Jack French Kemp, the Republican JFK, a great American and a special friend to Israel has joined Bob Dole in the run for the Presidency. Kemp is more than the sum of his parts. Yes, he has a great outgoing personality. Yes, he was a winning quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. But,more importantly, Kemp thinks deep, long, and has a grasp of economic fundamentals which few in Congress can match. He is a practical and intelligent intellectual. He knows reality and brooks no interference when defending a good cause. He is genuine, talks straight and listens intently to people. Kemp is a dynamic speaker who deals with real issues and not the pap we usually hear from most politicians.
You can be sure the press will dig for dirt as they have on most candidates. While I suppose most of us have a few embarrassing secrets, I think that the media will find an honest man in Jack Kemp, which may be somewhat rare in government. But, after the media have done their worst, they will have to conclude that the Dole-Kemp candidacy speaks of two honest men. Perhaps, integrity, a decent home life and practicing religion that means more than a Sunday outing to church, is something we haven't seen lately in American politics.
For Jews, Jack Kemp would likely qualify as a righteous gentile. He practices his Christianity with a true understanding and respect for the first five books of Torah. We Jews know too well the soft words and promises of past candidates, only to have them thrown in our faces when the politician's choice is between Israel's security and the cash flow of Arab kings and dictators.
Jack Kemp has always stood his ground in defense of Israel. In the Chicago Tribune August 10th Michael Tackett said: "Former Sec. of State James Baker was once so angry with Kemp that he considered punching him over what Baker saw as interference in his view of U.S.-Israeli relations." We all know what Bush and Baker thought of Jews and Israel. I would personally have enjoyed being at ringside on the day Baker threw that first punch. Jack Kemp, now silver haired and long off the playing field, would have taken the first blow like a gentleman and then launched Baker into the laps of his oily friends with the second blow.
As a congressman, Kemp always supported foreign aid to Israel. He explained that all the economic aid came back to America to repay costs of the Camp David withdrawal. The military aid was almost all spent in America to buy military weapons in order to maintain Israel's qualitative edge in a dangerous neighborhood when every country, including the U.S. was selling their best military technology, in quantity, to Arab states still in a declared war with Israel.
Gail and I first met Congressman Jack Kemp in Israel July 1979 at the First Yonatan Conference Against International Terrorism. This Conference was organized by now Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the name of his brother who was killed during the Entebbe rescue. Kemp understood that International Terrorists were being sponsored and trained at that time in the Soviet Union in coordination with the Arab nations and terrorist organizations like the PLO.
No one fought harder than Jack Kemp for the Lavi, Israel's air superiority and close ground support fighter. On July 21, 1986 we heard his dramatic speech at the roll-out of the Lavi's first prototype. He affirmed how co-production of the Lavi by America and Israel benefited both countries. The Lavi would have cost $17-18 million, much less than any current fighter jet. Because the competition was too critical, the big industry lobbyists went to work, using the State and Defense Departments (especially Caspar Weinberger) to cancel production. Soon Israel's Lavi was canceled. But, Kemp was for it, for the right, patriotic reasons. It was good for America.We were with Jack Kemp in Israel when he was honored as keynote guest speaker for the 20th anniversary celebrating the successful implementation of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which connected most favored nation status to the Soviet Union's release of its Jews. Kemp was very instrumental in pressing the Soviets to allow Jewish immigration to Israel.
We also heard Kemp speak to a Chicago political group of mostly non-Jews where he defended Israel as fervently as to any Jewish audience. His defense of Israel is not because it will be politically popular but because it is right and genuine. The audience responded with enthusiastic applause.
I must add this: Jack Kemp, on his travels through Indiana, extended the courtesy of meeting with Professor Morris Pollard, the father of Jonathan Pollard. Although, Kemp was on a very tight schedule, he listened compassionately to Professor Pollard, who is a world renowned research expert on cancer. I am mindful of the comparison where a former President Bush and our sitting President Clinton avoided the subject, refusing to meet with Professor Pollard although requests to do so came from some of the most renowned people in medicine, religion and law.
With Jack Kemp what you see is what you get. He fights for the underdog, is extremely knowledgeable in economics and history, and has great integrity - all crucial strengths for a man a heartbeat away from the Presidency. While Jack Kemp will champion the rights of all Americans, we can be sure he will, as he always has, champion the safety of Israel. Gail and I have known Jack Kemp since 1979. We have listed only a few examples of his beliefs and character from what we have personally observed. A deep analysis into the complete record of Jack French Kemp will be forthcoming. However, we can personally affirm that Kemp is a good, decent politician who can't be maneuvered, threatened or bent in a direction in which he does not believe. Kemp is a staunch friend of Israel and that is also good for America. Would you be astonished to know that he really believes in and practices democracy? Well, he does.
We need a new President and Vice President who are independent and belong to no one. The President and the Vice President must be beyond reproach because they are the role models for the young and old of this nation. Dole and Kemp represent an honest dynamic duo. We voted for Bill Clinton over George Bush because, at the time, the choice was easy. We will now vote for Dole-Kemp because the choice is right.