The commentary, “A bump in the bond between Baltimore’s core Democratic coalition: black and Jewish voters” (Oct. 23), was offensive to me as member of Baltimore City’s Jewish community. While the authors purport to recognize that the Orthodox Jewish community has a right to “organize around candidates that reflect their values” the entire balance of the commentary was attacking the Orthodox community for its values and arguing that it would be wrong for Dalia Attar to advance the interests of the Orthodox Jewish community.
What this oped promotes is a racist call to deny an Orthodox Jewish candidate a place in the Maryland legislature simply because she is a member of the Orthodox community — and therefore suspect. The authors insinuate that because three precincts voted for Donald Trump, the Orthodox Jewish community must not support democratic values. The authors trot out allegations about Jewish property owners redlining — ignoring the reality that Jews were the victims of the same practice. The authors rehash allegations against another Orthodox elected official, Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer which were found to be without merit — but do not let the facts interfere with a good attack on the only Orthodox candidates. The sole purpose of raising these allegations is to imply that all Orthodox Jews are suspect.
Christopher Ervin and Evan Serpick are perfectly entitled to their opinions on who should serve in the Maryland General Assembly, and they can vote for the Green candidate or write-in the Blue or Purple candidate. Why do they give no credit for all of the good being done by the Orthodox Jewish community? Why do they ignore the fact that the Orthodox Jewish community has not participated in the white flight from the city which deprived Baltimore of so many residents since the 1960s? Why ignore how they continue to pay taxes in the city while the majority does not even use the public school system? Why do the authors not condemn Mayor Catherine Pugh and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young for advancing the interests of the majority African American community?
I have no problem with Mayor Pugh’s and Mr. Young’s positions, but if they are not criticized for advancing those interests, why is Ms. Attar who has not even been elected? There is a simple test for what is discriminatory. Substitute another race, religion or gender into the statements. If the substituted language is offensive and discriminatory, the original language is too. If I had submitted a similar commentary replacing the numerous occurrences of the term Orthodox Jews or Jewish community with Muslims, Christians, African Americans, or any other group, giving examples of members of those communities who have “allegedly” done something inappropriate, The Sun would not publish it and would consider it hate speech.
For the Sun to give them a platform to question the bona fides of the entire Baltimore Orthodox Jewish community is a disgrace.
Alan and Janet Abramowitz, Baltimore
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