17 April 2007

Making Money "Part Of Jewish Tradition"

Sometimes apologies are assuredly in order. However, I am getting somewhat perturbed by this all-American tradition to issue apologies every day of the week.

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Tommy Thompson told a Jewish group Monday that earning money is "part of the Jewish tradition," a remark for which he later apologized.

"I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money," Thompson told the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. "You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition. ... "

Later, he added: "I didn't (by) any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances. ... What I was referring to ... is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You've been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that."

Thompson spokesman Tony Jewell said the former Wisconsin governor, who is Catholic, was sorry.

What's wrong with the statement in question? We've just been collectively commended for our success in the business world, and, as far as I can tell, the praise was not brought on by some warped precepts.

Our remarkable achievements can be interpreted in a multitude of ways: as part of the broader, all-embracing Jewish conspiracy or as something we have earned by slogging our guts out and fearlessly taking on insurmountable obstacles. Thompson's comments were, in my view, well-intentioned, and I truly don't think he has anything to apologize for in this particular case.