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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 10, 2003 / 15 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

No Tribal Solidarity

By Jonathan Tobin


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Jewish politicians are on their own



http://www.jewishworldreview.com | During breakfast one day last week, I pointed out to my wife an article in The New York Times that piqued my interest being someone with a background in British history and politics.


The piece concerned the likelihood that the next head of Britain's Conservative Party would be a Jew — one Michael Howard, M.P., the son of Romanian immigrants who grew up in Wales.


I remarked on the fact that the account referred to Howard's chance to walk in the footsteps of 19th-century British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, whom the newspaper wrongly referred to as Jewish (though he was proud of his heritage, he was baptized in the Anglican Church as a child).


All of which provoked my wife to tersely ask, "What does any of this mean for us?"


Awakened from my musing by her characteristic clarity of thought, I could only reply, "Well, actually, nothing."


The point being that Michael Howard's ascent to the head of the Tories probably wouldn't help or hurt America's alliance with Britain; it wouldn't mark a turning point in the struggle against the rising tide of European anti-Semitism, and it certainly wouldn't help or hurt the State of Israel.


It just meant that one highly ambitious Jewish Brit was climbing, as so many American Jews have done, to the top of the proverbial greasy pole of politics.


The days when we needed such triumphs as meaningful barometers of the acceptance of Jews are long gone. In the United States and, to a lesser extent, in B ritain, the barriers to Jews have fallen in literally every sphere of life.

BARRIERS ARE BROKEN

Such milestones are worth noting, and even celebrating to some extent, as we did with the nomination of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman as the Democrat's choice for the vice presidency in 2000.


But once these barriers are broken, Jewish politicians and others who trade on their shaky genetic ties with the Jewish people need to remember that they're on their own. And that is a lesson that some of us often forget.


Voting for people who remind us of ourselves is a common trait of American politics, and certainly not limited to Jews. As with other groups, many of us find it satisfying to see a fellow Jew do well in politics. This is indicated by the Jewish tallies for the Democratic presidential ticket in 2000, as well as for Sam Katz, a Republican who was defeated this week in his second attempt to become mayor of Philadelphia.

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But while today, Jews can be candidates for literally any office in the land, there's still a difference between a Jewish candidate and being the Jewish candidate. Jewish issues, such as support for the State of Israel, social justice and education measures, are one thing. The religious identity of the candidate is quite another.


With the 2004 presidential election now just one year away, it's worth pondering what obligations the presence of Jewish candidates places on Jewish voters. The answer is, of course, none.

NON-JEWISH POLITICAL HEROES

Candidates need to be judged by their stands on the issues, including those of particular interest to the Jewish community. Those who believe that only Jewish candidates can properly represent our views on such issues simply haven't been paying attention to the last 60 years of American political history.


In that time, we have learned that non-Jewish politicians are just as — if not more — likely to take the lead on Jewish issues, while their Jewish counterparts, more often than not, backed off.


That was certainly the case during the Holocaust, when prominent Jews in politics shrank from advocating the rescue of European Jews. It was also true during the struggle for freeing Soviet Jewry in the 1970s, when Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-Wash.) stuck his neck out for the refuseniks.


This has also been illustrated over the past decades when it came to advocacy for Israel. Most of the Jewish nation's best friends in Washington have not been Jewish, including many conservative Christians whom liberal Jews despised. This is especially significant because, at the same time, some of those politicians least interested in Israel's security have, in actuality, been Jews.


That is not to say that some Jewish pols haven't been courageous in their advocacy for Israel. But as political animals, they are also just as likely to take Jewish votes and Jewish issues for granted when non-Jewish pols will not. Just as many of us have gotten over our communal obsession with who is or is not Jewish, some of us have reverted to our old insecurities. Though candidates for president with some sort of Jewish link have proliferated this year, only one of them, Lieberman, is really Jewish.

PRIDE SHOULDN'T EQUAL VOTES

Yet even as we are right to take pride in the acceptance of a Joe Lieberman, his Jewish pride and Sabbath observance do not entitle him to a single Jewish vote next year — no more so than did Sam Katz's strong Jewish identity did here in Philly.


Katz's candidacy was seen by some as the harbinger of a historic Jewish shift to the right that included the strong Jewish votes for other Republican mayoral candidates, such as New York's Rudy Giuliani. But though his views on some issues, such as school choice, were a refreshing shift from Jewish liberalism, he did not run as the standard-bearer of Jews in the GOP.


When the generally liberal Katz was asked if he saw himself as part of a Jewish trend toward the Republican Party, he flatly denied it. While he was resentful about the unwillingness of some local Jewish institutions to side with him against his Democratic rival (notably the nonpartisan Jewish Exponent), Katz rightly shunned the tag of the Jewish candidate.


The same ought to be true of Lieberman's bid for the presidency, which has not aroused the same enthusiasm as his previous run for veep. Lieberman's endless compromises to gain more support have alienated many moderates and conservatives who used to be his biggest fans.


The obvious lesson here is that a Jewish presidential candidate who says he would be prepared to meet with Louis Farrakhan and would accept Hamas if the group suddenly gave up terrorism (and then would presumably pursue Israel's destruction by peaceful means) is a lot less useful than a non-Jewish candidate who would do neither of these things.


So repeat after me: The personal interests of individual Jewish candidates have nothing to do with the interests of the Jewish community. Let those politicos who want tribal solidarity look to contributions from Native American casino owners. Jewish votes should be won on the issues.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here. In June, Mr. Tobin won first places honors in the American Jewish Press Association's Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary as well as the Philadelphia Press Association's Media Award for top weekly columnist. Both competitions were for articles written in the year 2002.

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© 2003, Jonathan Tobin