Letters | September 23, 2020


Could Runyan be any more wrong?

It was shocking to read the venom-filled piece by Rabbi Joshua Runyan (“Why Trump’s not getting this Orthodox vote: He’s neither good for the Jews, nor for Judaism,” Voices, Sept. 17). As a rabbi, he has to know the Korach story in Torah, regarding the critical importance of unity to the Jewish people. Korach, his family and followers were destroyed by God because of their attacks against the leadership of Moses. Runyan’s diatribe is an example of what God warned about, as it affects both Israel and America.

Runyan makes dangerous statements that Trump is not good for Jews nor for Israel. He gives no credit to Trump for brokering a peace deal with its neighbors and claims it takes off the table any future extension of Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria. He states that moving the embassy to Jerusalem does not mean unification. He disparagingly refers to the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria as “settlers,” disregarding the fact that these Jews have restored sovereignty to land that was stolen from Jews by Jordan in 1948. Trump’s support of Israel at the U.N. has been unparalleled.

It is sickening to witness a rabbi publicly calling a president a charlatan, especially given that the nation is already so divided and undergoing a horrible pandemic, a broken economy, accusations of racism and rising anti-Semitism. All this he blames on Trump. His aim is to denigrate Trump and generate support for Biden.

Runyan claims Biden has “forcefully” defended Israel. When and how? Biden was part of an administration that denigrated Israel. He has stated he would restore funding to the Palestinians, funding canceled by Trump because that money was used by the Palestinians to support terrorism. He was part of the nuclear deal with Iran that provided it with the money given to terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.



Don’t be swayed by a dabbler

A rabbi’s recommendation on how to vote should carry no weight because it ignores the sage thoughts of Lord Jonathon Sacks, the retired chief rabbi of the U.K., who explained the importance of separating religion and politics.

In “Why Trump’s not getting this Orthodox vote: He’s neither good for the Jews, nor for Judaism,” Runyan concludes that America is more dangerous for Jews today than four years ago. Without providing any evidence, he attributes this to Trump’s leadership, casually adding such phrases as “charlatan,” and “divider of people,” to describe our president.
In drawing attention to the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Runyan fails to note that such an action merely recognized Israel as a sovereign nation with the right to designate its own capital. There was also only scant mention of the Abraham Accords with the UAE and Bahrain. An accord that opens opportunities for constructive initiatives in the Middle East that have languished for decades.

The rabbi may be correct in his assumption that a President Biden would do no harm to Israel, hardly a ringing endorsement for a man who has been in public office for close to 50 years without any notable achievements.

Readers are, of course, free to make their own choice of whom to support in the forthcoming election. I merely suggest they should not be swayed by emotional outbursts from a rabbi dabbling in the political rather than the religious realm.


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  1. I commend WJW for publishing the insightful, informative letters of Warren Manison and Stanley Orman. They focus attention on the most critical issue that is dividing our nation.

    Rabbi Joshua Runyan’s piece in WJW (Sept. 17) simply represents the views and attitudes prevalent among a vast majority of Jewish Americans. I get it. However, those Jews for the most part are tied at the hip to the Democratic Party and, like lemmings, would jump off a cliff to satisfy the platform of their favorite party.

    How sad, then, for American Jews and democrats in general, that the formerly moderate leaders of the Democratic Party have totally capitulated to the most inexperienced, radical voices in their party. Whether it be calling for defunding of the police, encouraging insurrection, promoting open borders for illegal aliens, petulantly demanding that the president refrain from appointing a new Supreme Court justice, belittling President Trump’s significant foreign and domestic policy accomplishments, or inciting blind hatred and animosity toward our president, the new radical Democratic Party is a blot on our nation’s history.

    There’s the rub!

    Marc L. Caroff

    Virginia Beach, VA

  2. With all due respect to the above “letters to the editor,” I find the amount of anger spewed unacceptable–by all sides. By all means give Mr. Trump credit for moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem and completing an agreement with the UAE and Bahrain (with more states to follow) on his watch. Let’s not magnify those accomplishments, however, and let’s understand the changing scenery in the Middle East. Let’s also not denigrate the Obama-Biden administration or cast Democrats as suddenly “anti-Israel.” I am uncertain that the present actions of the Oval Office have made Israel more secure; pulling out of an Iran deal has only served to accelerate tensions without any good options in sight—as imperfect as that international arrangement may be (it is still embraced internationally).
    Any rational review of Trumpian policy on immigration, health care, voting rights, disaster relief to Puerto Rico, embracing nonsense instead of science per the COVID pandemic, the inescapable connection between rhetoric and the rise of white supremacy and anti-semitism, the denial of climate change, and attack on the
    institutions that make us the democratic society we are purported to be, the beat goes on….can only come to the conclusion that this administration is both incompetent and complicit in the deaths of thousands of citizens (that could have been prevented).
    No, Democrats are not fomenting violence in the streets, or for “open” borders, etc. We all should acknowledge the need to re-think what social justice means as it applies to our legal system, maldistribution of wealth, equal opportunity, etc. Re-distribution of resources, not “defunding” of the “police” is the better paradigm. These precepts are well founded in Judaic tradition and mores.
    This is an election where the “soul of America” is at stake. Again give Mr. Trump credit for the things you think he has accomplished; but a transactional, erratic , “deny the facts” individual lacking empathy and common decency is not the person you should want in the White House.

