Tuesday, June 06, 2023

I am disappointed by the language in a letter from the Teaneck Republican Municipal Committee in the Sept. 8 edition of the Jewish Link (“Teaneck Republican Municipal Committee Letter Regarding FBI Raid on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Home”). While I am always pleased to see citizens take an interest in communal issues and exercise their democratic rights, I think that the tone was inappropriate for polite discussion.

The use of quotation marks around the name of the Justice Department was particularly disconcerting. We can have a spirited debate over policy and candidates, and we should, without name calling. We need to respect public institutions, even when we disagree with their actions. We especially need to make sure that the same sort of action we call for against our political opponents is not criticized when threatened against our allies. It was not so long ago that many of the same people now objecting to the entry of federal agents into the home of the former president were calling for the imprisonment of his opponent in the 2016 election.

It is hard for Jews, particularly Jews who love Israel, to be unappreciative of the policies toward Israel of the last Republican administration. And there are many other areas of policy and governance where one might reasonably prefer the previous administration over the present one. But that should not permit us to descend into ad-hominem attacks or to presume that those with whom we disagree politically are any less patriotic and righteous than ourselves.

Let’s follow the example of the dearly departed Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who disagreed passionately about many aspects of public policy but were nonetheless great friends. Let’s disagree without being disagreeable.

Murray Sragow
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