The Presidential Candidate Who Best Reflects Jewish Values


By William Madway

Many experts continue to see Pennsylvania as one of the key battleground states in the 2016 race for the White House. Although the Jewish community in Pennsylvania is small — 3.35 percent of the state’s population as of 2015, according to the Jewish Virtual Library — we very well could determine the outcome of the presidential election in the commonwealth. And as Pennsylvania goes, so might go the country.

Hillary Clinton has strong backing from American Jews. Nationwide, Hillary leads Trump 61 percent to 19 percent among Jewish voters, according to the AJC 2016 Survey of American Jewish Opinion. A major reason Clinton has such widespread support is because she exemplifies the values of the Jewish people. We seek leaders who are dedicated to the societal responsibilities embedded in Jewish law and teachings, such as equality for all, assisting the less fortunate, treating strangers with kindness and alleviating the afflictions in our world.

Clinton has spent her adult years focusing on human rights, social justice and economic justice, ending violence and oppression in America, and promoting peace across the globe. Through his words and deeds, Donald Trump has shown himself to be completely at odds with Jewish values. Consider his degradation of women, minorities and the disabled; divisive, untruthful, hate-filled rhetoric; contempt for immigrants, refugees and Muslims; fraudulent and unfair business practices; and callous disregard for the less fortunate.

When it comes to foreign policy, American Jews, by a more than 2- to-1 margin say that good diplomacy rather than military strength is the best way to ensure peace. With her diplomatic skills and temperament, Clinton will seek to protect American interests and our allies and resolve conflicts without choosing war as her first option. The impulsive and thin-skinned Trump, who freely expresses admiration for the leadership skills of dictators, will make the world more dangerous and unstable. And Clinton’s preference for diplomacy does not mean that she is weak on defense; far from it. The way she has stood up to years of mistreatment by Congress and 18-plus months of ridicule and bullying by Trump demonstrate her strength and fortitude.

Clinton is a strong and steadfast supporter of Israel. Her ability to build alliances will help make Israel safer and more secure. On the other hand, despite his pandering, Trump has sent mixed and confusing messages regarding Israel’s safety, security and economic growth. He also has made no effort to discourage his anti-Semitic and racist supporters in the alt-right.

Even worse, Trump recently uttered highly contemptible remarks accusing Clinton of “guiding a ‘global power structure’ that has rigged the economy against the working class” — words that reminded many of the despicable rantings of anti-Semites.

Experience, actions and accomplishments are important characteristics to consider when deciding which candidate to vote for, and Clinton excels in all of these areas. But as important as these factors are, values matter even more. They inform and shape a leader’s positions and policies, and they are enduring. American Jews, indeed all Americans, can look to the future with hope and confidence with Clinton as our president, knowing she adheres to the values we hold sacred. Trump has demonstrated time and time again that he does not.

William Madway is a Democratic committeeperson in Lower Merion Township and a member of the leadership team of Democratic Jewish Outreach of Pennsylvania. Jill Zipin is a former Democratic committeeperson in Horsham Township and a founder of Democratic Jewish Outreach of Pennsylvania.


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