Credit the Vice President’s “Outstanding Friendship”
A prominent Rabbinic group has stepped forward to defend Vice President Mike Pence following his Holocaust Memorial Day missive on Twitter. In his message, the Vice President described Jews as a people who “three years after walking beneath the shadow of death, rose up from the ashes to resurrect themselves to reclaim a Jewish future.” Some Jews responded with anger, pointing out that the murdered Jews were not resurrected, and that the theme of resurrection is central to Pence’s own Christian beliefs.
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) rejected this criticism as partisan and even “abhorrent.” “Resurrection is the correct word to describe the rebirth of the Jewish people,” responded Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, Vice President of the CJV. “From the beginning, left-wing partisans have tried to tie the Trump Administration to anti-Semitism, while the President and Vice President have demonstrated nothing but outstanding friendship to Jews and the Jewish people.”
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“Vice President Pence not only serves the first sitting American President to visit the Western Wall and to recognize Jewish self-determination in Jerusalem, home of our holiest site,” added Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director of the CJV, “he has personally repeatedly shown his concern and compassion for Jews and Jewish interests.”
The CJV pointed to the personal visit by Vice President Pence to the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in University City, MO, after it was desecrated by anti-Semitic vandals, his address to the annual summit of Christians United for Israel, and his use of a traditional Hebrew blessing in his Knesset address as demonstrating the Vice-President’s views.
The rabbis also pointed to an article in HaAretz, a left-wing Israeli journal often hostile to the Trump Administration, which explained that the “Hebrew translation of the imagery and wording he chose is quite common in Israel.” Contrary to those who condemned Pence for his reference to Jewish “martyrs,” HaAretz indicated that the Hebrew translation, Kedoshim, “is the term most frequently used to memorialize Holocaust victims in Israel.”
“Jews in particular should recognize that anti-Semitism is too real and too dangerous to be wielded as a partisan cudgel,” concluded Rabbi Menken. “It seems some are losing all perspective due to their hatred for all things Trump. Until they learn more Hebrew, more about anti-Semitism, and more about Judaism, they should at least recognize that it is abhorrent to attack a sincere friend in this fashion.”