Let me be clear.
This is not about politics.
This is not about party.
This is about principles — deep, powerful, gut-level, historical and ethical principles.
For that reason, if you are Jewish, and you care about Jewish ideas, teachings, and history, and you still support him, I need to ask you a series of questions.
Why didn’t that support end a long time ago?
It should have been enough when his name first came into the public eye, in the early 1970s, when his family’s realty company was sued for discriminating against Blacks.
When he mocked the reporter with disabilities, any self-respecting Jew — or anyone who claims to believe in God — should have quit him, right then and there. Finis.
When he boasted that he could grab women by their private parts, you should have shaken your head in disgust. “This is not what my faith says about how we speak of and to women,” you should have said.
When he urged violence against reporters, you should have said something. “This is not what my faith says about how we behave in the world.”
When he characterized Mexicans as rapists, drug dealers and animals, you should have raised your hand. “Excuse me, but you do know that once you start insulting one group of people, there is no end to it.”
When he called for a ban on Muslims entering this country, you should have closed your checkbook. “If my grandparents could not have gotten into this country in the 1930s — and many could not, because of these kinds of policies — I would not be here.”
When he commented on the neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, chanting “The Jews will not replace us,” and he said that there were “very good people” on both sides: Did you stand up? Where was your Jewish pride?
When he said that he only wanted Jews and not Black people to count his money, why didn’t you say: “Wait one minute…”
When he retweeted an image of a Jewish star superimposed over a pile of cash, why didn’t you say: “That’s my symbol! What are you saying?”
If, back in 2019, you were present at the Israeli-American Council Summit at the Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida, and you heard him say about Jews: “A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me, you have no choice,” why didn’t you rip off your napkin, and stand up, right then and there?
If you were paying attention when he said: “You’re not gonna support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your politicians, that’s fine,” why didn’t you reach for your valet parking claim check?
When he addressed an audience of American Jews and referred to Israel as “your country,” why didn’t you say, “Yes, we love Israel, but we are citizens of the United States of America…”?
When he said that Jews don’t love Israel enough, why didn’t you say, “No, sir. You cannot tell us how to love Israel”?
Have you not yet realized that his ideology of white, Christian nationalism is precisely the sort of thing that condemned the six million?
When you watched what was unfolding on Jan. 6, 2021, did you feel a nausea that first sprang to life on November 8, 1938 — Kristallnacht?
When you saw the gallows that they erected for Mike Pence, did you think of Jews swinging from gallows, or of Black people swinging from trees?
The guy with the “Camp Auschwitz” T-shirt? Why didn’t you say: “Enough is enough.”
In the words of author Adam Serwer, “the cruelty is the point.”
Not merely a glitch in his thinking and in his program. Not simply a design flaw.
The cruelty is the point, and perhaps the only point.
Which brings us to this past week, in which he hosted a dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
His guests: Kanye West, of antisemitic fame, and Nick Fuentes, one of our country’s most prominent young white supremacists and Holocaust deniers.
To their credit, the Republican Jewish Coalition condemned the Mar-a-Lago guest list. Good for them.
But, but, but: His Jewish daughter son in law and grandchildren! And yet, he willingly hosts people at Mar-a-Lago who hate his family members.
The Zionist Organization of America presented him with the Theodor Herzl Medal. Oh, the pathetic irony. His version of loving Israel is supporting and applauding the kind of people – Jew haters -– who made Herzl’s Zionism — the Zionism of rescue — necessary in the first place.
Memo to Morton Klein of the ZOA: It is not too late to ask for that medal back.
It simply cannot be that this is the final stage of American Jewish assimilation. Once upon a time, we craved high culture. We wanted to live in the nice places, and be part of the nice clubs, and send our kids to the best schools, and go to opera and theater like everyone else.
Now, “to be a people like all other peoples” is to aspire not to the highest, but to the lowest? To the vulgar? In the elegant Talmudic phrase: ad k’dei kach — has it really come to this?
One of my favorite expressions is “jumping the shark.” It derives from the episode of the television show “Happy Days,” in which Fonzie rides water skis over a shark.
Ever since then, “jumping the shark” has referred to a moment when something goes too far to be believable,
The dinner at Mar-a-Lago was a shark-jumping moment — or, it should be.
Let that dinner be a turning point, and not just for Jews. It should be a turning point for all Americans who care about the rise of antisemitism and of violence on the Right.
This is the time — actually, the time has long passed — for all Americans to simply stand up and say: No.
You are known by the company you keep. To open your table at Mar-a-Lago to willful, unrepentant, gleeful Jew-haters is to legitimize their views.
For those who still support him…
Are you done, yet?