David Friedman, Trump’s selection for ambassador to Israel, is about who you’d expect. He’s Jewish, he’s rich, he’s done crony deals with the Donald, and he’s a hard-core Israel-can-do-no-wrong apologist. Those things make me roll my eyes and tremble for my country, as almost all of Trump’s proposed appointees do.
But one comment of his left me shaking with rage. In June, he compared Jewish Voice for Peace, a thoughtful organization which lobbies for the two-state solution, to “kapos,” the incarcerated Jews who acted as trusties for the Germans in the World War II death camps. In fact, he compared JVP unfavorably to kapos. (Follow the highly inflammatory link at your own risk.)
The kapos did face (and often engage in) extraordinary cruelty. I am forced to agree with Friedman that none of us know what we would have done under those circumstances.
However, no Jew should ever compare another Jew to a kapo. No Jew should ever accuse someone he disagrees with, someone who is taking peaceful actions to reach a goal he doesn’t want to see happen.
An advocate for peace, even if you think that peace is a bad idea, cannot be compared with a person who has the power to put his boot on your face and put his weight on the boot, let alone encourage the masters to send you to the gas chamber sooner rather than later.
That a man who can throw around such painful, emotional, terrifying images and be proud of them would (will?) be an ambassador, would (will?) walk into Israel with all of his hatreds firmly in place — well, it’s the Donald Trump way.
I hate this attitude with my whole soul, but most days I’m just in a background simmer. Today this story pushed me over the edge into fury. At least fury is fuel for resistance.