Don’t Disparage Good People in the White House!

by Uri Pilichowski

It is rare that I read something and completely disagree with it and find absolutely nothing of merit in it. This article on the Trump White House is it. I’m sorry for the lengthy and detailed take down, but this article really annoyed me for two reasons. First, it’s false. Second, it disparages people who work very hard and are successful in the Trump administration, helping the Jewish community.

This article seems to make sense. After all, it points out that there has always been a White House liaison to the Jewish community, that there is a role the liaison plays, and that the Trump administration hasn’t appointed a liaison. Therefore, concludes the author, the Trump administration needs a Jewish liaison. Add in the word desperately, and presto! We have a crises that needs to be addressed immediately.

If only the author actually did his homework by calling the Jewish community that works with the Trump administration and called the Trump administration, he might have known the facts.

FACT: As a Jewish professional who has dealt with three administrations, I remember that the Obama administration didn’t task a full time Jewish liaison until its third year. The first few liaisons had other, more high profile roles, and Jewish liaison was secondary to their main role.

FACT: Most past liaisons have been incredible. Years later I am in close contact with many and am grateful to them. Some liaisons weren’t as good, and have been detrimental to the relationship between the administration and the Jewish community. To say that it’s an imperative to have a Jewish liaison is simply wrong.

FACT: The Trump administration has a liaison that services the needs of the faith community and she does an AMAZING job. You don’t have to have Jewish in your title or even be Jewish to be able to listen to a community, you just need to be an attentive professional.

As a professional in the Jewish community whose role requires me to be in constant contact with the White House, I have never felt the Trump administration has neglected me because I couldn’t speak to a Jewish liaison.

The author makes two more arguments to prove the desperate need for a racist hire House Jewish liaison. He referenced an incident this month where the administration hosted a meeting with Jewish leaders at the White House and Conservative and Reform leaders were left out of the meeting. The author argues that this wouldn’t happened if there was a Jewish liaison. I’m not on the inside but it is clear that only friends of the administration were invited to the meeting. This wasn’t an oversight because there was no Jewish liaison to recognize the error. The Trump administration didn’t invite those that have called for the President’s impeachment, called him a racist, an antisemite, and held him responsible for antisemitic shootings. An argument can be made that the administration should invite those that call the President a rapist to the White House, but the administration didn’t. The Conservative and Reform leaders were left out of the meeting on purpose, not because there wasn’t a Jewish liaison.

The second argument the author makes is that the President is surrounded by Jews, but they’re Orthodox and a “wider lens is needed.” Besides the absurdity that a Orthodox Jew can’t understand the viewpoints of Conservative and Reform Jews, the author doesn’t even know that there are Conservative and Reform Jews serving in senior positions in the White House who advise the administration with a “wider lens.” The author even goes on to say “When it comes to speaking to U.S. Jewry, President Trump’s strategy is not to speak to all 7 million of us – it’s to not even really try with a majority of us.” With an ounce of research, the author would’ve seen that Jason Greenblatt spoke at a Conservative Shul in Los Angeles last night.

I don’t like to cast aspersions, but I find it hard to believe that the author’s mistakes weren’t driven by his personal political opinions. The author, Aaron Keyak, is the former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council and co- founded Bluelight Strategies, a left leaning communications firm previously hired by the Obama administration to help communicate the benefits of the Iran deal to the Jewish community.

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