Jonathan Tobin asserts that Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem bears no responsibility for a backlash of anti-Semitism (“Who Unleashed Anti-Semitism? Not Trump,” Opinion, Dec. 22). Can Tobin really believe an issue so meaningful to Arabs and Jews would not elicit a harsh response? Does he really think Trump’s pronouncement would go unnoticed or be received with equanimity by the Palestinians?
The editorial (“Jury Out On Jerusalem Move”) in the same issue was in sharp contrast. It makes clear there was an expectation of a significant backlash by the Palestinians. However, the writer seems to derive comfort from the knowledge that the reaction to Trump’s decision was more muted than expected. That only about a dozen were killed, hundreds wounded and numerous people jailed appears to be an acceptable outcome of this ill-timed and wrong-headed declaration. What was the point? A muscle-flexing ego trip?
Anyone who has followed decades-long peace efforts is aware that Jerusalem remains an issue to be negotiated. The editorial approvingly concludes that Trump’s action “corrected a historic wrong” without setting the region on fire. Was this a risk worth taking?
There is a little good news. People are beginning to see the dangerous consequences of one-issue voting. Some formerly staunch supporters of Trump, including Evangelicals, have disavowed him. They have seen the light. What about our community? Does concern for Israel/Jerusalem blind some eyes to attacks on our fundamental American democratic institutions?
Unfortunately, there are those who are unable, or unwilling, to accept that a free press, independent judiciary and free elections — the essence of our democracy — are not part of Donald Trump’s vision of a great America. His erratic behavior is alarming. His presidency has instilled fear and apprehension at a level never before observed in the U.S.
As an American Jewish community of mostly immigrants and children of immigrants, we often express our gratitude to be living in the land of the free. We can’t allow America to become a place that treats others with derision, as Jews were for centuries in Europe. Unfortunately, sowing hatred, divisiveness and suspicion have become hallmarks of this administration. It behooves us to recognize it and raise our voices against it. If we ignore history, we will be forced to relive it.
Edith Everett is a member of the board of The Jewish Week.