OK, you know I’m a Democrat but I have always respected my Republican family and/or friends’ preference–until now. This goes beyond disagreements over fiscal conservatism, lower taxes or whether or not you like Netanyahu. We are talking about a bona fide died-in-the-wool bigoted, ignorant demagogue. This is important to everyone of course, but why is this especially important to Jews? after all, Trump has not been too terribly anti-Semitic – yet–and he did talk about his “little Jewish grand-babies.” Jews, however, have always had their antennae tuned in for trouble and here it is. When a hater arrives on your neighbor’s doorstep, it’s time to speak up. I’m told I will be flamed–so be it.
As we Jews have historically had our problems with demagogues, we have joined together with others to call them out before they get too far. We know that if one group is targeted, sooner or later, all will be. Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, gays, “my African-Americans,” they are all us. (See ADL)
I believe that the moment Trump denied Obama’s legitimacy through the vile “birther” claim was the moment everyone should have condemned him. If others besides Senator John McCain, a true hero, had spoken up then, the Republicans and America would not be saddled with this guy now. If more people had condemned Trump’s demeaning insults of his primary opponents, we would not be shamed by having him be a major party’s nominee. But they didn’t and here we are. It’s not too late; we have the ballot box–we have to use it.
When Trump spoke to AIPAC, (America Israel Public Affairs Committee), he referred to the folks in the audience as people who knew how to negotiate, get good prices and other cringeworthy canards. When David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the KKK, pledged his allegiance to Trump, it took a lot of prodding before Trump rejected his support. I don’t know if you noticed, but this same gentlemen happened to say recently that the Jews were responsible for all the criticism of Trump. I haven’t heard that the Donald repudiated this.
I will close with a quote I have always liked from Pastor Martin Niemoller, who spent some time in a Concentration Camp. “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist; And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew; And then . . . they came for me . . .and there was no one left to speak for me.”