What are we standing for?
Joel Rubin, in his July 25 Voices, “Why American Jews should stand with ‘the Squad,’“ said, “We as American Jews must stand with the Squad regardless of our individual views about their politics.” I beg to disagree.
Rubin says he is disappointed with remarks of several of the members of the Squad, but that “doesn’t mean I won’t defend… their right to critique America, their right to criticize the president.” On this, he is right. We, as American Jews, should absolutely defend free speech, and that includes criticizing the government.
However, by saying we should stand with the Squad, Rubin asks us for more than they are entitled to. We do not have to stand “with” them when they are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. We need to only stand up for their right to speak.
Support, but criticize
Over the past week, I have had unvarnished discussions with people in our community who embrace President Donald Trump, mainly, I assume, for his policy toward Israel and Iran. I understand the sentiment.
What concerns me is the stunning silence from these individuals on all the other things Trump has said, tweeted and done: the racist and misogynist rhetoric, the demonizing of people of color, the unrepentant attack on a healthy environment and addressing climate change, the attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without a clear plan in view, the separating of children from their parents and holding them in inadequate quarters. A nation that can’t take care of its children, actually all children, loses its moral bearing and soul.
Rabbi Joachim Prinz, speaking just before Martin Luther King Jr. at the rally on the Mall in 1963, stated that silence “was the most disgraceful, the most shameful, and the most tragic problem” that allowed the Holocaust to take hold!
By all means support the president for what you like. But to stand silently by for other actions that fly in the face of Judaic principles and mores and social justice makes one complicit. Pure and simple.