  3. Additionally, if Mr. Trump’s only transgression had been the separation of children from their families at the southern border, that should be enough to disqualify him and members of his administration. A nation’s first task is to take care of its children, actually ALL children

  4. With all due respect to Raymond Coleman, his comments prove my point. He asks that we not magnify the accomplishments of the Trump administration. Who is magnifying them? If anything, those accomplishments have been belittled, distorted, and all but ignored by most of the mainstream news media and by social media outlets. Mr. Coleman also asks that we not denigrate the Obama-Biden administration or the Democratic Party. But if we know there are good reasons to believe that Biden, Obama, and others in their administration were not only incompetent but, also, complicit in crimes such as using our intelligence agencies to illegally spy on Trump associates before and after the 2016 election, and deliberately sending American jobs overseas (i.e.China) thereby endangering our economy and national security in exchange for fat-cat salaries for their relatives (i.e. Hunter Biden); also believing there are good reasons to conclude that the moderates in the Democratic Party have shamelessly capitulated to the socialist, radical left and Islamist, anti-Semitic members of their party, should we then hold our tongues? What about evidence that elements in groups like BLM and Antifa are stoking riots and anarchy throughout our country? Certainly, we can no longer rely on the biased mainstream news media to warn the nation, being, as they seem to be, in the pocket of corrupt democratic politicians. Finally, please notice that neither my words, nor those of Warren Manison and Stanley Orman, are filled with anger or vituperation. On the contrary, we are obviously all very concerned about the welfare and safety of our fellow citizens, and the future of our nation. Personally, I am very frustrated that our nation’s news outlets are not giving full, fair and impartial reports of the radical left’s progressive takeover of both the Democratic Party and our educational institutions, and the resulting mayhem and anarchy spreading throughout the country.

  5. It is extremely difficult to see people of the Jewish Faith ignore the hatred that stems from the very mouth of Mr. Trump day by day by day and his constant and very dangerous pleas to his “base” to make sure he wins no matter the actual outcome of the vote. He is, indeed, directly responsible for the increase in anti-black, anti-Islamic and anti-Semitism that has grown in this country during his so-called administration. Are the writers blind and deaf to the evil he spouts every day on the internet. If you have a President of the United States inciting hate, it gives a license to all of the bigots of this country and that is what he has done. Do they not remember his stating that there “were good people on both sides” about Charlottesville. The focus on what he has allegedly done for Israel is ill placed even if it were true which if these “gentlemen” took the time to look into it they would find that these countries have long had a “hidden” relationship with Israel and the announcement is nothing more than a political maneuver by the “leader” of Israel and this country. But what is so disturbing is that in order to support him as they do, they do so in the face of the harm that he has caused and will continue to cause to our democracy. Indeed, he cares only about himself. He has purposely undermined our faith in government and once a country loses that, we all face losing our freedom and values. Hopefully these gentlemen are in the minority or we are all doomed to be led by the “apprentice” who has no desire to lead a unified country which we once were.

  6. To continue the conversation: I am concerned that we can’t have a dialogue in part because we can’t agree on factual reality: Let’s agree to disagree and drill down to the statement “about the welfare and safety of our fellow citizens”: does this apply to the unnecessary deaths of citizens of Puerto Rico because of the feeble federal response to the hurricane that tore apart that island, or the tens of thousands of preventable deaths because of the Trump administration’s incoherent response to COVID as it embraced nonsense instead of science? Does it calm the souls of Americans of color who have been denied equal opportunity in education, jobs, and access to health care, much less attempts to suppress and disenfranchise their voting rights? Does
    muddying the waters about the fairness of the upcoming election make the democratic process more secure? Achieving social justice is an agenda item, but violence is never an acceptable response–there are bad actors on both sides of the political spectrum but the greatest threat is from white supremacists and the far right per the FBI. Does it bring solace to fathers and mothers and children separated at the southern border, or members of the LGBTQ community under threat? Does it offer a path to comprehensive health care to all citizens—given that Republicans can offer no alternative to the ACA; does it allow women to have the ability to make decisions about their own bodies? Does it make the economy healthier: the Trump Oval Office was handed an economy on the mend: job creation and increase in GNP were not better under Republican tutelage–despite an infusion of trillions of dollars from the Republican tax overhaul that increased income disparity and made health insurance unattainable for one million plus citizens—because their policy was Ayn Randian laissez faire capitalism and deregulation, not investment in infra-structure, education, or re-training the work force for the challenges of a new global economy. Or the denial of climate change and the shredding of EPA standards that heretofore ensured clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, safe food to eat—de-regulation carries a price tag. Does it respect citizens who have dedicated their lives to public service and the military for putting their lives on the line for the rest of us? Does it offer a sense of civility and decency that would give us confidence in the leaders of our government? This list is hardly comprehensive.
    Don’t take it from me: witness the “off the wall” performance by a cornered Mr. Trump at the 1st Presidential debate. This is the individual you think Israel can rely on? Beware.

    Respectfully again,


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