In a recent column in New York’s Jewish Week, OU Kosher’s CEO, Rabbi Menachem Genack, took the unusual step of endorsing Hillary Clinton for president of the United States.
For an Orthodox rabbi of one of the most prestigious kashrus organizations in the world to endorse someone so wedded to left-wing ideology and enemies of Israel, and to then promote her as a “staunch friend of Israel” against overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is beyond comprehension. And while he makes it a point at the closing of his endorsement that his views do not reflect those of the OU, nevertheless, because of his position there, the possible negative public-relations effects for the Orthodox Union are undeniable.
Rabbi Genack claims that his staunch support for Hillary is based on several interactions with her over the years. Those interactions left him convinced that she is the right person at the right time who is best qualified to protect the values and issues closest to the Jewish community, especially Israel.
Rabbi Genack points to a conversation he had with her many years ago while at a luncheon in Israel:
“The then-first lady expressed an interest in Jewish doctrine, which led to an interesting discussion, including her view on the moral significance of the Akeidah, the Binding of Isaac. In the course of that conversation and many subsequent interactions, I came to realize that she has an extraordinary intellect, an open mind, a clear vision for the United States, and a deeply rooted friendship with Israel and the American Jewish community.”
I remain speechless after reading this and believing that Rabbi Genack wants us to support Hillary based on her inquisitive mind and view on Akeidas Yitzchak. If Rabbi Genack wants to really be impressed, let him spend a few minutes with Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Ted Cruz, or Senator Rick Santorum. They are well versed about the Akeidah and many other aspects of the Torah.
Rabbi Genack continues by citing Hillary’s capacity to “absorb information.” He also commends her ability to forgive a Republican who once tormented her husband as part of the committee to impeach him. He writes, “Let me share one more personal incident about Hillary Clinton that demonstrates her extraordinary qualities. Some years ago, when I introduced a friend of mine, Jamie Fox, New Jersey’s former commissioner of transportation, to then-Senator Clinton, she said to him, ‘I recently saw your name quoted in an op-ed piece about port security by [Republican Senator] Lindsey Graham.’ I was stunned by her capacity to absorb information, to recall it, and put it to use. The incident also brought home her ability to build working relationships. Senator Graham was one of the managers of the trial to impeach former president Clinton.”
Is this the same “forgiving” Hillary Clinton who attacked the numerous women her husband assaulted in inappropriate ways? Is this the same “forgiving” Hillary Clinton who boasted with pride at her presidential debates that she was “honored” to have the GOP as an enemy? When Rabbi Genack talks about Hillary’s ability to “absorb information” does he include her absorbing intelligence data that the attack on our embassy in Libya was planned by terrorists, before she went on TV and lied to American citizens and the families of the victims that the cause of the carnage was a provocative video?
Hillary Clinton was secretary of state for an administration whose top priority was to disengage as leader of the free world by choosing instead to let other countries take the lead. Whether it was taking the lead to fight ISIS, or supporting the uprising in Iran against the Mullahs, or toppling Bashar Assad after issuing a red line on chemical weapons, or protecting Hosni Mubarak against the rise of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the Obama administration, with Hillary Clinton an integral player, has been on the wrong side of history. Like President Obama, Hillary Clinton refuses to utter the words “radical Islam,” yet in his column, Rabbi Genack states emphatically that Hillary Clinton will be a force to confront “radical Islam.”
“These are times that cannot afford the absence of American leadership. With the growing threat of radical Islam and the risks posed by a resurgent Iran, the United States needs a foreign policy that will use all of the tools in our power to address these threats. With Hillary Clinton as president, I believe America will be engaged in the world–and to great effect.”
With every major Jewish organization, including the OU, opposing the flawed nuclear deal with Iran, Hillary Clinton sided with the Obama administration. To date, there have been numerous documented violations of the agreement by Iran, including continued uranium enrichment, yet Rabbi Genack writes, “She has made clear that ‘there can be no doubt in Tehran that if we see any indication that Iran’s leaders are violating their commitments in the deal not to seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons, we will stop them.’ I know she means it.”
Then there is Hillary’s record on Israel and the many statements she has made which can’t be construed as anything but hostility towards Israel and sympathy for the Palestinian cause.
In his book, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, former Ambassador Michael Oren writes that, at a forum on U.S.—Israel relations in 2011, “a senior administration official warned that Israel was en route to becoming another Iran” in the area of woman’s rights. The “senior administration official” who made that outrageous statement was widely reported to be Hillary Clinton.
Further, Oren wrote that during his first months in the job he received the cold shoulder from Clinton, who repeatedly turned down his requests to meet her privately.
For the moment, we will leave out her support for Yasser Arafat and the PLO during the 1970s, as documented in great detail by bestselling author Christopher Andersen in his book American Evita, of Hillary’s embrace of radical leftists including Saul Alinsky and other supporters of the PLO.
Rabbi Genack points out, accurately, that as our U.S. senator from New York, Hillary was in favor of legislation in support of Israel–not really a big stretch for any New York senator. However, during her stint as secretary of state and after she stepped down, her record on Israel saw a very different Hillary Clinton. For example, in November 2012, she spoke at a forum in Los Angeles and berated Israel for “lacking empathy” for the Palestinians. Reporters were so stunned by her comments and frankness that Atlantic reporter Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted to another reporter at the event, “Does Hillary know that she is on the record?”
In her book Hard Choices, Hillary wrote (p. 302), “When we left the city and visited Jericho, I got my first glimpse of life under occupation for Palestinians, who were denied the dignity and self-determination that Americans take for granted.” When pressed on CNN to explain this statement, Hillary’s representative said, “Hillary Clinton is going to stand by the words in her book. .Â .Â . She is not going to apologize for something she need not apologize for.”
In his endorsement, Rabbi Genack makes no mention of Hillary Clinton’s strong relationships with virulent anti-Israel advocates like George Soros and Sidney Blumenthal, and groups like J Street and Media Matters, yet he is convinced, and wants us to be convinced, that Hillary Clinton is a “strong friend” of Israel.
Today, Israel is facing greater isolation than at any time in its history, in no small measure due to the Obama administration’s open hostility towards Israel; Jews on college campuses are being tormented and harassed; Jews in Europe are getting beaten up, spat upon, raped, and murdered; shuls are vandalized; and European governments are telling Jews not to put up sukkahs and not to wear yarmulkes in public for their own safety. Yet here we have an Orthodox rabbi who represents such a prestigious organization as the OU who has adopted the narrative of the left and Reform rabbis.
Rabbi Genack closes his column with, “There is no one I trust more, and no one better suited than she to keep a level head, protect Israel’s best interests, and lead our country through these trying times.” Again, I know that as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton refused to speak up for Israel, in spite of all the evidence provided by Palestinian Media Watch of anti-Israel propaganda emanating from the Palestinian Authority.
Stating that his views are “his only” and do not represent the OU cannot absolve him of the backlash the OU will face from their supporters. If a CEO of a major organization wrote an anti-Semitic article and said, “These are my views only,” there would be calls for boycotts and his ouster.
In his capacity as CEO of the OU, and as rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Englewood, NJ, Rabbi Genack is tarnishing the reputations of those groups by his unjustifiable endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Alan Skorski is a political activist and is currently writing a book on the Obama administration and liberal Jewish groups that have undermined Israel.