An Open Letter To John Kasich

Fourth in the series, coming close to the end…first open letter went to Bernie Sanders, second to Hillary Clinton, third to Donald Trump and now this one to John Kasich.

John Kasich, governor of Ohio and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, pauses as he speaks during a campaign event at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. The six remaining Republicans face off Saturday in South Carolina's primary where Trump holds a commanding lead in the polls. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dear John,

So, I’ll start with a confession. I didn’t know who you were – a name I didn’t remember hearing in the past, a clean slate to investigate and consider. At face value, if I listen to words you have said in this campaign, the initial impression is that you are pro-Israel and may be a serious contender who would be more reasonable than Donald Trump for America while being more balanced on Israel than either Bernie or Hillary.

To your credit, the fact is that unlike some of the other candidates, you have shown that under your leadership, Ohio took its budget from a deficit of $6-8 billion to a surplus of $2 billion. Considering the overall state of the US economy, that’s quite a feat.

Your overall views on American issues are conservative, Republican, Christian and you are consistent…to a point, on most issues. You’re pro-death penalty – something that bothers me a bit simply because while I think the death penalty is needed and appropriate, I don’t really trust that it is being sentenced in a completely fair and balanced way. Yup, you’re anti-abortion, no surprise there. In fact, there are few surprises. You are what you’re supposed to be, and to some extent, perhaps that’s where I begin to understand that I don’t trust the image.

The first problem that I have is that perhaps you’ve achieved your goal too soon, too well. You’ve molded yourself into the perfect politician. You’ve even excelled in the art of “flip-flop.” From what I can see, you’ve flip-flopped on Obamacare, on gun control, on climate change, and on allowing refugees into the United States.

You walk the walk, talk the talk, and know that to compete, you need to speak positively on Israel. But the words are too planned, too perfect, too polished. Until the polls change or someone points to a problem and then you flip and start swimming in the other direction.

And then we come to the elephant in the room – the Fiasco, the Oops. In Israel, we call it a “fashla.” That’s actually an Arabic word that we adopted here in Israel – it’s somewhere between a major screwup and just something embarrassingly stupid. A fashla is like when someone walks into a room filled with Jews and starts talking about Jesus’ blood…oh wait, been there, done that, right?

How in God’s name could you go to a matzoh baking factory in one of the most religious Jewish neighborhoods in the United States and…oh my God…compared the Jews marking the doorposts of their homes in Egypt with lamb’s blood…to the blood of Jesus? Who does that?

Now, Jesus might have been born and died as a Jew, but Jews today aren’t really interested in hearing about his blood. No, we didn’t kill him – that would be the Romans; no, he didn’t die for us – he was murdered by the Romans…should I say that again?

His blood does not symbolize anything to us – other than yet another Jew being murdered in cold blood…and if you want to call him the “lamb of God,” that’s up to you, but that has NOTHING to do with the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, which preceded Jesus by like 1,400 years.

But beyond the historical inaccuracies in the comment, the real issue is why would a presidential candidate come before Orthodox Jews and speak about Jesus’ blood? The answer, I believe, is that you don’t really understand much beyond your world – American politics and Christianity.

Politics means to get the vote, flip or flop depending on what you said before versus what people want to hear now. To be honest, I don’t do “flip-flop” well.

Christianity is the guiding force in your life – and while that doesn’t necessarily make you a bad candidate for Israel (or America), in this case, it means you are less capable of seeing and understanding others that don’t fit into your box.

In short, I am concerned that you appear to be pro-Israel because it is the politically correct thing to be, the expedient thing, the popular thing…because your politics and your religion encourage this. But what of your brain, John? What do you really think deep inside, in that area you never really show people…because you are a politician?

Bottom line – with so much at risk, John, you are too of an unknown and the little I do know causes me more worry than anything else.

I hope in your career you will continue to be pro-Israel, I hope some day you’ll gain a deeper understanding of my country – I’d be happy to show you, explain Israel to you. I do this often. Recently, a German man came to Israel and said he wanted to go to Yad Vashem…I took him to Masada, I took him to the Kotel. I walked him through the streets of the Old City, and drove him all the way to the northern border and down towards the Dead Sea. I showed him the mountains, the beauty, and spoke of our lives here.

This is what you need, John, to understand. In short, maybe in 2020, but not in 2016.


Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern is the CEO of WritePoint Ltd, a leading technical writing company in Israel. She is also a popular blogger with her work appearing on her own sites, A Soldier's Mother and PaulaSays, as well as IsraellyCool and a number of other Jewish and Israeli sites.

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