Once in a great while, we current residents of this planet are witnesses to history being made. If we are very fortunate, we recognize at that moment in time that what we are seeing is special and unlikely to ever be duplicated again. If you live long enough, it is entirely possible to have a ring-side seat to the events that shape our destiny.
As a young journalism student at American University in Washington, D.C., literally in the heart of American politics, I thought that Watergate was the defining moment in my life and would remain so forever. I was wrong, of course, because in 1973, I could not foresee the dark force that would descend upon our land in the form of a shill and a grifter named Donald Trump and the damage he would wreak on our society and our government institutions. I now stand corrected. And while I have been warning my Israeli friends for years about his influence on our society, I also warned them that Donald Trump was not the least bit interested in being a friend to Jews or Israelis, for that matter. His little diatribe the other day in front of a room full of Jews proves this point. He dragged out all the well-known tropes about us. He doubted our loyalty, commented upon our affinity to do well financially, insulted our Jewish families and friends and in general, was as offensive as I hope I never have to hear again. So what is driving this creature to new heights of anti-Semitism? And spare me Israelis naming new little towns in the Golan or West Bank after him. Donald Trump is a menace to society and a danger to world peace.
The person to whom all Jews owe a debt of gratitude is not to Donald Trump; but rather, to Adam Schiff. He is the person after whom Israelis should name parks and towns. The California congressman led the most beautiful committee hearing I have ever seen after 46 years of Congress-watching. His mastery of the rules meant that Republicans could not squeeze even three minutes of grandstanding and obstruction into the proceedings. His command of the facts also gave rise to some of the most eloquent speeches from his chairman’s seat that made me think we might actually survive as a republic intact. It heartened me as I realized that our nation was close to the brink of collapse before Adam Schiff took control of the House Intelligence Committee. His background as a prosecutor means he knows how to grill a witness, even an uncooperative one. His no-nonsense approach to the proceedings made his Republican counterparts balk at trying to take the control of witnesses away from him.
It behooves us to remember that Donald Trump leads legions of disaffected and virulent anti-Semites. His buzzwords stir them to violence at his rallies which, in reality, more resemble Hitler rallies of the 1930s. He has been insulting Mr. Schiff since he took command of the Intelligence Committee in January. It would not be much of a stretch for one of his minions to try to attack him. Schiff is cognizant of this fact and the Capitol police have enhanced his personal security.
Anyone who tries to argue that since Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is Jewish, he cannot possibly be anti-Semitic fails to grasp that Trump is a user. He uses people to support his agenda. He unloads people that cross him faster than many folks change their socks. And Jared has no security clearance and has no business being a “special advisor” to the president, much less having access to international forums and leaders. Being his relative via marriage won’t save him if Trump takes it into his little brain to get rid of him. Trump refused to attend his grandson’s brit milah or to host a Pesach seder at the White House, of which his predecessors all took part. Need I say any more on this subject?
Suffice it to say, we Jews have been increasingly attacked both in right wing rags and online postings. The more effective Adam Schiff, his committee’s counsel and the leader of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, perform their work, the more we will have to bear the brunt of anti-Semitism in our daily lives. However, we can take heart knowing that our Jewish congresswomen and congressmen are doing yeoman’s work to ensure we survive as a nation and to Adam Schiff, a special expression of gratitude would not be amiss. He is, after all, saving us from the clutches of a madman.