by Rabbi Dov Fischer
As a preface, let there be no doubt that those who violated the law, acted violently, trespassed federal grounds on Wednesday, January 6, should be prosecuted and punished as prescribed by law for their crimes just as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and other criminals who brought violence, destruction, bloodshed, and mayhem to Portland, Seattle, and so many other American cities during the months leading up to the presidential election should be arrested, prosecuted, and punished as the law demands for their crimes.
With the courts and Congress now having moved, affirmatively and by default, towards confirming Joe Biden as America’s 46th President, the Left — Democrats, the Mainstream Media, Hollywood, Academia — have less than a fortnight to disseminate Big Lies about President Donald Trump. The riot in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, January 6, afforded them such an opportunity, perhaps their last great chance during this first Trump presidential term. And so Big Lie #Infinity: Donald Trump incited an insurrection aimed at a coup.
It is a Lie. A Big Lie. And like all Big Lies, it nevertheless will continue, as has the Charlottesville Big Lie, as has the AOC Big Lie that the earth will end in exactly ten years. Such Big Lies continue until, somehow, they finally disappear.
In Israel in March 1952, only four years after the country was founded, Opposition Leader Menachem Begin led an angry public demonstration against the decision of the Marxist-Socialist Labor government of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to accept “Holocaust reparations” from the West German government. Begin believed, as did his half of the nation, that despite the newborn country’s desperate need for capital, Jewish dignity demanded refusing that money, that Jewish blood could not be bought off. Speaking in the Knesset, Opposition Leader Begin said inter alia:
This will be a war of life or death….
Go surround the Knesset, as in the days of Rome. When the Romans wanted to set up an idol in the Holy Temple the Jews came from all corners of the country, surrounded the building and said, “Over our dead bodies.” To this Knesset, I say there are things in life that are worse than death….
We will give our lives. We will give our families. We will say good-bye to our children. But we will not accept money from Germany. I know that you [Ben Gurion’s government] have power. You have prisons, camps, an army, police force, detectives, artillery and machine guns. I know you can drag me off to a concentration camp. We will sit together with them. If necessary we will die together with them. But we will not accept reparations from Germany.
For that speech, Menachem Begin was suspended from the Knesset for three months, the longest such parliamentary suspension in Israeli history. The public demonstration that followed, which was taking place less than a decade since the Holocaust, was attended by throngs of Holocaust survivors and by surviving relatives of Holocaust martyrs. Indeed the Nazis had murdered Begin’s own parents and his older brother, Herzl. The mass gathering turned into a melee. After five hours of rioting, police managed to suppress the riots using water cannons and tear gas. Hundreds were arrested, while some 200 rioters, 140 police officers — and several Knesset members — were injured. In reaction to the riot, and for cynical political gain, the Marxist-Socialist Ben-Gurion accused Menachem Begin of leading an “insurrection.” But there was no insurrection. The accusation was pure Leftist political defamation, aimed at permanently discrediting a great civil libertarian, advocate for freedom, and accomplished jurist who later would sign and honor a peace deal with Egypt. After the initial Leftist media storm, Begin overcame that Big Lie and eventually rose to become Prime Minister of Israel. (Footnote: Germany ended up paying Israel $822 million in reparations, excluding incalculable pain and suffering, for property and monetary damages recorded between $10-12 billion.)
President Trump now faces the exact same Big Lie, and in time he will rebound from it likewise. If President Trump truly had sought to incite an insurrection, he would have urged his followers to come to Washington and to arm themselves to the teeth with their most powerful firearms. He explicitly would have urged them to break into Congress, to take hostages. Instead of Trump’s most extreme followers sitting in Nancy Pelosi’s chair, with legs and shoes on the office desk in the style of Obama in the White House, they would have grabbed her and killed her. They would have grabbed Schumer and Schiff. They would have grabbed Ocasio and Omar and Tlaib. There would have been blood. At the very least, there would have been widespread confrontations with Senators and Congressional representatives like the chaos when anti-Kavanaugh protesters invaded the Capitol.
