Sunday, November 06, 2016

ON THIS ELECTION AND THE ORTHODOX RABBIS’ RESPONSE (to Rabbi Kenneth Hain and Rabbi Hershel Billet endorsement of Hillary) by Rabbi David Algaze and mine as well


By Rabbi David Algaze

Reading the column by my distinguished friend Rabbi Kenneth Hain in the Jerusalem Post,  I am struck by his purity and naiveté. My comments should not be construed as joining the chorus of critics against him for offering his opinion. No one should cast aspersions on any person who gives his opinion on this critical election even if he is a rabbi.  However, if hordes of investigators and years of research could not figure out Hillary Clinton, can we believe that Rabbi Hain knows her from three "intimate" conversations?  The Talmud points out that Resh Lakish could identify a cheat due to his own checkered past. I am afraid that the pure spirit of Rabbi Hain is not a match for the devious Hillary Clinton and thus I am not at all surprised that he fell for it. We however should not fall for her pretense.

Rabbi Billet's comments on the article are articulate and honest but he is simply wrong.  He writes that he could not vote for Trump because of the tape. But voting for Clinton he could?  Apparently he does not see the dangers in a Clinton presidency both to America and to Israel.  It is true that the tape revealed a part of the candidate that was odious. Whether he has changed since then or not we do not know, but Clinton's sins are surely more egregious.  Our Rabbis' view on the generation of the Flood should be very instructive. The Rabbis write that although the generation of the Flood had engaged in the basest and most lurid sexual behavior imaginable, the decree to destroy the world occurred only as a result of their engaging in theft.  (Rashi on Parashat Noach)  The press has shown extensively Trump's tape but cover up Clinton's sins. There are two sins here, not just one and one is worse than the other . Think clearly and do not be moved by the clever propaganda machine that wants us to focus only on one of the sins.  

Rabbis Billet and Hain pass over the entire history of the Clintons' scandals that have spread over decades and now threaten to continue for yet more years. If anything, rabbis who opine on the election should give us a full and not a truncated picture.

The Clinton scandals will follow her into the White House. Let's review: The story of the King of Morocco's contribution to the Foundation should frighten us all for what the future will be like if Clinton is president. What about the donations from Kazakhstan's dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Bill Clinton's support for him? The strongman in turn rewarded Clinton Foundation donors with the uranium resources that were eventually sold to the Russians. This ignominious deal required and obtained State Department approval while, you guessed it, Hillary was secretary of State!  The Foundation failed to identify all the foundation donors precisely because so many foreign donors cast a suspicious light on the actions of a future president. She knew it and that is the reason she concealed her communications. Even though she put American security at risk, as her server was very likely hacked, she did it anyway because of her desire to cover up evidence of her dealings with foreign donors. By the way, by her accepting foreign donations she specifically violated a promise she made to the Obama administration when becoming Secretary of State. This is the culture created by the Clintons: Perjury, debasing of the Oval office, lying and deceit. Are these sins less serious than Trump's childish bragging?  I also don't like the tape, but there are larger issues we should be worried about.

The Clintons will continue a culture of politicization of our basic government agencies that is frightening. I recently wrote an article about this sad development in our country and I entitled it "Am I back in Argentina?"  Let's review: Hillary set up a private server and she denied having it until the matter was discovered. She claimed to have given over all the pertinent emails but she went about destroying thousands of emails—should we surmise because she did not want anyone to see? Who goes through the trouble she did to erase so many emails with such diligence if they just contained, as she claimed, just personal matters?  Are we so naïve a s to believe that she would be so embarrassed about yoga classes or wedding arrangements?   
The Obama administration helped her by waiving the law on the mishandling of classified material. The investigation has been highly irregular, her aides were allowed to cut very curious deals with the FBI, and these are the aides who mixed public and private interests, sometimes receiving salaries from the Clinton Foundation and the State Department at the same time. The State Department functioned  as an extension of the Clinton Foundation. The State Department negotiated with the FBI on how to classify her private emails in order to reduce her legal jeopardy.  What  are we to make of the AG Loretta Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton days before the FBI was to release the results of their investigation into his wife's conduct?   The wife of FBI deputy director who was in charge of the investigation had been the recipient of more than half million dollars donation from a close Clinton ally. Justice offered immunity to at least five central figures in the private email probe. This kind of special treatment is unheard of. Special political treatment. Special side deals. An FBI investigation with kid gloves.  Should we not worry about this kind of culture that reminds us more of the dishonesty prevalent in the generation of the Flood than about the immoral pronouncements of the other candidate?

