Welcome back to #TrumpWatch, where Tablet presents the daily low-lights of Donald Trump’s attempt to use the dark forces of bigotry to become President of the United States. Today, we point out an op-ed from Rabbi Menachem Creditor on the Times of Israel website, in which he calls out the AIPAC for applauding Donald Trump, and giving him a standing ovation when he attacked President Obama, who, the Republican presidential frontrunner said “may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me, believe me.” (AIPAC, it turns out, was so very sorry, Obama.)
Creditor is right to connect their crowd’s applause to the man they are applauding, whether he displayed his bigoted tough guy act or not. Here’s why:
They applauded a man whose remarks about immigrants have been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League as “hate speech and stereotyping.”
They applauded a man who, as the leaders of the American Conservative Jewish Movement pointed out, has made “blatant sexual references and characterized women and minorities with derogatory epithets that no moral society should tolerate.”
They applauded a man Orthodox Rabbis recently felt obligated to call upon to categorically repudiate racism, bigotry, and xenophobia.
They applauded a man to whom the American Reform Jewish Movement wrote: You have told supporters to “Just knock the hell” out of protestors, promising to pay their legal fees. How does your refusal to explicitly condemn violence reflect our nation’s commitment to free speech and robust political discourse?
Trump, as we’ve been pointing out daily, has done—and represents—all of this. His ascendancy is jarring. Creditor’s op-ed is worth reading in full, and you can do so here. And you should, because the AIPAC applause for Trump matters. It matters because, as Creditor writes, “The American Jewish community was willing to applaud a hatemonger, inviting him to speak in our largest gathering, adulating him.”
And hundreds of rabbis—heeding their own call of moral certitude, or perhaps our own—protested.
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Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.