(January 10, 2017 / JNS) By Abraham H. Miller/JNS.org
Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center will be giving a benediction at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration ceremony Jan. 20. Liberal Jews are petitioning Hier to decline the honor, charging that it will give legitimacy to some 21st-century version of the Third Reich.
In how many nation-states outside of Israel would a rabbi be asked to give the benediction at the swearing-in of a national leader? Perhaps if Jewish liberals began with this question, they might be more capable of confronting the sheer obscenity of what they are demanding.
But that will not happen. There is a lofty self-righteousness in the Jewish liberal community that transcends reality.
After President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Kerry threw Israel to the wolves at the United Nations last month, liberal Jews reacted to the vote with the word “disappointment”—like being “disappointed” that the brisket had been overcooked for a few extra minutes or the dinner party did not go as planned.
Their Jewish brethren were ruthlessly abandoned on the world stage, and the only word liberal Jews found to describe it was “disappointment.” They were not mad, angry or livid. They were politely disappointed. Their real outrage is directed toward President-elect Trump, the “anti-Semite” with an Orthodox Jewish daughter and three Jewish grandchildren. Worse, they demand those Jews who voted for him give an accounting of themselves.
No Jew is expected to account for having voted for Obama, not once but twice, even after his speech in Cairo that distorted thousands of years of Jewish history or his clear personal and political affinities toward Islam.
Obama’s inability to mouth the words “radical Islam” after horrendous religious-inspired murderous attacks, and his directing of NASA to put a priority on publicizing Islamic contributions to space exploration, should have been dead giveaways as to how his policies toward Israel would be implemented.
Of course, no liberal Jew apologized for voting for first lady Hillary Clinton in the 2000 U.S. Senate election in New York after her embrace of Suha Arafat, who had told an international audience that the Israelis poison Palestinian water to kill their children. Nor was Clinton ever held accountable for the Saudi money that poured into her foundation.
Fortunately, Rabbi Hier understands the historical and political significance of the honor bestowed not just upon him, but also upon Judaism as a religion, even if liberal Jews will not get over the fact that Trump won the election.
Ironically, it will be the Trump administration that must undo the damage that the Obama administration has done to Israel at the U.N. and within the community of nations. To accomplish that, Trump will need Hier’s benediction—and a lot more.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on Twitter @salomoncenter.