Trump has gross foibles, glaring moral lapses and deficiencies and they have become  a target of the sensitive souls who abhor immorality in their personal lives but are ready to vote for the spouse of a compulsive womanizer who verbally attacked his victims? The Democratic Party was not embarrassed to put Clinton for reelection in 1996 despite the knowledge that he had a sexual liaison with a 22-year old White House intern. On the other hand, Trump did not use public resources covering up his misbehavior.  The sins of the Clinton family, from Arkansas to this day are far more reminiscent of the egregious sin that merited the punishment of the Flood.

There is no question that both Rabbi Hain and Billet care about Israel, however misguided is their viewpoint about what Hillary will do.

Rabbi Billet says that she will nurture a warm relationship with Netanyahu. Where does he get that from?  Remember the 45 minutes hostile tirade she had against Netanyahu when the construction permits were issued in Jerusalem?  Maybe they forgot that. The Iran deal did not happen in her watch? She pushed for it precisely during the years of its incubation and she supports it still. Her running mate boycotted Netanyahu when he came to make the case against the Iran deal in the US Congress.  I commend Rabbi Billet for his honesty in presenting  his concerns about Kaine, but it is curious how he then  dismisses his own concern by saying "he hopes"(sic) he (Kaine) will see the bigger picture." Good luck on that wish!  Check the Democratic platform, check the hostile displays against Israel at the Democratic convention and we should realize that that is a vain hope.

Hillary's connections with Arab governments are even more troubling. How did Huma Abedin, stemming from a family associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, come to have such an important role in Clinton's life?  That is a question we all who love Israel should at least ask.  Rabbi Billet reassures us in vain by saying that Huma was part of her staff when she was a senator. We should ask who is Huma loyal  to. By her own admission,   Hillary is poised to continue Obama's policies towards Israel and maybe even worsen them, especially as her supporters in the Democratic Party would wish.

In addition to our concerns for Israel we should also look at America. Clinton's policies are among the most radical we have ever seen in our country. Look at the Democratic Party platform, the inevitable influence of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in a Clinton presidency, the appointment of Supreme Court justices that will alter the landscape of America for the foreseeable future.  Hillary is someone who supports partial abortion even on the day of birth, someone who is celebrated by an organization that sells baby parts. Are these not sins too?

Despite Rabbi Hain's naïve surprise at Hillary's "religious sentiments", people are not so easily conned by her artful deceit. We live in an era when the government that forces people to violate their religious beliefs and conscience.   Clinton will surely continue this policy. As evidenced by several emails, her attitude to religion is not as Rabbi Hain believes. It is for this reason the major religious groups in America favor Trump by large margins.  As shown in the polls, the clear majority of Catholics and the majority of Protestants in this country favor Trump. Ironically, but not surprisingly, we Jews (and why not, also the Muslims) are the only religious group whose majority favors Clinton and now we have Orthodox rabbis joining the choir. Apparently, fighting for our values and our interests is subordinate to a perception of indignity. Since when have we sought such saintly behavior in our political leaders? However, ignoring the dangers of a Clinton presidency and what it can do to this country is a real sin.

Our country is in real trouble and we need to change the direction. The Gallup poll reports that the years since 2007 are "the longest period of low trust in government in more than 50 years." This did not start with Trump. 

Do we want to have four or eight more years of the same?

I know that it is not easy to support Trump. In polite society it is not considered "cool" or even intelligent. Many Trump supporters are subjected to name calling and worse. This writer is neither embarrassed nor intimidated. I support Trump.

As many decent Americans, I know that Trump is no saint but given the choice between him and Clinton, we should choose the one candidate who will not use the power of the government to push policies that are hostile to our beliefs.

I am surprised at  Rabbi Billet's recommendation that no vote is better than a vote for Turmp. That would be a gross dereliction of our duty as citizens .  If we don't like Clinton and her culture of corruption, Trump is the only responsible alternative. Those who through their own delicate sensitivity, abstain from blocking a Clinton presidency by not voting or, alas, voting for Clinton, will be responsible for the consequences of her election. 
It may be odious to vote for Trump but we have the uncomfortable duty to choose between two flawed candidates.  A vote for Trump is not a vote for him; it is a vote for our conscience and for those who will be affected by the consequences of this election. Not to vote is a sin; voting for a third party candidate is voting for Clinton. The only choice is pulling the lever for Trump. No responsible alternative.
As James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal wrote: Voters who wish to reject the Clintonization of America have a choice on November 8…they can feel good about not voting for Trump "or they can do right by the country by selecting the only person who can stop the Clintons: a very flawed candidate named Donald Trump. "

 It is a mitzvah to vote.

Robin Ticker's Response:


Robin Ticker

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Activist emails sent to my list  are L'Ilui Nishmat Yisrael ben David Aryeh ob"m (Izzy - Kaplan) and Howard Chaim Grief great activists and lovers of Eretz Yisroel, Am Yisroel and the Torah. Yehi Zichronum Baruch.  May their memories serve as a blessing. 

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