Some Trumpians have been having a hissy fit because Speaker Pelosi ripped up Trump’s State of the Union speech after he was done. I can spend a whole article addressing how ridiculous this whole thing is, especially coming from people who never criticize anything the president has done. I will just say: Trump destroys people, while Pelosi destroys paper.
What I want to address is a significant victory in the fight against those progressives who support BDS. Ron Kim, who is seeking the New York City Democratic Socialists endorsement and supports their platform concerning BDS, was not given the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party committee (County). The NYC Democratic Socialists platform concerning Israel is to “End U.S. complicity in Israeli apartheid, occupation, and other violations of Palestinian rights. To do this, we must support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, and oppose anti-free speech measures penalizing BDS supporters; enact legislation like the ‘Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act’; cease all U.S. aid to Israel through legislation like the Leahy Law; stop exchanges between Israeli military and U.S. police departments; and divest from companies profiting off of the occupation of Palestine.”
I expect the Trumpians to say what one of them told me: “Why should we thank the Democratic Party for not supporting an anti-Semite?” It seems to me that he meant that it is obvious that they should not support the person, so what’s the big deal? There is some irony coming from a Trumpian whose fellow Trumpians and elected officials of the Republican Party are unable to even criticize the president.
It took a lot of courage for County to take this step. Obviously, there was some reaching out behind the scenes by individuals and Jewish organizations to convince County to do so.
Ron Kim has been in the New York State Assembly since 2013. It is rare for an incumbent not to receive County support.
The progressive wing in Queens County has been gaining strength. They have a member of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who may be the most well-known member of the Queens congressional delegation. She is a member of the NYC Democratic Socialists. Furthermore, the progressives came within a few votes of winning the Democratic Party’s nomination for Queens District Attorney. Kim endorsed the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, who many see as the front-runner to be the party’s nominee for president. This would be a disaster for the party and the country. County knew that if it did not support Kim, they would get the ire of progressives and increase the chances that progressives will run alternative candidates against the existing Democratic Party office holders.
According to his website, Ron Kim is the only Korean American member of the legislature. His district covers approximately 20th Avenue to the north, the Van Wyck/Whitestone Expressway to the west, 164th Street to the east and above Booth Memorial Avenue to the south. This is a strong Asian community with many Koreans. In contrast, there are few Jews in his district. Thus, County’s not endorsing the only Korean American member could result in a backlash against the party in the Korean community.
I believe that for most Jews, supporting BDS is the same as being anti-Semitic. Thus, to our community, a politician who supports such a policy should become a persona non grata. This is the most important issue for many, if not most, Jews. This may not be such an important issue for non-Jews, or they may disagree with the premise that supporting BDS is the same as being anti-Semitic. Therefore, to these groups, not supporting a candidate because of their support of BDS is outrageous.
It is only going to get harder to have these successes in the future with many in the Orthodox Jewish community attacking the Democratic Party week in and week out while never saying a bad word about the president. Politicians read the local papers and see the weekly drumbeat of attacks either in columns or in letters to the editor against the Democratic Party. This is the time for these individuals to give hakaras haTov (thanks) to County for doing what was right even though there could be consequences. If not now, when?