A plea to the Democratic party

Like many readers of the Jewish Standard, I proudly hold many identities and, dare I say, loyalties. I am a patriotic American, a lifelong Democrat, a Jew, a Zionist, a father, and a grandfather.

These loyalties shape my politics. As a Democrat I cannot find a political home in the Republican Party. While I have always thought that the Democrats’ policies were better for the country than the Republicans’, this is doubly so in the age of MAGA.

Fortunately, the current leadership and vast majority of the Democrats in Washington have both domestic and foreign policies that I can support. Regarding my identities as a Jew and a Zionist, Joe Biden, Hakeem Jeffries, and Chuck Schumer staunchly oppose antisemitism and defend Israel’s right to defend itself.

However, as a father and a grandfather, I worry about the future. There is a small but vocal group on the far left, in both houses of Congress, that strongly oppose Israel’s right to defend itself. Some go even further, believing that an existing state with over 9 million people should cease to exist. What happens to Jews in Israel does not seem to be a concern. The leaders of this group do not shy away from using antisemitic tropes directed at American Jews. If you have any doubt about antisemitism on the far left, read Franklin Foer’s excellent but disturbing piece in the Atlantic, “The Golden Age of American Jews is Ending.” While I worry most about their views related to Israel and Jews, the same people tend to have other problematic positions, such as ambivalence regarding supporting Ukraine and the desire to defund the police.

Who are these politicians that threaten to destroy the Democratic Party that I hold dear? One can’t refer to this group as the Progressives because there are many Progressives (e.g., Ritchie Torres) who strongly support Israel.  Likewise, one can’t refer to them as the Squad because there are others outside the Squad who share these views and some members of the Squad (e.g., Gregorio Casar) who do not. But while they are not necessarily members of a well-defined group, they are recognizable by their positions.

If their numbers and influence continue to grow, I believe that their policies will harm America, weaken the Democratic party, and be potentially catastrophic for Jews in America and for the ongoing strength of the strategic relationship between Israel and America. All of this, of course, would be dangerous for my children and grandchildren.

Fortunately, there is something that we can do about this. There are quite a few Democratic primaries in which a supporter and a detractor of the U.S.-Israel relationship are running against each other. Political donations in these contests can strengthen America by saving the Democratic party from its extreme left, combat antisemitism, strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship, and by doing all these things, protect our children and grandchildren. Giving these contributions through a pro-Israel organization such as AIPAC allows your contributions to be bundled with others making the impact that much greater.

For those who share my values and concerns, this is not a time for complacency. I urge you to actively engage in the battle for the future.

Steven Lerman
Fair Lawn

Is it in Israel?

Re “Civil veneer cracks again in Teaneck” (March 8): The article mentions “a fair where vendors will display information about real estate in Israel.” It fails to mention that some of the real estate is not “in Israel.” It is in the area that peace proposals have reserved for a Palestinian state. Facilitating land sales in this area to non-Palestinians makes the reaching of peace between Israel and Palestinians that much more difficult.

Arthur J. Lerman

Thank you, Dr. Raucher

I want to offer a shout out to professor Michal Raucher’s opinion piece in the paper last week. (“Sensationalizing campus antisemitism isn’t serving Jewish students like mine”) It expressed my views exactly. She wrote that college courses offer the student the opportunity to hear many ideas, some of which might even startle them. Professors should be free to share their thoughts with the students (but never to fabricate nontruths).

The press tends to report only the unfortunate “marches” and displays on some campuses. Dr. Raucher presented a much more positive picture of the daily life in the college classroom. I congratulate her for her honest evaluation.

Before I became an Orthodox rabbi, I left my hometown of Philadelphia to begin seven wonderful years as a student at Yeshiva University. I registered as one as three philosophy majors in 1955. You can imagine my shock when my professor asked to see the results of the vote taken at Mount Sinai. Impossible, he said, that the vote there with Moses in the lead was unanimous. Do you think this Jewish professor was antisemitic?

Rabbi Simcha A. Green

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