Stop purging Jews from Jewish community

Rabbi Brackman explores connection between so-called Jewish community’s values and possible bid for US vice presidency

The possibility that John McCain may choose a Jew named Eric Cantor (R-VA) as his vice presidential candidate made headline news in the Jewish media this week; and although we are rightfully proud of Jewish achievement, this legitimate pride should not, if Cantor is eventually chosen, automatically translate into votes for McCain.


Presidential or vice presidential candidates should be chosen based on many things, however, skin color, race or religion should not be one of them. The reason for this is obvious: Race, religious membership and skin color are not indicators of character, leadership ability or even opinions and values.


However, Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), Ira N. Forman writing in The Huffington Post this week takes this a step further saying that, “If McCain thinks that Cantor will help him with the Jewish community because he's Jewish, McCain is sorely mistaken.”


According to Forman, “ wildly out of step with the Jewish community's values.” He then goes on to give 10 of the “Jewish community’s values” that Cantor is out of step with including his opposition to civil rights for gays and lesbians, human stem cell research, a woman's right to choose and various other items that according to Forman are the “Jewish community’s values.”


Making the wrong assumption

Now, an assumption of opinion based on religious affiliation is never a clever thing to do especially when it comes to Jews. However, this is exactly what Forman does. But does Forman really think that all Jews support human embryonic stem cell research or a women’s right to abort her unborn child? He must know that there are a large percentage of Jews who do not.


There is, however, a deeper implication here: Forman is implying that those, like Eric Cantor, that do not hold what he calls the “Jewish community’s values” cannot really be considered a part of the Jewish community. This is akin to “being Black” in the African American community.


A few years ago an activist from the Black community told me that Blacks in America were unable to be successful because the system was inherently racist. I asked him to explain the success of people like Colin Powel, Condoleezza Rice and others. ”They’re not really Black” he replied. “Why?” I asked incredulously. “They have sold out on the opinions and beliefs of the Black community,” he explained to me.


This seems to be what Ira Forman and his cronies are trying to create within the Jewish community. In their view while Eric Cantor may technically be Jewish, because of his divergent right-wing values and opinions, he is not a part of the “Jewish Community”.


While I do not necessarily agree with all of Eric Cantor’s positions, clearly this creation of “Jewish community’s values” that community members are measured against must be opposed.


In the final analysis, we cannot allow one side either left-wing or right-wing to impose its agenda or values on the Jewish community. Worryingly, however, this new liberal Jewish orthodoxy that is trying to turn people like Eric Cantor into the new outcasts and heretics of the Jewish community is rearing its tyrannical head here once again.


We, members of the Jewish Community, must not allow the likes of Forman to succeed in imposing their politicized agenda upon us.


Rabbi Levi Brackman is executive director of Judaism in the Foothills . His upcoming book , "Jewish Wisdom for Business Success", is set to be published in late 2008


פרסום ראשון: 08.11.08, 14:51
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