Lest there be any doubt, Congressman Jim Moran’s comments really were way beyond the pale. And frankly I think the response has been too muted. Joe Lieberman said: “The comments made by Jim Moran recently were deeply offensive and morally wrong. Such sentiments are inconsistent with the ideals of tolerance and diversity upon which our nation was founded. Comments like these have no place in our public discourse.”
That sounds a touch mild to me. I’m not in the business of saying people should resign. That’s for their constituents to decide. But this is a fairly big deal. I guess that given the nature of the statement it’s really up to a non-Jewish pol to lower the boom on Moran.
(Moran told a town meeting in his Northern Virginia district that “if it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this” and later suggested that Jewish leaders could get the war called off.)
There’s been a debate recently over whether it’s somehow anti-Semitic to discuss the fact that the president’s foreign policy team is heavily weighted with a number of advisors — a number of them Jewish — who are big supporters of the Sharon government in Israel and that these advisors have been decisive in pushing the case for war within the administration. (Let’s not forget that two of these advisors are Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, who are — in case you didn’t know it — not members of the tribe.) As Mike Kinsley said recently, “It is the proverbial elephant in the room: Everybody sees it, no one mentions it.” Lawrence Kaplan notwithstanding, it’s a real issue. (I’ll say more about this whole issue later.)
I hope our public debate is flexible and astute enough to see that the one thing is entirely unacceptable and the other is completely appropriate.