Not that Rabbi Schonfeld needs my defending, but I would like to address the op-ed written by Rabbi Barry Kornblau in last week’s paper.
Firstly, “crazy,” as used by Rabbi Schonfeld, does not necessarily mean deranged or insane. One of the definitions of “crazy” is “not in one’s right mind.” If what Rabbi Schonfeld meant by crazy is that the Left is in their “wrong” mind, then I have to agree with him, and accordingly, there is nothing civilly wrong with an assertion that someone is not in his or her right mind.
When Rabbi Schonfeld says that countless Muslim countries are against Israel, it is certainly true that decades ago there were no exceptions to that statement (other than the fact that Israel’s enemies were not literally “countless” – meaning you could actually count them). Furthermore, when the United Nations or the UN Human Rights Council votes on Israel’s “war crimes” or acts against humanity, I don’t see the countries that are Israel’s “allies,” according to Rabbi Kornblau, come to its defense.
Now let’s get to the matter of Trump being “a danger to our nation and its longstanding norms.” Elitists are educated mainly by their formal education and by media and hopefully books. There is another form of education that is often underrated, which is the school of hard knocks, or “street-smarts.” Trump is of the latter. Most critics of Trump, I would venture to say, are of the former education. There is no question that a combination of the two is ideal. Trump is terribly misunderstood because of this gap in education, and I would even say a culture gap. Trump is a brawler, and not every time he swings at someone does he intend to land a punch; sometimes it’s to confound his opponent. He lies, brags, and bluffs – but it’s all part of the fight to confuse his opponents. The Left gets fixated on the rhetoric the same way a deer gets caught in headlights. (Those who want to hear more of the particulars of what I’m talking about can attend Alan Hevesi’s political discussion group held once a month at the Central Queens Y, where he and I spar on these very issues.)
So let’s instead focus on his main objectives and accomplishments:
1: Held historic talks with, and demonstrable changes already made in, the Republic of North Korea
2: Pulled out of the deeply flawed deal with Iran, and rejected the condoning of Iran’s multi-proxy wars that are killing hundreds of thousands and causing tens of millions of refugees or displaced persons. Hopefully Iran will succumb to Trump’s pressure and be forced to behave in a more civil way.
3: As was said by many, the long-due recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
4: Decimation of ISIS, which seemed to happen much more quickly under Trump than Obama
5: Proper stewardship of the economy, be it tax-wise, tariffs (fair trade), easing of onerous regulation, and energy policy.
6: Doing right by the Veterans of this country through the VA Accountability Act and Veteran’s Choice, allowing veterans to go to a medical facility of their choosing.
7: Contrary to what Rabbi Kornblau said about demeaning “our intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” if he is referring to firing James Comey and pointing a finger to unveil the biases of the FBI investigation towards him, few would argue that Comey and the FBI’s investigation of Russian meddling was k’das u’ch’din. I, and many others, am not crying that Comey and McCabe were fired.
I don’t always agree with Rabbi Schonfeld and I’ve let him know that through heated email exchanges, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that truth and justice are Torah values, and it’s not arrogant to claim that “G-d is on our side” when we pay great effort to live by those values and expect others to live by them, too. To say that the Left’s agenda is not fraught with lies – whether it is BLM, BDS, open borders/abolishing ICE, or systemic racism attributed to the police department and the American people – is either being misinformed, naïve, or somehow blinded by the avodah zarah of moral equivalency or moral egalitarianism.
Trump doesn’t need to be a choirboy or even a gentleman. News flash: The world is comprised of many ruthless, dictatorial killers. The elitists think the world is a happy gentleman’s society. Putin, Kim Jong-un, Assad, Maduro of Venezuela, and Rouhani of Iran (and “countless” others) are all savages who are guilty of war crimes or murder in their own countries and beyond. They are the bullies! (to say the least). We need our own bully to fight against them. This is what the “refined” crowd amongst us doesn’t understand. When they were reading their political science textbooks, there was no chapter on “how to bully the bullies.” Does Trump have a soiled record with women? Yes! But before you get all hot and bothered about Trump’s indiscretions, why don’t you consider what Thomas Jefferson, Warren Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton were up to?
By Abe Fuchs