As the election for New York's Ninth Congressional District nears, True Torah Jews are disturbed by the frequent references by candidates to their support for the State of Israel. The politics and policies of a foreign country should play no part in the election. Rather, the focus should be on the needs of the American people. Our politicians should be addressing the many problems we are facing here in the United States, not the Israeli agenda.
"We are American Jews, not Israelis. Like any other voters, Jewish voters will vote for politicians whose policies they believe are right for America," said Rabbi Avigdor Katz, a spokesman for True Torah Jews. "We strongly believe that dragging the State of Israel's problems into American politics fuels anti-Semitism, furthers conflicts, and creates a potential danger to Jews worldwide."
The comments by True Torah Jews come in reaction to former mayor and staunch Democrat Ed Koch, who recently made headlines by encouraging Jews to vote for Republican Bob Turner in order to send a message to President Obama that he is not sufficiently pro-Israel.
"It's not only that Orthodox Jews will put local issues above Israel," said Rabbi Katz. "Brooklyn is home to large communities of Jews who believe on principle that the Israel issue should play no role at all in American elections. Based on the Bible (Jeremiah 29:7) it has always been a Jewish tradition to be loyal to our country and respect our president. Jews even recite a prayer for the president in the synagogue every week. What former Mayor Koch said - that Jews should use this election to show their disapproval of President Obama for his handling of a foreign issue - flies in the face of that tradition. Orthodox Jews vote on what's good for America, not what's good for a foreign country.
"As Jews, we must be ever mindful of the needs of our Jewish brethren, wherever they may live. But the belligerent attitude of American Zionists like Koch only endangers the welfare of Jews in the Holy Land as well as worldwide."
Pollsters estimate that Orthodox Jews make up approximately one third of voters in NY9.