Friday, March 17, 2017

Trump, Antisemitism, Liberal Jewish Leaders, and the Media

Liberal Jewish leader- J street head, Jeremy Ben-Ami (Jerusalem Post)
Most people that read this blog regularly know that I am no fan of the President. I am as thoroughly disgusted by his rhetoric and behavior as are his political enemies to the left. As I am embarrassed by his tweets that are often simply retaliations against those that have criticized him. Or designed as a distraction from some of the more serious issues that plague him.

The left is out to get him. That is not arguable. It is what all this focus on his ties to Russia is all about. That Trump somehow conspired with Russia to undermine the election… or that his agenda with Russia is based on personal gain is ridiculous. But that is exactly what the left is seeking to determine. They will leave no stone un-turned in the hopes of finding dirt on him. I will be shocked if the find even a grain of truth to those suspicions. They certainly haven’t yet. And not for a lack of trying.

I am not going to go into a whole litany of his shortcomings. They are obvious and I’ve done that so many times, that it would bore most people. The short version is that he continues to be an embarrassment to this country.

That said, most people also know that I support some of his polices. I wish he would just stick to discussing them instead of making ridiculous accusations about his phones being tapped during the campaign at the behest of the last President.

That is at best highly unlikely if not an outright lie. Although there might actually have been some surveillance of his campaign by intelligence agencies based on suspicions that the Russians were influencing the election, his accusation that Obama did tap his phones implying a political motive has pretty much been discredited.

Isi Lieber has penned an oped in the Jerusalem Post that makes a lot of sense. He expresses much of my own thinking a lot better than I ever could have. The subject is antisemitism and who he feels is responsible for it. It is us. Or at least our left side: 
 (T)he crass political exploitation of their Jewish identity by American leaders of purportedly “nonpartisan” mainstream Jewish organizations is unprecedented. Today, in what must be described as self-destruction, a substantial number of irresponsible leaders of the most successful and powerful Jewish Diaspora community seem to have gone berserk, and are fueling antisemitism. 
This has nothing to do with free speech No one denies anyone that right. Least of all me.  But that does not minimize the damage these people do with their irresponsible characterizations and exaggerations of antisemtism and who they accuse of fomenting it.

Leiber calls it a ‘self-induced collective breakdown’. The left is filled with ‘progressive’ Jews.   And they are in full blown anti Trump mode. Not because of his rhetoric. But because of his politics. And they are taking advantage of his considerable shortcomings to capitalize on it. Blaming him for the so-called increase in antisemitism. As I have already said, there is no increase in antisemitism. Only an increased amplitude on the part of the racist fringe groups that have always been there.

Trump is continually described as an antisemite despite the unprecedented number of Jews at the highest levels of government in his administration. Despite his warming of relations with Israel. And despite having an observant Jewish daughter that underwent an Orthodox conversion.

And it is the left leaning progressive Jews that are screaming the most. Many of whom are heterodox rabbis that believe that Tikun Olam is all there is to Judaism. And for these mostly non observant Jewish leaders it is Israel; its prime minister; the settlements; and the ‘occupation’ that are to blame for all the woes of the Palestinian people. The same Palestinians - most of whom would prefer Jews go back to ‘where they came from’ (ala  former UPI reporter, Helen Thomas) so they can have ‘their land’ back.

It is no mere coincidence in my view that the left has so many non observant Jews in it. The rabbinic leadership of the Reform and Conservative movements are leading the charge.That’s what happens when the Mitzvah of Tikun Olam is the only one that is sacrosanct. They want to fix the world of the underdog. And Palestinians clearly are the underdog of the moment. Blaming right wing Jews is a no brainer for them.

Unfortunately some of these Trump hating progressive Jews are Open Orthodox rabbis ordained by YCT. (Like Shmuley Yaknlowitz who has pulled some pretty stupid stunts to make his Trump hating point.)

These mostly non observant liberal rabbis and their constituents see the politically conservative perspective as an archaic vestige of the past. Orthodox Jews to their right are seen as selfish, unenlightened, and primitive. And not having the high moral convictions that they do. That misguided  - and frankly insulting approach blinds them to the reality.

Most of the mainstream media is clearly part of the liberal establishment. They have been egged on by Trump’s foolish obsession with them. To say that Trump has been unkind to the media is an understatement. His constant negative rhetoric about them (not the least of which was the ridiculous and incendiary comment they are the enemy of the people) makes it hard for me to believe that reporting about him is unbiased. 

They can’t stand him. And it shows. They hardly hide it. One can see it in almost every TV reporter that covers him.  Every roll of the eye; every smirk; the ridicule in their voices; and even the contempt… it’s all there for anyone to plainly see. I see it every day. And they get away with it because Trump is an easy target. He has given them plenty of ammunition and they are thrilled to use it. They are capitalizing on it.

Now, before anyone accuses me of being a Trump loving right wing fanatic, I will repeat here what I’ve said many times. I did not vote for him. I voted for his opponent even though I thought she was a terrible candidate. And I don’t regret it. I do lean right, but I also have some liberal views. I am certainly no Rush Limbaugh.

But I see an unprecedented focus by the left on ‘getting Trump’. And I therefore feel compelled to defend him. Because I am absolutely convinced that the unprecedented animus Trump faces now is either entirely political or personal. The only criticism of him that isn’t - is from Republicans who are in the unfortunate position of having to agree with their political opponents on certain issues. (Although some of the animus from the right might be personal. Like that of John McCain. I can’t really blame him.)

Point is - the truth is buried among all of this ‘antitrumpism’. There are distortions galore for political and personal reasons. I feel obligated to tell it the way I see it. I am happy to see Isi Lieber do so by nailing the people that are really responsible for the increase in antisemitism. Someone has to ferret out the truth about what is really happening in the world because the mainstream media is incapable of doing so right now.