even his “single-minded focus.”
Actually, that’s not correct. The Coalition for Jewish Values – the organization I serve as managing director – rejected calls for Rep. Miller’s resignation after the story broke and, as a result, we were called “Rabbis for Hitler.” This, despite the fact that the organization represents over 1,500 Orthodox rabbis.
Learning from history – including its paragons of evil – has always been the Jewish approach. We learn from Laban, Pharaoh, Haman, and the Roman general Titus who destroyed the Holy Temple and exiled us from our homeland. To learn how Hitler brought his evil plans to fruition – and the tactics he used to convince ordinary Germans that murdering of Jews was moral – is not merely commendable, but obligatory.
As George Santayana famously put it, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
Some people told us that they agreed with our stance but believed that a public statement from the Coalition of Jewish Values in support of Miller was unnecessary. We disagree. We considered sending her only a private letter of support, but then we saw an increasing number of Jewish organizations and legislators calling for her resignation. These calls were both wrong and – considering the silence of these same people in response to disturbing statements from such people as Rep. Ilhan Omar – clearly partisan.
Defending Miller was the right thing to do. We were obligated to defend her, even if that meant entering a firestorm.
Those who find our statement disturbing will soon forget this entire episode. Rep. Miller, though, never will, which should go a long way to deepen her friendship with the Jewish community.
Originally published in The Jewish Press
The Jewish Left helped create the environment in which the Rev. Raphael Warnock could conceivably be a major party candidate, much less a viable contender to become a U.S. senator.
Originally published inNewsweek
For the past four years, both leftists and Never-Trumpers have warned that President Trump’s support for Israel and the Jewish community was not sincere—that he cares only about himself, and that he would surely turn against us when it served him. Now, after an election likely to bring about the end of his term, Trump has let us know otherwise, with the announcement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the United States will henceforth identify the anti-Israel movement, often known as BDS, as anti-Semitic.
The lame-duck months of a presidency allow a president to express his true sentiments about an issue or cause without concern for the political consequences, especially when his successor is of the opposing party.
We saw this in late 2016, when President Obama waited until after the elections to support the United Nations’ anti-Semitic Security Council Resolution 2334. It claimed that land holy to the Jewish people for thousands of years was “Palestinian territory,” and even asserted that the Old City of Jerusalem, where in 1948 Jews were ethnically cleansed and denied the ability to pray at their holiest site, was “occupied” by Israel in violation of international law. It displayed the bigotry now typical of that once-august body.
What was atypical, however, was the United States’ abstention, which enabled Security Council passage of this despicable nonsense—what the late Charles Krauthammer called “Obama’s most shameful back-stabbing moment.” Later it became clear that, although Obama had promised AIPAC to “have Israel’s back” and feigned surprise when Egypt offered the resolution, there was compelling evidence that his administration was fully behind it from the outset and had timed its introduction so as to not jeopardize congressional Democrats and Hillary Clinton during the election.
In the case of President Trump, the identification of the anti-Israel boycott as anti-Semitic could have helped both him and his party. True, the Orthodox, along with Evangelical Christians and other groups strongly supportive of Israel, were already lining up to vote for Trump. But such an open repudiation of the stance adopted by multiple members of the “Squad” would have forced Democratic candidates to choose between a far-Left position and that of the Republican president.
The statement itself expresses nothing that the knowledgeable do not already know. The Orthodox Jewish community is most intimately familiar with the long history of anti-Semitism, classic understandings of its origins and its key indicators. A recent survey by Ami Magazine revealed that Orthodox Jews familiar enough with BDS to have an opinion recognize it as anti-Semitic by about 25 to one.
BDS is also, pragmatically speaking, among the most demonstrably counterproductive efforts in the millennia of peacemaking attempts. While its claimed intention is to bring Israel to the negotiating table, it is a simple matter of public record that expressions of support for the labeling of Israeli goods, much less for a boycott, drive Israel away from the speaker and the government that he or she represents.
“BDS” is merely a new label for the Arab League boycott first enacted in 1945 against “Palestinian goods”—something to ponder the next time someone says that Arabs are the real Palestinians. Its goal, then as now, was neither fairness nor the establishment of a country, but the destruction of Israel.
Its main impact is not felt in Israel, where, as the Abraham Accords most recently demonstrated, the old Arab boycott is in collapse and investment in the nation’s flourishing medical, technology and other businesses is only growing. Rather, its greatest influence is on the American college campus, promoted most prominently by organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine.
This student group honors mass murderers, ranking officials in terror organizations and “academics” who explain why terrorism and murder against Jews is the fault of the victims. The fact that such a racist and barbaric endeavor has more than 200 university chapters illustrates the extent of the problem.
Many have blamed President Trump for turning support for Israel into a partisan issue, simply by making so many dramatic pro-Israel moves over the past several years. But the president sacrificed whatever political points he might have scored with this announcement. The Biden administration must now endorse his denunciation of BDS, lest it make support for Israel, and indeed the fight against anti-Semitism, a partisan position.
Yes, there is a Jewish vote: an I24News poll determined that 63.3 percent of Israelis would prefer to see President Donald Trump reelected, as opposed to 18.8 percent for Joe Biden. The majority believe that electing Biden would be harmful to the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.
But even this difference pales in comparison to the new poll from Ami Magazine, which determined that 83 percent of the Orthodox, and fully 95 percent of the Charedi, traditional Orthodox, support the reelection of the president. Among Charedi respondents, only 2 percent said they plan to vote for Joe Biden.
Read more at Newsweek…
The key problem with the demonization of law enforcement, apologetics for violent riots and even taking a knee, is that one searches the globe in vain for a national government doing a substantially better job. And when one encounters a government dealing with racial diversity—and even animosity—yet striving similarly for safety and equality, such as Israel, we find that the same people calling to defund public safety in America would also defund defense from murderous terrorism abroad. So is their goal to disrupt a hopelessly broken system, or to destroy the best that civilization presently has to offer?
The Jewish Bible’s position on life is unambiguous—and unambiguously “pro-life.” It is the source for the value placed on human life in civilized Western society. The Torah identifies human life as a soul placed (breathed) within a body by G-d Himself.
One might have imagined that, with so much of world history behind us, we would have learned better than to search for an excuse to charge or convict another person. You would think that this was obvious. Put “charging political adversaries with imagined crimes” on a Jeopardy! board, and the question is: “What were the Stalin Show Trials?”