I’m Not Voting For These Democrats
Thanks for running Larry Penner’s letter to the editor last week, “They Chose Sharpton Over AIPAC.” As a registered Democrat of seven decades, I now know 11 Democrats for whom I will never vote: Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Pete Buttigieg, John Hickenlooper, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker.
They all failed to take the opportunity to meet with officials from AIPAC, a leading Jewish organization that supports the State of Israel. Meanwhile, they found “time to hold hands and kiss the ring of Al Sharpton,” a well-known racist and income tax evader.
People are measured by the company they keep. These Democrats’ choice to snub AIPAC and associate with Sharpton reduces the playing field for me – and perhaps many others, too.
Los Angeles, CA
Who’s the Racist?
Last week, you ran an article on The New York Times’ misrepresentation of an Israeli election billboard that showed Netanyahu surrounded by a group of men from the Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit parties above the caption “Kahane Lives.” The New York Times thought the advertisement was a product of the Netanyahu campaign.
In an effort to clarify the situation, CAMERA, a media-watchdog organization, explained that the ad was, in fact, an effort by Netanyahu’s opponents to “paint the prime minister as a close ally of the extremist politicians known for anti-Arab racism.”
Interesting words coming from an “organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.” Otzma Yehudit’s “extremist politicians” are not racist. In fact, if anyone is racist, it’s the Left. After all, is it not patronizing to suppose that the Arabs’ national aspirations (however incorrect) can be bought off by the promise of higher living standards?
Is it not condescending to imagine that a self-respecting Arab would want to pledge allegiance to a flag that is a facsimile of a tallit with a Magen David in the middle or sing the national anthem of Israel, which refers to “nefesh Yehudi – the Jewish soul?”
Is it not racist to believe that an entire group of people could be so easily swayed?
Both Parties Support Israel
Many accuse progressive politicians of being anti-Semitic, but this claim is simply false. The overwhelming majority of Democrats support an independent Jewish state and acknowledge the challenges Israel faces.
Senator Bernie Sanders has condemned the BDS movement. Beto O’Rourke has written that “the UN is dangerously preoccupied with Israel…and clearly biased against her.” Senator Elizabeth Warren has said that Hamas is using its “civilian population to protect” itself and that “Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself.”
Senator Kamala Harris has said, “[Israel] is a beautiful home to democracy and justice in a region where radicalism and authoritarianism all too often shape government.” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has written that “too many have used the BDS movement to veil anti-Semitic attacks that make students feel threatened on college campuses and attempt to delegitimize our ally.”
Despite fierce debate on policy, thankfully there is strong bipartisan support for Israel. It is wrong to use anti-Semitism as an “emergency button” to avoid legitimate political discussion. Instead, we should appreciate the mostly pro-Israel presence in both parties.
Some Halachic Measles Facts
In the wake of the current measles outbreak, several points need to be emphasized:
- Everyone is halachically obligated to ensure that everyone in his or her sphere of influence who isn’t yet vaccinated for measles is vaccinated immediately.
- Vaccination is necessary to protect oneself and others. A measles carrier threatens the lives of others.
- Adults vaccinated as children should ask a doctor to ensure their immunity hasn’t eroded.
- A well-funded anti-vaccination PR campaign, linked to New-Age elements, is specifically targeting several New York and New Jersey communities, even making the wild claim that rabbis prohibit getting the MMR vaccination. In fact, Orthodox rabbis require it, especially during a dangerous outbreak.
- One circulating responsa “proves” – with manipulated statistics – that measles is not life-threatening. In fact, measles is a deadly disease, and an epidemic afflicting tens of thousands is often started by one individual.
- The societal need to maintain collective (“herd”) immunity must be seriously considered even regarding truly non-lethal diseases.
- Some New-Age anti-vaccination “experts” are promoting an ancient Greek “natural-is-best” ideology as authentically Jewish (see Beis Elokim of the Mabit, beginning). They claim vaccination is forbidden by the Torah due to some prohibition against introducing foreign substances into the body. This argument is of course utter nonsense.
- In fact, Jewish law is more stringent than conventional wisdom in requiring vaccination.
- We must ensure that our communities follow the Torah, especially its admonition to protect innocent life. Indeed, that’s often the best way to combat anti-Semitism.
An uplifting, and safe, Pesach to all.
Rabbi Noson Shmuel Leiter
Tomim Tih’yeh, founder
Any Regrets, Ariel Sharon?
In 2005, Israel withdrew from the entire Gaza Strip, hoping that a Palestinian government would bring peace and democracy to the area. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had previously been hawkish, was responsible for the withdrawal.
In the 15 years since, violence against Israel has only increased. Rockets flying out of Gaza have been terrorizing nearby Israeli communities and, recently, even Tel Aviv. Severe economic mismanagement, meanwhile, by the Hamas government – along with a commitment to financing terrorism at all costs – has caused widespread hardship among Gaza’s population.
Clearly, Israel’s evacuation from Gaza has not yielded the results Ariel Sharon thought he would get. In fact, matters have only gotten worse.
At What Price?
Now that Benjamin Netanyahu has won – partially due to support from President Trump – the obvious question is: What price will he have to pay?
Details of the Trump peace plan have not yet been released, but the general consensus is that Israel will be asked to make concessions, including curbing, and in some cases, removing settlements.
Thankfully, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership refuse to sign any peace deal that does not include the demise of the Jewish state. In the meantime, Israel continues to increase its presence in Judea and Samaria.
New York, NY