For me, the fun and games are over. It’s not just political scuffles anymore. It is real. I have experienced the drastic effects of liberalism firsthand. Truthfully, so have we all, as Jews and lovers of Israel. So have all people with normal values and concerns.
Last week, an immediate member of my family, a wife and mother of four kids, was held up at gunpoint when returning from grocery shopping. They took her money, pocketbook, smartphone with its passcode, and house and car keys – everything that represented her private world. Baruch Hashem, it ended with a financial loss only. But the trauma will endure.
Without going into details, the victim requires a lot of family and other support. The crime took place outside of New York, in what is normally a very quiet neighborhood. So what does this have to do with liberalism? Everything!
In New York State, under the leadership of liberal Governor Cuomo, we have a bail free system that literally sets criminals free if no physical harm results from the crime. We witnessed in Riverdale how a hateful anti-Semite vandalized synagogues and was set free, despite 44 counts against him!
The judge in the case set bail at $20,000, which itself is low. Then the Bronx District Attorney, who is supposed to represent the community’s prosecution against criminals, interfered to get the hater to a second judge who followed procedures and set this criminal free with no bail.
The argument for free bail is that it unfairly “punishes” minority criminals. Since no physical harm was done, what’s the big deal?
Our former local councilman, while being a friend and a faithful servant of our community, was a huge supporter of Bail Reform, as he was of handcuffing the police. I once asked him what would happen if burglars would break into his house and steal his laptop? How would he feel about them being set free? He said, “Rabbi, you have to have compassion for these people.” No, I don’t! We need to have compassion for the victims. Who is going to have compassion for that relative of mine? Being held at gunpoint is harmless? I hope none of those politicians go through such a “harmless” experience. If they would, perhaps their perspective would change.
Am I angry? You bet! And everyone reading this should be. Today’s liberalism is based on the victim or underdog always needing support, no matter how awful they may be. Why do you think the left supports the Palestinians? Liberalism is based on empty, slogan-filled feel-good virtue signaling.
You see, to a liberal, every conservative is a racist. And if you know he’s not, just call him a racist anyway. They are never willing to engage in a serious discussion about racism and hate in America. It’s much easier to simply say, as the president did, that there is systemic racism in this country. If a prominent African American senator says otherwise, just call him an “Uncle Tim.” Simple enough. And so it is with almost every social issue. No dialogue. Just name-calling and shaming.
Think about it. Mr. Biden was called a racist by his African American political opponent during the primaries. Then he chooses her for his running mate! How can they tolerate each other? How can he work with someone who called him a racist? How can she serve under a racist president as vice president?
The answer is clear: She knew that the racist card is just a cheap political tool and he knew the same. So when Biden says there is systemic racism in America, how can we possibly take him seriously? If you are a liberal you do. It is part of the game.
Now we have Israel under rocket attack from Hamas and street attack from the Palestinians. Synagogues and Torah scrolls burn. Do you think it is coincidental that this flaring up is taking place under the current American administration, which does not have Israel’s back? Do you remember this happening under President Trump? I don’t.
Liberalism brought us the very wishful but superficial Oslo Accords, resulting in disaster and death for thousands of Jews. Conservatism brings us the Abraham Accords, resulting in widespread peace. Liberalism has brought us unprecedented violence in city streets. But the liberal media will never have you look at it that way. Liberals will have you believe that a mother of children being held at gunpoint is not worth considering a serious crime. And too many Jews drink that Kool-Aid faithfully.
So, my liberal friends. I am aware that changing one’s philosophy in life, even when proven clearly wrong, is among the hardest things to do (See Rav Hirsch Chumash B’reishis 27:1, in the middle). But realize where liberalism is taking us. Where it is taking society and world Jewry? Wanna feel good about yourself? Make that change and save lives – including your own and loved ones. Sorry to be so emotional about this topic. Do you blame me?
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.