By Larry Gordon


In days gone by it would have been a natural and even expected consequence of some of our reporting. But that was when The Jewish Week, a once-upon-a-time weekly newspaper in New York, was a force to be reckoned with, especially if you were in the Orthodox Jewish community and they perceived you as stepping out of the lines they drew. Whether or not you did so usually didn’t matter.

I received a note from The Jewish Week editor-at-large Gary Rosenblatt, saying that he wanted to talk to me about the reaction in the Five Towns to the recent presidential election and where the community stands on that matter.

First, it’s important to understand that The Jewish Week is only publishing online. Already a few years prior to the decision to cease printing, the paper was a shadow of what it once was; I suppose the lack of demand for ad space in the paper ultimately led to its printing demise. That’s usually the story. Today it is only an online newspaper or website among the morass of millions of similar internet publications.

In our talk, I pointed out to Gary that I believe that the reason The Jewish Week and also The Forward had to cease publishing (that had nothing to do with him) was because of a lack of support. That did not take place in a vacuum, I told him. An important part of that dissolution process was a display of intellectual dishonesty and just plain consistent distortion of reality that he and the people who worked for him indulged in for many years. In the piece he posted online after our conversation he goes straight ahead and does the same thing. I guess that this time there is nothing left to lose.

I’m not going to say that Gary did not understand what I was saying; that would not be fair because he is a longtime veteran journalist. Over the years he has won journalism awards and has produced some outstanding and incisive pieces. That leaves me no choice but to assess that he has an agenda and just does not want to understand what I said.

Here’s a quote from his online piece on the election, referring to something I said: “He believes that many of his readers ‘are resigned’ to Joe Biden becoming president, but he’s not one of them. He advocated allowing state legislatures in this instance to choose electors to elect the president, in effect choosing Trump by nullifying the voice of the American people.”

Firstly, the Constitution details the protocol that needs to be followed, as prescribed by law, in the event that there is a disputed election that is potentially fraught with fraud, as is the case here. Over 200 years ago, our founding fathers in their wisdom anticipated the possibility of complications similar to those we are dealing with today.

Gary Rosenblatt wrote that I am advocating a course that is “nullifying the voice of the American people.” The truth is the exact opposite, though I understand clearly that if you were against a Trump presidency from the start, going back to 2016, then you are certainly determined to oppose any possibility of his assuming a second term. Hence, you will refer to anything short of Trump conceding as being an effort to nullify the voice or the will of the people.

We had this precise conversation where I told him that, by design, the Constitution calls for the state legislatures to decide who they believe should be chosen as president. It is intentionally the legislatures, and not the governor, secretary of state, or the state courts that make that decision because there is no governing body closer to expressing the will of the people than the legislature, the seat of those chosen and voted into office by the people.

It is additionally important to note that the anti-Trump group, of which I suspect Mr. Rosenblatt is a member, is vociferously opposed to the process moving in that direction because if it goes there, plain and simple, Trump wins.

And yes, I told The Jewish Week editor that most people I speak with about this matter are indeed resigned to a Biden presidency, but he wrongly stated that I am not amongst that group. I realize that the momentum right now is not moving in the president’s direction; however, I believe there is a strong possibility that might still change if a proper legal approach is pursued. If Mr. Trump’s legal efforts are rebuffed by the courts, I will hope and pray for the effectiveness and success of a Biden presidency.

At this juncture in the political process, regardless of how vicious it was till now, it is usually the time to set aside those verbal attacks and accusations and come together for the better good of the country. Unfortunately, things have deteriorated to a point where that is not presently possible. And that is not because of President Trump’s seeming obduracy.

It is primarily because of the unrelenting four-year assault on his presidency, a mean and venomous fusillade directed at the president and his administration with no basis in truth or fact, but rather with the sole aim of undermining his presidency. If you are a real and honest person, you have no choice but to admire how much he accomplished in spite of these constant and awful attacks. But then again that requires objectivity, realism, and honesty, commodities difficult to find these days.

That said, it seemed that Mr. Rosenblatt did not contact me because he wanted to discuss our community’s reaction to the election. His real interest seemed to be comments made in these pages a few weeks ago by Dr. Gila Jedwab.

There’s no question that Gila created an uproar and has taken positions that I do not necessarily concur with. But facts like that do not matter an iota to a few people, Mr. Rosenblatt among them. He knows this was not about forcing an alternate view of matters related to the pandemic upon anyone, but he suddenly became self-righteous and smug. And that is because he knows that the majority of the outspoken critics of Gila Jedwab and the 5TJT will side with him. Gee, that’s pretty easy to do.

My position all along here has been that Gila’s ideas on some matters are unpopular to those in leadership, and those are the voices that are heard from most often. Most of the people commenting, either personally or through e-mail, have been supportive of her and have encouraged her to continue. If you search her last column on our website, you will see that most of the comments are critical of her stances on issues. A little research has shown that most of the 40 comments are from the same half-dozen or so IP addresses. I hope that is the last comment on that matter.

As long as Gary was picking apart our veracity and integrity as a highly respected and popular Anglo-Jewish weekly, he figured he’d try to question something else. That was an essay by my son Yochanan wherein he shared a comment that was widely circulated on the internet explaining that, in Hebrew, the name Kamala can be rearranged to read Amalek. It was a pithy piece passed around that was good for a chuckle.

“Does your son believe that Kamala Harris is Amalek?” Gary asked.

That is a dumb and misleading question with a preconceived agenda. But Yochanan was down the hall from my office in his office, so I called out to him, “Yochanan, Gary Rosenblatt of the late Jewish Week wants to know if you think Kamala Harris is Amalek,”

“No,” he said. “Of course not.”

That might have been a disappointment for Gary Rosenblatt and the remnant of a newspaper that did a colossal amount of damage to the Jewish community for many years.

“You see, Gary,” I said, “that is exactly why you are not publishing anymore.”

We then wished each other well and said goodbye.

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