The explanations given by Professor Ronald Rubin and by the Orthodox Union’s Nathan Diament for Orthodoxy’s continued and growing support for Donald Trump are very troubling.
Rubin’s comments amount to little more than calling Trump a tough guy who knows how to fight and who knows that the world is a dangerous place and asserting that Orthodox Jews “…march to a different drummer…” and are unique among Jews in understanding the tragedy of histo-ry and “the dangers of naiveté.”
Rubin’s “strong man” description could apply to all matter of despots who don’t represent governing models to be followed in democracies. His comments about the unique correctness of Orthodox Jews’ political perceptions are self-congratulatory triumphalism … and ignore the fact that there are many Orthodox Jews, myself included, who simply don’t buy the party line.
Diament’s explanation is at least substantive, focusing primarily on the commonly held view among the Orthodox that Trump is a better friend of the Jews, citing the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and the nullification of the Iran nuclear deal. What Diament ignores is the legitimate debate as to whether those moves are in fact in Israel’s interests.
Both arguments address more sensitive issues as well.
What is our role as American citizens? How far do we go down a parochial path ignoring what is happening to the larger society around us?
How far does a president have to go in attacking the press and the courts, lowering the moral authority of the presidency, damaging American esteem internationally, ignoring established and validated diplomatic and economic norms, creating and hurting entire populations of scapegoats, and how often and how materially does a president have to lie to us…before we need to get past “all I know is he’s good for the Jews”?
Are not these the kinds of questions we raise accusingly as to other people in other places when they ignore our plight in the name of what is good for them?
I looked forward to reading the text of Jonathan Mark’s article, especially the statistics that justify that sweeping conclusion. To be sure, most in the Orthodox Jewish community support the president’s policy vis-à-vis Is-rael as reflected, for example, in his decision to move the Israeli Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Many in the Orthodox Jewish community also support other policies of President Trump as reflected in this article, though, as also made clear from the article, the Orthodox Jewish community as a whole is certainly not in favor of a number of other policies and actions of President Trump.
But the import of the article’s headline is that the support for President Trump from the Orthodox Jewish community has “increased” lately. Yet, the article is bereft of any statistical data to support this supposition. The closest it gets is a June AJC survey finding “that Trump had a favorability rating of 26 percent among Jews, up from the 19 percent who said they voted for candidate Trump” and that “it stands to reason that the bump-up probably comes from the Orthodox community.”
While Mr. Mark may believe that the bump-up comes from the Orthodox Jewish community and a couple of people quoted in his article may also believe this is true, a more apt title would have been — “Recent AJC Survey Finds an Increased Favorability Rating for President Trump Among Jews; Jonathan Mark Believes the Increase Is from the Orthodox Jewish community.”
Honorary President, Orthodox Union
Past Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Or-ganizations
I read with interest the above referenced article, which was really a puff piece in support of President Trump. In his article, Jonathan Mark quotes CUNY Professor Rubin on the issue of immigration as saying, “no one is running away from Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia.” Your reporter let that statement stand without any challenge. Why, one might ask, does a mother walk a thousand miles with her children to the U.S.? Answer: to escape being murdered for not joining a gang or sold as a sex slave. It re-ally doesn’t matter if they are running from a Nazi; they are running to live.
Mark also quotes Jeffrey Wiesenfeld about the treatment at the border, where Wiesenfeld in defense of Trump’s mean-spirited program of sepa-rating families claims, “the kids are getting proper food and medical care.” Mr. Wiesenfeld, that is what the Red Cross said about the Jews be-ing held at Terezin.
In the end Wiesenfeld and Rubin are entitled to their opinions, misguid-ed as I think they are, but not entitled to their own set of facts that simply get reported without challenge by your paper.
Joe Boren New York
Thank you for highlighting Jewish supporters of President Trump. Our community is a large diverse tapestry of political opinions and beliefs. I am a proud member of the Reform movement, third-generation Republi-can and one of several non-Orthodox Jews supporting President Trump.
While this may be an unpopular position to hold in Manhattan, I will proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with other Republicans and support-ers. Only Trump had the courage to move our embassy to the capital of Israel. Only Trump had the courage to stand up against the anti-Semitic rhetoric and anti-American interests of the United Nations. Only Trump had the vision to rebuke the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. Only Trump had the vision to spur the economy and cut needless regulation. President Trump is not only great for America but great for U.S.-Israel relations and beyond.
Hopefully more communal supporters will come out and publicly sup-port our friend and president.
Pete Webb Manhattan