Chicagoland Pro-Israel Political Update

Calling balls and strikes for the pro-Israel community since 2006

May 31, 2020
156 days till Election Day

If you remember nothing else, remember this:

  • The murder of George Floyd was a lynching without a rope.
  • This is all about politics: Trump and his supporters are inciting racism and anti-Semitism. We need to speak out not only against Trump, but against those who support Trump, for they too are responsible.
  • The GOP is the party of anti-Semitism and white nationalism. Our political system will not recover until we understand that Trump is not an aberration, but the culmination of a decades-long unchecked trend in the GOP.
  • Trump's withdrawal from the World Health Organization was senseless and will cost even more lives than have already been lost through his incompetent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Trump is increasing the likelihood of a nuclear confrontation.
  • Biden will undo the damage that Trump has done, including to the U.S.-Israel relationship and to Israel's security.

Read to the end for fun stuff and upcoming events. I love when you tell me about mistakes--consider it a quid pro quo.

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A lynching without a rope is nothing new in America. What's new is that everyone is on Candid Camera, and it's not funny. America is waking up to what the black community in this country has known for centuries, under the presidency of the most openly racist man since at least the Civil War. Trump's campaign was driven by racism, sexism, and xenophobia, and those themes have defined his presidency.

This is all about politics. If you don't channel your anger into political action, if you don't understand the nexus between rhetoric and reality, between politics and policy, then you are part of the problem, not the solution.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is right: "We live in two Americas. One where armed white protestors storm government buildings without fear - and one where peaceful people of color face tear gas for standing up against racism. 
When Trump says ‘Make America Great Again,’ we know which America he’s talking about." As JDCA pointed out, when Trump uses the racially-charged phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," he's telling black Americans if they stand up for their rights, they will be killed. 

Racism and anti-Semitism are nothing new in America, but they have a friend in the White House. Too bad we didn't elect the candidate who called the people who hold those beliefs what they are: deplorable. Instead, we have a president who sees " very fine people" on both sides. No wonder Twitter's algorithms can't tell the difference between white nationalists and Republicans.

Trump is inciting anti-Semitism and racism. Anti-Semitic incidents continue to increase and Trump continues to employ white nationalist Stephen Miller as a senior advisor. Trump has not apologized for praising notorious anti-Semite Henry Ford, and no Republicans have condemned him. Our country has always been structurally racist, but even the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has not caused Trump to change his tune.

Yes, the GOP is the party of racism, anti-Semitism, and white nationalism. A reader criticized me for saying so last week, telling me that it wasn’t persuasive and could hurt my credibility. My first response was that only in the age of Trump could telling the truth hurt one’s credibility. I’m sure plenty of anti-vaxxers would be offended were I to tell them how polio was wiped out in the U.S. (although Trump's senseless withdrawal from the World Health Organization will put more children throughout the world at risk for polio).

But my friend is right in pointing out that people don’t like to hear the truth about the GOP. We want to believe that we have two healthy political parties differentiated by good-faith policy disagreements because if that’s the case, our future is bright. That hasn’t been the case for a long time.

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein wrote in 2012 that "[The Republican Party]  is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise;  unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science ; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."

Paul Krugman  explains that "No, Trump isn’t an aberration. He’s unusually blatant and gaudily corrupt, but at a basic level he’s the culmination of where his party has been going for decades. And U.S. political life won’t begin to recover until centrists face up to that uncomfortable reality."

Trump's rise to the top of the GOP should not have surprised anyone who was paying attention. As long as we treat the GOP as normal, as long as we treat our friends who support the GOP the way we’d treat someone with different taste in music instead of the way we’d treat someone who supports anti-Semitism and white nationalism-- which is what the GOP supports--our system will remain fundamentally broken.

Meanwhile, a pandemic is staring us in the face--without a mask. Over 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 thanks to Trump's incompetence (in numbers Republicans can understand, that's 25,000 Benghazis). Halie Soifer explains that "America had the lead time. Trump failed to lead."

Many of us know families who have lost loved ones. And yet while many Americans are protesting racial injustice, other Americans have taken to the streets to fight for their constitutionally-protected right to get a haircut. What is wrong with us?

Trump does not bear full responsibility. Paul Waldman writes that "we should resist the temptation to focus solely on Trump himself. To do so would be to excuse those who know exactly what he is but pretend they can work to keep him in office and remain unsullied. They cannot, and their moral culpability becomes clearer every day."

Max Boot writes that Trump and his supporters "are accusing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden of four sins of which Trump himself stands accused with far better cause: racism, sexual assault, corruption and mental unfitness."

Brian Klaas notes that: "American democracy is badly broken if few people change their minds about a president who falsely accuses someone of murder or boasts about his TV ratings while 100,000 Americans lose their lives and nearly 40 million lose their jobs. And that says as much about the dysfunctional state of our country as it does about Trump."

How many people do you know who voted for Trump in 2016 and plan to vote for Biden in 2020? Maybe Democrats should be like Mike.

None of this matters if we die in a nuclear war. National Security Action outlines how Trump "has casually threatened at least two countries with annihilation, taunted a nuclear-armed adversary over Twitter, and -- perhaps most importantly -- systematically destroyed many of the key tools that reduce the risk of a nuclear confrontation." It's been 75 years since we dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Only a fool would take it for granted that they won't be used again, but Trump's ending of waivers for civil nuclear cooperation with Iran will make the region and the world less safe.

Joe Biden will undo the damage Trump has done to U.S.-Israel relations. Aaron Weinberg explains that Biden "would not condition aid to Israel, ensure Israel maintains its qualitative military edge, demand the cessation of Palestinian incitement and support for terror, strengthen bipartisan backing of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and seek an end to the politicization and exploitation of Israel for partisan gain."

Biden was warning that we were not prepared for a pandemic in October of 2019. Maybe we need a president who can think beyond his next golf outing.

Tweets of the Week. Mr. T. and Judah Ari Gross.

Twitter Threads of the Week. Jason Kander and Kelsey Davenport.

Philosophical Joke of the Week. Noah Roth.

Video Clip of the Week. The real life inspiration for Basil Fawlty .

Political Ad of the Week. Rich Mitch .

Upcoming Zoom Events--All Free, but RSVPs are required

On  Wednesday, June 3, from 2:oo to 2:30 CDT, Dana Gordon and I are hosting Alaska Senate candidate  Al Gross because it's time to elect a Jewish doctor to the U.S. Senate.  RSVP here to get your Zoom link.

On  Tuesday, June 23, from 3:30 to 4:00 CDT, we are hosting Minnesota House candidate  Dan FeehanRSVP here to get your Zoom link.

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The Fine Print : This newsletter usually runs on Sunday mornings. Unless stated otherwise, my views do not necessarily reflect the views of any candidates or organizations that I support or am associated with. I reserve the right to change my mind as I learn more. Intelligent, well-informed people may disagree with me; read opposing views and decide for yourself. A link to an article doesn't mean that I agree with everything its author has ever said or that I even agree with everything in the article; it means that the article supports or elaborates on the point I was making. I take pride in accurately reporting the facts on which I base my opinions. Tell me if you spot any inaccuracies, typos, or other mistakes so that I can correct them in the next newsletter (and give you credit if you want it). Advertisements reflect the views of the advertisers, not necessarily of me, and advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their advertisements. I read, value, and encourage replies to my newsletters, but I don't always have time to acknowledge replies or to engage in one-on-one discussion. Don't expect a reply if your message is uncivil or if it's clear from your message that you haven't read the newsletter or clicked on the relevant links. © 2020 Steve Sheffey. All rights reserved.