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On Media / Pop Culcha

Jewish World Review Nov. 20, 2000 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan 5761

Sam Schulman

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Joe Lieberman's
gift to the Jews --
IN A JOURNALISTIC tragedy unfolding before its readers, the editorial board of The Forward has passed another mile-marker in its race utterly to lose touch with reality. Israel is burning, its legitimacy and security are threatened as they have not been since the Yom Kippur War, but the editors gaily go about their business of demonizing the "Right," congratulating Gore and Clinton for their support of the "peace process" and wringing their hands about one meaningless thing or another, all conducted at the rhetorical level of the editorial page of a college newspaper.

What exercises their indignation these days is what they call a supposed "scandal" in Palm Beach, which is proven by the fact that Pat Buchanan got about the same number of votes there that he had done in the 1996 primary. And the case is augmented by the fact that 19,000 ballots were spoiled- about the same number that were spoiled in the 1996 presidential election.

But The Forward is even more irritating when it is pleased than when it is angry. The Forward wishes to congratulate us Jews at the results of the election, which, they say,

"irrespective of the outcome, proved that a Jew can run on a national ticket and be acceptedŽ. The vice-presidential candidacy of Joseph Lieberman marked a turning point in the life of American Jews. Henceforth Jews can no longer say, as we have said for so long, that almost every door in America is open to us. Now every door is open. And a chapter in our history has been closed."

Joe Lieberman was indeed accepted on the Democratic ticket (and only after extensive pre-testing, as The Forward acknowledges- had the tests shown any ill effects, then goodbye Joey). But at a price.

First Joe had to reverse himself on every issue he was identified with, such as the inherent racism of affirmative action and the necessity to move the US embassy to Israel's capital. In writing.

Then he had to lie about the plain fact that his views had now changed.

Then this rather dignified man had to tummel and ham and pantomime the intensity of his gratitude to Gore.

Then he had to apologize to the nation for the lamentable propensity for Jews to marry other Jews, and deny that they did so, or had any other reason than "clannishness" to wish to intermarry.

We can only be grateful that Peter Jennings never asked him about circumcision.

And what was the effect of all this wretched groveling? Lieberman's presence on the ticket meant that Gore could abandon any pretence of defending Israel after his own administration had backed it into a strategic hole. Gore could be insulated from questions about whether our Embassy should be located in a nation's capital. About the U.S.'s refusal to defend Israel in the UN security council. In fact, Lieberman's candidacy gave Clinton and Gore the freedom to take actions that have harmed and delegitimized the Jewish state. With Joe and his Jewish legions in his pocket, the Vice President could with impunity seek the pro-PA vote in Michigan and elsewhere.

Thanks, Senator.

The Forward crows that, thanks to the Vice-President's focus-group-tested graciousness, we need no longer be defined by our enemies. Now our identity as Jews can come "from the content of our Judaism - its practices, ideals and values." This I agree with. Now, it is not what they do to us. It is what we do to ourselves, in the name of being accepted, that we must worry about. What is left of Jewish practices, ideals, and values, after Lieberman, except self-congratulation?

But have those who cheer Lieberman and Gore considered the price we and other Jews must pay for this moral vanity? We might do well to contemplate the sad plight of the urban African-American constituency, and observe how the party of Al Gore has rewarded them for their intense loyalty.

The Democrats can count so firmly on the votes of urban African-Americans that they need not do the slightest thing for this constituency, except to reward a few of their self-appointed leaders. The ordinary African American voter has no choice but to keep his children in substandard schools, thanks to the Democrat's hostility to any weakening of the teachers' union monopoly. Should his children somehow manage to get a decent education, they will enter into an affirmative action regime which permanently infantilizes African Americans and teaches the nation the lie that this is a people who, left to their own devices, simply cannot make it on their own. And if they remain in urban neighborhoods, national Democrats are working on several fronts to ensure that they must endure a higher level of neighborhood crime than middle-class people must do, because, really, they assure us that people like that rather like being mugged and shot.

This is how the Democrats reward those whom it can take for granted. Is this in store for us?

The Forward, kvelling, announces that, after Lieberman, we Jews "are outcasts no longer." Well, no, not if we pay the price Joe Lieberman so gaily paid.

I must say, we are rather cheaply bought.

Sam Schulman Archives

JWR contributor Sam Schulman is deputy editor of Taki's Top Drawer, appearing in New York Press, and was formerly publisher of Wigwag and a professor of English at Boston University. You may contact him by clicking here.


© 2000 by Sam Schulman