Sanders as standard-bearer?
As one who wants more than anything to end the three-year-plus national nightmare that has been inflicted on the American people with Donald Trump as our president, I am deeply concerned over the prospect of Bernie Sanders becoming the Democratic standard-bearer (“Is 2020 really the year for the US’ first Jewish president?,” Feb. 28).
Although he proclaims himself proud to be a member of our faith, Sanders has done a magnificent job of alienating the Jewish community. He has referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “reactionary racist,” dangled the prospect of moving the U.S. embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, and has threatened to redirect aid to our ally, Israel, to the Palestinians. He has earned the enmity of the influential AIPAC. Add to this Sanders’ favorable comments about ruthless and murderous dictator Fidel Castro and his plan to ban fracking, and one can understand his failure to gain the support of Jews and his ability to lose the key states of Florida and Pennsylvania if nominated.
Sanders’ self-classification as a Democratic Socialist has already been used to tar him and render him unelectable in the eyes of many Americans and it is understandable why Trump would hope to run against the man he has called “Crazy Bernie.”
If we allow the Democrats to be defeated this November, our then entirely unrestrained and dangerous president will make America unrecognizable, forever changed from a nation of freedoms, equal opportunity and one that extends the welcome mat to all.
Caring about Israel — and the climate
As a politically active but not particularly observant Jewish American, I was especially pleased to read the commentary from Rabbi Jonah Rank about the issue that is shaping his vote in the 2020 election: climate change (“I care deeply about Israel,” Feb. 28).
As he notes, “The Torah does not give much voting advice, but it does tell us to ‘choose life’ (Deuteronomy 30:19). I am going to vote with great hope and enthusiasm for the candidate who can best convince me that they will do everything they can to keep our planet a place where we can all live — in Israel and the Diaspora.”
I agree wholeheartedly.
We are seeing clear signs of a coming climate crisis, and we know what we have to do to mitigate its effects. For Rabbi Rank, it is a matter of acting in partnership with G-d in creation and maintaining our world. For me, it is partnership with other humans in doing what can legitimately be called “G-d’s work,” regardless of our personal religious beliefs and observance.
I am one of several active Jewish members of the Pittsburgh chapter of the scrupulously nonpartisan Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), which includes both people motivated by various faith traditions and non-theists of various flavors. We advocate in person and in writing with our political leaders and fellow citizens, including developing political will for the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763), which proposes a steadily increasing fee on fossil fuel extraction that will be returned in full as a per capita monthly dividend check to every family.
Our chapter continues to grow, and we would welcome people of all political affiliations and religious persuasions to bring their talents to choosing life.
Jewish Chronicle readers can learn more about CCL at cclusa.org. Please join us!
Alfred B. Bortz