Tag Archives: racism

In Defense of Trump; from a Never Trump Jewish guy

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I write this as a Jewish man, not as a voter.  As a voter I have absolutely no intention of casting my vote for Donald Trump.  There are many qualities he displays, all qualities discussed in the media ad-nauseum that makes me not only not want to vote for him, but fearful at the prospect of his presidency.  Trump is many things that are abhorrent to many American voters.  I will not only not dispute many of those criticisms, I will very likely agree with many of them.  But the one thing I will dispute is the notion that Donald Trump has displayed anything resembling anti-Semitism.

I personally do not believe Donald Trump is a racist or bigot of any kind.  I believe he says some very irresponsible and thoughtless things that are not only insulting but potentially very damaging as well.  I also believe his incendiary comments resonate strongly in a very racist element of American society making them potentially very dangerous. As president these comments would carry even more force and would subsequently have an even more damaging impact.  That being said, even as someone very sensitive to attacks of any kind on my religion, I did not find the tweet with the star calling Hillary the “most corrupt candidate ever” to be a racial slur or an indication that Trump has a problem with the Jewish people.

There are many factors that point to why this is not the case.  The most obvious would be the fact that Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism before marrying her husband, Jared Kushner, who has a strong and positive relationship with his father-in-law.  The next fact is that as much business as people have done with Trump, as many companies as he has owned and as many people as he as employed,  if Trump was a racist of any kind, including an anti-Semite, we would have known this long before he ran for president.  And that is not because his activities have gone under the radar. There has certainly been plenty of buzz showing him to be a heartless and self-serving business man. And finally, and this is just simple logic, with an ad designed to bring attention to the Trump campaign’s stance that Hillary is too corrupt to be president, why would they deflect attention from that message by going after Jews.  The answer is that they would not. The truth is that what the star represents, and I refer to it as the star rather than the Star of David because I do not believe it was meant to represent a Star of David, is more stupidity and carelessness than bigotry and racism, and as a proud Jew I can forgive that, at least from a personal and ethnic standpoint.

Unfortunately the tweet does represent much of what is wrong with the Trump candidacy. Just because it is not anti-Semitic, that does not mean it is acceptable. The lack of understanding and preparedness that this represents is very much  part of the reason I am a Never Trump guy, but as a Jewish man I don’t hate him, I merely hate him as a voter.

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Is it Racist to Attack Islam?

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It’s an important and relevant question.  I could start by saying Islam is a religion and ideology rather than a race, but in discussing this point that’s merely semantics.  To properly discuss this issue its critical to start from an honest premise, which means asking the right question.  In this case the question to ask may not be whether or not attacking Islam is racist as much as whether or not attacking it is actually justified?

Let’s begin by looking at the definition of racism. racism: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.  This already presents a question.  In a situation where you identify a problem that is prevalent within a group of people, are you saying that all members of that race possess those characteristics or abilities specific to that race.  Comments like Jews are good with money or blacks are better athletes, may not be  bigoted, but in the way they specifically claim these qualities exist in these groups, they might be construed as racist.  This in itself could be a long discussion and quite frankly is mostly irrelevant in this discussion, because the attacks on Islam of which I am referring to are highly indicting and provocative, even if they may be true.

Personally, I find any unwarranted attack on one group of people to be offensive. We’ve all heard these stereotypical attacks. Jews are cheap, Mexicans are lazy, Irish are drunks, and so on and so on.  They’re ridiculous comments.  They speak of negative qualities that exist in all groups and aren’t dominant in any one particular group.  They are comments designed to insult people and be nothing more than statements of bigotry.  They’re offensive and disgraceful and I have always distanced myself not only from these types of comments but from those who make them.  That being said, no matter how liberal people want to be, it’s important that everyone realizes that attacking Islam is a very different story.

Attacks on Islam are not based on unwarranted personal bias.  The 9/11 attacks were committed by Muslims.  The Boston Marathon Bombings were committed by Muslims.  Israel has been getting attacked by Muslim terrorists on a regular basis since the 70’s.  We’ve just watched 3 people get beheaded by Muslims.  Boko Haram is a Muslims terrorist group killing Christians in Nigeria, and the entire western world is on edge because of the threat of attack by ISIS.  For those who wanted to believe the president when he said otherwise, let me be clear.  The first IS in ISIS stands for Islam.  Members of ISIS were just arrested in Australia for a plan to abduct random people and behead them.  They have sent messages online trying to recruit what they call “lone wolves” to set off explosions in Times Square.  Iran, that’s the Islamic Republic of Iran,  is pursuing a nuclear program and wants to destroy the State of Israel.  I can go on and on.  And that’s really the point isn’t it?

It’s not that every Muslim is a threat.  It’s that most of the worst threats today are coming from Muslims.  Should we like them for this?  Should we be tolerant?  I will not discriminate against someone because they are Muslim.  I am capable of making Muslim friends.  But I will want to know that they are not aligned with the ideology prevalent in their religion if I am to have a healthy relationship with them.  That is not racist.  That is prudent.

Do I blame people for lashing out at Islam?  Not I don’t.  I am far more offended by one of my fellow Jews defending Muslims with more vigor than they defend Israel.  There are very large numbers of Muslims who hate me without even knowing me because I am Jewish.  Many of them want me and all my fellows Jews dead. Does that mean they all do? Of course not.  But is identifying this as a real problem make me racist?  Absolutely not.  It makes me realistic.  Most of the people who show hatred for Islam are not unlike me in their basic desire, people who just wants to live in peace and see their people and country be allowed to live in peace. The fact that they hate the people who are not allowing them to do so does not make them racist.  It makes them human.  Something this enemy is not.

I get it. We want to be good people.  We don’t want to hate others.  I respect that, but it’s not that simple.  When I was 19 years old I had a few sessions with a psychologist.  I didn’t particularly like him and didn’t feel he did much to help me back then, but he did teach me one thing I never forgot.  If you think you are a good person but in the process you are not being good to yourself, you’re not a good person.  The same concept applies here.  If in the name of being good to others you are putting yourself in danger, you’re not a good person.  It’s a harsh reality, I know.  But if we ignore it the reality will become a lot harsher.

 

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