Thursday, August 7, 2008
Joseph Lieberman: Former Democrat Liberal Learns Not All Jews Are Whinning Liberals, But Serious Conservatives
I had the privilege of seeing the Senator yesterday in the Palm Beach Synagogue. I have been to the synagogue on several occasions and learned a few things about the Rabbi and its members. The Rabbi is a young, charismatic, powerful individual who has influence far beyond the walls of the Temple. He is a Conservative (Ba Ruch HaShem!), a quiet Kahane admirer (I have been told), and an intellectual. His speaking ability would have Obama shaking in his boots! I only wish I knew him on a more personal basis. As a Jew with family in Israel and as a Jewish Conservative, I find I have more in common with his views than any other Rabbi in the Palm Beach area. The temple has had some high profile lecturers, to its credit, and appears to be politically active and motivated. The Republicans were represented by a young upstart in Adam Hasner. He is approx 40 years old and very friendly. I am sorry to say I know little more than that. I hope he has taken it upon himself to get their message across to the liberal constituency groups of the Jewish Left, which Democrats always assume they can count on. The Democrats are notorious for making national news media coverage in south Florida because they had issues involving the 2000 election, the 2004 election and will absolutely complicate the 2008 election. They already have done damage to the electoral process for this election where they were disqualified from participation in the primaries.
My initial impression of the Senator was of confidence and approachable. He was introduced by the Rabbi who MCed the meeting, and by a colleague from Harvard 1964 Class. The Rabbi was about as charming as one could hope for. His anecdotal short stories profoundly press important issues in a unique manner which make the listener appreciate and remember them. After the introductions, the Senator proceeded to make the point that after some internal overview, his future of independent party or non affiliation politics is the choice for the future. That America has lost confidence in partisan politics and the real CHANGE is the politician who is willing to change parties if necessary. Sticking to party line should no longer dictate a politician's views. The Senator stated he was a Democrat when they had the right message. He went independent when he could not follow anyone. Now, McCain is the only pathway forward for America and Israel.
He mentioned McCain and He were in Israel together at The Wall. He spent sometime talking about Iran and what problems they hold. No time was spent on Obama talking him down with negative comments. He was asked a few questions about McCain's VP pick. He said he didn't know yet. The only major point he mentioned was 2 fold: Iran has turned down every negotiation for stopping of nuclear ambitions and 2) the US will has an office of some kind in Iran to try some persuasion at any juncture should more trying issues come up (such as a military strike).
Lieberman showed up in a McCain bus so his support is clear. I remember him saying he was an Orthodox Jew but much of his behavior doesn't prove it. He doesn't wear a skull cap or Yarmulka for instance. He says he puts on Tsfilllin which is a traditional practice of the religious. He ended the night with answering a few questions. Nothing terribly difficult and nothing overtly clear what is to come in Congress..He made one thing clear to me: He DOES support Israel openly. Hearing him with my own ears say it clear in Temple. My mind wanders in question as I ponder something I remember JTF or the Jewish Task Force said a few years back. Chaim Ben Pesach said Senator Lieberman never VOTES Pro-Israel, he always has to put some stipulation in for the Palestinians. Chaim's argument was based on how the Senator responded to the bombing that took place after Passover either in 2002 or 2004. The country was in mourning because many people were killed and maimed. When a bill went before the Congress to help the Israeli economy by injecting the county with a stimulation package for 100 million dollars. 2 Senators threatened to filibuster unless a provision was inserted to give the Palestinians a 50 million dollar incentive for their economy. Who were the 2 Senators: Lieberman ans "SCHMUCK" Schumer. The argument was any stimulation package for the perpetrators was victimizing the Israelis a second time. Also, why should the passage of one bill for Israel have any bearing on Palestinians. It was also legitimizing their ad hock government. Also, where are the punishments for the non compliance of the Oslo Agreements (Disagreements). By giving them anything and continuing their resent for the Agreement, they spit in the face of America too. Why should Saddam have negotiated when we never followed through on any non compliance with him, or why should Ahmedinajad negotiate when he knows he can win economic lifting on policy from the West if he waits long enough for us to get desperate. He also can continue nuclear experiments in secret and eventually openly because he will get no repercussion. Nobody wants war, everyone expects us to do it anyway. Lifting any embargo is the same as rewarding Iran win a stimulus package. And anyone who knows the behavior of past Middle Eastern leaders can easily predict a secret nuclear program continuing unabated behind closed doors.
I hope for the sake of Israel, the Senator clearly sees any appeasement discussed in Congress and puts it to rest. I hesitated to get in line quickly enough to ask questions. I believe my questions would have been a more perplexing scene than what had taken place. Questions like: If Ehud Olmert, the current PM of Israel is stepping down in September, how do you see the Israeli election and the Israeli election affecting one another? Do you think either election will determine the Israeli response time frame and what do you think Israel will do in both instances? I enjoyed his time and thank him and especially the Rabbi but next time the questions come up at the microphone.........!