The professional smear campaign against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh has already begun.
Rest assured that the personal smear campaign will come next.
And you can also be sure that on the front lines of both of these campaigns we’ll find Jewish organizations leading the way.
Consider this column a preemptive strike against that nonsense.
Right now, a number of the usual suspects in the Jewish organizational world are most likely mobilizing to convince their members that a Justice Kavanagh would surely overturn Roe v. Wade and abolish abortion in America. They will make that case as if abortion were some kind of Jewish value or even a mitzvah; thus proving true the Talmudic teaching that once a sin is committed three times it becomes like a commandment in the heart of the sinner.
As I always say in these matters: I am not a rabbi, nor am I attempting to play one on TV. But after years of studying and reading the halachic opinions of many true masters on the topic, it’s clear that abortion is forbidden in almost every plausible case. The few exceptions to that in Jewish law have been ignorantly and/or deceitfully passed off as the rule by those who insist on misusing Jewish labels to further their political agenda.
But this isn’t an argument about halacha. If it truly were that, none of these Jewish organizations would have the slightest interest in it. No matter how religious they may outwardly seem, (and most don’t even bother with those trappings), their true religion is left wing politics and it has been for some time.
The Anti-Defamation League has long been the worst offender in this regard. For years, the organization drifted away from simply fighting anti-Semitism to attacking and demonizing the Christian religious right. This tactic not only smeared innocent people; it also served to disrupt any potential political partnerships between devout Jews and Christians that could have worked to their mutual benefit. That includes the benefits that still could be achieved in protecting yeshiva and parochial school education, fighting job discrimination, and protecting the tax free status of houses of worship.
But in recent years, the ADL has taken it even further. By hiring former Obama administration official Jonathan Greenblatt straight out of the White House in 2015, it shed all the trappings of even appearing to be a non-partisan organization. The ADL might as well hang a “No Republicans welcome!” sign on the door.
As far removed from any real Jewish life these organizations and their leaders may be, we should all still hesitate to publicly write off any of our fellow Jews for good.
So let this serve as a fair warning from a Jewish writer directed to my fellow Jews. That warning is this:
Because, there is no evidence of any problem for Jews emanating from Kavanagh’s career to date. There is no plausible sign that there would be if elevated to the high court. We have no special skin in this game.
Besides, the fight for a left or right-leaning Supreme Court isn’t a Jewish fight. An individual case here or there may require the Jewish community’s voice, but Jews have no right to pretend that the nomination of a respected legal scholar and decent man is somehow an affront to the community or Jewish law. Doing so isn’t only dishonest. It’s an insult to the millions of Jews throughout the generations who truly have suffered from state-sanctioned Jew hatred, corrupt court systems, and organized attacks against Jewish teachings and texts.
So there’s the warning, given with all the fair-minded intent I can muster. I can only hope for the best. Thankfully, there will be a decent number of rabbis and others inside all these organizations who will resist making this mistake, even if they will likely be overwhelmed.
None of us should have any illusions. It’s still more than likely the ADL, the Reform Movement, the Conservative Movement, and several other Jewish organizations will continue to line up against Kavanagh and make the kinds of official statements filled with the fervor you never hear them use to attack the real enemies of the Jewish people here and in Israel.
What else can we expect? Liberal politics is their real religion, and the New York Times is their real Shulchan Aruch. That’s a lousy tradeoff, but one they insist on making time and again. Judge Kavanagh is just the target du jour. There will be many more.
But by swapping our rich and nuanced traditions and teachings for the two-dimensional world of modern partisan politics, these Jews are really only exposing, attacking, and damaging themselves.
Jake Novak has been a TV news producer and editorial columnist for more than 25 years, with expertise in political, economic, religious, and cultural issues. He has produced shows at CNBC, CNN, FOX, and several local stations across the country. Novak is a graduate of the Yeshivah of Flatbush, has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University, and a master’s degree from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny and watch out for future columns on 5TJT.com.