The Senate’s Recent Grilling of a Catholic Nominee Raises Painful Jewish Memories

During the confirmation hearings for Brian Buescher, a nominee for a federal judgeship, Senators Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono questioned his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal and philanthropic organization. Hirono went so far as to propose that, if confirmed, Buescher should resign from the group “to avoid any appearance of bias” and “recuse [himself] from all cases [on] which the Knights of Columbus has taken a position.” Mitchell Rocklin explains why such notions should raise Jewish hackles:

Article VI of the Constitution guarantees that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” This set America apart from Britain, which banned Jews from serving in Parliament until well into the 19th century, [and Catholics for nearly as long]. In the new country, Jews were able to hold government offices in ways that had been impossible in the Old World. This tradition should not be sacrificed simply because a few senators want to score political points. . . .

Indeed, the very first public Supreme Court nomination process, held in 1916, was an anti-Semitic spectacle in which various figures attempted to smear the high court’s first Jewish nominee, Louis Brandeis. A Boston politician called Brandeis “a slimy fellow” capable of using “his smoothness and intrigue, together with his Jewish instinct,” to attain power. The former president and future chief justice William Howard Taft called Brandeis “utterly unscrupulous” and “a man of infinite cunning,” warning that he “has adopted Zionism, favors the new Jerusalem, and has metaphorically been re-circumcised.”. . .

Senators Hirono and Harris ought to consider the words of Haym Solomon, the Jewish immigrant and Revolutionary War hero: “I am a Jew; it is my own nation; I do not despair that we shall obtain every other privilege that we aspire to enjoy along with our fellow citizens.”

Read more at Los Angeles Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Catholicism, Congress, Louis Brandeis, Politics & Current Affairs, Religion and politics, U.S. Politics

Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship