A friend forwarded a video said to be trending all over South Florida, in other words, the retirement home of many Jews, key voters in all elections. It’s a video of Cantor Sagee Goldenholz of Temple Beth Shalom of Boca Raton, speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition gathering last year about why he and others are leaving the Democratic Party and joining the Republican Party (
My takeaway from this video is the speaker is advocating Jews should be 1-issue voters. Vote for the candidate who does the best for Israel, in their eyes. Anything else is irrelevant.
And so, the strong suggestion is that Jewish voters should turn their backs on decades of support for liberal democratic (small l, small d) values. What matters is loyalty to Israel, not to America.
Never mind that Trump wants to remove affordable health care from millions of Americans. Israel won’t be affected.
Never mind that Trump wants to close down Planned Parenthood. Israel won’t be affected.
Never mind that Trump wants to end a woman’s right to choose. Israel won’t be affected.
Never mind that Trump ordered the separation of asylum-seeking families at the border in a move reminiscent of WWII refugees. Israel not affected.
Never mind that Trump gutted environmental regulations. Israel not affected (not yet).
Never mind that Trump abandoned allies in the field. Israel not affected (not yet).
Never mind that Trump speaks to Jews in anti-Semitic tropes. Israel not affected.
Never mind that Trump has denigrated the office of the president and America’s standing in the world. Israel not affected (it has its own leadership issues).
Never mind that Trump abuses the truth almost every time he speaks or tweets. Israel not affected (not yet).
Never mind that Trump’s immigration policies would have kept many Jews from entering the United States had they been in force when they arrived. Israel not affected.
Never mind that Trump has created an atmosphere that has emboldened white nationalists to openly espouse anti-Semitism. Israel not affected.
The list could go on.
Yes, Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognized annexation of the Golan Heights. Has the rest of the world rushed to congratulate Israel or Trump on the bold moves? Has it saved any lives in Israel. Has it made Israel safer (let’s be honest—no one presumed Israel would ever give up the Golan).
From my vantage point Trump is playing American Jews for suckers. He is trading on good PR actions to woo Jewish voters. But as we have seen with the Kurds, he will abandon friends and allies when he deems it beneficial not to U.S. interests but his own.
American Jews have every reason to be bi-partisan in their selection of political parties to support. FDR was not a fan of Jews. Neither was Nixon. The State Department, long a Republican stronghold, preferred Arabs over Jews. Most Jewish congressmen and senators aligned with the Democrats.
An emotional vote is as valid as a reasoned one. If the Jews of South Florida or anywhere want to back Trump because of his support for Israel, so be it. I only hope they balance their decision by the impact a vote for Trump and Republicans in Congress and in their state houses will have on their social security, their health care, the health of the planet, their dedication to civil rights and other issues they have supported and championed for the last 80 or more years.