Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Back to Opinion

Back to the Fight

In deciding to join the fight against the Bush administration’s proposed “reforms” to Medicaid and Medicare, United Jewish Communities and its network of local Jewish charitable federations have taken an important step. What’s at stake is not just the integrity of the nation’s safety net for the poor and the aging, which the administration seems hell-bent on shredding. There’s a larger issue here, namely the credibility of the organized Jewish community as a force for good on the American scene.

For more than a year now, since the war against terrorism captured center stage on the national and world agenda, many of our community’s main representative bodies have been acting as if no other issues existed. Fearing to jeopardize the warm relations between George Bush’s Washington and Ariel Sharon’s Jerusalem, and aware of the vindictive tendencies all too evident within this administration, they’ve taken to subordinating virtually all other interests to the one overriding cause of the American-Israeli alliance against terrorism. Other issues of deep and compelling concern to Jews — abortion rights, civil liberties, care for the poor — have been shoved aside, despite the protests of our longtime coalition partners and, frequently, the needs of our own brethren. The strategy is a bad one, and as we’re about to learn, it’s unnecessary.

The UJC’s decision to stand firm on the healthcare issue calls to mind David Ben-Gurion’s response to the 1939 British White Paper restricting Jewish immigration to the Holy Land. Some argued for acquiescence, citing the overriding Nazi threat in Europe. Ben-Gurion said no: Fight both at once.

We can take a cue from Ben-Gurion: Fight the Bush budget as if there were no war against terrorism, and fight the war against terrorism as if there were no Bush budget.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.