US Vice President Joe Biden 311 (R).
(photo credit: Toru Hanai/Reuters)
US Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday night lauded the influence of Judaism on the United States, specifically mentioning the efforts of Jews on gay rights issues, according a report on the Politico website.
“The truth is that Jewish heritage, Jewish culture, Jewish values are such an essential part of who we are that it’s fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage,” Biden said during a speech at a Jewish American Heritage Month reception hosted by the Democratic National Committee at the American Institute of Architects building in Washington.
"The Jewish people have contributed greatly to America. No group has had such an outsized influence per capita as all of you standing before you, and all of those who went before me and all of those who went before you,” according to a transcript of his speech posted on Politico.
Biden pointed to American television sitcom Will and Grace - whose protagonists are a gay lawyer and his Jewish best friend - alongside social media, as examples of game-changing factors in the battle for gay marriage rights. "That’s what changed peoples’ attitudes," Politico quoted him as saying. "That’s why I was so certain that the vast majority of people would... rapidly embrace gay marriage."
The vice president also noted the 11 percent of seats in the US Congress filled by Jewish leaders, as well as the third of Nobel laureates that are Jewish.
"So many notions that are embraced by this nation that particularly emanate from over 5,000 years of Jewish history, tradition and culture: independence, individualism, fairness, decency, justice, charity. These are all as you say, as I learned early on as a Catholic being educated by my friends, this tzedakah
(charity)” Biden enthused, before thanking the Jewish population for its contribution to the nation,