Well, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that we’ve got the mother of all shandahs on our hands.
Shandah being the Yiddish word for something that brings shame upon the Jews.
If you thought having Monica Lewinsky in the White House did that, guess again. Jared Kushner is making Monica look like a girl scout. You see the thing about Monica is that for all she did, she didn’t do anything that fed into Jewish stereotypes. Indeed, if anything, her behavior was the exact opposite of how Jewish women are usually and unfairly portrayed.
Now Jared is another story. Rich Jew, who will do anything, bend any rule to make money. Who cheats and schemes and betrays to line his own pockets. Who has no morals, no scruples when it comes to cashing in.
That is the picture of Prince Jared that has become very clear. We learned he had his top secret security clearance stripped from him because the FBI suspects him of money laundering, using his position to meet with bad foreign actors in search of money, hiding what he’s been doing, lying over and over. We learned that he used his position in the White House to punish a country that would not give him money and used his position in the White House to get bankers to give him money.
Jared’s daddy went to the country of Qatar, a U.S. ally and host of one of the biggest U.S. military bases in the world, and asked them to loan him hundreds of millions. When they said no, lo and behold, very soon after, the Trump administration urged Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s other neighbors to threaten it, cut it off, harm it.
After Jared met in the White House with the head of a huge bank and separately with the head of a huge hedge fund, only a few weeks later, the bank and the hedge fund loaned Jared’s family companies a total of more than a half billion dollars.
Talk about shandahs, talk about Jewish stereotypes come true. Jared the Jew using his position and power to get his family’s hands on hundreds of millions of dollars.
But I’ll tell you, I am much more upset by two other aspects of all this, aspects that are internal shandahs, that reflect so poorly on the Jewish people to the Jewish people, that show how much Jewish morals and values have been left behind, how fewer and fewer Jews seem to give a damn about living up to the fact that we are G-d’s Chosen People, that Israel is called to be a light unto the nations.
First we had the news that four countries were each plotting to manipulate Jared to get things they wanted from the United States government. Each of the four recognized that the combination of Jared’s ignorance of foreign policy, lack of government experience, his family’s huge debt of almost $2 billion resulting from Jared running their companies into the ground, and his greed to make business deals, made Jared highly ‘manipulable.’
And since Jared holds meetings with foreign officials without telling the State Department, doesn’t bother to get briefed beforehand, fails to take experts with him, all in violation of standard procedure, the countries felt he was ripe for the fleecing.
That doesn’t bug me. That’s the way the world works and if we are stupid enough to put someone as naive and stupid as Jared in the White House and put him in charge of relations with a whole bunch of foreign countries, what can we expect.
What bugs me, what devastates me is that the four countries which have been scheming to take advantage of Jared are these: China, Mexico, United Arab Emirates – and Israel.
Yes, you read right. Israel. As in the Jewish state. It broke my heart to read that our intelligence services have concluded that Israel was one of four countries in the world working to screw over Jared, and so the United States.
Israel is the Jewish state. Jared is a Jew, a high ranking Jew in the United States government. Does Israel not understand that you don’t do that to a Jew, that you don’t do that to the country that is your best friend in the world, that you don’t take advantage of a country that is the one you rely on for so much. How low can Israel have fallen that it was actively working to manipulate Jared Kushner, a Jew?
The other thing that really bugs me about Jared is that he constantly lets us know he and wife Ivanka are Orthodox Jews. Now, I have spent a career saying no Jew has any right to judge another Jew, that every Jew has the right to be Jewish as they so choose. But if you are going to call yourself Orthodox and you are so high profile and you in effect represent all Jews, then dammit if you are going to call yourself Orthodox, at least publicly act like it.
I was nauseated to watch news about the recent Gridiron Club dinner where the elite of the elite rub shoulders in Washington. I was disgusted because it showed the hoi poloi arriving for the dinner, and there were Jared and Ivanka, Orthodox Jews, arriving while it was still daylight on a Saturday afternoon. Meaning it was still Shabbat. Meaning they violated Shabbat to drive over there. Could they not have come after sunset, was this in any way an emergency that supersedes the laws of Shabbat? No, it was two spoiled brats, rich all their lives, entitled all their lives, feeding their egos by arriving at a fancy dinner few get invited to. And if it started before Shabbat ended, well then the hell with Shabbat.
