So Where Do They Come From?
Dov Fischer
by
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Gimme a Break: It is Not Racist to Tag a Person as an Italian, a Jew, a Puerto Rican

Supporters of President Trump do not take his words literally. Rather, we understand his words idiomatically. He is a New Yorker — tons of Queens, with a touch of Brooklyn. In New Yawk, dat’s how day tawk. When a person says “I need that like I need a hole in the head,” that’s New Yawk Tawk for “Geddooudaheah.” And when a New Yawkuh says “Geddooudaheah,” he or she does not literally mean that you should get up and depart from the location where you are. It’s an expression, an idiom. Dat’s how day tawks, and dat’s how youze tawk.

Or do we need to drill it into your head? (No, not literally. Gimme a break — wouldja?)

I grew up in New York and lived there for thirty years. People who were born in America — second generation, third generation — but whose ancestors hailed from Italy were called “Italians.” Rudy Giuliani is an Italian. Anyone named Scaramucci is an Italian. No, that does not mean he was not born in America, that he lacks American bona fides. It’s just that he’s, uh, an Italian.

It was always understood in the New York where I grew up that the Democrats, who ran city politics, would run an Italian, an Irish guy, and a Jew on the ticket every four years to lead the city. They would put up the Italian and the Irish guy — we rarely but occasionally said “Irishman” — for mayor and city council president. It would alternate every four years. This time the Italian is up for Hizzonuh Da Mayuh, and the Irishman for city council prez, and four years later the Irishman for mayor and the Italian for city council prez. And they always would put up a Jew for comptroller because in the Identity Politics of 1950s and 1960s New York, y’know the Jews know how to handle money. That same ridiculous stereotype was promoted in statewide politics.

So Mickey was Irish, and Vinnie was Italian, and Hymie was Jewish, and George was Polish, and Julio down by the schoolyard was Puerto Rican. Nothing was meant by those terms other than their ethnic descriptors. No one was saying that Mickey, Vinnie, Hymie, George, and Julio were not also 100 percent Americans, through and through. The terms were not deemed racist because the terms are not racist.

Converting to a Religion or a Society to Which You Do Not Relate

An anecdote:

Hymie tells his rabbi: “Today I am converting to Christianity.”

The Rabbi knows Hymie, regards him as a nut, and wishes him well.

Late that morning, Hymie goes to the Protestant church and tells the pastor he wants to convert immediately.

The pastor welcomes Hymie warmly and tells him that he will need to take a few classes and then will be admitted.

“But I know everything there is to know about Christianity,” Hymie objects. “I have no time for classes. Convert me right now!”

The pastor looks at him and asks, “OK, you know everything about Christianity? Where was Jesus born?”

Hymie responds: “Pittsburgh!”

The pastor throws him out.

That afternoon Hymie goes to the Catholic cathedral and tells the priest he wants to convert immediately.

Same exchange as in the morning. The priest wants him to study the catechism, and Hymie won’t do it because he already knows everything.

The priest asks him: “OK, you know everything? Where was Jesus born?”

Hymie responds: “Scranton!”

The priest throws him out.

That night Hymie is back in shul (synagogue). The Rabbi asks him, “Nu, I thought you were converting?”

Hymie relates the day’s events.

The Rabbi looks at him: “You idiot! Even an Orthodox Rabbi knows that Jesus was born in Bethlehem!”

Hymie smacks his head in frustration: “Darn it! I knew he was born somewhere in Pennsylvania!”

When someone converts to Judaism — properly converts, not in the nonsensical manner in American life in which most “conversions” are utter shams — he or she takes on … Judaism. That means no more pork or lobster, just strictly kosher eating. No eating of meat and milk foods at the same meal. Having to wait six hours to eat dairy after a meat meal. It means observing the Sabbath according to its laws and honoring the 39 forms of forbidden activity plus the additional rules derived from Isaiah 58:13. It means learning to pray in Hebrew, to recite a formal thanks to G-d before eating or drinking anything and afterwards as well. Lots of rules, 613 Torah laws, and lots more rabbinic directives.

Let’s say someone converts — properly — to Judaism, and over time starts complaining about the rules: too many rules — kosher laws, Shabbat, prayers night and day, holy days that are out of sync with secular American society’s calendar, resulting in never having vacation because you have to use up all your vacation days for religious observances. So the person starts complaining in synagogue — to the congregants at prayer, to the Rabbi — that Judaism is a bother.

