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Special Dossier: Decision 5767
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Democraic Candidate Ned Lamont
Special Dossier: Decision 5767


Lieberman's Loss
The Republican Jewish Coalition's Gain 

-- Ira Forman

Last week, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) called on Jewish newspapers across the country not to publish a Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) ad which includes factual inaccuracies amidst a desperate attempt by Republicans to politicize the U.S.-Israel relationship. 

First, the ad includes a high profile quote from anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, improperly labeling her as a ?Leading Democratic Activist." Ms. Sheehan may be a "Peace" or "Anti-Iraq War" activist, but she does not speak for the Democratic Party. 

Second, the ad wrongfully portrays former President Jimmy Carter and Al Sharpton's views on Israel as consistent with the Democratic Party. When it comes to Israel, Al Sharpton and Jimmy Carter are on the outside of the Party looking in.

Third, and perhaps most worrisome, the ad falsely implies that the Connecticut primary results pose a threat to American support for Israel. This just isn't true. The Connecticut Senate primary election had nothing to do with Israel, and press has reported that Israel will have a friend in the Senate, and that friend will be a Democrat, regardless of who wins in Connecticut in November.

The RJC ad campaign, plain and simple, is a dangerous attempt by Republicans to use Israel as a partisan wedge issue.

It is disheartening to see Republicans use the U.S.-Israel relationship in an attempt to divide the Jewish community along partisan lines, especially when they refuse to criticize members of their own political party for holding views counter to the those of the mainstream of the Jewish community. 

Incumbant Joe Lieberman running as independent as featured in RJC ad.
Just two of many examples: Last month, Republicans did not intervene when their Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John Warner (VA) held up a pro-Israel resolution in the Senate for almost one week because he objected to a line in the bill urging the President "to continue fully supporting Israel as Israel exercises its right of self defense in Lebanon and Gaza." 

Even more, Republicans have failed to condemn U.S. Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) for repeatedly praising Henry Ford and his anti-Semitic theory of 'Americanization.'

Rather than waging political attacks on those who stand by Israel, Republicans would be wise to join Democrats who continue to call for bipartisanship in supporting Israel and its right to defend itself.

NJDC advocates on behalf of the Jewish community and stands by its belief that Jews must stand together for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, not as Democrats and Republicans, but rather as a unified community. We hope that our Republican colleagues will someday adhere to the same principles. 

Ira Forman is the executive director of the NJDC.

Related Sources

  • From the Lamont for Senate Website: At this critical time in the Middle East, I believe that when Israel's security is threatened, the United States must unambiguously stand with our ally to be sure that it is safe and secure. On this principle, Americans are united.
  • Philadelphia Jewish Voice interview with Republican candidate Al Schlesinger
  • New York Times October 5, 2000. RJC full page ad attacking Joe Lieberman comparing his views to those of Louis Farrakhan.
  • Republican Jewish Coalition Website. August 7, 2000 press release questioning Lieberman's commitment to the Jewish community.
  • San Diego Jewish Press-Heritage: September 1, 2000, commentary by RJC leaders Brooks and Leibsohn suggesting that Lieberman withdrew his support for moving US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.