And there was Ivanka, Orthodox Jew, wearing a shoulder less gown, with her bosom peeking out from her dress. Do I have any right to judge what she wears? Well, if she is the highest profile Jewish woman in this country and she makes such a big tsimmes about being Orthodox, then yes, because she brings dishonor upon all Jews, Orthodox or not, for so flagrantly ignoring all the laws of Jewish modesty in dressing.
Jared and Ivanka had the chance to bring such honor to the Jewish people, be such examples of Jewish values. And yet by their actions, they have brought more dishonor than any two Jews I can think of. Apologies to you, Monica Lewinsky.
And talking about bringing shandah upon the Jews, let us yet again look at our very own Donald Trump, namely Benjamin Netanyahu. We just learned that now three of his former top aides have turned state’s witness against him, which can only mean more hot water for him in the four criminal investigations being conducted against him by the Israeli police. Bibi knows the Israeli feds are coming after him, closing in on him, and so what he’s been doing is flying all over the world. In just the last couple of weeks, he has traveled to Russia, India, Davos, Munich and just this week the United States. Expect the manic traveling to continue. He figures it’s the surest way to wiggle himself out of his legal troubles. Scream ‘witch hunt,’ ‘fake news’ and travel the world and portray yourself as a world leader.
What makes me so mad about that is that just as Israel was working to manipulate Jared, the Jew, so Bibi came to this country now to manipulate American Jews. Yes, he used us. Bibi came to the United States to appear before the Aipac conference. Aipac long ago gave up the pretense of representing all American Jews, becoming more and more right wing, becoming a division of the Likud Party rather than a representative of American Jewry in all its diversity. Meaning the audience for Bibi was packed with right wing, Trump loving American Jews that represent exactly half, and only half, of this country’s Jewish community.
But Israelis don’t know that. Israelis, in truth, know very little about American Jews, make all kinds of incorrect assumptions about American Jews. Bibi came especially to Aipac because it is the one Jewish organization that would cheer him like oversexed teenagers. Bibi only came to Aipac because it meant back home on Israeli TV, Israelis would seem him being wildly cheered by 18,000 American Jews and they would mistakenly believe wow, American Jews all love Bibi. And so they would conclude sure, he’s a crook, but we need American support which means we need American Jewish support and look at how all of American Jewry loves Bibi.
They don’t know that half of American Jews don’t love Bibi. And so Bibi masterfully manipulated the American Jewish community to give a false impression to Israelis and, he figures, help to save his corrupt political skin.
I’m really upset about all this and have a lot more to say, but I’m running out of room so let me just close with another shandah that I can’t believe happened.
Just recently, two effigies of Israeli soldiers with ropes around their necks were hung in public. Where, Saudi Arabia, Ramallah, Iran? No, in predominantly haredi Orthodox areas of Jerusalem.
One of the effigies was hanging from a rooftop in the Mea Shearim neighborhood and another from a rope dangling from a column on Chaim Ozer Street, soaked in a flammable fluid. The effigies had black yarmulkes on their heads, leading to speculation that it was meant to intimidate haredi soldiers who serve in the Israel Defense Forces.
Swallow hard and take that in. Jews in Israel who claim to be Orthodox just like Ivanka and her overflowing bosom, hanging in effigy soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. And doing it to intimate any Orthodox Jew who might wish to serve his country in the army.
All Israelis, men and women, are required to serve when they turn 18. But through the sick politics that corrupt Israel, haredi Orthodox Jews were allowed an automatic exemption from serving. That is, until in response to rightful widespread public disgust, a law was passed decreeing they sign up for the army or other frameworks by 2017. That did not make them happy. So much so that those haredi who do sign up for the army are often beaten when they come home to their Orthodox neighborhood.
“The sight of an effigy of a soldier hanging from a noose in Mea Shearim is shocking,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. “I expect the heads of the haredi parties to condemn this act.”
Of course, they haven’t.
You know, what worries me most about Trump is that we have seen so much that is so abnormal that we are becoming numb to it, have started simply accepting it as normal. As Jews, as a Jewish community, we must work very hard to remember that it is not normal for a Jew who is a senior advisor in the White House to use his position to enrich his family; that it is not normal for the Jewish state to manipulate that ignorant Jew in the White House; that it is not normal for an Israeli prime minister to be under four criminal investigations and try to escape justice by tricking the Israeli public into thinking all American Jews love him; and that it is not normal for Jews in Jerusalem to hang effigies of Israeli soldiers.
Not normal, and very, very, very not Jewish.