Viewpoint: “Bad Jews”

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Viewpoint: “Bad Jews”
Karen Rubin, Columnist

In the not-so-old-days, Jews were attacked as being un-American because it was assumed they would support Israel and Zionism over America.

The week before Easter, Trump turned that antisemitic trope on its head and called out “bad Jews,” saying that Jews who vote for Democrats hate their religion and Israel because some Democrats - among them President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (the most powerful elected Jew in history) - have questioned Prime Minister Netanyahu’s leadership of Israel and the way Israel is prosecuting its war with Hamas.

This from the man who said Hitler did some good things, pronounced the Charlottesville Neo-Nazis who chanted “Jews will not replace us” “good people,”  invited notorious antisemites like Nick Fuentes to dinner, and after Oct. 7praised Hamas as “smart.”

More than half of Israelis – who came out by the thousands this weekend to protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (See: Benjamin Netanyahu Is Israel’s Worst Prime Minister Ever, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2024/03/benjamin-netanyahu-worst-prime-minister-israel-history/677887/)

Indeed, Netanyahu and Trump are two peas in a pod, both desperate to retain power at any cost to save themselves from prison, both willing to upend democracy so they can exert autocratic power.

Jews, including Schumer and Congressman Adam Schiff, bristled at anyone questioning their faith or morality for criticizing Netanyahu, correctly noting that Trump is the antithesis of Jewish values – “tikkun olam” – the call to repair and improve the world. It is American Jews’ inclination to support civil, social, economic, political and environmental justice that so offends the wannabe kleptocrat.

Trump, who so cruelly separated migrants at the border, jailed children and made them orphans, has said migrants are “poisoning the blood of our country” and claimed some migrants were “not people” - violating Exodus 22:21: “You must not oppress a stranger in any way; remember, you yourselves were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” And he has called liberals and Democrats (actually any political opponent) “vermin” who should be “rooted out” (and worse).

Ahead of Easter – a traditional time when pograms and antisemitic violence were unleashed on Jewish communities – Trump is hawking his official “God Bless America Bible.” It is the King James version embellished with the Constitution, Bill of Rights. Declaration of Independence, and Pledge of Allegiance (which added “God” in 1956 to counter the Soviet Union’s communism).

“Religion and Christianity are the biggest things missing from this country,” Trump declares in the commercial hawking the $59.99 merchandise. “And I truly believe that we need to bring them back and have to bring them back fast. I think it’s one of the biggest problems we have. That’s why our country is going haywire. We’ve lost religion in our country.” He adds, “It’s my favorite book. I’m proud to endorse and encourage you to get this Bible. We must make America pray again.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Georgia Democrat who is an actual working pastor, countered: “The Bible does not need Donald Trump’s endorsement, and Jesus in the very last week of his life chased the money changers out of the temple, those who would take sacred things and use them as cheap relics to be sold in the marketplace.”

On Good Friday, Trump reposted a video depicting President Biden, bound and gagged on the back of a pickup truck – yet another exhortation to political violence against his opponents, including political foes, judges, prosecutors, witnesses even jurors and their family members.

Trump spent Easter Sunday posting 77 messages on his “Truth” Social site, attacking federal special counsel Jack Smith, “deranged” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and “crooked Joe.”

In contrast, in his Easter message, President Biden, a devout Catholic and moral human being, said: “Jill and I send our warmest wishes to Christians around the world celebrating Easter Sunday. Easter reminds us of the power of hope and the promise of Christ’s Resurrection. As we gather with loved ones, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice. We pray for one another and cherish the blessing of the dawn of new possibilities. And with wars and conflict taking a toll on innocent lives around the world, we renew our commitment to work for peace, security, and dignity for all people.”

Meanwhile, MAGAs attacked Biden for issuing a proclamation for Transgender Day of Visibility, which has been marked on March 31 every year for 15 years, and only coincidentally took place on Easter Sunday. But it is part and parcel of perverting the message of Christianity against inclusion and respect for “all God’s children” (the celebrated image of Jesus cleansing a leper), which has become a fundamental tenet of their anti-woke political scheme.

“As a Christian who celebrates Easter with family, President Biden stands for bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates stated. “Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric. President Biden will never abuse his faith for political purposes or for profit.”

Ever the opportunist and con artist, Trump’s aim is to keep evangelicals, orthodox, fundamentalists, and Christian Nationalists (Neo-Nazis) in his fold, and ignore the fact he is a serial adulterer, sex abuser, fraudster and idolator who preaches hate, bigotry and violence and has broken all Ten Commandments. It is the height of audacity and blasphemy that he has taken to calling himself chosen by God (“I am your savior”) and to put himself on the cross of political persecution, just like Jesus.

“Claiming godlike authority or an endorsement from God for a political candidate means that person cannot be questioned or opposed without also opposing God,” said Russell Moore, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public-policy arm. “That’s a violation of the commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/01/us/politics/trump-2024-religion.html)

It’s made me see how antithetical to American values orthodox religion and fundamentalism of any stripe is. America is based on individualism, critical thinking, the ability to challenge authority. Organized religion requires blind obedience, idolatry to whoever self-appointed authority figure claims to have a direct line to God.

It is no wonder that the percentage of Americans who identify as Christian has fallen from 91 percent in 1948 to 68 percent in 2022, according to a Gallup poll cited in The New York Times. Meanwhile, 71% of adults support same-sex marriage while a mere 13% say abortion should be illegal.

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