Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959
August 10, 2000
Al Gore's Historic Public Relations Coup
Though I'm not flattered by the attention given to things Jewish in the media of late, whether it's the allegation that First Lady Hillary, a strong candidate for NY senator, called her hubby's campaign advisor a "Jew bastard" for flubbing Billy Jeff's run for Congress in 1974 (the guy wasn't even Jewish), or Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak surviving a "no confidence" vote in the Israeli parliament for entertaining a notion of giving away the farm to the Palestinians (I offer no opinion on the matter), presidential candidate Al Gore's choice of CT Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate has brought my brand of Judaism, Orthodox Judaism (from Greek, ortho=correct, dox=way), to the front page of newspapers and online news services.
Will Joe Lieberman influence how I pull the lever in the voting booth in November? Forget about it!
Let's keep things in perspective. First and foremost, Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership is about the preservation of the Bill of Rights for all Americans. The Second Amendment is there to keep our government from walking with cleats over the other nine. The citizens of this country call the shots, and the Second Amendment ensures, in the worst case scenario, that things stay that way. At least that's how it's supposed to be. As an Orthodox Jew and a rabbi, JPFO has provided me with a forum to express my very pro-Second Amendment leanings to other Jews that equate firearms with dangerous drugs and venomous reptiles without being labeled anti-Semitic.
If Sen. Lieberman was a secular, assimilated Jew like Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) or Sen. Charlie Schumer (D-NY), his pick for VP running mate by presidential candidate Al Gore would have done nothing more than elicit a yawn and a ho-hum.
But now, it's a religious issue, and who in their right mind would attack a Jew that publicizes his Jewishness? Under severe time constraints, I do try to stay informed about current events and newsworthy figures. Prior to reading about Gore narrowing his list of VP choices to six, with Lieberman among them, I never knew he existed. (How many people do you know that can rattle off all 100 US senators from memory?) Now that the Master of Ceremonies has opened the envelope, Sen. Joe's Orthodox Jewish lifestyle is grabbing all the news.
Well, Jewish religious matters are a topic near and dear to my heart. All Jewish religious matters. Not just the G-d given right and obligation of self defense.
The Legislative branch of the US government, the upper and lower houses of Congress, proposes and enacts laws. The Executive branch, the President, has the power of veto. The Vice President is the non-voting president of the Senate, whose vote is only used to break a tie. But the Executive branch can administer lots of arm twisting to the Legislative branch to achieve its agenda.
Sen. Lieberman, through 12 years of office, first drew attention to himself on a national level for being a Democrat in Congress to blast the Commander-in-Briefs (a Democrat) for his lascivious conduct in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Hilariously, when the Senate voted on Clinton's impeachment, Lieberman voted to let the Pres. finish his term. This is a senator being held aloft as a monument to integrity. Now, perhaps I'm not the brightest crayon in the box. Did I miss something?
What about abortion? To me, an Orthodox Jew, this is not a political matter. It is a very religious matter. (Anyway, can someone please show me how an earlier Supreme Court cited the US Constitution to rule as it did in Roe v. Wade, whereas abortion was protected by a constitutional right to privacy?) The Torah, the first five books of the Bible, is the blueprint for Orthodox Judaism. Jewish law, as expounded upon in the Talmud, prohibits the killing of a fetus just as it prohibits the killing of the born. So how does Sen. Lieberman from Connecticut view abortion? The Internet is marvelous. It saved me hours in the public library plowing through a few hundred back issues of the Congressional Review. Seehttp://www.issues2000.org/Joseph_Lieberman_Abortion.htm
I don't advocate Right to Life activists sniping at doctors working in "family planning" clinics, but have you ever seen film footage of a partial birth abortion? Absolutely sickening, and that's only its visual and visceral impact. Jewish law would only allow such a procedure if the mother's life is endangered. It seems the senator got it right. He voted correctly. The Senate bill, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1999, states in part, "Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit any physician from knowingly performing a partial-birth abortion in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, unless it is necessary to save the mother's life that is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury."
A candidate for the US presidency would never choose a vice presidential running mate whose political views differ vastly from his own. What does Al Gore say about abortion? Seehttp://www.issues2000.org/Al_Gore.htm#Abortion
Click around on that site, and see some of Gore's quotes on the subject. Bottom line: Al Gore does not support the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that gave the federal government's blessing to legalized abortion under the color of the US Constitution. Not being a legal scholar, it's my understanding that Roe v. Wade carries no caveat, i.e. to save the mother's life that is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury. If I'm correct, Roe v. Wade doesn't pass the test of Jewish law. Are Sen. Lieberman and VP Gore in agreement? If the outcome on November 22nd moves Sen. Lieberman into the second nicest home in D.C., I'll be anxious to learn the answer.
And Joe Lieberman on the Second Amendment? Seehttp://www.issues2000.org/Joseph_Lieberman_Gun_Control.htm
Presidential Candidate Gore on the right to keep and bear arms? Seehttp://www.issues2000.org/Al_Gore.htm#Gun_Control
How much distance divides Gore from Lieberman on the right to keep and bear arms?
Senator Lieberman has been a low profile figure until now. I have no desire to tar and feather any politician without cause, Jew or gentile. If nothing else, Lieberman has been playing his cards very carefully.
If you're a registered voter, don't sit out the November election. But, above all, if you're a Jew don't blindly assume that a vote for Gore will place one of our own in the VP slot. Power does strange things to people. Today, the Orthodox Jewish politician and integrity poster boy. Tomorrow,...?
Lieberman has already shown, by condemning Clinton on moral grounds for his "inappropriate behavior" yet failing to vote for impeachment, that his loyalty is to his political party and not to morality. Presidential perjury didn't threaten our government and national interest, Lieberman explained in rationalizing his vote against Clinton's removal. Morality, Senator Lieberman, involves more than paying cheap lip service to moral principles and the Constitution. If you can condone lying under oath by the highest elected official in America, you would probably condone sins far worse, given the opportunity. You've flunked the test already, Senator.
Rabbi R. Mermelstein
This Alert archived at http://www.jpfo.org/alert20000810.htm
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