September 12, 2015

After forty years in the civil rights field, most of it focusing on combatting anti-Semitism in its various guises, this observer has learned to not take anyone with a simple take on how to deal with bigotry and hate too seriously. There is no panacea for vices that date back millennia— if not actually rooted in basic human instincts to distinguish an “in group” from “others” (for thoughtful guidance read Dr. Suess's The Sneetches). I also have little patience for political correctness that invokes sanctimonious outrage where none is appropriate–when the “offense” is simply calling like it is, politically incorrect though it may be. Honesty and accuracy are not sins.

First, the political correctness. This week The New York Times ran an article entitled “>declared that the article, “was a gross insult to the intelligence of the people who voted for and will vote against” [the deal]. Cooper said, it evokes images of “Jewish pressure” and “Jewish money” influencing the Iran vote.

Cooper's ire may have been aroused by the initial version of the story (with the offensive link to religious affiliation) but his words were broader in condemning even a suggestion that the millions spent by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] on full page ads or the vocal opposition of Federation and Jewish community leaders across the country might have impacted the vote of representatives and senators with large Jewish constituencies. 

That's a bizarre position, after all, isn't that how democracy works with representatives responsive to the concerns  of their lobbying constituents? It's nothing to be ashamed of. If lots of Sen. Schumer's donors and supporters and usual allies let him know they opposed the deal it should hardly be surprising that he would choose to buck his president and vote how his vocal, active and generous supporters want; he undoubtedly needs votes and money to get re-elected. It's not a “gross insult” to anyone to point out the obvious.

Equally obvious, it would be close to journalistic malpractice were The New York Times not to explore what the likely reason is that so many predictably loyal supporters of the president's policies in his own party would choose to break with him on a key issue. Rabbi Cooper and others may not like the facts discussed, but if it's accurate and related to the issue at hand, it's not bigotry to discuss it. The truth will out…. and so it should be.

Similar hyper-sensitivity was evidenced this week in the ramp up to the University of California's  Board of Regents' debate next week on their ““>demanding that the Regents incorporate in their statement the United States State Department's

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