The editors of Jewish newspapers in this state were invited to a conference call Tuesday morning with Gov. Jon Corzine, who is – as everyone knows – running for re-election against Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney. Corzine made his pitch, but since we could not schedule a similar interview with his opponent before the election, we will not relay it at length.
Corzine made the expected points: New Jersey stands with Israel and against anti-Semitism (and it does, without question, no matter who lives in the governor’s mansion); it was one of the first states to divest from Iran; when the economy picks up, ways may be found for parochial school tuition relief, and so forth.
An interesting question was raised as to whether the gubernatorial election could be viewed as a referendum on President Obama. Corzine thought some people might want to “send a message” to the president, expressing their dissatisfaction with some of his actions, but the governor said, and we agree, that “voters are going to decide who they think will best serve this state – get us out of the recession, [improve] health care, [and] attract business. This vote will be more based on what [voters] think an individual will do” than on sending a message to Washington.
Both candidates have made personal overtures to the Jewish community, meeting with Orthodox groups and federation leaders, and they want our support. It’s good to know that we count, that our concerns are heeded in the state’s capital as well as the nation’s, and we ought to honor that consideration by voting, on Tuesday, for the team (including the candidates for lieutenant governor – see page 6) of our choice.
Meanwhile, we’ve provided extensive coverage of the J Street conference that, in its runup, generated so much heat and very little light. (See page 30.) We reported, earlier this month, that certain members of Congress had removed their names from the “host committee” and Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren had declined to attend.
But now, with the conference over and the dust (or dustup) cleared, we feel that the no-shows made a mistake. They lost a chance to “impress” a really impressionable group. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, who had a very public disagreement with J Street earlier this year over the Gaza operation, took the opportunity to talk tachlis to it about what it really means to be “pro-Israel.” (See an abridged version of his talk on page 18 and the complete text at jstandard.com.) He also addressed the thorny issue of the settlements. Standard readers may disagree with him on various points, but he does state his points clearly – which makes them easier to accept or debate.
The moral here is, if you want to be heard, vote, speak up, show up.