Breaking bread with Kanye

Breaking bread with Kanye

So, you voted for Trump. It might have been a tactical error but you did it for the most noble of reasons. You believed he’d be good for the Jews. As a member of a proud and committed community, the Jews of New Jersey, we know where your heart is. It is with the Jewish people, faith, and nation. Good for you. We understand your caring and concern.

Perhaps some of your family were destroyed by Hitler. Memory serves you well and clearly, and you feel obligated to make certain that “never again” is an integral clause in your life, a phrase you constantly evoke and pass on to your progeny.

And no one can dispute your undeniable love for Israel. You travel there often. Perhaps you have beloved relatives living there, or even serving in the IDF and putting their lives on the line to strengthen and defend the tiny nation against all enemies. You pray for Israel’s well-being; tfillat l’medinat Yisrael is etched in your brain. You never recite it by rote. You recite it from the depths of your soul.

You are truly a devoted member of our community and we are honored that you are amongst us.

So, can we talk about Trump?

Can we talk about why you won’t ever support him again, and surely never award him with a precious vote?

Your priorities haven’t changed. You care deeply about all things Jewish. You strive for the strength of our people and our lands, both of them. But in life, we often need to reconsider important issues. Sometimes we just misread the data. We see clues that can lead us to incorrect conclusions. We see a Jewish family, with a name we know well, not only supporting but actually being an important part of Trump’s own family. Surely, with the powers vested in him as president, he would never do anything to harm his own children and grandchildren.

But how about a meal with a renowned antisemite, a delusional and dangerous Jew-hater named Kanye West? And how about Kanye’s friends, who accompanied him and joined in that meal at Mar-a-Lago? We are sophisticated enough to know that Trump’s denial of knowing with whom he broke bread is totally outrageous. Remember David Duke. Remember Charlottesville. Remember “Jews will not replace us.” Remember “There are good people on both sides.” Remember it all!

To me personally, Trump’s moving the American Embassy from Hayarkon on the Tel Aviv coast to the Arnona section of Jerusalem did nothing special. But knowing that it came with a $20,000,000 check from Sheldon Adelson makes it seem rather odiferous. Adelson prioritized the move, then even buying the Herzliya beachfront home of the U.S. ambassador for an astounding $67,000,000 to cement the transaction, making it the most expensive real estate deal in Israeli history. This was no simple arrangement, no moral or ethical stroke of ahavat Yisrael.

Lots of money exchanged hands to pull it off, probably even more than has been reported. And the gain is, at best, dubious, for America or Israel. Let us not impute that Trump’s involvement was idealistic.

And let us look at the man and the many things that we know about him.

He has widely shared his hatred of immigrants. He has described them as rapists and murderers and treated them with depraved cruelty, separating parents from children and subjecting them to fates that include death. It doesn’t escape us that most of us are connected to immigration, that few of us, if any, would be here if our forefathers, or even we ourselves, were denied entry to this country. We all know the tale of the ship St. Louis and its miserable fate. How many more of our family members were destroyed because the gates of America were closed? And yet here was Trump, grandson of a German immigrant, spouting this evil as symbolic of his vision of our country. The Statue of Liberty must have wept.

In our times, after the Shoah, to shun newcomers to this country with such bellicosity is truly unprecedented.

And can we forget January 6? Lives were lost and our Capitol was breached in a violent and vicious attack, all clearly promulgated by Trump’s election loss and his most incredibly shocking response to that well-audited vote.

Trump’s vile behavior throughout his life is shameful indeed. You can document his many criminal acts, along with his historic talent, his only talent to be sure, which is to evade arrest and imprisonment. Remember it all, from avoiding military service, to preying on women, to petty and major crime, and now a willingness to revoke our hallowed Constitution to suit his own egocentric needs.

This is the man who stole top secret documents from the White House.

The time has come for this nation to sever its relations with him.

It is now abundantly clear that the Jewish vote must now reject Trump and Trumpism. We must stand for honor and decency and adherence to law. We must stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have no choice.

Rosanne Skopp of West Orange is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of 14, and great-grandmother of three. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and a dual citizen of the United States and Israel. She is a lifelong blogger, writing blogs before anyone knew what a blog was!

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