Sunday, June 16, 2024 -
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End of an era?

One of my favorite memories from high school was an annual tradition of delivering mishloach manot, Purim goodie bags, to Jewish representatives and senators on Capitol Hill.

My school was a Metro ride away from the heart of the US government and a friend and I decided we should take advantage of that. One of the stalwart recipients, naturally, was Sen. Joe Lieberman.

His passing highlights how fractious politics in our country has become. Could a truly centrist, largely non-partisan, non-sound-bytey politician like Lieberman get elected today?

When I first got into politics back in high school, I believed politics was about public service. Sure, I was naïve, but at the same time, things have also deteriorated. Self-aggrandizement often seems to drive candidates for public office. Lieberman’s passing feels like the official end of an era: facts and integrity have been supplanted by identity politics and a post-truth reality.

I’m sure I’m not the only Jewish person totally uncertain about how I will vote next November. I have never not voted in a presidential election, but there’s a first time for everything as the saying goes.

While Israel has never been my number one issue at the polls, it is this year. While I appreciate everything positive that happened for Israel during the Trump administration, even putting Jan. 6 aside, he is starting to remind me of Pat Buchanan. To put it a different way, some of his supporters are reminding me of the extreme right, often anti-Semitic Buchanan supporters. I don’t think Trump is anti-Israel or anti-Jewish the way Buchanan was, but some of Trump’s recent rhetoric on Israel is deeply troubling.

A second Trump term will not be, my gut tells me, the Abraham Accords 2.0.

On the other side, Biden, or at least the Biden administration, has made recent moves jeopardizing the US’ strong relationship with and support for Israel. Nevertheless, the Biden administration continues to strongly support Israel financially and militarily. In my gut, I believe that Joe Biden the person is deeply sympathetic to Israel’s plight. But Joe Biden the person is old, and I’m doubtful that Joe Biden the person, if he wins reelection, will be driving US policy.

Like many Americans, I wish we’d had some new candidates to choose from this November. Instead, to quote Yogi, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Only after Jan. 6 and Oct. 7, the stakes seem even higher.

Shana Goldberg may be reached at [email protected]

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