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.