Thursday, February 28, 2019

What if…?

The President of the United States
What if a candidate for President had conservative and religious values that are similar to ours? What if they supported family values and led lives that exemplified those values? Values like fidelity in marriage; a strong work ethic; extolling the virtues of a good education; belief in God and all the values based on that belief?

What if that candidate had a record of major successes in communicating these values to the people that need them most? Encouraging them to become productive members of society through those values? And that resulted in materially or spiritually improved lives.  On the other hand what if that same candidate was shown to have racist or bigoted views? Should that be over-looked because most of his other values match ours?

Let us take this a bit further. Let us say that candidate had an opponent that was never accused of any form of bigotry, but whose values were ideology opposite of ours? Which candidate should we vote for?

To those who say all that matters is a values based agenda and therefore bigotry should be overlooked... Congratulations! You have just elected Louis Farrakhan.

It should be clear from this example that even though political polices based on shared values might matter, but so too does bigotry and racism.

I believe President Trump is a racist. I did not think so before. But after Michael Cohen’s testimony yesterday, I don’t think there can be any doubt about that. This does not mean that Trump is about to reinstate Slavery. Or do any harm at all to black people. He might even want to help them. But he definitely feels they are an inferior race. 

Now it’s true that for us a Jews, these comparisons between Trump and Farrakhan are not exact. Farrakhan would surely have a policy that harms Israel. That value would trump all others. But I think I have made my point.

There are similar issue is plaguing Israel now. A religious Zionist party whose values are based on the Torah has just joined with a radical right wing party whose values are equally based on the Torah. Except that they are racist and advocate violence for their cause. 

A lot of people have expressed regret that any party claiming to be religious would join with another religious party that is racist. I among them. But there are some prominent religious Jews and even organizations that are defending it. They see it as an exercise in pragmatism. Without such a merger it would weaken the  religious and political right and strengthen a political left that has traditionally been far less supportive of religious values.

I get it. I completely understand why they chose to support a coalition that includes racists who advocate violence to forward their agenda. They suggest that the ends justify the means. But is it that end really justified? Is it worth promoting  racism and violence so that a more religious agenda by the government will be likely? Is that the morally correct choice? Not for me. 

As much as it would pain me to cede control of Israeli society to the left, I cannot in good conscience support  any group that promotes violence as a means to their ends, no matter what those ends might be. Even if they are just one small faction of the whole. You cannot allow a healthy body to retain rot. Because it will eventually infect the entire body. If that racist party ever got their way, Israel would be morally lost. 

A word about Netanyahu’s indictment announced earlier today. Most people know that I support him. I believe that he has been one of the most effective Prime Ministers in Israel’s 70 year history. (And so does a plurality of Israeli voters apparently since he keeps being reelected.)  If he is reelected Prime Minister in the next election and found guilty of serious wrongdoing at trial, he must go. Assuming that The law allows him to serve out his term before serving his sentence - he should resign. 

Israel should be a moral beacon to the world. A light unto the nations that places honesty and integrity above all else.  That requires a leader that lives those values and not guilty of corruption. It will sad for me to see him go.  But it would even sadder if somehow serves out his term convicted of  corruption.