By: Wayne Robins

Newspapers From the Right and Left Weigh In

by Wayne Robins

To say that the Jewish press is kvelling (‘glowing with pride’) over
the choice of Sen. Joseph Lieberman as Al Gore’s running mate is an

‘A signal event in American history,’ said a front page editorial in
the 103-year-old Forward, the English language weekly successor to
what was once New York’s influential Yiddish language daily. ‘Vice
President Gore has lowered a mythic barrier, perhaps the final one,
in the long march of American Jews to full equality.’

The New York Jewish Week described Jews as ‘elated’ over the Lieberman
VP pick. It quoted Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious
Action Center of Reform Judaism, comparing Lieberman to another historic
American boundary breaker. ‘My own 10-year-old said it was just like
Jackie Robinson,’ he said.

The Jewish Press, an Orthodox weekly published in Brooklyn, said that
the Lieberman pick ‘sparked feelings of pride and patriotism among Jews
and non-Jews, Democrats and Republicans.’

The Jerusalem Post, not surprisingly, has given big play to the story.
Without addressing the political implications of Lieberman’s choice,
Israeli Minister Michael Melchior said, ‘As a Jew, I express
satisfaction … that a Jew with a Jewish identity has reached such a
position. It fills my heart with pride.’

But Jewish journalists on the extremes had mitigated joy at the selection
of the centrist Lieberman. On the left, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of
the magazine Tikkun, sourly compared Lieberman’s breakthrough to that of
Clarence Thomas’ selection as the first black on the Supreme Court.

The right wing Jewish World Review, an online publication, wondered:
‘What’s a Jewish Republican to do with Lieberman on the other ticket?’
Columnist Sharon Samber repeated what Lieberman said last Tuesday when
he responded to statements that his views were more like George W.
Bush’s than Al Gore’s: ‘With all due respect, I think that’s like saying
that the veterinarian and the taxidermist are in the same business
because either way you get your dog back.’

The conclusion to Samber’s column? ‘Jewish Republicans are bursting
with pride that a fellow Jew got the call,’ said Republican Jewish
Coalition director Matt Brooks. ‘But that doesn’t mean you’re going to
vote for him.’


Wayne Robins ( is an associate editor
for E&P.

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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