I have written columns where 95 percent of the column was criticizing progressives and five percent was criticizing Donald Trump. In response, my critics, in their Letters to the Editor, totally ignored my attacks on progressives and criticized me for my comments about Trump. Thus, it came as no surprise that the right-wing Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) bashed CNN for their anti-Semitism special (“CNN Anti-Semitism Special a Deliberate Whitewash, Rabbis Say”). I do not want to respond to their comments in detail, but I recommend that you watch the program and come to your own conclusions.

Although that I am aware that my positions on various issues, especially those concerning Donald Trump, cause extreme reaction in many people, it is rare that anyone on the street comes over to me to say anything. A few weeks ago, someone stopped me on Main Street to chastise me for criticizing Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld. What upset him was not the merits of my criticism but the fact that I criticized him. I learned two things from the incident. One, it shows the devotion that this individual has for Rabbi Schonfeld, and two, that disagreeing with someone is considered by some people as equivalent to a personal attack. The irony, I told the person, is that Rabbi Schonfeld never looked at it that way. Unlike other individuals who I was not sure of their reaction if I disagreed with them, I knew that Rabbi Schonfeld would not take it personally, so that was why I would name him in my column.

On August 21, my wife and I went to the well-deserved dedication of naming the street in front of Young Israel of Kew Garden Hills, Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld Way.  I had no expectation of being involved in the ceremony. All of a sudden, when Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld was in the process of pulling the cover off the sign, it became stuck. They asked for a tall person to help pull it off and someone called my name. I was right near them and sprung into action. I ended up pulling off the cover. It was a great honor for me to end up completing the removal of the cover of the sign in memory of someone who I respected. This is one more example where I am able to work with Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld despite our differences.

Before I get to the main part of this column, there is one story that shows the mixed-up priorities in this country. There has been a full-court press to try to put pressure on our government to get WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner out of Russia. She is currently on trial in Russia.

One of the first things that any lawyer learns is that every case is different. This is especially true in criminal cases where a slight change in facts is the difference in whether the defendant’s guilt was established beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, conduct which we may find morally bankrupt may not be criminal. Even if the conduct falls within a particular statute, it does not automatically mean that the person will be charged with a crime. The bottom line for whether to proceed with charging a person is whether the prosecution could win a conviction. Thus, it is foolhardy for those to claim that there is a double standard and that it is based on politics when they have no idea what the law is or what the investigation has so far shown, including whether those in law enforcement reasonably believe would be the outcome if charges were brought. If it is true when the conduct occurs in one jurisdiction, how much more so it is true when you are comparing jurisdictions such as different states or state and federal. 

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