On occasion, I have written to take issue with some of the comments made by fellow columnists. This week, I was proud of the tone set by the Queens Jewish Link (October 3, 2019). For example, Rabbi Oppenheimer, as he has before, has addressed the importance of the Jewish community working together even with our religious differences. Moshe Hill wrote about how those who have political disagreements should not engage in personal attacks. I agree with both sentiments and hope we can act this way the entire year.
Despite the apparent gap between the Trumpians and the Democrats, there would be more commonality if both sides would apply the same standards to their own leaders as to the other side. For example, the Trumpians are making a big deal about Hunter Biden receiving a monthly salary from a Ukrainian company while his father was vice president. This is not illegal and there has been no proof that the vice president engaged in improper conduct as a result. Nevertheless, it gives an appearance of impropriety. It is obvious that Hunter Biden was hired solely because he was the vice president’s son. The implication was that it was done to curry favor with his father.
The problem for the Trumpians is that the first family is engaging in the same conduct, and in some respects it is even worse. For example, China on various occasions has given Ivanka Trump’s brand patents and trademarks. Foreign officials from more than 50 countries have been at Trump properties. Assuming that there is no violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, this still gives an appearance of impropriety.
The Democrats have the same problem in reverse, focusing on the president and his family while ignoring Biden and his family.
If both sides looked at their own problems, there would be a community of agreement that these family deals should be prohibited.
What I do worry about is that when it comes to anti-Semitism, the far left and the far right are in agreement. In the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, three Jews hold important positions. Adam Schiff is the Intelligence Committee Chairman and Jerrold Nadler is the Judiciary Committee Chairman. Both of them have repeatedly been subject to personal attacks by the president and his followers. Elliot Engel is the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He has been subject to limited criticism, but his time will come.
If the inquiry does not go the way that the progressives want, the blame will be put on these individuals.
If there is an impeachment vote in the House and it goes to the Senate, then there is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The attacks will then be against him.
The importance of involvement of senior Jewish members of Congress in the impeachment procedures also plays to the anti-Semites’ view that Jews have too much power.
The worst thing we Jews can do is to single out these Jews for criticism, especially at this time of the year. We give cover to the anti-Semites, because they can say: If a Jew or a Jewish newspaper can attack them, then how can you claim that our attack is anti-Semitic.
When it comes to politics, leave G-d out of it. This has many pitfalls. Firstly, we do not know who G-d believes is right, Trump or the Democrats. Also, placing religion into the mix then raises the profile of the religion of those who are on either side. As Jews, it is not in our interest to emphasize the religion of those involved. In addition, it splits the Jewish community on religious grounds. Generally, the more religious community is pro-Trump and the more “modern” is pro-Democratic.
Let’s hope that the spirit of togetherness and mutual respect will be found during the entire year.