Profile in Courage

I was beyond elated this morning to wake up and to read JB Pritzker’s very strong statement of opposition to the Iran agreement.

My entry to the world of pro-Israel activism was to a great extent motivated through the passionate mentorship of JB. In 1992, JB and I took a highly visible role in raising money in the Jewish community for Mel Reynolds, who at the time was the Democratic candidate from the 2nd district, which is located on Chicago’s South Side. Reynolds ended up trouncing the longtime incumbent and infamously rabid anti-Semite, Gus Savage. It was a sweet victory and the opportunity to have built that bridge between the North shore and the African American community was deeply rewarding.  In 1998 when JB ran for Congress, I proudly volunteered for the effort and stood on his behalf, during the election, as a poll watcher in Rogers Park. In those days on the issue of Israel’s security, there was no daylight between Democrats and Republicans. There was one bible from which we all read in unison.

JB’s statement means a great deal at this time. JB is viewed as an opinion maker and as a moderate, but a Democrat who is loyal to the core. Moderate Congressional Democrats have not yet, despite copious amounts of supporting data, felt comfortable enough to break with the herd in decisive numbers. His courageous leadership, in tandem with the recent revelation of the notorious “side letters” contained in the agreement, may be just enough to increase the momentum of signors who quietly desire to add their names to the list of rational naysayers.

The compelling nature of the data on the side, I have a hunch that no small part of what was motivating JB was a very clear headed assessment. JB could see that a failure by the Democratic Party, at this most critical moment, to have gone down on the wrong side of history, would have been a disaster of unrecoverable dimensions. It takes a big guy to stand up and to turn the herd around. I am humbled by his valiant effort.

About the Author
Andrew D. Lappin is a redeveloper of urban industrial properties. He is a former board member of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Embers Foundation, the Committe for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA), and serves on The Illinois Policy Board which monitors corporate compliance with the state's anti-BDS statute. The opinions expressed are by Lappin personally and NOT the views of any of the organizations with which he is affiliated.