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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rabbis for Obama: Shame on All of You!

Recently there was a minor stir in the US national political arena, after the Democrats publicized a list of some 600 rabbis (http://www.barackobama.com/rabbis/), including those calling for a boycott of Israel, who support Obama. Obama and friends are now flaunting the list as evidence of "The President's strong support of Israel and toughest-ever actions against Iran" (see: http://www.jpost.com/USPresidentialrace/Article.aspx?id=282442).

Jonathan Tobin of Commentary yesterday called for the pro-Obama rabbis to "disavow" the "anti-Zionist" rabbis among them (see: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/08/23/rabbis-for-obama-must-disavow-anti-zionist-lynn-gottlieb/ and http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/08/23/obama-rabbis-must-disavow-anti-zionists-israel-boycott/). Unlike Jonathan, I am saddened by the entire lot of these rabbis, who are willing to allow Obama to use their names to evidence Obama's support of Israel, which is feeble at best, at a time when Iran and its allies are threatening Israel with extinction.

I live in Israel, I'm not religious, I'm not right wing, and I can emphatically tell you that Obama is no friend of Israel. Moreover, unlike these rabbis, I know what I'm talking about.

A few words about myself. Some 30 years ago, I ate the proverbial "bad pizza": An attorney ensconced in one of the world's leading merger and acquisition firms, I overnight decided that I owed the State of Israel a debt for providing safe haven for Jews around the world and decided to volunteer for the Israeli army. Although it had originally been my intention to do my service and return to the US, an Israeli wife and three children anchored me to the ground on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Today, at the age of 58, I remain an active reserve officer in the Israel Defense Forces, and two of my three children have completed mandatory service in elite combat units; my youngest will be enlisting in less than a year.

Make no mistake about it - Israel today is facing an existential threat. Almost a day doesn't go by without Iran labeling Israel a "cancerous tumor" which it will excise, and without Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, threatening to let fly 50,000 rockets and missiles against Israeli population centers. Add to this menace Syria's enormous stockpiles of chemical weapons, the arsenal of missiles assembled by Hamas in Gaza, and recent attacks by jihadists from Sinai against southern Israel. The situation is not pretty.

What assistance has Obama offered to Israel in the face of this threat? As I personally can confirm, there is excellent cooperation with the US army, and the Obama administration has certainly contributed to bolstering Israel's anti-rocket and missile capabilities.

On the other hand, Obama, as president, has refused to visit Israel. Soon after his inauguration, Obama visited Cairo, where he equated the Holocaust with the Palestinian "dislocation." Cairo is only a 30-minute flight from Tel Aviv, but Obama wouldn't step foot in Israel.

Obama, as president, also visited nearby Riyadh, Istanbul and Ankara. Obama tells us that Turkish President Erdogan, who is infamous for jailing opposition journalists and army officers, is one of his best friends. (By the way, since becoming president, Obama has reneged on his promise to acknowledge the Armenian genocide by the Turks.) However, Obama again refused to visit Israel.

At a time when Israel is facing threats of extermination, such a visit by the President of the United States, informing the world that he's "got Israel's back," would be of enormous symbolic value, but Obama won't have any part of it.

I would like to ask the 600+ rabbis who appear on Obama's list how many times "Jerusalem" appears in the Old Testament. Answer: 669 times. Yet Obama is not even willing to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel's capital (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/ap-warm-reception-expected-as-romney.html).

Obama still cares for Israel? Sorry, but as acknowledged by Aaron David Miller of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (see: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/07/25/warning_turbulence_ahead), "Barack Obama is no Israel-lover," and "if the president wins a second term, expect a major clash with Benjamin Netanyahu."

More? Ask Obama for permission to see his tribute to Palestinian "activist" Rashid Khalidi, a tape of which is locked away in the offices of The Los Angeles Times (see: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/226104/i-l-times-i-suppresses-obamas-khalidi-bash-tape/andrew-c-mccarthy). There is a reason why this tape is not being allowed to see the light of day.

Still more? Consider how Samantha Power, one of Obama's closest foreign policy advisers, advocates sending US ground forces to the West Bank to protect Palestinians from Israel. In this instance, the evidence is available for everyone to see (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFdt6fjdHQw).

