I was originally going to title this article “Maybe It’s Time To Support AOC.” But anyone to whom I told this, including one of the co-publishers, was horrified at the thought. Even after I explained my intention behind the title, they were afraid the reader would stop at the headline and not absorb the subtleties.
There is a well-known adage in rabbinic tradition, “Ein simchah k’hataras ha’sfeikos – There is no greater joy than the resolution of doubts” (see M’tzudas David in Mishlei 15:30).
Perhaps the most harmful political person in the United States today is Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a product of our own neighborhood right here in Queens. When she first defeated ten-term incumbent Joe Crowley in 2018, everyone was stunned but amused that this former waitress and bartender could take down this titan in Democratic politics. No one could have imagined the ripple effect she would have on the entire political landscape. A disciple of “crazy” Bernie Sanders, AOC made extreme progressiveness the new normal in leftist/Democratic circles. The push for socialism, coddling of “deprived” criminals, resentment of Israel, and demonization of success and wealth (Amazon) are now the rage and the energy in the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are so terrified of her that they refused to be even mildly critical of her and her friends in the “Squad.” So she has now usurped the party, as each aspiring presidential candidate tries to chart a course of how to veer further left.
Alas, she has had her direct impact right here in Queens, especially as it affects the Orthodox community, or any community, quite frankly, that still has some commitment to normative values. Our local representatives run terrified that they will be “primaried” by AOC and her energetic lunatics in her progressive army. I don’t blame them. Look what happened in the race for District Attorney. She came this close to having her candidate topple all the Democratic stalwarts.
So what happened in that race? The Orthodox community, as never before, galvanized and dragged its preferred candidate over the finish line by a few votes. We all breathed easier at the miraculous turn of events that brought this about. We were thrilled that the chief prosecutor of Queens would not be one who is committed to the criminals more than to our good citizens. Liberty from leftist tyranny was proclaimed throughout the land. Countless Orthodox activists celebrated her victory night with her.
But the cause for celebration was short-lived. Almost immediately, she announced and re-announced that she is cleaning the vaunted house that the legendary DA Brown left her. She proudly stated she will be hiring only those who follow the new progressive agenda, which includes the insanity of New York’s new no-bail policy. Thanks a lot, DA. We put you in office and now you embrace just about every policy your opponent advocated. And these policies are deadly, especially for Jews. If you think there is no connection between the Monsey stabber and the thugs in Boro Park, Williamsburg, and Crown Heights, you are gravely mistaken. When that monster saw how punks can beat up Jews with impunity, don’t you think that he received a tail wind to do the really cool thing and up the ante with a knifing attack?
And the rest of our representatives are not much better. With the exception of our Assemblyman, all of them, to one degree or another, support the ludicrous bill in Albany.
Our congresswoman, who is a true supporter of our community and Israel, unfortunately has to sully herself with silly Democratic talking points as she voted for impeachment against Israel’s greatest friend, Donald Trump. Remember how she heroically defied Barak Obama and voted against the dreadful Iran Nuclear Deal? Now of course, she joined the obstructionist Democratic Party in condemning President Trump for taking out Iran’s chief terrorist, or at least to curtail his ability to take further action against that country. I have no doubt that when she comes home at night, she agonizes over the fact that she had to follow the petty leaders in her party.
Why would this be? Simple. All the politicians know they have the Jewish vote in their pocket no matter what. Might as well play it safe and keep far away from the wrecking ball of AOC. Let’s try to appease them while we still have the loyalty of organized Jewry in Queens. Can’t say I entirely blame them. As a politician, it’s probably the smart thing to do.
That’s why I wonder to myself: Maybe it’s time to consider the evil AOC and her equally pernicious candidates. At least we know who the enemy is. It is a wolf in a wolf’s clothing. Not one who fakes right and goes left. We know how to deal with such people, as awful as they are. At least they are honest in their positions. Right now, we are lulled into submission to accept an intolerable living environment in our own communities by our political friends. Supporting the enemy will also convey the message to all our reps: Don’t take us for granted.
Do I really mean to advocate this? I’m not sure myself; but the situation is so awful that it should at the very least provide a discussion point. At the minimum, we will be resolving all the political doubts. That’s worth celebrating.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.