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Letter: Trump and American Jews

Reader letters to Newsday for Sunday, Aug. 23, 2019

President Donald Trump waves to the press as

President Donald Trump waves to the press as he arrives on the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 21, 2019. Photo Credit: POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/RON SACHS

President Donald Trump said that Jews who vote for Democrats are disloyal [“Trump criticizes Jews who vote for Democrats,” News, Aug. 21]. Disloyal to whom? Israel? America? I never took an oath to defend Israel, while I’ve regularly pledged allegiance to the U.S. flag.

I’m Jewish. Not just born Jewish, but observant. I’ve also never been and am not likely to ever go to Israel. My country is the United States of America. I vote in every election and have since age 19. Which party I vote for is not relevant. If voting in every election for almost 30 years isn’t loyal to both my birth country (USA) and chosen country (USA), I don’t know what is!

Kim Friedrich,

   Mastic

President Donald Trump said that if American Jews vote for Democrats, they have “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” He tweeted that Rep. Rashida Tlaib “hates Israel and all Jewish people.” These comments mimic an anti-Semitic trope that says Jews are disloyal and not full Americans. They endanger Jewish people and Tlaib, and support the white nationalist movement that Trump appears determined to enable and embrace.

I am ashamed that my congressman, Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Jew, sycophantically supports Trump’s views and would defend an anti-Semitic statement that appeals to white nationalist supporters of Trump.

As the child of Jewish immigrants from Russia, I refuse to be silent while our political leaders stoke their bases of support with tropes that weaponize anti-Semitism for political gain. It’s why in the last election, I campaigned for Zeldin’s Democratic opponent — not because I am disloyal to my country, but because my congressman puts me and my neighbors in danger.

Phyllis Hartmann,  Bellport

  

Rep. Lee Zeldin is dead wrong about President Donald Trump’s latest pronouncement on Jews when he says Trump loves the Jewish people and the U.S.-Israeli alliance. I believe the president is attempting to end the bipartisan support that Israel has enjoyed in the United States.

Trump was wrong to imply that American Jews have dual loyalty when he called Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu “your prime minister” at a gathering of Republican Jews in Las Vegas in April.

Trump was wrong to urge Netanyahu to block the official visit of Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to Israel and the West Bank regardless of their goals. Trump is wrong in trying to divide bipartisan support for Israel by claiming that Democrats don’t support Israel. Trump’s pandering to anti-Semites and racists has empowered them. Zeldin himself has trafficked with those who pander to anti-Semites and racists, including former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka.

I have been a rabbi for more than 50 years. I am a loyal Jew and supporter of Israel, even though I might criticize some actions of its political leaders. I am a loyal and devoted American, a Navy veteran, and I deeply resent Trump’s suggestion that I am disloyal to either Israel or America. And I deeply resent Zeldin’s support of Trump.

Rabbi Adam D. Fisher,

   Port Jefferson Station

  

The controversy over Israel’s refusal to allow an official visit by two members of Congress highlights the negative effects of a misguided bipartisan attempt by representatives of both major political parties to attack and smear the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights and freedom. By an overwhelming margin in July, the House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution to condemn the BDS movement and to endorse an Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution. Legislatures in more than two dozen U.S. states have passed measures condemning the BDS movement or banning contracts with businesses involved with it.

Such undemocratic action is divisive and violates free-speech rights. It is outrageous that lawmakers have supported legislation to penalize or vilify anyone who advocates a boycott of Israel for its oppressive treatment of Palestinians under a decades-old occupation.

BDS is a peaceful approach to change — part of the process of negotiation, now stalled — that is desperately needed to bring a just and lasting peace to Israel and Palestine.

Joseph Naham and Jim Brown,

   Long Beach

Editor’s note: The writers are chair and secretary, respectively, of the Green Party of Nassau County.

  

So the president says that Jews who vote Democratic are not supportive of Israel. What chutzpah!

Who is it that has, by his rhetoric, given license to anti-Semitic creeps to come out from under their rocks and carry out deadly attacks on Jews in our country?

I do not agree with the two congresswomen whose official visit was denied by Israel. However, I am an American Jew and I understand how important it is to vote Democratic in the next election.

Morton Ballin,

   Oakdale

  

With his latest absurd comment about Jewish “lack of knowledge or great disloyalty” in the wake of the Omar-Tlaib melodrama, President Donald Trump stokes the fires of the growing white supremacist threat and in a perverse way plays into the hands of anti-Semitic members of Congress.

Perhaps he thinks that because his son-in-law is Jewish and that his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism, he has a “get out of jail free” card. But his not-so-subtle mischaracterization of Jewish Americans and the Democratic Party is nothing short of an anti-Semitic outburst that is a chilling reminder of 1930s Germany.

Paul Jacobs,

   Huntington

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