By Avraham Solomon
Howard Kleinhendler recently officially launched his campaign for New Jersey’s 4th Congressional seat, which is currently occupied by Congressman Chris Smith. In gearing up for his campaign, Kleinhendler accused Smith of being anti-Israel with the implication being that Smith is anti-Jewish.
Whenever a candidate espouses incredibly inaccurate attacks on an opponent, the politically decent thing to do is to offer a public apology. In light of all the effort that Congressman Smith has invested into combating anti-Semitism and fighting for Jewish causes, I believe an apology is in order.
One of the first things Congressman Smith did when he came to office in 1983 was fly to Russia with the National Conference on Soviet Jewry to see what he could do to ease their suffering and help them escape Russia. Congressman Smith has also chaired numerous committees in Congress designed to help fight rising anti-Semitism abroad and at home. It was Chris Smith who pushed for Congress to pass the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. Besides being an incredible friend to the Jewish people throughout his political career, Congressman Smith also champions the values that religious Jews cherish greatly.
Congressman Smith isn’t a man who should be condemned by Jewish voters, but rather thanked. He is a true friend of Israel and for Kleinhendler to portray him any differently is a grave injustice. Therefore, I want Congressman Smith to know that Mr. Kleinhendler’s remarks don’t represent the Jewish attitude towards a man who has done so much to battle anti-Semitism.