It’s not often you get to the scene late and still walk away with a scoop. To my knowledge, however, no one has yet mentioned the fascinating relationship between Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye and Ozar Hatorah, the charity that runs over 20 Orthodox Jewish schools in France, including the one in Toulouse where the three young children and a teacher were murdered by an Islamic terrorist who was later shot dead by French police.
Back in America’s glory days of 1987, when we had mountains of generosity and cash to match, Washington eyebrows arched above the ozone when word got out that Sen. Inouye had attached an earmark to a year-ending spending bill that granted $8 million of American taxpayer money to Ozar Hatorah, whose schools all across France serve mostly children of immigrants from Algeria and Morocco who’d moved to France when those Islamic nations became independent.
You’ve heard the clever magician say, “Watch closely. At no point do my fingers leave my hands!” Notice Inouye’s grant. At no point would a single penny benefit America!
It took me roughly five seconds to bang my mental gavel and pronounce the case closed. Some wealthy Jewish merchant in Honolulu, I was stomp-down sure, had embraced this remarkable war hero, Medal of Honor recipient Daniel Inouye, contributed to his first campaign for Congress as Hawaii became a state in 1959 and stuck with him through all of his Senate campaigns beginning in 1962, and never once asked for a favor. The gestation period for an elephant is a mere 22 months. Political favors can take far longer than that.
Finally, toward the end of 1987, according to the mental video that produced itself the instant I heard of this broad-jump of a grant, Inouye’s merchant-friend called and said, “Dan, I need a favor. There’s a charity that’s really doing a great job …!”
I was so sure.
And I was so wrong. There was no such Jewish merchant friend who’d planted and cultivated such a long-running hook into the senator. Why, then, did Sen. Daniel Inouye try to divert $8 million to Orthodox Jewish schools in France?
My conclusion: Inouye “felt” Jewish.
Inouye had more than a normal sympathy for the suffering of the Jews. He identified with Judaism. He co-palpitated with the Jewish people, and, though Japanese in heritage, he felt a bond with Jews that led him into what he later admitted was a pretty big and bad mistake, which he rescinded in a speech on the Senate floor.
No football team could credibly claim it lost because they had lousy cheerleaders. But many Jews today are in an unnecessary depression for precisely that reason. “Anti-Semitism” is well-known. Less well-known, but a vital and important force is “pro-Semitism.” Many non-Jews, like Inouye, feel that bond with the Jewish people and, in many cases, convert to Judaism, something the Jewish religion deliberately makes hard to do. That’s why the only Jewish missionaries are those who try to persuade other Jews to be more Jewish!
National fraternities and sororities often ban Jewish members, but you can hardly find a major college where there’s not open rebellion against those exclusionary policies. My home state of North Carolina has had more Jewish elected officials per capita than any other state short of the State of Israel itself. We’ve had Jewish mayors of Durham, Greensboro, Gastonia and three or four other unlikely towns. Political insiders agree the late “Mutt” Evans, perennial mayor of Durham, could have become governor of North Carolina if he’d chosen to run.
We Jews score an “A” when it comes to knowing who our enemies have been. Jewish 10-year-olds can tell you all about Haman of ancient Persia (Iran!), who tried to kill all the Jews. Jews score less well when it comes to identifying our friends.
There follows a list of countries that did their level best to help save the Jews during World War II. These are not countries, mind you, where individuals helped the Jews. That would include Nazi Germany itself. These are countries whose actual government – or clear national consensus – policies were “pro-Semitic” even though they may have been military allies of Nazi Germany!
Here comes a historical roller coaster:
Denmark. Bulgaria. Finland. Italy. Spain. Japan. Sweden. The Dominican Republic (under Trujillo!), good old King Hassan of Morocco. And Albania, which, though a German ally, had more Jews after World War II than before (they rescued Jews from other countries who learned what the Albanians were doing and made their way there)!
But the greatest friend the Jew has ever had is the American Christian! If not for the American Christians, there would be no Israel and no Jew alive except one who could successfully masquerade as something else. And the American Christian is the greatest ally of Israel in the world today.
In memory of the Good Old Days, let’s let former Wisconsin Rep. David Obey have the last word. In berating a reporter who questioned Inouye’s misguided grant, the Wisconsin Democrat railed, “Look! We’re just talking about a lousy eight million dollars!“