The reality is that the anarchists of Antifa and violent Leftist extremists of Black Lives Matter — and their Democrat, Mainstream Media, Hollywood, and Academia apologists — changed the rules of protest in America. Martin Luther King taught us in the 1950s and 1960s about non-violent civil disobedience, and that became an American social norm for protest. It inspired everyone thereafter from Fathers Daniel and Phillip Berrigan to the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. Think of Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and Peter, Paul, and Mary playing folk songs at peaceful sit-ins. Think of Shlomo Carlebach, Safam, and MBD playing songs at 250,000-strong Solidarity Day marches in Washington calling for Jewish freedom from Communism. By contrast, this past year we saw one of the two major political parties unabashedly excuse and allow for Antifa destruction and Black Lives Matter violence, burning cities and violently attacking police. It evolved into a tragic, newly accepted norm of American protest. Democrat big city mayors not only excused rioters’ brutal street violence, but even allowed anarchists to control whole street blocks of their cities. Even in blue lockdown states where masks and social distancing were legally mandated, special dispensation excused BLM and Antifa rioters as they broke windows, looted stores, and tore down monuments of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, other abolitionists — even defacing a memorial to Raoul Wallenberg who gave his life defying Nazis. When Republicans like Senator and Ms. Rand Paul departed from the Trump nomination acceptance at the White House, they almost were killed by leftist rioters, while the police proved virtually useless and the D.C. mayor refused to call in the National Guard. This horrible derogation of duty signaled a perilous new social norm.
Everyone knew in advance that Wednesday’s demonstration would be angry. It was the protestors’ very last chance to protest the Electoral College ratification of Joe Biden as our 46th President. Yet the same local governmental incompetence allowed Wednesday’s demonstrators to find themselves facing an almost absent and remarkably fickle police presence. Look at this video of the moment the Capitol was invaded. Where was the massive police and security presence that should have been on hand? Where was the National Guard? The sergeant-at-arms has more than 800 employees who run security for the Capitol, while Capitol Police have 2,300 employees and officers. Beyond that, Metro police can be called. The rally was massive. If these people had come for insurrection, enormous blood would have been spilled. Instead, as evidenced by the video, relatively few removed the barricades, and the rest just followed the flow without any plan.
Words like “treason” and “insurrection” — so irresponsibly bandied about by the Left — have meaning. For goodness sakes, this was not Harpers Ferry and a John Brown attempted insurrection. The President did not incite anything of the sort. Rather, he truly believes, in his heart of hearts, that the November 2020 election has been stolen. Many very intelligent, very reasonable, very prominent, scholarly, pin-headed academics and legal experts agree with him absolutely. We never will know fully how many opinion leaders and shapers in total agree with him because, in the Cancel Culture that now is America, they have to toe a careful line in how they express their beliefs and argue their case. We have seen a prominent law partner of twenty years forced out of a storied major law firm, Foley and Lardner, because she stood by Trump. Even if we say that Sidney Powell is nuts and that Rudy Giuliani has had better years, there are too many other brilliant, cautious, pensive, contemplative scholars who absolutely are persuaded by the data and evidence that the election was stolen. When Americans express deep-seated beliefs, sometimes at peril of their careers, that their government is being stolen, that is not treason but patriotism. It was not “treason” when Democrats challenged the Florida chad count in 2000 and thereafter sported bumper stickers on their cars in 2004 saying “Re-Defeat George Bush.” Nor has it been improper to raise questions these past two months.