What of President Obama's "tough" economic sanctions against Iran purportedly intended to force Tehran to forgo its nuclear weapons development program? The P5+1 negotiations with Iran have all but collapsed as Iran continues to build its first atomic bomb (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/world/middleeast/signs-that-iran-is-speeding-up-nuclear-work.html?_r=2&ref=middleeast), and the sanctions have been neutered by waivers issued by the Obama administration, EU indifference, and opposition from Russia and China.

By now it should be plain why Israelis, by a 2:1 ratio, believe that Romney cares more than Obama about Israel (see: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=281579). Israelis are not stupid, and their lives, unlike those of the 600+ American rabbis, are riding on the line.

I don't like it when right wing Israeli rabbis try to influence Israeli politics, given that I believe in the separation of church and state. Similarly, I am disgusted when American "social activist" rabbis, who have never served in the military and know nothing of the intricacies involving the current threat to Israel's existence, would convince American Jews of Obama's friendly posture to Israel.

If these rabbis wish to tell anyone willing to listen that Obama has been a boon to the American economy or that Obamacare is set to cure America's health care problems, this is of course their right. They can also declare their support for Obama's stance on abortion (personally, I am pro-choice and prefer Obama's position to that of Romney). But these rabbis shouldn't go telling American Jews that Obama is a friend of Israel.

He's not.

15 comments:

  1. http://www.masada2000.org/shit-list.html

    You'll find that many of the names on Obama's favorite Rabbis list already appear on the other list above. Historically, it was America's establishment Jews such as Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise who dismissed early reports of the Final Solution as propaganda and hindered any early intervention by the US for a rescue of European Jewry.
    Recommended reading for anyone in doubt of what an apathetic administration would mean for the Jewish State...
    'While six million died' - by Arthur D Morse, available on Amazon.com



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  2. I wonder how many of these Rabbis have nonchalantly used the recently coined term "Holocaust Obsessed" while trying to avoid any comparisons between Iran's intentions and the Holocaust?
    Ron Rosenbaum sheds some light on why the term is gaining traction and who's buying into it.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_spectator/2012/08/_holocaust_obsessed_it_s_the_new_anti_semitic_slur_.html

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  3. Oh, don't get me started, particularly that I just had a brief encounter with an American "Jew" - vegan, pro-abortion, pro-gay "liberal" who commented on my remark regarding antisemitism of the NYT that "I have fallacious understanding ..." I expressed myself fully, but I am still fuming - one of my masters is in Jewish history with emphasis on antisemitism; he can be defined as vegan, pro-abortion, pro-gay "liberal" and NOTHING more. I doubt he knows where Israel is. He also had an empty life and almost never work. He's job is being good (vegan).
    I'll be back with my comment about "rabbis." I'll try to make it printable.

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  4. An e-mailed response just received from one of the rabbis on Obama's list: "Keep your hate mail to yourself. Proud to be a rabbi for Obama." That's it. Not capable of a substantive response.

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  5. Jeff, you basically covered it.
    Some personal thoughts. I glanced at the list and recognized some names.
    Some fifteen years ago, I spent some 10 minutes in B'nai Jeshurun and these were very painful 10 minutes. The rabbi and some ladies in red suits (looking as corporate as it can be) were chanting "Peace, peace, peace" and were embracing each other. The rabbi was singing/preaching something in the spirit "If we hug each other, there will be peace in the world." Nobody since Stalin used more times the word "peace" than this group. Nowhere since Stalin's Soviet Union there were that many signs in the spirit "Peace to World."
    I told a friend I couldn't stand it and left- never to return.
    I googled the name of the rabbi and yes he is by training a "chemist" and has the same knowledge of history and the world most chemists have. It isn't surprising that most "peaceniks" (and neo-Nazis - what the difference) are geeks.
    Several months ago, I met one of his congregants who seem to be pretty typical - illiterate (at least by my standards), corporate, able to function only on the level of platitudes, slogans and cliches ("If we hug each other ...).
    Sadly, a significant segment of American Jews has NO Jewish identity and charlatans serve their needs, including the need to pretend to be religious.
    Remember it's respectable in America to be religious (and sometimes lucrative too)
    Personally, I would like to see the list of their salaries.
    You go to B'nai Jeshurun, you sing "Peace, peace, peace," once a year you drop some pennies to the homeless, you feel good about yourself, you put you activities on your resume and get promoted .... Isn't this wonderful?
    It's tragic.

