After three Jewish newspapers came out to endorse Donald Trump this week, Hillary Clinton got a pre-Shabbat declaration of support in the pages of Der Yid, a Brooklyn weekly that serves the Satmar Hasidic community.
“Throughout the years that Secretary Clinton served as New York’s Senator, and then as Secretary of State, she was sympathetic to the needs of the Haredi Community. When we needed assistance with refugees — to assist Jews from Iran and Yemen to emigrate to the free world — and when we needed urgent assistance with immigration issues, she was very helpful,” wrote David Neiderman, president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, an umbrella group for Satmar Hasidic Jews, in an open letter in the paper.
He continued, “The prior administration expanded the rights of religious Jews in prisons, as with zoning, housing and other issues, and was very understanding of our needs. Jewish prisoners, as well as Jews suffering from discrimination with housing and other areas, still benefits greatly from that law. Orthodox Jews benefited tremendously from the Clintons’ sympathy to our interests, and we have to show our appreciation, by demonstrating that we recognized that and we are thankful for it, by coming out and vote for Secretary Clinton on Tuesday.”
It wasn’t quite an endorsement, as Neiderman made clear that he was speaking in a personal capacity and not for any organization that he represents. But it was significant in that the paper chose to run the letter and afford it prime billing near the front of the print edition (Der Yid does not have a web site).
That might appear surprising, given the Hasidic community’s rightwing positions on social issues and its hostility to the Iran nuclear deal, which Clinton has stood by and Trump has savaged. But members of the Satmar faction maintain close ties to the Democratic nominee from her time serving as New York’s senator, and many Jewish religious leaders have have balked at Trump’s lewd comments about women, the disabled and other marginalized groups.
Earlier in the week, the Jewish Press, Long Island Jewish World and Jewish Voice announced their backing of Trump, castigating his rival for her Israel policies, the Iran nuclear deal, immigration and her relationship to President Barack Obama. All three papers maintain a conservative editorial line and cater to an observant, ultra-Zionist audience.
Overall, Clinton has beaten Trump’s roster of newspaper endorsement — the Republican nominee has the support of almost no regional or national publications. She has gotten the nod from editorial boards that often endorse Republicans, including those of the Arizona Republic and the Dallas Morning News. Meanwhile, Trump’s candidacy has inspired a number of publications that usually do not endorse to come out in favor of Clinton, including the Atlantic, USA Today and the New York Jewish Week.
“This newspaper has not endorsed political candidates in the past,” the Jewish Week’s editors wrote, castigating Trump for his unorthodox remarks and behavior. “But this election is an exception. It’s not just about politics. It’s about character, competence and compassion.”
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Daniel J. Solomon is the former Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.