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Bruce Bialosky

Lessons from Interactions with the Jewish Left

I have written a lot about the Jews lately. I promise after this column I will take a respite for a while on the subject. Recently I was on a panel at a major university, the subject of which was The Impact of Donald Trump’s Presidency on American Jewry. There are lessons here for us all.

Since the panel was about how President Trump has impacted American Jewry, I thought I would focus on two concepts that are universal to Jews — Israel and anti-Semitism. If you are focused on the preservation of the Jewish people, then certainly you want to mitigate anti-Semitism. You likewise want to maintain a strong Jewish homeland that was established just seventy years ago after an approximate 2000-year interval of being absent. I laid out the case that President Trump has been an excellent President on both fronts.

The response from the representative of the Left was to not acknowledge that, nor even provide a begrudging nod to that, but to declare in her opening statement that Trump is an “existential threat” to the Jewish people and to our country. How someone can be judged as an “existential threat” to the Jews when he is taking unprecedented steps to combat anti-Semitism worldwide and has expressed support for Israel on a level equal to or greater than any prior President remains baffling?

As I continued to hammer that point home, the other side kept lurching toward other issues.
It became starkly clear that 70% of Jews she supposedly represents really do not have the preservation of the Jewish people as their primary or even their secondary focus. Their focus is on the nexus of social issues that are their agenda of the day which really motivates the Left. If you listened to this discussion, the contrast was so stark it jumped at you and bit your nose.

Some may say they have known the Jewish Left has had other priorities for a long time. Their religion is the politics of the Left and not the preservation of Jews and Jewish values. Yes, I have heard that for years and believed it from my own experiences. Yet it was so palpable during the panel as I focused on my issues and she focused on other issues that it would be hard to deny (and we have video evidence).

One of the issues that created controversy during the panel was Trump’s question of why Jews support Democrats who don’t support Israel and why they don’t have greater loyalty to Israel. This brought forth a discussion about dual loyalty within the Jewish community. This canard goes back many centuries. The Jews are not the only Americans who have been questioned on the issue of dual loyalty. In 1960, President John F. Kennedy was questioned on dual loyalty because he was a Catholic in a country that was majority Protestant.

Yet times have changed. No one of substance today would bring up a Catholic’s faith as a question of dual loyalty. My belief is the fervency with which the Left-wing members of the panel raised this issue is not because of their serious concern on the topic, but because Trump injected the issue. As I stated, perceptions have changed due to the existence of Israel and the commitment many non-Jewish Americans have to Israel. Trump was not chastising anyone for having dual loyalty, he was questioning why someone would not have dual loyalty — a reversal of the issue.

This validates my belief that the people attacking Trump for the issue of dual loyalty did it because of their distaste for Mr. Trump. The other matter that is fascinating here is this is the group that is constantly changing the rules for terms and ideas. They can take a different look at how we refer to something and call someone a bigot for an old commonly-held perception, but Trump turns the perception of dual loyalty around and his opponents lurch back to a different millennium and say we must still think that way.

They always set the rules to their advantage with blatant disregard for hypocrisy.

The last matter to address is the issue of non-partisanship. Upon signing onto the panel I was provided information about the other panelists. I knew everyone for years except for the one who was listed as “non-partisan.” I immediately responded that no one is non-partisan except for my dog, Winnie, who loves everybody.

As it turns out, Dr. Saba Soomekh would only be adjudged to be non-partisan by the left wing of the Democrat party. Among her many comments she made she invoked that Trump said the Nazis etc. who marched in Charlottesville were very fine people. He did not say that, but I kept my cool and addressed her after the conclusion of the panel. I spoke to her privately and told her she was wrong and she should know better. I said I was happy to send her the proper information including the video of the news conference. Then I said to her “Do you really believe that if he said that I would not have excoriated him for that?” She was pleasant and gave me her card. She then ignored the information I sent her and did not respond to it. So much for being non-partisan.

Interestingly many people watched the video of the panel. The universal response from the Republicans was an inquiry as to who the Leftist was sitting next to me (Dr. Soomekh). They never referred to the declared Democrat.

Matters always become clearer when you have a chance to have conflicting opinions represented by educated people representing their viewpoint in a civil forum.