Letters to the Editor
Readers React to Biden, Trump Opinion Pieces
Editor’s Note: We would like to acknowledge the significant response we received to the two opinion pieces on the presidential candidates in the September/October 2020 issue. Clearly, people are passionate about this election. Their inclusion was in keeping with our efforts every four years to present balanced coverage of the presidential election from a Jewish perspective—and this format was the same as the one presented in 2016.
Hadassah Magazine is one of the few places, Jewish and non-Jewish, where differing opinions can be expressed and heard. Hadassah’s pluralistic, nonpartisan nature is part of what distinguishes us and gives us strength.
After reading the opinions of your contributors regarding their support of Joe Biden or Donald Trump, I found myself very disturbed by the reasoning of Lauri B Regan for her support of Donald Trump. When she writes “American Jews must prioritize protecting themselves, not the social issues that traditionally sway their votes,” she is forsaking our values. By implication, she is saying that we should forget about women’s rights, forget about minority rights, forget about climate change, forget about immigrant rights, forget about health care for everyone, etc.
I would not be a member of Hadassah if I did not support Israel.
White Plains, N.Y.
Thank you for publishing two views of our presidential candidates, each of which gives examples of why the writers support their candidate of choice. I was struck by the difference in coverage. Susan Stern mentions many of the major issues faced in America, along with Joe Biden’s past and current record. By contrast, Lauri B. Regan focuses mainly on Donald Trump’s record toward Israel with only a brief, general nod toward domestic policies.
It’s also notable that the piece on Biden offers no negativity about other viewpoints, whereas Regan’s piece characterizes certain elements, especially an undefined “left,” as threats that only Trump can overcome.
Personally, I dislike the divisive negativity, the emphasis on threats instead of on healing and compassion. Nor do I think that being a one-issue voter is in the best interest of this country.
I am extremely upset regarding the two opinion pieces on candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Hadassah should not be involved in the 2020 United States presidential election—or any United States election. That is not the purpose of Hadassah.
I do not look to Hadassah for information regarding whom I will vote for in any American election. There was no reason to print these two articles.
The current political situation in the United States upsets me greatly, and I fear for our country. I do not want to read in Hadassah Magazine an article supporting and lauding a man whom I find dangerous and immoral.
As a lifetime member of Hadassah, I was disappointed to see opinion pages about Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Since Hadassah is nonpartisan, I believe that a more unbiased approach would have been to avoid publishing partisan editorials. While the purported rationale was to educate, these articles simply echo information and viewpoints widely circulating in other media.
In reading Hadassah Magazine, I would prefer a respite from presidential politicking.
Frances B. Lichtman
Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Regarding the opinion piece endorsing Donald Trump for president published in Hadassah Magazine: While I understand the views expressed were not those of Hadassah, some of the views expressed were blatantly false and insulting to most of your membership.
In particular, the author said “the left attempts to destroy…America.” This is a lie, and bordering on hate speech. I am disappointed that you chose to publish it in your magazine. By all means, publish opinions and views from all sides, but no journalistic code requires you to broadcast this scurrilous attack to your readers.
The author claims that resistance to Trump personally is “un-American” and writes that “American Jews must prioritize protecting themselves, not the social issues that traditionally sway their votes.” But issues such as transparent government, racial equality, effective health policy and income disparity are necessary for Jews, and everyone else, to be safe in the United States—and for the United States to be able to support Israel.
Looking at the facts, I agree that Trump has done the most to support Likud, the party that won 29 percent of the votes in the last Israeli election. It is far from clear that Trump supports what is in Israel’s best interest in the long term.
As far as opposing BDS, fighting anti-Semitism and continuing aid to Israel, the author implies that a Biden administration would reverse these policies, when the facts show exactly the opposite.
I respect anyone’s support of Trump because of his positions on national security, law and order, and lower taxes for the wealthy. I heartily disagree, but I respect the right to hold those political views. However, I believe Judaism is a religion that prizes studying issues closely, caring for others and justice for everyone. It is clear that re-electing Trump would damage those values in our society.
South Windsor, Conn.
I have been a lifelong member of Hadassah for over 50 of my 89 years. I have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Israel and have visited them many times. Reading Hadassah Magazine has always been a pleasure.
But, I was not happy to see the political articles about our upcoming election in your last issue. Hadassah Magazine is no place for such articles.
Judith Mayer Rhodes
I like to think that Jews in our country believe not only in the success of Israel, but also in the welfare of this country. For example, I suspect that most of us are concerned about the air we and our children breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the consequences of global warming. I believe that Israel will be equally secure under Biden, as much as some people believe under Trump, but I wouldn’t be so sure as to the latter, without another election in his future.
My wife Harriet is a life member, and a former president of a chapter in Smithtown, N.Y., where we once lived and raised our children.
We read with interest the two opinion pieces in support of each United States presidential candidate in the September/October issue. Learning about both sides and perspectives on any issue or candidate is crucial before anyone decides what or whom to support. But we were disappointed to see that neither author addressed the candidates’ approaches and plans about the future of health care coverage for Americans.
As 40-plus-year health care professionals, now retired, we spent the majority of our careers witnessing disparities in health care and the resulting devastating effects on individuals and families. People who read this magazine support Hadassah, one of the leading and most respected health care organizations in the world. If the magazine wanted to educate the readership about the differences between the two candidates, then the opinion writers should have included the candidates’ positions on health care.
Not including those positions was a glaring omission and did not give the readership a full perspective of one of the most crucial issues we are facing here in America.
Judi Hirshfield-Bartek, RN, MS, OCN
Jane R. Matlaw, MSW, ACSW
I feel that the presentation of political opinions is well within Hadassah’s guidelines. Both sides were fairly and equally presented. Without indicating my own politics, I will say I always appreciate the presentation of multiple points of view, whether or not a particular viewpoint might disgust me. There are heightened emotions now and I understand that people are easily triggered. However, if we cannot be civil and at least acknowledge differing opinions, then we are flagrantly undercutting democracy. It is an individual’s choice whether or not to read something. Censorship has never been a part of my book, not in any way, shape or form.
Congratulations Hadassah! Finally, one of the many Jewish organizations to which I belong has shown courage by publishing two opposing points of view regarding the presidential candidates, side by side. I must say this has been heartwarming, to say the least, and I very much appreciate this endeavor.
I have been a group president and chapter V.P. of membership as well as a Founder. I have been a proud member of Hadassah for 60 years, both in Detroit and California.
Laguna Woods, Calif.
Ellen B. Tabor, MD says
My letter wasn’t published here or in the magazine, so the gist of it is: there was only one choice for America during this election. Choosing to support the present administration because of its support for Israel was unpatriotic and unAmerican. We are all Zionists, but if we live in America, we are obligated to support our own government; this requirement comes from PIrkei Avot. So, Hadassah acted in an unpatriotic way to publish the pro-trump essay. That man supports exactly ZERO Jewish values, which should dovetail with American values (and I believe they do); being pro-Israel is insufficient when he is singlehandedly destroying America; we should also all be alert to the people he supports, many of whom would happily murder us for being Jews.
Phyllis Chesler was invited to discuss the Holocaust on CNN some years ago. When she learned that the other panelist was a Holocaust denier, she left, saying there were not two sides to the Holocaust.
This past election was that important. There were not “very good people on both sides.” There was only one side, and when Hadassah gave voice to the other one, they lost my support. I remain a Zionist but not through Hadassah.
Elke S. Ereshefsky says
I agree that if Hadassah is a non-partisan organization we should not be seeing politics which is definitely so divisive on the pages of its magazine.