Letter to the editor January 13
It’s not 1956 anymore
Bonnie Glick berates the Jewish Federations of North America and others for boycotting the Chanukah bash at Trump Hotel in Washington, sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (“Making the American Jewish community great again,” Dec. 29). She complains that Jewish organizations “splinter over the tiniest disagreements …” and that, in our parents’ day, disagreements among Jews were kept within the community.
News flash: It is not 1956. The 2016 campaign was not Eisenhower vs. Stevenson. Jews are reported to have voted 71 percent to 24 percent for Clinton over Trump. Trump has attacked immigrants and courted white supremacists. Anti-Semitism is more virulent than it has been in many years with Jewish journalists critical of Trump often being threatened online. More importantly, David Friedman, Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel, has said that
J Street members and other left-leaning Jews are like “kapos during the Nazi era.” Why has Glick not criticized Friedman for airing our dirty laundry?
To hold a party at a Trump hotel on the same night as President Barack Obama’s party, and co-sponsor it with the authoritarian government in Azerbaijan is, as Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Reform movement, said, “tone deaf at best, naked sycophancy at best.”
Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO of the Conference of Presidents, is known to be both Orthodox and politically to the right. That would be fine, if he would acknowledge that most American Jews are neither Orthodox nor right wing, or if he understood that we are frightened by Trump’s rhetoric and the conflicts between his business interests and the Presidency. Hoenlein and Trump can’t see past support for the Netanyahu government in Israel.
The Jewish community in this country is not united, and it would be a lie to pretend we are. The disagreements are not “tiny,” but the result of very different views of how this country and Israel should work.
Glick also praises Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, for announcing millions of dollars in grants for “school choice” in Maryland, some of which would go to Bais Yaacov. I attended public school in Baltimore County in the 1950s and 1960s, and “school choice” was (and often still is) just code for not having to go to school with African-Americans or, for many, not going to school with Jews. In any case, public funding for religious schools is a bad idea, even if those schools are Jewish.
Barry Lee Wendell