Although I never have encountered such a thing quite as above, my gut reaction would be to respond to the complainer, albeit in gentler terms: “Look, I never asked you to convert. We do not proselytize in our religion. You don’t like it? Well, we are not going to change 3,000 years of Judaism to make you happy. If this is where you have opted to be, this is the way we do it here.”

That is how I interpret President Trump’s comments to the Suicide Squad:

You don’t like it here? Capitalism doesn’t work for you? Freedom of speech, freedom of differences of opinion differ from the “Palestinian” culture you brag that you bring to Congress — a culture that does not have any free elections, that does not respect differences of opinion, a culture that includes tyranny and persecution and political violence and internecine warfare where Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Al Fatah and all the others kill each other? So you don’t like it here, the way we do things? Tell you what, pal: Sure, you were born here. Sure, you are fully American. But since you think it was so much better in so-called “Palestine,” where you found the Holocaust “calming” and where everything seems so much better to you, why not go back there and take another look for a while — and, no, not permanently — and check it out closer? And when you realize what really is going on back in that dystopia junk-hole you call paradise, why don’t you bring all your virtue-signaling to them and straighten them out a bit? Then come back and tell us all about it.

Having It Both Ways: So Where Is the Racism?

It must be recognized that Rashida Tlaib regularly has spoken words like these: “Honestly I’ve never felt more Palestinian than I ever felt in Congress.” The Detroit Free Press ran a story only a year ago, citing Tlaib’s mother and grandfather in Beit Ur al-Fauqa in Judea (wrongly called the “West Bank”). Mohammed Tlaib, the former mayor of the village of 863 people and a distant relative, said, “It’s a great honor for this small town. It’s a great honor for the Palestinian people to have Rashida in the Congress. For sure she will serve Palestine, for sure she will serve the interests of her nation. She is deeply rooted here.”

The interests of her nation. She is deeply rooted there. She will serve Palestine.

Further speaking of her, he said, “They are Americans, like other Americans, and have deep roots here. So we expect them to serve their occupied and embattled country there.”

The Left is masterful at wanting to have it both ways. Kirsten Gillibrand hounds Al Franken out of office, but she tolerates the most vile misogynistic harassment in her own office and associated closely with Bill Clinton during the height of his dalliances. Bernie Sanders, a Communist, wants to impose wage hikes on American businesses but would not pay his own workers that $15 hourly wage until media scorn laughed him into resolving the matter … so he responded like a bourgeois capitalist by cutting his workers’ hours. Elizabeth Warren lied about her ethnicity to get herself hired at Harvard. Cory Booker took physical advantage of vulnerable women when he was of an age of responsibility. Pete Buttigieg cannot even handle racial relations in his own city, where blacks do not trust him. Play-Doh O’Rourke is Scottish-Irish, not a tinge Mexican or otherwise Hispanic, grew up with White Privilege, yet abused his advantages by being a computer hacker, breaking in to locked facilities, and perpetrating an automotive hit-and-run. Joe Biden has been an outright racist all his public life. Kamala Harris, who also tolerated serious woman abuse in her offices that even resulted in a $400,000 harassment settlement, likewise negotiated a Jeffrey Epstein-style sweetheart deal that allowed a serial woman-abuser to avoid prison time or even having to admit to his actions.

This is the base hypocrisy of the Democrat base. In every turn, whenever the opportunity presents itself, Rashida Tlaib presents herself in “Palestinian” terms. Then, when the president calls her out on it, she screams “Racist!” She — a Jew-hater, an outright hater and bigot— screams: “Racist!”

And so with Ilhan Omar. A bigot, a hater, with a particular hate for Jews. Suddenly playing the crocodile, weeping “Racist!”

And so with Hyphen Cortez. She played the Puerto Rican card to get elected in her district, one of the most heavily Hispanic districts in the country. Her New York 14th District is described thus:

The district includes the eastern part of The Bronx and part of north-central Queens. The Queens portion includes the neighborhoods of Astoria, College Point, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Woodside. The Bronx portion of the district includes the neighborhoods of City Island, Country Club, Van Nest, Morris Park, Parkchester, Pelham Bay, Schuylerville, and Throggs Neck. Roughly half of the population of the district is of Hispanic or Latino heritage, making it one of the more Latino districts in New York.