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  6. Jeff, we often disagree and unlike you I am progressive (a real one - not this "my body, my millions and... the Palestinians" "liberals," but it's difficult not to respect you. Your parents did something right. I hope you have many siblings.

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  7. I find your comments repulsive. You have misinterpreted the information regarding Obama's stance on Israel. And moreover there are many of us who feel that Obama's stance on human rights, civil liberties, health and other domestic issues are as important as our love for the State of Israel.

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  8. Your comments are way off base and repulsive. Obama is not anti-Israel. Moreover many of us care about his stance on human rights, health care, domestic policies and many other issues. Romney and the Republicans may love Israel, but since they truly have no respect for the poor and needy of the world their support for Israel is empty.

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  9. " And moreover there are many of us who feel that Obama's stance on human rights, civil liberties, health and other domestic issues are as important as our love for the State of Israel."
    And what kind of argument "many of us" is?
    I live in New York now (yes I lived in different countries) and I have yet to encounter a reform (or even conservative) Jew who studied Jewish history (and history in general) and studied seriously other Jewish sacred texts and language.
    Absolutely ignorant, raised on easy food of "hugging each other and some other international garbage fused with some New Age" nonsense they have chutzpah, like this utterly illiterate vegan I mention in my comment, to express their "opinions" ("off base," "repulsive," "fallacious.")
    My opinion in physics is worth zero, your opinions in Jewish matters are worth zero.
    Why don't you spend years studying (yes it takes many years of concentration) before you dare to preach to Jeff or me?
    I have a master's degree in Jewish history (focus on antisemitism - my doctorate and some three other masters are in different fields - all in the humanities and social sciences) and yes, I am personally multicultural, multilingual and "multidegreed."
    What are your qualifications?

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  10. And which domestic stance of Obama is so charming - his killing of single payer? his (Michelle's?) idiotic, distracting, corporate "wellness" push? his mishandling of foreclosure crisis? Which, which, which?

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  11. I also received the following message by e-mail: "I resent your intrusion of your pathetic ideas into my private life." Rabbi, I resent the fact that you signed a letter of support for Obama, which is now being circulated by the Obama campaign as evidence of "The President's strong support of Israel and toughest-ever actions against Iran."

    True or false: Since becoming president, Obama has never visited Israel?

    True or false: Obama refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital?

    True or false: Over the course of 20 years, Obama listened to the Reverend Wright's anti-Israel tirades without ever raising objection?

    True or false: Senior Obama foreign adviser Samantha Power advocated sending US ground forces to the West Bank to protect Palestinians from Israel?

    True or false: Obama's "toughest-ever" economic sanctions have not prevented Iran from continuing to develop nuclear weapons?

    By all means, one can decide that "Obama's stance on human rights, civil liberties, health and other domestic issues" are superior to those of Romney; however, the "600 rabbis list" is being used to demonstrate Obama's friendship for Israel. As acknowledged by Aaron David Miller, Barack Obama is no Israel-lover, and if the president wins a second term, expect a major clash with Benjamin Netanyahu.

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  12. "the "600 rabbis list" is being used to demonstrate Obama's friendship for Israel"
    Of course, this event is of utter ugliness, because among other things they did it voluntarily.
    In in 1975, some prominent Jews in the land of "Peace, Friendship and Internationalism" signed the petition supporting the infamous UN (yes, this institution which is run now by the present visitor to Iran) declaration equating Zionism with Fascism.
    The usual arguments were: "I have children," "I'd lose my job." I don't know the details, but I think that there were those to refuse to sign, applied for emigration or just lost their jobs and had to face a new reality.

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  13. I apologize for sloppiness and I have to correct at least the last sentence.
    I meant:
    I think that there were those WHO refused to sign ...

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  14. Frankly, the entire story is absurd (in addition to being ugly).
    There were similar declarations in the past - only when there was a real problem, thus confirming its existence.
    "No, no, no, there is no hunger in Ukraine and everyone is happy and dancing," said Walter Durant.
    "No, no, no, there is no problem in Theresienstadt and everyone is happy and dancing," said you know who
    "No, no, no there is no antisemitism in the Soviet Union and everyone is happy and dancing (soon after the murder of countless Jewish artists and intellectuals," said Paul Robeson.
    These rabbis have now entered history.

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