On Wednesday, Obama apologist and Hamas would-be spokesman Peter Beinart issued a broadside at Forward, ripping into Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law. Kushner, he said, could not be a true observant Jew. Why? Because Kushner is part of the administration that has promulgated immigration and refugee restrictions designed to minimize the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. Here’s Beinart, implying that Jared Kushner is an evil human being:
Slavery, in other words, was meant to ensure that Jews would remember powerlessness once they gained power. Jared Kushner is what happens when that memory fails…. In remarkable ways, modern Jewish history echoes the passage from powerlessness to power that begins in the Book of Exodus. Therefore, the challenge for Jared Kushner, and everyone in our extraordinarily privileged generation, is to remember our ancestors’ suffering and honor their memories by defending the weak, vulnerable and oppressed today.
In other words, Kushner cannot believe in a more secure immigration system because he is Jewish, and because America took in Jewish refugees. This neglects the fact that Jewish refugees during the Holocaust literally had no other place to go – Israel was not yet a country, while there are more than 50 Muslim countries dotting the planet; it neglects the fact that Jewish refugees were largely westernized, whereas Muslim immigrants from countries like Yemen are far less likely to be; it neglects the fact that there was no wave of Jewish terror attacks in western countries with quickly-rising Jewish populations.
But if you believe any of these things, says Beinart, you’re not a true Jew:
Kushner’s failure is not his problem alone; it should chill every Modern Orthodox educator, rabbi and parent in the United States. How could the Modern Orthodox community, a community that prides itself on instilling in its children Jewish knowledge and ideals, have failed so profoundly? The Frisch School, the prestigious New Jersey yeshiva from which Kushner graduated, should conduct the kind of after-action report that the military conducts when its operations go awry. Every synagogue where Kushner prayed regularly should ask itself whether it bears some of the blame for having failed to instill in him the obligations of Jewish memory. Even if it is too late to influence Kushner, Modern Orthodox leaders still can work to ensure that they do not produce more like him in the years to come.
This is rather rich coming from the same fellow who routinely blames Israeli settlements for Palestinian Arab terrorism against Jews, who has shilled on behalf of Barack Obama’s Iran deal. Jewish history teaches many valuable lessons.
Kushner’s moral failure challenges the Modern Orthodox community — a community for which I have enormous admiration — to ask why it is often more stringent about ritual lapses than it is about ethical ones. Why do many Modern Orthodox Jews shudder at the thought of eating nonkosher cheese, yet proudly support Trump?
Halakha is pretty clear on non-kosher cheese. But it isn’t quite as clear on Trump. Perhaps many orthodox Jews support Trump because there’s nothing in halacha that says that voting for a more secure border is a violation of duty. Perhaps Beinart’s moral standards, which tut-tut Hamas while ripping Trump’s non-Muslim ban, aren’t the Torah’s. Perhaps the Torah’s standard frowns more on hugging the Obama administration’s pro-Iran dealmaking and anti-Israel UN policy than a policy suggesting better vetting for people from terror-rich countries.
If this piece had been written by an alt-right anti-Semite, it would have quickly been condemned by Beinart. But Beinart’s writing it from the left, so he’s free to insult orthodox Jews as religious bigots.