An open Question to religious leaders in America

Dear Rabbis

I know that there is a separation of church and state, thus I am asking you as teachers and Jewish thinkers rather than as a head of institutions.

If we had to judge politicians by normal moral and language standards, there would be no candidates left, but is there ever a point past which a candidate loses their moral basis, or a situation seems dangerous and requires interference?

So trying to stance beyond politics, if it is at all possible, I have two questions:

One – would you lend your voice to warning against danger if you thought it necessary?

Let’s bring it to extremes! If you lived in Germany in the 30’s, would you have kept your voice silent in the face of the German election? If you lived in the US in the 40’s, would you not walk to the streets and protest over the fate of Jews in Europe? Obviously most people, including religious leaders, would – or they’d compromise their soul.

Second – does Trump pose a danger to our democracy?

My question, in facing the grand support of Jews for Trump – however delusional, is this; I wonder if there isn’t a Halachic basis of not only disqualifying him (morally) but warning against supporting him.

The basis is not only his negative attitude or dystopian views – but his refusal to stand against hate groups such as the Neo Nazis and the KKK, his promoting hate against entire groups of people; Muslims, Mexicans and others – as rapists, criminals and enemies at large. Yes, he retracted some and rephrased others, but his reverting to the same vile expressions along the election campaign tells us what he really wants. Divisiveness and calling for violence can have brutal results – see killing of Rabin in Israel of the 90s and others, so if there is danger in having a leader with narcissism and delusional character, shouldn’t we be warned against backing him up?

But more importantly, his dictatorial approach, supported by his Goebbels style propaganda, is high-jacking democracy in the same form of populism that brought countries to their brink and some over the cliff.

It’s easy to claim impartial open mindedness but when Jews become so militant against Hillary and fall in line so easily with a would-be dictator, war mongering demagogue, I wonder how can men of moral conscious stand on the side line?

People try to apologize for him and moderate his expressions but if you still wonder about the guy – read his demeaning expressions in the last 60 days alone. It is common to embellish one candidate’s record and to challenge the other’s but do you know another person who has called so many people vulgar slurs, calls for violence and uses profanities on the campaign trail?

I know that it is a difficult question, but we live in critical times.

There are too many issues to dwell on but his suggestion that “I Alone” will solve our problems, are not only delusional. They are dangerous. When self-absorbed, narcissistic, boastful people try to lead complex issues, often when they fail, they resort to desperate measures, which could put us all in danger.

The suggestion that – once elected, he will have to work within the political system, doesn’t take into account his style and talent. He could then influence Senators and Congressmen on the hill to vote his way by preaching his ideas with frightening simplification to their constituents.

Can we risk our democracy in the hands of a potential tyrant?

Even if you think that he is a better friend to Israel, do you think that a compromised leader can help any ally? If you believe that the man poses a danger to our country, would you keep quiet or would you feel compelled to lend your voice to warn against the danger?

I read the 1960 book ‘on the beach’ by Nevil Shute and I can see the precursors.

This guy will hold our nuclear codes. Do you really trust him?
I fear for our future.

About the Author
Soli now lives in the US, but he was born in Romania and later lived in Israeli boarding school Hadasim, as part of the Aliyat Hanoar. He served in the Israeli Air Force, and graduated with a degree in architecture from the Technion. After settling in Jaffa, he moved to the US and had several businesses. He has been married for 40 years, and is the father of 4 and grandfather of 5.
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