When Gov. Neil Abercrombie named his lieutenant, Brian Schatz, to replace Daniel Inouye in Hawaii’s senate slot, there were Twitter-intimations that he was Jewish.
I found confirmation on the Democrat’s Facebook page, where he listed himself as such. But I also asked around DC, and on this coast of the mainland, at least, not a lot was known about him among the usual suspects.
Schatz yesterday delivered his first Jewish and pro-Israel shot as a U.S. senator, and what made it notable was that it was the most pronouncedly political statement at an otherwise parve affair: A tribute on the Hill to Inouye and to the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, organized by The Friedlander Group and chaired by Robert Rechnitz, a Los Angeles-based real estate developer and a philanthropist.
Schatz’s point to the lawmakers assembled and implicitly, the Republicans (who included Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Ed Royce of California, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee): Get past the sequestration, due to kick in tomorrow.
Referring to Inouye, for years an appropriator whose longstanding support of Israel was critical to current levels of defense assistance, Schatz said: "This Jewish kid from the state of Hawaii vows to continue his legacy of support for Israel."
Then he segued:
My commitment to Israeli security is firmly grounded in public policy and the interests of Israel and the interests of the United States, but it is also a personal one. With the sequester looming and deep defense cuts coming, Congress must act. My colleagues must come together once again and protect funding for critical programs such as this. The resources needed to guarantee american and israeli security cannot be subject to political partisanship. We as a a nation must do what is right and guarantee the security of Israel and the United States of America.