Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell
What does it mean to be Jewish? Ed Rendell gives a portrait of religious identity, quoted in Philadelphia Jewish Voice, at a gala to support the Israeli Defense Forces:
Keynote speaker former Governor Ed Rendell explained that he and his brother Robert were not raised in a religious home, but his father told them to remember that they are Jews, to remember how Jews have been treated over the years, and to support Jewish causes like FIDF whenever they could…
All these attitudes are typical among Jews in their 50s and 60s. We have been persecuted; our parents inscribed this understanding in us. Therefore as a “Jewish cause,” we must support militants in another country that we have no desire to live in, because we are doing fine in a liberal democracy. Bear in mind, Rendell is a liberal Democrat. I bet he has never been called on the Israeli army’s treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, or during the onslaught of Gaza.
P.S. The other day on Bloggingheads, (part 6) Walter Russell Mead says with a faint tone of thuggery that Americans have always supported Israel because we share some deep spiritual roots and anyone who says that Jews exert a special influence on policy is treading on anti-Semitic ground. He refers to Sarah Palin being the Jewish state’s firmest supporter. Well that might explain Republican Party support. But Sarah Palin also opposes abortion, and Democrats don’t fall into line with her there. The absurdity of Mead’s claim (politely accepted by Glenn Loury, who does not, he says, want to be labelled an anti-Semite) is its ignorance of Rendell, who is a powerful figure. Mead is crudely indifferent to essentially-religious ideas that so many American Jews bear, ideas that have shaped our understanding of the world.
And finally, check out this video from the Philadelphia Jewish paper’s site of Israeli soldiers speaking in English, thanking Americans for supporting them. Do you think this appeal is being given to Christian Zionists? I doubt it. At its spiritual core, it says, We fight so that you don’t have to.