Dayenu: Has It Been Enough?

The Passover seder includes the song “Dayenu” – literally “Enough!” Dayenu celebrates that any one of 15 wondrous acts of G-d performed at the time of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt would have sufficed, would have been enough. As we look at the swift change in what we will accept from government representatives, is it finally time to say “Dayenu” – that any one of these offenses should be enough to provoke mass political exodus?

Do we now tolerate it when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says that Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” on “his own people”, calling concentration camps “Holocaust Centers”? Is this now yesterday’s news? Trump’s spokesperson saying that Hitler didn’t gas the Jews, that Assad is worse than the man responsible for gassing up to 6,000 people a day at Auschwitz alone and killing 11 million people, 6 million of whom were Jews? Really? Enough. Dayenu.

Looked at in the context of previous denial, this seems on message. On January 27th, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the White House issued a statement with no mention of Jews, and explained that they did this intentionally. When Netanyahu visited Trump shortly thereafter, they didn’t discuss this – instead, their teams spoke. After which Netanyahu said “There is no doubt that they now understand the meaning of the Holocaust as a means to strike out the Jewish people.” Did they missed the details of how that means was accomplished?

When Steve Bannon, still the White House Chief Strategist, referred to Jared Kushner as a “cuck” and a “globalist”, globalist a barely veiled anti-semitic reference evoking alt-right claims of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy – isn’t that enough? Trump’s counterterrorism aide Sebastian Gorka pictured proudly sporting a Nazi-supported group’s medal… enough yet? Dayenu?

It was accepted when Trump’s initial appointees included Bannon, former head of alt-right Breitbart and accused of anti-Jewish comments, Michael Flynn, who not only apparently lied about his connection to Russia but had among other things, retweeted “Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore”, and was online with alt-right and anti-semitic twitter accounts; and Joseph Schmitz who had complaints lodged against him while inspector general accusing him of bragging about getting rid of Jewish employees and denying the holocaust, saying that the “ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews.” When Trump had White Supremacist group support base, campaign ads and inauguration speech having anti-Semitic references, and took his time to condemn the many anti-semitic incidents on the rise post-election… Dayenu?

Maybe it has been enough. Even before the White House declared Assad worse than Hitler, Gallup polls indicated Trump’s approval rating amongst American Jews was 31%, 11 points lower than his general approval rating at the time.

Offenses for which Trump may be impeached range from emolument clause violations/conflict of interest issues to falsely accusing former President Obama of wiretapping him (following his run of birther accusals) to possible collusion with Russia, with Trump administration ties to Russia investigated from Flynn to Manafort to the FBI’s Carter Page FISA warrant. After Trump publicly instructed Russia to find Clinton e-mails. Dayenu?

Rumored golden showers, literally being heard talking about being entitled to grab women’s private parts? All now tolerated? Even when women he’d grabbed came forward and he responded they weren’t attractive enough for him to have sexually assaulted? Too long ago to matter? Even with Trump’s recent defense of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, saying that O’Reilly didn’t do anything wrong and shouldn’t have settled… after $13 million had been paid to five women to settle cases against O’Reilly? Dayenu?

Melania’s refusal to move with son Barron into the White House, with New York security costs at least 150,000 a day. Trump’s “Winter White House” Mar-a-Lago trips – approximately 3 million dollars a pop. As less expensive programs like food stamps and arts programs are slashed. Even after Trump spent years lambasting Obama for his every vacation and golf game. Greed, cruelty, hypocrisy… Dayenu?

KellyAnne Conway coined “alternative facts” and was disciplined for ethics violation after shilling Ivanka’s product line. Trump settled a massive lawsuit while in office over his fraudulent eponymous “university”. His mental fitness to serve as President at all has repeatedly been questioned – by mental health professionals and even a Harvard Law Professor.

Trump started a military strike on Syria, saying “these heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated.” These actions against innocent women and “even beautiful little babies” – all refugees that Trump has tried to ban from entering the US. Whose “affront to humanity”?

Giuliani said Trump asked him how to get a Muslim ban passed – and since Trump’s “travel bans” (based instead on countries, but not the countries where he has business interests) have been repeatedly stalled in court. Trump couldn’t get legislation approved by a Republican congress. Mexico laughed when he said they would pay for a wall.  He has insulted everyone from heads of countries (Australia?) to actors, with his Twitter account more incoherent roast than policy tool.

Is this all tacitly tolerated? If not stopped, does this indicate approval, disinterest, acquiescence? What is the trajectory – what happens next once this becomes normalized?

Oh, and Trump skipped his own White House seder. Not even a token appearance. Dayenu. And next year in Jerusalem – or at least the America we once knew and loved.

About the Author
Judi Zirin is an attorney and freelance writer in the New York area.
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