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May 4, 2004
John Kerry Courts The Jewish Vote

Sometimes it's hard not to feel sorry for John Kerry as he stumbles his way through the early part of the campaign, but he has only himself to blame. In the same day, he managed to put his foot squarely in his mouth in comments aimed at garnering the Jewish vote. As Hugh Hewitt and my colleague Big Trunk at Power Line point out, Kerry made this incredible gaffe regarding their religion:

For all of its history, ADL has been self-asked to live up to one of the oldest most fundamental principles of civilization. It is actually one of the Commandments as we know: "Love your neighbor."

No, it's one of the commandments as we Christians know, because it came from the lips of Jesus himself. For Jewish activists at the Anti-Defamation League, this must have been a rather jarring note. Jews have a well-founded fear of cultural domination by Christians which only recently, and only in the US, has begun to recede as they are accepted as full members of society and free to worship as they choose. To have a Catholic politician give them religious lessons, and faulty ones at that, must have caused them no end of amusement as well as questions about Kerry's judgement.

Perhaps this is what Kerry meant by "personal diplomacy" to solve the Middle East question; he'll just describe everyone as Christians, and they'll believe it. Why didn't we think of that before?

UPDATE: Linda from Auterrific returns to tell me I'm wrong, in the comments in this post. Welcome back, Linda, and congrats on the new blog space. Linda, being Jewish, is a better authority on this than I am. However, the context of what was said -- not so much the Golden Rule but the phrasing, "Love your neighbor" -- seems to be more of a reference to the New Testament than the old. I deride, you decide. Fair enough?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 4, 2004 6:17 AM

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