The district is heavily Hispanic, with 67.8 percent of the population speaking a language other than English at home, and with nearly half of those households speaking Spanish. Nearly half the district was born outside the United States, and 56 percent of them in Latin America. Of the district’s 691,000 reported residents, more than 330,000 are Hispanic or Latino — and of those more than 62,000 are Puerto Rican, with more than 30,000 born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or the like. When she won her primary against Joe Crowley, she beat him 15,897 to 11,761.

Do the math. She represents a minuscule pocket of a minuscule pocket of people who, fully American and fully deserving of representation among 435 in Congress, nonetheless hardly reflect the kind of influence with which the Left Media shower her night and day. She got the votes of 2.3 percent of her district’s population in her primary, a resounding victory over Joe Crowley’s 1.7 percent. The other 96 percent?

All that is fine and, frankly, “as American as apple pie.” Most people do not bother to vote in primaries, and then complain afterwards about what the activists and ideologues have wreaked on their lives. Moreover, Americans have been playing the race card for as long as Democrats have had immigrants to buy and import. But there is something distinctly repugnant in a Left Media frenzy that tags President Trump 24/7 as “racist” when the targets of his ire in fact live by the race card — the ultimate meaning of the adjective “racist.” They are the despicable racists who divide us all into Identity Niches.

We all take note of race, of color, of accent, of gender. When someone sees a redhead, the thought rapidly races by: “A redhead!” In baseball, hair color is a nickname: Red Barber, Red Thunder, Red Schoendienst. Whitey Ford. Likewise, we all take passing note of blondes — because they differ from the norm. Same when one sees a black person: Black. Same when seeing a Chassid or a fellow with a yarmulka: Jew. Frankly, same when noticing that someone is signing a check with a left hand: Leftie! Lefty Grove. Lefty Frizzell. The Babe.

That is not bigotry. That is normal. All normal people take notice of appearances outside the “norm.” Without even thinking to search for them, we notice people who are strikingly attractive. We notice people with disabilities. That is not prejudice. That is normal.

Rashida Tlaib plays the “Palestine” card every chance she gets. Ilhan Omar plays the “Jew-Hate” card every chance she gets. Hyphen Cortez did not get elected by pledging to locals that, if they voted for her, she promises to drive out all high-paying Amazon jobs from the district. Rather, she played the race card. They had no idea about her Green New Deal stuff. Rather, she spoke Spanish where it played for her, just as the base ethnic pandering at the first Democrat debate saw one after another try speaking two minutes of Spanish, as though auditioning for a remake of The Three Amigos.

Somehow no one ever had a problem with Donald Trump’s relationship with identity groups until he started dismantling and reversing the Wasted Obama Decade. Morning Joe was pals with him. Jesse Jackson loved him. And then, Kerplow! A man who got along fine with people of all backgrounds and identities for 70 years suddenly, overnight, is tarred and feathered for being a proponent of America First. And that is all he is saying. It does not matter to him whence a person originates, how he or she believes. What kind of racist regularly says, “We all bleed the same red, white, and blue”? What kind of racist reverses aspects of criminal laws that particularly hurt the black community? Does anyone sane think that Adolf Hitler proudly campaigned on how his economic policies were helping Jews do better in the German workforce? Trump takes such pride in how his efforts have reversed the Dead Obama Economy and pumped new economic life and hope into America’s black and Hispanic families.

All he is saying is that anyone who does not like our Constitution’s fundamental principles, our historic commitment to economic and personal freedom, and our way of life, and instead believes that it is better in places like Somalia, is welcome to go back there. This is not Communist East Germany or the former Soviet Union, where people get shot if they try to leave. The gates of emigration are not locked. Flights leave all day. Only a thousand bucks from Washington, D.C. to Mogadishu. She might even be able to order a kosher meal.

Dov Fischer
Dov Fischer
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Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His legal career has included serving as Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerking for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and then litigating at three of America’s most prominent law firms: JonesDay, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. In his rabbinical career, Rabbi Fischer has served several terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, is Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, has been Vice President of Zionist Organization of America, and has served on regional boards of the American Jewish Committee, B’nai Brith Hillel, and several others. His writings on contemporary political issues have appeared over the years in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post, National Review, American Greatness, The Weekly Standard, and in Jewish media in American and in Israel. A winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi Fischer also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit.
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