1. On Loyalty and Knowing Your Audience
"If you vote for a Democrat, you're very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people," Trump said over a week ago on the South Lawn of the White House. He was amplifying a statement he had made in the Oval Office a day earlier: "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."
WBUR's On Point provides an impressive collection of written press summarizing how the Jewish world responded
It has become a bit of a ping pong game between the POTUS and the Jews. On the one hand (from The Washington Post), "He set about executing a pro-Israel checklist: moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the Golan Heights as part of sovereign Israel, and taking a hard line against Iran." All the while being "flummoxed that Jewish Americans are not in turn lining up to support his reelection, according to people familiar with his thinking." It is perhaps not a surprise that between these two goal posts and the president's tendency for quick-fire responses, he suggested that Jews are DISLOYAL when/if not voting for him.
Perhaps even more critical than the political game and the attempts to influence future votes is the fact that such language was of course at the foundation of Hitler's rhetoric against the Jews as he came to power. It is ironic (to me) that this apparent blindness to possible implications and consequences is exactly the kind of rhetoric he likes to use against his political rivals.
Fact: Fewer than 30% of Jews vote Republican (sometimes fewer than 20%). More on the statistics behind this
in the Forward
's article - "Voters Oppose Trump's 'Disloyalty' Comments - Unless They're Republicans: Poll.
That recent tirade took an even stranger twist (perhaps comical) when using the words of evangelist Wayne Allyn Root on the radio, Trump declared himself King of the Jews. I don't know about you, but when I heard that I thought about Pontius Pilate in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. Is life imitating art? Is it the other way around? You decide.
Please open the WBUR link above or here and read through. There are many additional doors to open in this story and I hope many of you go through them. It is the last long weekend of the summer ahead. A great time to read.