AS the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination approaches, we Jews have our own special reasons to mourn. The conventional community memory of Kennedy would be enough by itself.
JFK overcame the anti-Semitic legacy of his father, the notoriously appeasement-minded American ambassador to Britain on the eve of WW II, Joseph Kennedy, to build a warm relationship with American Jews.
As Warren Bass recounted a decade ago in his book Support Any Friend, the US-Israel alliance advanced significantly with JFK’s approval of the sale of HAWK — short for Homing All the Way Killer — missiles to Israel.
President Kennedy appointed Arthur Goldberg as labor secretary and then to the Supreme Court, Abraham Ribicoff as secretary of health, education and welfare, and Mortimer Caplin as IRS commissioner.