Jewish World Review March 21, 2003 / 17 Adar II 5763
A Moranic moment bites peace movement
All of us should be appalled, but none of us should be surprised to find on both sides of great debates a certain number of bigots and ignoramuses.
The two are, of course, not the same. A bigot hates. An ignoramus is simply ignorant and therefore might be salvaged and redeemed by exposure to new information.
Which brings us to the sad, pathetic case of Rep. Jim Moran, the Virginia Democrat who recently joined Sen. Trent Lott on the national apology trail.
Lott, a Mississippi Republican, found himself apologizing desperately and profusely for his stunning declaration at former Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday that America would have been "better off" if Thurmond's segregationist Dixiecrat ticket had won the presidency in 1948.
Moran has apologized just as profusely and repeatedly for his boneheaded suggestion during an anti-war rally that "influential" Jews are pushing America into a disastrous war.
Moran's statement was toxic on several levels. Politically, it has cost him his elected post as a regional Democratic whip and may cost him his re-election.
Morally, it is poisonous to single out any group of people as having enough power to take America into a major war against its best interests.
Influential Cuban Americans, for example, are key lobbyists for keeping the embargo against Fidel Castro's government in place, despite the fact that many American businesses and others would like to lift it. African-American lobbyists and members of Congress were influential in persuading Bill Clinton to send American troops to restore Haiti's elected president to power.
But both of those actions are small potatoes compared to the notion that one ethnic group can lead this nation into a major war, despite the objections of major allies.
Of course, some groups like the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, quite openly lobby on behalf of Israel (although not, they would emphasize, at the expense of America's interests). Nevertheless, as anyone in official Washington can tell you, the difference between the influence that lobbyists brag about and the influence they actually have is quite vast.
So, where does the idea come from that "influential" Jews are leading the United States into war with Iraq?
Some observers, including me, may have wittingly or unwittingly contributed to this paranoia by writing about how this war sprung largely from the heads of some conservative and neo-conservative intellectuals.
Some people, like my fellow Washington-based commentator Pat Buchanan in his new The American Conservative magazine, have used "neo-conservative" almost interchangeably with "pro-Israel" or "Israel lobby" in ways that sound like a code words for "Jews" or "the Israel lobby." I don't.
To put it bluntly, you don't have to be Jewish to want to topple Saddam Hussein by force, if necessary. A number of powerful non-Jews like Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, just for starters, were pushing to give war a chance long before the current President Bush took office.
And, if anyone has brought the administration's leading dove, Secretary of State Colin Powell, over to the hawk side, it is not American Jews as much as it is the reckless stubbornness of Saddam Hussein. (In fact, if there were a secret conspiracy pushing for war, it should give Saddam a medal for his valuable assistance.)
Conversely, you do not have to be a non-Jew to prefer peaceful alternatives to war, as many prominent anti-war Jews have shown.
Major polls have found Jews to be just as divided on the war issue as other Americans. At least one major poll conducted by the Pew Research Center from August 2002 to February 2003 found Jews to be substantially less likely than the public at large to support military action against Iraq: 52 percent of Jews favored military action, compared to 62 percent of all Americans.
But a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as the old saying goes, especially when your knowledge is very little. The anti-war movement is burdened by a few anti-Jewish voices, just as the pro-war side is burdened by some anti-Islam and anti-Arab bigots. Neither should be allowed to poison the central debate over how America can best make this world a better place for everyone to live in, regardless of race, creed or ethnic ancestry.
Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.
03/18/03: Viewers beware when tv networks don't care
03/14/03: Powell's battle for Bush's ear
03/10/03: 'Embedded,' but not 'in bed with'
02/28/03: Bridging the black gender gap
02/19/03 Braun vs. Sharpton: A Dem dilemma
02/14/03: Bush's clean-up man
02/11/03: How feds fooled marijuana trial jurors
02/06/03: Time to re-think space shuttle's value
01/31/03: Why corporations like diversity, too
01/28/03: Shaq vs. Yao, a new world diss-order
01/23/03: Affirmative action will be remarketed under new name
01/13/03: Bond movie offers clues to Korea crisis
01/07/03: Dr. Frist to the rescue … of his party
01/02/03: Feeling a 'draft,' but not much
12/17/02: To rob a burning cross of its power
12/03/02: Closing black-white test-score gaps
11/19/02: Uncle Same wants your data
11/15/02: Marriage vs. 'player' impulse
11/11/02: How Oz can help the Dems
11/05/02: We reserve right to be complicated
10/22/02: What the pro-gun lobby and anti-gun lobby have in common
10/18/02: Take Sharpton seriously? For Prez??
10/15/02: A beauty and the bullies
10/08/02: Time to start 'fingerprinting' bullets
10/08/02: Poet laureate hater fell for Internet hoax
10/04/02: Keeping it real, despite howls from black 'leaders'
10/01/02: Revisiting the 'Jogger' horror
09/27/02: Sometimes freedom is a necessary nuisance
09/13/02: Foil Fidel with free trade
09/10/02: Measuring the myth of 'super weed'
09/06/02: A year later: A reality-check
09/03/02: Make better choices before some jury somewhere does
08/20/02: Bid farewell to the Cigarette Century
08/16/02: Rights matter, even in circus trials
08/09/02: Jousting with Rumsfeld's fog of wit
08/06/02: Covert action is cool again
08/01/02: Powell's premature obituaries
07/30/02: A common sense tip on internal snooping
07/18/02: Jacko plays race card badly
07/12/02: Last flight for a pioneer airman
07/08/02: Dems will miss Watts, too
06/28/02: 'Supreme Court reads polls, too
06/25/02: 'The Body' bites, then bows out
06/21/02: Punishment first, then the crime?
06/18/02: Reporting still risky for Haiti's press
06/14/02: Bush's security plan leaves large gaps
06/04/02: Fix FBI's culture gap first
05/28/02: Fidel's new apartheid for tourists
05/21/02: Now McKinney's lunacy sounds like the Democratic Party line
05/19/02: A paradox of historical proportions
05/14/02: 'Murphy Brown' revisited in age of Ozzy
05/10/02: America looks like a model of tolerance and inclusion
05/07/02: Forget it, Bill, you're no Oprah
04/26/02: Mapping out ethnic and racial change
04/23/02: A game of another color
04/19/02: It's high time to open up pot-law debate
04/11/02: 'Osbourne' family values rock, aging Ozzy quakes
03/22/02: Zimbabwe election leaves world sleepless
03/19/02: A slur? Where is thy sting?
03/15/02: A Pearl of wisdom for reporter's unborn son
03/12/02: Army race and gender policies on trial
03/08/02: A short list of losers to be left behind
03/05/02: Revenge of the 'mediasaurus'
02/26/02: Jihads aren't just for Muslims
02/26/02: It's hard to be 'objective' during wartime
02/19/02: Hollywood's new villain: Your HMO
02/12/02: Father of 'Manchild' leaves lasting message
02/08/02: $nookering the reparations crowd
01/31/02: Prisoners of a War of Words
01/29/02: One more Enron woe: Al Sharpton & company
01/25/02: Searching for slaves in bin Laden's attic
01/22/02: Andrew Young's newest 'friend'
01/08/02: Hard-earned lessons from 9-11
12/18/01: Whatever happened to questions about the birds and the bees?
12/14/01: The "White Negro" Taliban?
12/07/01: Jackson's turn to gloat
11/27/01: Friendly warning from a lover of liberty
11/21/01: The face of hunger is changing
11/15/01: Our troubled sense of trust
11/08/01: Lessons about terror from the 'hood
11/06/01: Getting used to the 'new normal'
11/02/01: Wicked ways to make them talk
10/30/01: It's not just about bin Laden
10/26/01: More than mail fell between the cracks
10/23/01: Terrorists threaten urban recovery, too
10/18/01: Sometimes, assassination warranted
10/15/01: Self-censorship rises again
10/12/01: Contradictions illustrate the complicated nature of the new terrorism
10/05/01: Look who's 'profiling' now
10/01/01: Don't trash liberty to save it
09/28/01: Life, love and cell phones during wartime
09/24/01: How to catch an elusive terrorist
09/21/01: The war I was waiting for
09/17/01: When rage turns to hate
09/13/01: Terror attack tests US, let's give right response
09/06/01: U.S. should have stayed and argued
09/04/01: Columbine killer's parents get upclose and personal
08/31/01: Virtual kids? Log me out
08/28/01: Two Africans, one black, one white, same fight
08/23/01: Sharpton for president
08/20/01: Shaking up the rules on keeping secrets
08/16/01: Bush's u-turn on racial goals
08/09/01: Outsider Bubba comes 'in' again
08/06/01: Not ready for 'color-blindness' yet
08/02/01: Immigration timing couldn't be better
07/26/01: Summer of Chandra: An international traveler's perspective
07/17/01: Overthrowing a régime is only the beginning
07/10/01: Big Brother is watching you, fining you
07/05/01: Can blacks be patriotic? Should they be?
06/19/01: Get 'real' about marriage
06/12/01: Amos, Andy and Tony Soprano
06/07/01: Getting tough with the Bush Twins
06/05/01: Bringing marriage back into fashion
05/31/01: "Ken" and "Johnnie": The odd-couple legal team
05/24/01: Sharpton's challenge to Jackson
05/22/01: Test scores equal (a) MERIT? (b) MENACE? (c) ALL OF ABOVE?
05/17/01: Anti-pot politics squeeze the ill
05/15/01: Was Babe Ruth black?
05/10/01: U.N.'s torture caucus slaps Uncle Sam
05/08/01: 'The Sopranos' a reflection of our times
05/03/01: 'Free-fire' zones, then and now
05/01/01: War on drugs misfires against students
04/26/01: Another athlete gets foot-in-mouth disease
04/23/01: 'Slave' boat mystery reveals real tragedy
04/19/01: McVeigh's execution show
04/12/01: Not this time, Jesse
04/05/01: Dubya is DEFINITELY his own man, you fools!
04/02/01: Milking MLK
03/29/01: The candidate who censored himself?
03/22/01: "Will Hispanics elbow blacks out of the way as the nation's most prominent minority group?"
03/19/01: Blacks and the SATs
03/15/01: The census: How much race still matters in the everyday life of America
03/12/01: Jesse is a victim!
03/08/01: Saving kids from becoming killers
03/01/01: Parents owe "Puffy" and Eminem our thanks
© 2001 TMS