Will Lieberman Stand Up for Jewish Causes?
Dov Hikind - Jewish Press (NY) August 18, 2000
Joseph I Lieberman: Cautiously Optimistic And Orthodox - Jewish Press, Aug. 18, 2000
While Bill Clinton is still grasping for legacies, Gore has his. Gore has written history by selecting the first Jewish running mate on a national ticket. Win, lose, or draw, Gore has consigned an Orthodox Jew to American history. But the question remains as to whether Jewish history can be undone.
Historically, Jewish positioning in the upper strata of government has been inauspicious, as Jews awkwardly assume the stance of impartiality. Predictably, though, impartiality becomes impracticality. So consumed with fitting in, with not appearing too Jewish, too concerned Jewishly, they become "pretzel politicians" - bending over backwards to submerge any distinctive Jewish characteristics or features. The Jewish bias against Jewish attitudes, the Jewish state, Jewish values is almost celebrated in the corridors of government: "You see, I'm so fair I oppose any position of import to the Jewish community." The conflicts are not of interest, but of intent, as supposed neutrality mutates into a bias against anything Jewish. Notably, the State Department is awash in Jewish names and anti-Israel policies. We have seen high hopes for Jews in high offices evaporate on contact as soon as they are exposed to a "Jewish" issue.
While we contemplate whether we have officially "arrived" on the greater American landscape, what should give us greater pause is whether Lieberman will arrive at the White House doubled over in spasms of self-deceiving impartiality. Should we walk taller, straighter, prouder? Yes, but only if Joseph Lieberman can keep the chiropractor at bay.
Will Joe Lieberman prove you can be a Jew and stand up for Jewish causes too? That remains to be seen. His positions on vouchers and on Israel have thus far been laudable. [Justice4JP: since this article was written, Lieberman has flip-flopped on both issues. See article on the Lieberman Page for details.] His opposition to clemency for Jonathan Pollard is more than disconcerting. And a review of the case is in order. We earnestly hope that Joseph Lieberman will break out of the mold and proudly advocate on behalf of Jewish concerns, erasing forever the suggestion of conflicting Jewish and American attitudes or ideals or dual loyalties.
Dov Hikind is a New York State Assemblyman
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