There have been so many articles published in so many refereed and respected journals — including this one — that have aggregated the evidence, including much circumstantial, that the election was treif — i.e., not kosher. That is why real democracies, not mere “People’s Republics” — simply do not have universal mail-in balloting. Such a vote, by definition, necessarily is suspect. In Israel, for example, the only people who may mail in their ballots are (i) diplomats stationed overseas, (ii) military personnel stationed away from home, (iii) prisoners otherwise permitted to vote, and (iv) hospital patients unable to leave their beds. Everyone else has to show up in person at the polling site. And so it goes throughout the world’s great democracies — countries do not allow mass mail-in balloting. A report published by the U.S. Department of Justice concluded:
There are fraud problems with mail-in absentee ballots but the problems with universal mail-in ballots are much more significant. Still most countries ban even absentee ballots for people living in their countries.
Most developed countries ban absentee ballots unless the citizen is living abroad or require Photo-IDs to obtain those ballots. Even higher percentages of European Union or other European countries ban absentee for in country voters. In addition, some countries that allow voting by mail for citizens living the country don’t allow it for everyone. For example, Japan and Poland have limited mail-in voting to those who have special certificates verifying that they are disabled.
France has made an exception this year to the ban on absentee ballots to those who are sick or at particular risk during the Coronavirus pandemic. Poland and two cities in Russia have adopted mail-in ballots for elections this year only, but most countries haven’t changed their regulations.
Once the system of voting breaks, the entire democratic enterprise is bankrupted. America’s democratic republic already has become deeply damaged by a refusal to require in-person voter identification even when voting is done at the ballot box. This refusal has only one purpose: to shield and suborn voter fraud. Younger Americans who want to buy cigarettes or alcohol are carded. Older Americans likewise are carded at museums and movie theaters when they seek seniors’ discounts. Americans are asked for identification at the airport, at the doctor’s office and hospital, at the bank. It is natural in every society on the planet to be asked for identification. Thus the Left’s insistence on uniquely not allowing voter identification at the polling site belies corrupt intent.
Donald Trump believes he was robbed. So do many of his followers. Indeed, not only the vast majority of Republican voters in America — some 70 percent or more of his 75 million voters, comprising more than 50 million Americans at least — but also between 10 percent and 30 percent of Democrats believe the election was stolen; either figure is remarkably high. So Trump urged his supporters to come to Washington in the frigid cold of a January Washington winter to demonstrate their support for him and for his insistence. And they came out. It was a demonstration — to demonstrate widespread massive support for his insistence that the election was stolen. There was no Madonna intimating blowing up the White House.
As can happen, and sometimes does — witness the Left’s anti-Kavanaugh demonstrations that included confronting and badgering Senators in the Halls of Congress and attempting to bang down the Supreme Court’s front doors — the January 6 rally got out of hand and became a riot. Some of the more-intense people, after a year of watching Antifa and Black Lives Matter gatherings devolve into riots, decided on their own that their turn had come to storm the building that was the object of their scorn and anger. An important lesson is learned once again: what goes around comes around. When the Left condones unacceptable behavior from its corner, it often will find that one day it will rue that decision when copied by its adversaries.
President Trump urged the demonstrators to come. He spoke to them in the passionate tones that he always speaks, all the more so when he felt that an election was stolen from him. Again, he is not alone in that belief. And then he urged them to go home. He did not ask nor encourage nor hint that they should invade Congress. It is a Big Lie to say otherwise. In a world where the Leftist Media and the Social Media Oligarchy control what the public hears, this Big Lie will take on Charlottesville dimensions. But it is a terrible lie to say, even to suggest, that Trump incited the invasion of the Congress building or sought insurrection. And if he invests the next four years in seeking and accepting wise counsel to learn humbly from his first term’s successes and mistakes, he will be back just as Menachem Begin, Winston Churchill, and even Grover Cleveland rebounded.
Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His legal career has included serving as Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerking for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and then litigating at three of America’s most prominent law firms: JonesDay, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. In his rabbinical career, Rabbi Fischer has served several terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, is Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, has been Vice President of Zionist Organization of America, and has served on regional boards of the American Jewish Committee, B’nai Brith Hillel, and several others. His writings on contemporary political issues have appeared over the years in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post, National Review, American Greatness, The Weekly Standard, and in Jewish media in American and in Israel. A winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi Fischer also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit.