By Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer
Here we go again. It was just announced that a collection of left-wing Jewish and non-Jewish groups is presenting Congress with a one million-signature petition against the appointment of former Breitbart head Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor to President-elect Trump. And last week, a group of Jewish and non-Jewish allies staged a protest at Breitbart headquarters in Beverly Hills against Bannon’s appointment. And the week prior, it was disclosed that over 600 progressive rabbis and cantors signed a petition pledging to hold the incoming Trump administration responsible for the protection of human rights. This group of clergy, under the mantle of “T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights,” which represents the leftmost end of the spectrum and includes virtually no Orthodox component – save for the president of the Open Orthodox men’s seminary in Riverdale, New York, and a few students and graduates thereof — echoes the apprehension and fears of countless others to the left, Jewish and non-Jewish, of perceived prejudice on the part of the president-elect’s team.
It was recently announced that Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison is the top contender to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). For those who are unfamiliar with Ellison, it is important to note that he was an early supporter of Nation of Islam, he has been accused of taking positions that are contrary to the security of the State of Israel, and he has been criticized for defending anti-Semitism. (Please see, for example, here, here and here.)
I cannot help but ask:
- Where is the righteous indignation of the progressive protesters and petitioners who are accusing Donald Trump’s team of bigotry and anti-Semitism when it comes to Keith Ellison? With the exception of the ADL, we have not heard any voices of protest regarding Ellison’s potential chairing of the DNC by those same people and organizations who are protesting President-elect Trump’s positions and appointments.
- Where was the righteous indignation of these progressive people and organizations in reaction to President Obama normalizing relations with Cuba, despite Cuba’s continued persecution of its citizens and trampling upon their human rights?
- Where was the righteous indignation of these progressive people and organizations in reaction to the racial overtones of an important election season communication by the campaign manager of the recent Democratic ticket?
- Where was the righteous indignation of these progressive people and organizations in reaction to the current Vice President calling then-candidate Obama “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy“?
- Where was the righteous indignation of these progressive people and organizations in reaction to Nevada’s Democratic Senator Harry Reid stating of then-candidate Obama that he was electable because of his light skin and “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted one“?
- Where was the righteous indignation of these progressive people and organizations in reaction to a former President and current elder statesman of the Democratic party remarking about then-candidate Obama, “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee“?
- Where was the righteous indignation of these progressive people and organizations in reaction to top advisers to the recent Democratic ticket harboring and being associated with misogynistic and anti-Israel views?
- Where was the righteous indignation of these progressive people and organizations in reaction to top-tier Democratic party and administration leadership making disparaging remarks about Indians (such as here and here).
- Where was the righteous indignation of these progressive people and organizations in reaction to the current mayor of New York City – a diehard fellow progressive – making a racially-charged joke (regarding “CPT/Colored People’s Time”)?
It is a sad fact that no segment of the politcal spectrum is totally free of bigotry; bigotry must be condemned in the harshest of terms, granted zero tolerance and ejected from the discourse. But when people and organizations selectively target conservatives for bigotry, basing allegations so often on associations and presumptions – all the while wilfully ignoring clear, glaring and objectively documented expressions of bigotry on the part of liberals, the word Hypocrisy cannot but come to mind, and one cannot but conclude that this selective condemnation is political in nature and is intentionally serving a political agenda.
The seal of the Holy One, blessed is He, is Truth (Talmud — Yoma 69b). Being honest and consistent is the Divine mandate of the Jew, as is being careful with one’s words so as to not selectively hurl accusations, and as is being respectful of the government and getting along with those around us. Let us be careful and prudent, and above all, honest and fair.