Jewish World Review March 13, 2003 / 9 Adar II, 5763

Zev Chafets

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Jewish plot? This pol has gone punchy | Now that Roy Jones has defeated heavyweight champ John (The Quiet Man) Ruiz, another bruising middleweight - Jim (Nosebreaker) Moran - is looking for a big fight that will take him up a division or two.

Moran is a former boxer-turned-congressman. This week, in Reston, Va., he served notice he wants to square off against the Jews of America. "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," he told a gathering of constituents, according to a report in the Reston Connection.

Huh? A January poll commissioned by the American Jewish Committee showed 59% of Jews supporting war - roughly the same as the rest of the country. And in Congress, most of Moran's Jewish fellow Democrats are opposed to the war or lukewarm.

But as connoisseurs of prefight hype know, Moran didn't really mean "the Jewish community." He meant the Jewish Conspiracy. Eighty years ago, Henry Ford tried to win a presidential bid by blaming World War I on this fictional cabal. A generation later, the infamous powerbroker Father Charles Coughlin called the war on Adolf Hitler a plot by Jewish bankers and Jewish Communists. More recently, presidential candidate Pitchfork Pat Buchanan tried to pin the Persian Gulf War on Israel and its American "amen corner."

This time around, the alert patriots of the Aryan Nation have sounded the warning about devious American Hebrews, and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has demurely hinted at it a time or two. But in Reston, Moran made the issue of Jewish power his own: "The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going."

Like Muhammad Ali mocking Sonny Liston, Moran can parlay rhetoric into a shot at the big time, but only if he has a big-time opponent. My hunch is that's he's gunning for Elie Wiesel. On Feb. 27, Wiesel, probably America's most prestigious Jewish figure, issued a very public statement of support for the war. Four days later, Moran went ballistic. What a marquee: Patriot Moran versus Wiesel, heavyweight champion of the Holocaust. Still, I hope Wiesel will duck this battle. Moran fights dirty. You could look it up. According to the Congressional Quarterly, he once assaulted Rep. Randy Cunningham (RCalif.) on the House floor. About the same time, he got into a marital dispute that ended with his wife (now ex-wife) calling 911.

Moran's favorite punch is the Nosebreaker. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he told Hillary Clinton that if he were her big brother, he'd have taken then-President Bill Clinton outside and "broken his nose." On another occasion, miffed at Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) for trying to push through a budget cut, he told him, "Pull that again, and I'll break your nose." He also threatened to administer a broken nose to his first congressional opponent, Stan Parris.

Wiesel came through World War II with very little except his fine Jewish schnoz. I'd hate to see him take one on it now. If he does dodge the Nosebreaker, Moran will have to find another opponent from the ranks of the Elders of Zion. He may have a rising contender at home. This week, Moran confided to The Washington Post that his own daughter Mary Elise and her 9-year-old son are converting to Judaism. If I were the kid, I'd use a pay phone for the calls to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - and keep my dukes up around grandpa.

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JWR contributor Zev Chafets is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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