A Time to Mourn, Not a Time to Accuse

Oct. 30 2018

Since the massacre of worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, many have rushed to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the American president. At least two well-known Jewish journalists—almost immediately after the attack—took this claim one step further by holding Jewish supporters of Donald Trump accountable for the murders as well. Rabbi David Wolpe responds:

My synagogue is on the west side of Los Angeles. On a rough guess, about half of my congregants support Donald Trump. Many of those who do, but certainly not all, are from the Persian community. We have had frank discussions. They know I deplore many of the things he says and I oppose much of what he does. . . . They also know that we respect and listen to one another, that I do not preach politics at them but do speak with them and learn from them, and that our relationship in many cases is one not only of affection but of genuine love.

So when I see major American Jewish figures tell me that my congregants are illegitimate, my blood boils a little bit. After the tragedy in Pittsburgh, perhaps because I spend so much of my time at the bedside of the sick and dying, I expected that the first impulse of Jews in particular would be simply to offer messages of sorrow and condolence [rather than to suggestion that] more than half of my Shabbat-morning congregants, and in some more traditional synagogues almost all of them, should have the doors barred against their entry; that Jews who make minyans, pay shiva calls, underwrite nursing homes and kindergartens—people who make Judaism possible . . . for other people—should be cast out of our midst because of the levers they pull in the privacy of a voting booth. And what, after all, would a Jew who fled from Iran know about anti-Semitism—or protecting the Jewish community?

[M]y congregants are not the ones who are dangerous, and refashioning blood libels so that Jews are the perpetrators is ethically appalling—and communally toxic.

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More about: American Jewry, Donald Trump, Jewish World, Persian Jewry, Politics & Current Affairs

 

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror