I know some Jewish voters who plan to vote for Barack Obama. I know some who plan to vote for Hillary Clinton. I even know two who will vote for the Republican nominee regardless of who it is. In other words, I don’t see any particular leaning toward or away from any candidate among my group of friends and acquaintances.

Last week, the Obama campaign called together a press conference as part of a new move to inform the Jewish public that negative attacks about Obama are unfounded. Some of these attacks suggest that he’s a secret Muslim, others that he’s anti-Israel and others specify that he belongs to a church where the leadership has said some harsh things about Jews. We’ve seen some of these comments appear on Jewlicious, although infrequently, but typically I see them on sites like Little Green Footballs more than on Jewish sites.

In fact, I don’t often see attacks on Obama from this perspective on Jewish sites. Maybe a mention here and there – something I’ve done myself – but rarely opposition to him as a politician because of this background about him.

Today, the Forward, in their editorial, saw fit to tackle this topic. They point out that the Obama campaign has moved to mobilize Jewish leaders (whatever those are, since I don’t recall voting for any Jewish leaders) and leading Jewish politicians so they would reach out to Jewish voters and inform them that Obama is not Muslim, not anti-Israel and not involved with any leanings against Jews his church might have. At around the same time, although unmentioned by The Forward, Obama gave a press interview where he defended Israel’s right to exist, supported America’s support of Israel and was unequivocal in denying that the so called Palestinian “right of return” was a right at all.

In Florida, Hillary polls at above 50% of Jewish voters and according to the AJC’s poll, she wins the Jewish vote nationwide. The AJC claims that Jews don’t believe that Obama cares about Jewish issues and that is very possibly what drives many Jewish voters. I suspect, however, that as long-time majority Democratic voters, most Jews simply prefer the Clintons and also respect Bill Clinton’s approach to Israel which some assume Hillary shares with him.

What I don’t see out there is this supposed groundswell of anger or dislike for Obama and certainly not because of these supposed rumors flying about. This is where The Forward comes in with some dubious suggestions:

Published reports and word-of-mouth from New York to Miami suggest that considerable numbers of Jewish voters will not back Obama, because they’re not sure he’s not their enemy. The rumors may be true or false, they reason; Obama may or may not be a secret Muslim radical. But why risk it? If there’s any danger of antisemitism, the thinking goes, you err on the side of caution. You don’t take chances.

One prominent Orthodox activist, founder of a pro-Israel PAC and a former president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, bluntly told a local weekly last week that he wouldn’t vote for Obama and couldn’t imagine anything that would change his mind. A news report on the controversy, published on the now-defunct English-language Web site of the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, drew dozens of online comments from readers who insisted that Obama must be a secret Islamist, regardless of what anyone says. Some, secure in their anonymity, argued that he must be a Jew-basher because most African Americans are.

As we know from this site and others, vocal commenters are not representative of the general population. They are simply those who feel passionately about issues or like to communicate with others to a greater degree than most. Emails sent around are also not indicative of anything and it’s usually hard to know their source. If The Forward is going to go by word of mouth and a “sense” of what is happening out there, they might as well talk to my circle of friends who simply prefer Hillary to Obama – while they still like and respect him. None of our friends have mentioned a fear of Obama, or caution about his relationship with the Jewish community or with Israel. I don’t see how my sample is any less representative of any sample The Forward might have taken.

The Forward states:

Many of the e-mails are launched by Jews worried that an Obama administration will undermine Israel. Other messages travel through Christian networks. One massive blast targeted Christians in South Carolina on the eve of last month’s primary. News reports indicate that they were widely read and believed, despite all the public denials.

Why did it take the Obama campaign a full year to mount a serious response? In part, it might have been timing, since the first balloting was months away. In part, the candidate might have been reluctant to respond to the smears in a way that implied that calling him Muslim was an insult.

But the biggest factor was the unwillingness of Jewish liberals — Obama backers and others — to take the e-mails seriously. For years, liberals have dismissed Jewish conservatives and pro-settler hawks as insignificant, too few in number to make a difference. Consistently, liberals have failed to appreciate the conservatives’ secret weapon.

Accusations of antisemitism take on a life of their own. Once the A-word is in play, the defenses go up, and they don’t come down until it’s proved that there’s no danger. Moderate and liberal Jews who don’t share the conservatives’ agenda will give the benefit of doubt to the accusers. Thus the Jewish hawks have the final say, and the burden is on the candidate to avoid falling afoul of them.

Many of the emails are launched by Jews? How do they know? How many? Who are these Jews? How often is the charge of antisemitism leveled against Obama? I am pretty up to date on the Jewish blogosphere and don’t see this suggestion out there except by the occasional staunch Republican supporter. Who says that other Jews are giving these writers the benefit of the doubt?

Most important, why doesn’t The Forward address the single most important reason that Obama isn’t getting as many Jewish voters as he’d like: Hillary Clinton is preferred by the majority of Jews and its predominantly because of her record and that of her husband. She’s also probably polling well among Jewish women because she’s a woman. These voters are not thinking about the negative attacks on Obama or the supposed attacks on Obama. Rather, they have a preferred candidate for the right reasons.

Just because the Obama campaign has made it their mission to inform the Jewish population that not voting for him is the result of unfair interference, that doesn’t mean that we should buy this line of thinking. I don’t think it holds up to scrutiny. Perhaps they don’t see why Obama isn’t getting the majority of the Jewish vote, and that’s a legitimate question to ask, but it may not be appropriate to suggest that there’s some evil, behind-the-scenes machinations that have brought about the preference to Hillary. Sometimes, the answer to a question is simple and in this case it’s because Jewish voters feel more comfortable with the candidate they know and based on her husband’s administration, comfortable with the assumed policies that will dominate her administration.

About the author

themiddle

106 Comments

  • First… I invite readers to the NJDC.org webpage which lists the Israel positions of the major Demo candidates

    http://njdc.typepad.com/njdcs_blog/2008/01/njdc-fact-sheet.html

    Next… I also think the Forward editorial got it wrong. I went to the NJDC Conference in April 2007. I met Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Kucinich, and all the other declared demo candidates. Each made a stump speech to this Jewish group, and many spoke of Israel. Obama’s speech fell flat and was so vague that he lacked a point or theme. Maybe he has improved. But if the Majority of Jewish viters are gravitating to Clinton instead of him, it is not about mass emails, it is about his own positions or lack of positions on the issues.

  • I think Obama’s saying the right of return is an illusion for the Pals is pretty decisive to me. Bush hasn’t even said anything like that before.

    that being said, Clinton ’08

  • “and others specify that he belongs to a church where the leadership has said some harsh things about Jews.”

    That should be enough to disqualify him. Why hasn’t he left the church and spoken out against it and its hatemongering? He seems outspoken enough, so apparently it just does not bother him.

  • His failure to disassociate himself from his racist church and its weird Pastor, who thinks Farrakhan is worthy of special recognition, should give us all pause, a second look, a double take, a scratch of the head, a trust but verify.

  • I think that perhaps “launched” was the wrong word in the aricle…but these rumors have certainly been forwarded and perpetuated by many within the community.

  • Well, I certainly can’t fault Obama for his ostensibly tardy response to this stuff. There’s a ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ quality here– I’m sure Obama hoped it would go away or else be handled by surrogates.

    Never underestimate the paranoid style in American politics. Conspiracy theories will always be with us…. Check out the NYC-based Jewish Press sometime, Middle– Obama as Osama is catnip to that constituency.

  • Tom, on a different note, have you read “How the Irish Invented Slang” by Daniel Cassidy? I only just read about it yesterday and would like to know whether it’s interesting enough to order it from across the Atlantic. 🙂

  • Sweet, thanks so much. I might be in NYC the week after Easter, so if you were to feel an urge then to travel south, I’d gladly meet for a cup of coffee-like American brew. 🙂

  • Wait– you mean that big city, what, 200 miles south of here?…. Hey, keep me posted on that. An artist friend has a show up in a Chelsea gallery around that time, so I’ll be scheduling a trip to see it. (To hype my friend, it’s John O’Reilly, who shows with Julie Saul. His stuff is very edgy, but he’s a genius, probably the only true genius I’ve ever met.)

