The Minnesota delegation weighs in


TC JewFolk, the Twin Cities Jewish news and analysis site, scored an impressive get during the AIPAC conference, albeit for a perfectly logical reason: It got the Sen. Al Franken "Jewish" Interview.

This is something we in the Jewish media have been longing for since his 2008 election, but the once (and future?) comedian won’t give because he sticks to a strict "Just Minnesotans" policy. (UPDATE: He has also, consistent with this policy, given several interviews to the American Jewish World, another Minn.-based Jewish publication.)

Franken spoke to TC JewFolk just after an Israel trip, and he makes the case for keeping progressives and Israel in the same camp.

This takeway is noteworthy:

He expressed concern about the fact that in the United States, our men and women serving in the military must sometimes serve multiple tours of duty.  He noted, ”One of the very interesting differences between Israel and the United States is that in Israel, everyone, except the Haredi [ultra religious], go into the military.”  That system is so different from the United States’s all-volunteer army which, Senator Franken expressed the concern, can become an “isolated group … isolated from the rest of the public.”  Because the United States’s military is ”not as much part of the fabric of the entire society,” as Israel’s military is, that may make it “harder for our men and women” to serve.

Visting Israel, and learning about their military system made Senator Franken think seriously about the possibility of having “some kind of universal service” in the United States.  ”Not necessarily military, but some kind of universal service. Because I think it unites the country. There’s something we’re missing I think because we don’t have that experience.”

Here’s the interview with Franken, here’s one with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and here’s a two-parter with Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.)

And here are the vids of each, respectively:

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