January 19, 2020

Letters: Poll: Jews on Trump, Warren, Anti-Semitism

Poll: Jews on Trump, Warren, Anti-Semitism

The cover story of the Journal’s Oct. 18 edition reported the results of a survey of Jews in Los Angeles, with a headline that Jews are “highly informed about public affairs” (“Who Are the Jews of the City of Angels?”). Based on the results of the survey, it is questionable whether Jews are highly informed or simply have no interest in Jewish values and the Jewish people. The results show that 75% of Jews disapprove of President Donald Trump and 70% strongly disapprove, which was significantly higher than the Democratic share of party identifiers.

Trump has been one of Israel’s greatest friends and, by extension, the Jewish people, with the possible exception of President Harry Truman. Notwithstanding, Jews appear to have a genetically built-in support for the Democratic Party even though it has become a welcoming place for vocal Jew haters among Democratic members of Congress. For example, when Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) went on an anti-Jewish tirade, including a tweet that said “it’s all about the Benjamins,” and an allegation that Jews have a dual loyalty to the U.S. and Israel, rather than condemning her for her bigotry against Jews, the party leadership sponsored a meaningless condemnation of all sorts of bigotry. Similarly, when Israel refused to allow Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) to enter the country, which cited their support of the boycott movement against Israel, Senate Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) condemned Israel. The Democrats must assume that Israel should be obliged to admit visitors who declare their support for people who want to see Israel destroyed. Also, two of the Democratic Party’s leading presidential contenders, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have taken on senior advisers who support the boycott of Israel.

Notwithstanding, Jews still support the Democratic Party overwhelmingly even though the Democratic Party takes the Jewish vote for granted. Correspondingly, the message to Republicans is that no matter how much they support Israel and by extension the Jewish people, the Jewish vote will remain solidly Democratic. If the majority of Jews don’t come to realize how inimical the Democratic Party has been to Israel and by extension, the Jews, the Democratic Party will take the Jews for granted and Republicans can rightfully assume that no matter what they do for the benefit of Israel and the Jews, they won’t get the Jewish vote. This makes Jews irrelevant in the political calculus of both parties. This could have a long-term adverse effect on how the government addresses Jewish issues.
Marshall Lerner, Beverly Hills

A fascinating feature. Well done!

I can directly relate to one thing that captured my attention: The vast majority — 69% of the Jews in L.A. — are not affiliated with a synagogue or temple.

Shouldn’t we wonder why? My experience may give the answer: When my wife and I first moved to Los Angeles in 1952, we joined the Young Marrieds Group with about 50 member couples at a local temple. As the result of an encounter with the rabbi, all of us except one couple decided not to become members. Several years later, after my wife and I had joined a second temple where we religiously attended all services, again we had an encounter with the rabbi. So, we joined a third temple. And, once again the rabbi did something that motivated our withdrawal.

Each of these three rabbis acted in such a way to indicate that he/she was using the leadership position only for his/her personal interests — not those of the members. Three strikes and you are out! Since then, we haven’t affiliated with any synagogue or temple. According to Raphael Sonenshein’s study, I guess we are in the majority.

It would be of interest to carry Sonenshein’s research one step further. Ask why! Maybe we can all learn from this.
George Epstein, Los Angeles

The Syria Debacle
I concur with Michael Koplow in his analysis on the danger to Israel regarding the Turkish invasion of Syria (“The Israel Angle to Trump’s Syria Sellout,” Oct. 18). On a broader scale, George W. Bush’s preemptive war in Iraq began the massive destabilization of the Middle East, much to Iran’s benefit. Now, President Donald Trump has green-lighted Turkey’s incursion into Syria to destroy our erstwhile partner the Kurds and enable ISIS to reconstitute and pose an existential threat to the Western world. Whatever leadership and leverage we had in the region we have now turned over to three of Trump’s favorite dictators: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar Assad. If we can get past the immorality of turning our back on the Kurds, who fought for our security, we at least can agree that the military and diplomatic consequences are potentially catastrophic.
Barbara H. Bergen, Los Angeles 

Exploding Paradigms of Evil
In these fluid times, would it be acceptable (or even possible) to make a movie about a 10-year-old child growing up in the 1950s South, in a white supremacist family, who idealizes the Ku Klux Klan in an era when the organization with its cross burnings and white hooded demonstrators was the nemesis of the civil rights movement, and whose imaginary friend is the Imperial Wizard of the KKK (“Nazimania Abounds in Taika Waititi’s ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ ” Oct. 18)

Maybe now is the time to explore again (and explode) all our greatest nightmares, stereotypes and paradigms of evil so that they lose their frightening grip on our imaginations. My grandparents, Chaim and Malka Goldman, brave and loving refugees from Nazi-occupied Vienna, would say, “Yes!”
Mina Friedler, via email

The Importance of Touch and the Elderly
Elderly people may not be homeless but in many ways they have a lot in common with the homeless (“Who Will Hug Me When I’m Old?” Oct. 18).

Like the homeless, senior citizens are seen but only obliquely acknowledged.

Like the homeless, senior citizens are tolerated but not accepted.

Like the homeless, there have been reams of words about the plight of older people but implementable solutions and actions are rarer than L.A. precipitation.

Like the homeless, senior citizens ask only for the basic amenities of life and a kind word or gesture.

And like the homeless, senior citizens seek to regain their humanity through the literal physical contact with their families, neighbors and communities.

Touch, in the form of a hug, a handshake and a shared laugh points older people, as well as the homeless, to the door of love that has for too long exceeded their grasp and been immune to their outreach.

Touch signals that wizened countenances, eyes lined with crow’s feet and bodies that no longer respond on demand are deserving of the same admiration and love that older people dispense in dollops to all those who are fortunate enough to accept what is staring them in their face.

And physical contact with older adults unequivocally states that the giving and receiving of love will never become old-fashioned.
Marc Rogers, North Hollywood

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