Supporting Malinowski

As leaders in the Jewish community, we write to express our enthusiastic support for the re-election of Congressman Tom Malinowski.

This election is for the soul of America. We are convinced that Congressman Malinowski and the Democratic team are precisely the leaders that our fractured nation needs at this time.

Our congressman has been a proud defender of Israel, not only these past two years, but long before he entered office. Claims to the contrary are not only blatantly false, but endanger our country’s bipartisan support for Israel. That support must remain bipartisan. Smear campaigns should be strongly rejected by each of us.

We are deeply concerned by the rise of right-wing extremism, which traffics in anti-Semitism. The Department of Homeland Security recently published a report demonstrating that White Supremacist violence is the number one domestic terror threat in our nation. And our long and painful history has shown us that White Supremacy has always been, and will always be, tied to anti-Semitism. As this hate rears its ugly heads, we, as Jews, are also threatened.

Congressman Malinowski has led the effort in the Capitol aimed at reducing this threat. He successfully restored funding for the Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention and the Countering Violent Extremism grant program which the Trump Administration attempted to cut. These two programs work to prevent radicalization before it leads to attacks.

Beyond our own safety, we Jews have striven for tikkun olam, repairing the world, by helping those in need. And we teach tikkun olam to our children as an obligation. Tom Malinowski has long embraced and embodied this obligation.

On healthcare, he has voted to ensure that everyone, regardless of their wealth, can have access to the care they need. He has led the charge to reform our campaign finance system, so that the voices of the many are heard in Washington, and not drowned out by the money of special interests. He has supported measures that would keep our children safe from gun violence as they learn in our schools.

Through his entire life, our congressman has embraced the longstanding Jewish tradition of fighting for justice. He has been an ally for those facing oppression from their governments and persecuted minority communities around the globe. At home, he has stood up for the rights of all, supporting legislation to protect those in the LGBTQ community, and calling for reforms to our police.

This is the record and these are the actions that we, as Jews, look to when we decide whom we shall support, Tom Malinowski, through two years in Congress and a lifetime of good work, has earned our support.

Rabbi Daniel Cohen, South Orange
Liz Cohen, Princeton
June Fischer, Clark
Rabbi Arnie Gluck, Skillman
Jordana Horn, Short Hills
Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, Westfield
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, Westfield

FDR and Hitler

In a dueling debate dialogue with Trump on Kim Jung Un of North Korea, Joe Biden said “We (America) had GOOD relations with Hitler before he started his invasions…” My first reaction was that Biden made a gaffe — but perhaps not? So I did some research on America’s relations with Nazi Germany before WWII as follows:

When FDR was Asst. Secretary of Navy in WWI, our adversary then was Imperial Germany. FDR, from firsthand reports, was fully aware of Hitler’s military build-up, his overt anti-Semitism, his threats and bluster, but America’s mindset the mid-1930s was to stay out of foreign wars and continue our policy of neutrality and isolationism as the lingering aftermath of WW I. Our diplomatic relations and neutrality status with Hitler 1933-38 was COOL due to Hitler’s belligerence.

When Hitler threatened to annex Sudetenland, Roosevelt wrote to Hitler on Sept. 27, 1938, and implored him to negotiate the issue of annexation and not resort to military force. FDR concludes to Hitler: “The United States has no political involvements in Europe and will assume no obligations in the conduct of negotiations.”

Kristallnacht would happen 42 days later, on Nov. 9-10, 1938. Hitler made good on his annexation of Sudetenland. After Kristallnacht, Roosevelt’s response was obtusely worded to say something without saying anything. (FDR was reluctant to denounce Hitler by name or identify Jews as victims.) 

America’s doors still stayed shut to almost all Jewish refugees due to low quotas and intentionally burdensome process.

Our ambassador to Berlin was recalled in late 1938 and diplomatic relations with Hitler’s Germany went from being COOL to COLD, but our embassy was still staffed and carried on. America watched across the Atlantic during 1939-41 as Hitler’s massive war machine conquered much of Europe. The only positive thing was America’s “Lend Lease” program with Britain, which was activated in March 1941, after Hitler had already invaded much of Europe.

Four days after Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 11, 1941, Hitler unilaterally declared war on the United States. Only then did FDR and America finally enter the war against Germany. France was already lost, most of Europe, except Russia, was in Nazi hands, and only Britain, under siege, still was defiantly holding on.

Biden’s debate assertion: “America’s relations with Hitler were GOOD before he invaded Europe” YOU BE THE JUDGE!

A fund of information is available through US Holocaust Museum, David Wyman Institute & other sites on the Internet.

Charles Cohen, Fair Lawn

Originalism as snare and delusion

Having retired after 45 years of practicing law and being a life-long student of American history and jurisprudence, I was naturally drawn to a letter, “In favor of originalism,” in the October 16 edition, written by a brother lawyer, defending the concept of originalism in constitutional law. In writing to join the discussion of this question I find myself bound by my brother’s injunction that all correspondence to your publication must be restricted to Jewish subject matters (though this seems to be notably absent from his own missive).

Therefore, as a public service, I urge everyone to examine (as have I) the body of law produced by those Jewish men and women who now serve or have ever done so on the Supreme Court (with the notable exception of Felix Frankfurter, who somehow succeeded in losing his moral compass during the transition from Harvard to the Court.) Thus, I would advert to the careers of Brandeis, Cardozo, Goldberg, Fortas, Ginsberg, Breyer, and Kagan. It will be seen that a common thread unites them all: that the Constitution is and was intended by its drafters to be a living, breathing instrument; that these justices realized that the Founding Fathers were all men of English descent, steeped in the traditions of the common law, a system whereby for hundreds of years judges in the course of adjudicating disputes between litigants had developed sets of principles, the wisdom of which was that they evolved with changes in circumstances and mores.

The contention that originalism leads to those same flexibilities is, rather, a snare and a delusion. For an examination of the jurisprudence of justices such as Scalia shows instead gross obstructionism and inertia at best and crass regression at worst.

One example of originalism at work will suffice. Giving the vaunted Second Amendment its original meaning would result in those hordes of our citizenry who are armed to the teeth being restricted in the ownership of firearms only provided that they be enrolled in the National Guard and that the weapons they may bear are muzzle-loading, single-shot muskets.

Sanford Kluger, Englewood Cliffs

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