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Too Many Jews for Comfort

Schiff, Feldman, Nadler, Gerhardt… why impeachment is bad for the Jews

Was anyone else made slightly uncomfortable by the sight of Democratic counsel Norm Eisen questioning constitutional scholars Pamela Karlan, Noah Feldman, and Michael Gerhardt?

My Jew-detector told me right away that Karlan and Feldman were “of the tribe,” and I happen to know Eisen, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, personally. I had an inkling about Gerhardt, and his Jewishness was later confirmed by Ron Kampeas at JTA. That left just Jonathan Turley. I wasn’t quite sure about him: On the one hand, he’s intelligent, reasonable, and a law professor. On the other, there was something about him that didn’t quite… shtim.

Thankfully, I found out a few days later that he’s Roman Catholic, so it’s not as if a Jewish cabal of four law professors is trying to take down the president — only three. And let’s remember that one Daniel Goldman was the counsel for Rep. Adam Schiff (also Jewish) and that the present impeachment hearing is being chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, an icon of liberal Jewry.

In short, a bunch of Jews are trying to unseat the president. I imagine that probably doesn’t play too well in Iowa or Alabama or Montana, or anywhere else where people spin wild yarns about Jewish power. I’m not sure what the remedy is — it’s not as if we can ask the three talented academics not to testify because they are Jewish — but I wish the optics were slightly different.

Apart from my queasiness at seeing so many Jews publicly challenge the legitimacy of the president of the United States, my only other impression of the impeachment hearings last week in the House Judiciary Committee was how commonplace and ordinary it has all become.

Democrats want to unseat the president. We get it, already. First came the FBI investigations during the campaign, which led to the Mueller report, which led to the Ukraine allegations. The Mueller report discovered that Paul Manafort was cheating on his taxes and that George Papadopoulos was likely a stooge in either a CIA or KGB setup. The US Attorney General’s Durham report will soon tell us if the FBI broke laws when it spied on Carter Page, a minor Trump campaign staffer. But onward the impeachment train hurtles, chugging toward its final destination of 2020, when Democrats hope that the tar flung at Trump will convince enough Wisconsin and Florida voters to pull the blue lever.

I can only agree with the testimony of Prof. Jonathan Turley, who warned members of Congress that an impeachment pursued on these flimsy foundations is a danger to our democracy:

I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president. That does not bode well for future presidents who are working in a country often sharply and, at times, bitterly divided.

Ironically, this is a quasi-legal proceeding whose verdict is almost certainly known. The House of Representatives will vote to impeach the president on bribery or obstruction of justice (or having the nerve to win the 2016 election) and the Senate will acquit. What’s the point of it all? It only shows us the depth of the culture and political war burbling just below the surface, a war, in my humble opinion, in which traditionalists are being pitted against progressives. The fight is really about the character of the country. Trump happens to represent the traditionalists, but only because he’s the politician who has made the point most forcefully. The real war goes way beyond Trump, and its consequences far outweigh the impeachment of any one president.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 789)

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