U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) doesn't need to represent a state with a lot of Jews to understand the needs of the Jewish community, supporters say.
"In a lot of ways, John Edwards transcends North Carolina," said Lonnie Kaplan, a former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who backed Edwards when he sought the Democratic nomination for president earlier this year.
U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who defeated Edwards to become the presumptive Democratic nominee for president earlier this year, named the trial lawyer-turned-legislator as his running mate Tuesday.
What a difference two and a half years make. When Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore selected Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate in 2000, there was a surge of Jewish pride and support. Now that Lieberman has announced his own candidacy in the 2004 presidential race, there's a surge of Jewish doubt and ambivalence. Why?
The objections to the Lieberman candidacy reveal a nice mix of Jewish fears and neuroses. However, they don't withstand serious scrutiny.
A Jewish president would provoke anti-Semitism. Actually, one of the most heartening aspects of the 2000 election was precisely that having a Jew on a major party ticket for the first time was a big yawn among non-Jews. We braced ourselves for the backlash -- andÂ nothing.