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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Why being a Jewish candidate does not guarantee Jewish support

Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg
Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
(Jason Connolly and Jeff Kowalsky / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: I’m glad that the possibility of a Jew becoming our president is not unthinkable. However, I find Rob Eshman’s views somewhat troubling.

I am sure that Eshman would hear anti-Semitic dog whistles if President Trump were accusing former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg of trying to buy the election, but he has no problem with Sen. Bernie Sanders saying so.

Furthermore, Eshman is proud that Sanders can express radical views, as opposed to former vice presidential nominee and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, whom Eshman says “had to fit in.” Yet, Lieberman proudly continued his observance of Orthodox Jewish law throughout his political career.

In contrast, although his views on the economy may be radical, Sanders’ views “fit in” with the anti-Israel tropes so popular on American college campuses today.

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As a proud Jew and a proud American, I will support the candidate who I think is best qualified for the job, regardless of his or her religion.

Toby F. Block, Atlanta

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To the editor: If, as Eshman suggests, “in America, in 2020, whether [Sanders and Bloomberg] are loved or reviled has everything to do with their politics, and little, or nothing, to do with their faith,” then why are they identified by Eshman as Jewish men?

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To characterize the Sanders and Bloomberg candidacies as “a powerful and overdue counter-narrative to the gloomy story of increasing anti-Semitism” is to ignore the very real worldwide rise in anti-Semitism.

Attacking Jews directly is “counterproductive,” and recognizing this, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism includes these words: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

Does Eshman believe that the anti-Zionism transmutation of anti-Semitism can be dismissed as merely “a gloomy story”?

Julia Lutch, Davis, Calif.


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