Defending Rep. Mary Miller Was A Moral Imperative

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

Ron Coleman on social media and silencing dissent

Ron Coleman

My friend Ron Coleman, a lawyer, was fighting cancel culture and social media censorship long before Twitter, Facebook and YouTube silenced the President, and Google, Apple and Amazon ganged up to silence Parler.

We talk about the double standards, the silencing of conservative voices, the inaction of judges — and lower courts ignoring Supreme Court precedent — and conclude with a surprisingly positive message for the future.

Violence, impeachment and censorship are all wrong

If any good will come out of the horrible riot at the Capitol last week, it will be unifying around the idea that violence is always wrong under all circumstances. Given the leftist narrative of the summer, however, there is ample reason to believe that they will persist in promoting the idea that violence is an appropriate way to express a grievance. They are placing their vendetta against the President ahead of their own agenda, much less the needs of the American People, and censoring (deplatforming) dissenting voices, which — according to their own rhetoric, and reality — only encourages violence to erupt.

Twitter’s Totalitarian Path

Published in American Greatness

With the impending end of his presidency, there were hints that the irrational hatred for anything associated with Donald Trump—the chronic ailment that became known as Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS—might soon be cured as well. Portland’s Democratic Mayor, Ted Wheeler, openly acknowledged that Antifa existed, was violent, and needed to be stopped.

Democratic lawmakers and the media have adamantly denied this fact ever since the president called out “violence on many sides” in 2017. Denying photographic evidence to the contrary, his opponents insisted that only neo-Nazis and white supremacists were responsible for the melee in Charlottesville. Or as Maxine Waters famously put it, “No, Trump. Not on many sides, your side. #Charlottesville.”

This past summer, CNN quoted “local authorities” denying that Antifa had taken over streets in Seattle, at least until the shooting started. Portland’s city council announced that, rather than quelling the riots that made defensive measures necessary, it was fining the federal government $2000 per hour until it removed fences protecting a federal courthouse. Wheeler calling for federal law enforcement to help fight Antifa was a 180-degree reversal—and recognition of the foundational need for law and order in a civil society.

Wednesday’s atrocious attack on the U.S. Capitol demonstrated, among other things, that any hope for a return to civilized norms proving a trend rather than an aberration is fleeting. I am not only speaking about the horrifying scene itself or the assault on the seat of government. I am speaking, as well, of the desire to attribute blame where it does not belong, and the resumed demonization and censorship of those with different political views that has followed.

I gave up on the president weeks ago. He continued to push allegations of fraud unsupported by judges, has turned on his allies, and even lost the Senate (and endangered his legacy) by suggesting that Georgia votes wouldn’t be counted properly anyways. I also missed both the riots and the online outrage until the breach of the Capitol was well underway.

By the time I learned the president was locked out of his Twitter account, I could no longer see why. I reached out to multiple friends and on Twitter itself, hoping to hear something more reasonable than the claim that “go home, we love you, you’re very special” was incitement or support for violence.

Someone wrote back. He indicated that the president said protesters needed to “show strength,” that “we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… our Republicans, the weak ones… the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.” But my correspondent agreed with me: there’s no there there. Nothing the president said could be misconstrued as endorsing riots. Yet CNN reported as fact that Trump was “inciting [a] mob,” Facebook has frozen his account until the inauguration, and Chuck Schumer has called for him to be removed immediately.

Clearly, TDS is still with us. Where, in reality, did these rioters get the idea that such behavior was ok? It wasn’t the president who gave the green light to those attacking federal facilities, even threatening federal law enforcement for protecting them; that was the Portland city council. It wasn’t the president who said that violence and arson are “mostly peaceful” when they express a grievance; that was CNN, and others who characterized those standing between the president and a firebombed church as “peaceful protesters.”

That leading Democrats and media figures would join in to promote such an obviously false narrative, and silence the president on that basis, has terrifying implications for the future of America.

This threat to free speech precedes the Trump presidency; it has been cultivated by the Left for more than a decade, growing in strength year by year. It is something to which, as a Jew, I am very sensitive: in 2017, an LGBT celebration in Chicago banned Jewish Stars, claiming they were “offensive” and “made people feel unsafe.” Israeli officials and Ben Shapiro have been prevented from speaking by those falsely claiming they promote hate and endorse brutality—and, based upon those false charges, their left-wing opponents engaged in both loud and violent disruptions.

No one claims that every student biased against Israel is personally responsible for attacks on Jews. No one says that every Democrat implicitly supports Antifa. But many would like to claim that the actions of no more than 740 knuckleheads, and probably more like 74, reflect upon the president and the 74,000,000 voters who supported him. That’s less than one one-thousandth of one percent.

As a nation, we can do better than that. And we must, because the quelling of free speech is the quickest route to totalitarian control—and the false claim that the opposing side is promoting hate or violence is a proven method to start this process. Twitter has shown them the way.

Leftist Name-Calling Cannot Succeed

According to the left, Rabbi Ilan Feldman, Mort Klein and I are all “racist” and “Islamophobes.” By this math, Hadar Susskind, the President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now, is an Anti-Semite, and everyone associated with Electronic Intifada and the “Palestinian” cause is directly tied to the murder of Jewish children. That’s what happens when you distort what people say and engage in guilt by association to attack a person rather than address his or her statements. Listen to learn more.

I refer to my opinion piece, “The Jewish Left’s Warnock Whitewash,” Electronic Intifada honoring me among “The anti-Palestinian racists attacking Raphael Warnock,” and a previous interview I gave on Israel’s Nation-State Law.

Why Doesn’t the JTA talk to Hassidim about Hassidus?

If you want to know about Hasidism, shouldn’t you talk to Hassidim?

I was struck by the JTA’s article, “Rabbi Art Green says the Hasidism that lasts finds sparks of holiness everywhere.” I understand that the real focus of the article is Rabbi Green and his life of service to the Jewish community. I’ve never met nor, to my recollection, even heard of Rabbi Green before, so this certainly is in no way about him or even his scholarship.

But if the Jewish Telegraphic Agency wants to know about Hasidism, especially a “Hasidism that lasts,” shouldn’t they ask a Hassid? Why is it that Hassidism is seen as something to be studied from the outside, rather than encountered? YouTuber Peter Santenello visited Borough Park, Williamsburg and Crown Heights, and learned more about the Hassidic community — and how Hasidism is realized in practice — that one could hope to get from a conversation with a non-Hasidic, non-Orthodox Rabbi who is deemed “one of the world’s leading experts on Hasidic Judaism” in a world with over 100 actual Hassidic Rebbes that one could ask.

It’s astonishing. Please listen for more.

Trump’s True Feelings About Jews and Israel

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.

Jew-hatred on Campus, with Lauren Isaacs of Herut Canada

Anti-Israel isn’t the “new Anti-Semitism” — it’s the same old hate using its latest facade.

We talk about intersectionality, progressivism, and the endorsement of the Anti-Semitic hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine. And we talk about helping young Jews to understand their heritage, and the truth behind why they are hated.

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