When I read allegations of anti-Semitism being hurled at Jesse Kelly in Politico, I thought to myself, “politics as usual.”
It’s a stretch to call Mr. Kelly an anti-Semite simply because he had accepted an endorsement from a notorious anti-immigrant group, ALIPAC. I believe he’s innocent of anti-Semitism.
What struck me as I read the article in Politico was the quote from Mr. Kelly’s campaign manager, Adam Kwasman. “As a practicing Jew I am absolutely disgusted,” said Mr. Kwasman of the allegations.
Later that day, Mr. Kelly adamantly stated he was against the DREAM Act. DREAM is a rational bill pending before Congress that would allow undocumented students the opportunity to attend college or serve in the military and eventually earn legal status by completing two years of either. In order to qualify, students would have to have been brought to the country when they were under 16, graduate high school and be physically present in the United States for at least five years.
As a practicing attorney, I believe in following the rule of law, but I also believe our legal system should have a mechanism for leniency and forgiveness. Our laws should be amended over time for the betterment of our society.
I am hardly what one would call a “practicing Jew” like Mr. Kwasman, but I know that the Torah teaches us to “forgive with a sincere mind and a willing spirit.” I interpret forgiveness as a form of compassion. Mr. Kwasman made his Jewish faith an issue earlier this week and now I’m calling him out for it. I don’t believe that DREAM Act beneficiaries have to ask for forgiveness, but as a tolerant religious group, Jews should accord them that right.
A strong politician is one who has the political courage to go out on a limb and make the appropriate moral decision. If Mr. Kwasman continues his work in politics, I hope that he doesn’t forget two founding principles of Judaism: forgiveness and compassion.
— Maurice Goldman