OPINION: My Jewish values make me critical of the Trump-Israeli coalition, not supportive

I was born and raised Jewish. While I am Reform, meaning less strictly adherent to traditional Jewish law, I attended Jewish preschool and Hebrew school. 

Through Jewish education, I was taught a set of ethics that could be embraced secularly and universally. I learned the importance of giving back through Tzedakah and weekly volunteer projects at Sunday School. I learned to give thanks for food, shelter and peace through Shabbat prayers and the celebration of holidays like Sukkot. Through Torah readings, I learned lessons of kindness, empathy and forgiveness. 

President Donald Trump claimed earlier this year that Jews are disloyal if they support Democrats. Many do adamantly support Trump, under the pretense that he is a loyal backer of Israel, but the moral values instilled in me through religion run contrary to this line of thought. 

Guided by my Jewish values, I felt sick to my stomach when Trump declared “blame on both sides” in the aftermath of the Unite the Right Charlottesville rally-gone-wrong in 2017. One counterprotester died after being hit by a car, and several others were injured.

When we condemn acts of unkindness and hatred and support marginalized and oppressed groups, regardless of where they come from, we uphold a universal ethicality. This is the universal set of ethics that I was taught through Judaism.

On one side, you have white nationalists and Klansmen, the group of people who threaten my Jewish community center at home regularly, where my family and I went to preschool and continue to exercise, swim and play basketball. 

On this side is the group of people that idolizes Hitler and the Nazis, the ones who are responsible for the death of six million Jews through killing squads, death marches and gas chambers. On this side is the group of people that has attacked minority groups with senseless violence and punitive, repressive laws throughout history. 

And on the other side in Charlottesville, there were people standing up against them. 

Guided by my Jewish values, I was fuming when Trump declared his relationship with Kim Jong-un as “a great friendship,” as reported by The Guardian. Meanwhile, the North Korean regime’s inhumanity encompasses persecution of political prisoners, wide use of prison camps, the complete restriction of free speech, press and media and gender-based discrimination, according to Human Rights Watch Asia

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Guided by my Jewish values, I am in disbelief at the inhumane conditions at ICE detention facilities, coupled with the separation of families. It’s not only heartbreaking in and of itself — it also elicits eerie similarities to Nazism.

And guided by my Jewish values, I am also critical of the unwavering coalition between the United States and Israel, regularly demonstrated by Trump.

Israel is the only majority Jewish state in the world, and it’s surrounded by its most vehement and threatening enemies. Given that Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people, an attack on Israel can be reasonably thought of as an antisemitic attack on the Jewish population and its ideals. It’s why Jews around the world, especially in the United States, are so loyal and defensive of the Israeli government with little to no limitations. 

The history of persecution against the Jewish people is understandably disturbing and frightening to all Jews. The new wave of antisemitism includes Pittsburgh’s synagogue shooting, considered “the deadliest attack on Jews on American soil,” according to The Atlantic, and the attack on a German synagogue this Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. 

All of these only amplify fears, anxieties and defensiveness of Judaism and its values. 

I support the Jewish community and people with all my heart. I am proud of my heritage and protective of my family and worldwide community that has faced extreme oppression throughout history. I love and appreciate the close knit bond I feel with other Jews and the important ethics system the religion brings to my life.

But guided by my Jewish values, I am also critical of the mechanical support of the Israeli government. If there will ever be any peace between Palestinians and Israelis, let alone peace in areas of conflict and oppression across the world, we must hold all governments accountable for the injustice they commit. 

This means calling out Palestinian authorities and Hamas in Gaza when they commit acts of terror and unnecessary violence. And it also means calling out human rights violations in Israel, such as the restriction of free movement, systemic discrimination and excessive use of force. 

When we condemn acts of unkindness and hatred and support marginalized and oppressed groups, regardless of where they come from, we uphold a universal ethicality. This is the universal set of ethics that I was taught through Judaism.

Georgia Tuckerman CM ’22 is from Columbus, Ohio. She’s passionate about government and foreign affairs and enjoys playing tennis and drinking La Croix.  

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