  • I go to NYC a lot; haven’t travelled there as frequently the past few months, but usually I go there every couple of weeks. I’ll keep you posted.

  • Is a Hillary/Obama ticket out of the question? I mean, the life-span of political stances is about as short as goyim’s memory, correct? Their rabble-rousing and “Charismatic” jockeying may seem Pit-Bullish, but I still think they can be quite a terrifying dynamic duo on the world stage worth flipping the lever for.

    A “Give ’em hell, Hillary!”/Obaminations President and V.P. would have me quaking in my designer combat boots…

  • … amazing that most American Jews still think the Clinton presidency was good for Israel…

  • Ben-David, find enlightenment in Middle’s eloquent tributes to Clintonism in other, recent posts. He’ll persuade you that Clinton was the greatest president since FDR, if not indeed Andrew Johnson.

  • Heh, Tom is mocking me.

    I liked Clinton, but I was comparing him to his predecessors and the Prez immediately following, so it’s not that hard to consider him better than the others. That relates to governing the US.

    As to the question, who was the better recent President in terms of helping Israel, that’s a hard one. Without Nixon, Israel might well have lost the ’73 War. Without Carter, there would not have been a peace deal with Egypt – although he’s been a shithead ever since. Reagan was better than Bush 1, but I can’t think of any one thing that made him stand out. Bush 1 hated Shamir and had The Terminator – James Baker – pushing and shoving Israel for years as Secretary of State. Bush 2 may have had good intentions but the Iraq war has and will hurt Israel and Condoleeza Rice has been less than friendly. Then again, Bush did appoint Bolton to the UN, which was helpful to Israel.

    Clinton sought to really bring the conflict to a close and had creative and interesting ideas. Without a doubt he is the most knowledgeable President ever regarding this conflict. He supported Israel but found a way to balance that support with seeking a solution for the Palestinians. He came really close, too. If it weren’t for Arafat, I believe he would have succeeded. He was also a true friend to Rabin and even had Rabin as an “older brother” figure for a time.

  • i try to give you props, Middle, and that’s what I get…

    If nothing else, W has taken the most deferential attitude toward Israeli leadership. He was almost reflexively deferential to Sharon; more recently, he’s lent his rhetorical support to Olmert’s efforts to revive some version of the ‘peace process’. Unlike Middle, I don’t think Bush has any intention of ‘pressuring’ Israel, and will not make the mistakes Clinton did at the end of the latter’s presidency– risking too much and plunging the region into further violence as a result.

  • I think it was hard not to be deferential to Sharon. Don’t forget that he was a great military strategists and applied that ability to politics and the Mid-East conflict. I suspect W, who surrounds himself with capable men, was duly impressed and willing to listen. Also, don’t forget that Sharon was talking about leaving Gaza!

    Bush already has pressured Olmert, but they’re working in tandem. Olmert is and will use Bush’s diktat as his excuse for making moves that are unpopular in Israel. The interesting development is how Hamas has just put a serious crimp into the Bush/Olmert plan by bringing down the Egyptian barrier. They have made everybody see clearly how weak, almost inconsequential, Abbas has become. If anything, this might make Bush back off. If this doesn’t, expect to see a lot of pushing in the next few months…it’s what Condi wants.

    Oh, and thanks for the compliment – I was feeling bruised after Montana’s attacks.

  • My reading of it is that Condi has convinced W that the US should mollify Sunni opinion by engaging in at least the form, if not the substance, of peace talks. I also read Olmert (from a great distance) as wanting to move them forward as well. What’s not to like with talking with Abbas (Hamas having been conveniently quarantined in Gaza) without making any real substantive commitments? Without any costs? I’m convinced that Bush will not put pressure on Israel to do anything Israel/Olmert don’t want to do.

    I think Annapolis and its aftermath bear this out. I heard Dennis Ross take Bush to task for failing to insist on benchmarks, minor goals for the parties to keep the ‘process’ moving forward. Bush’s failure to do even this,post-Annapolis, underlines how purely rhetorical his investment in this is. I think Bush is sincere, btw: if peace breaks out, great. If not– the fault lies elsewhere.

    One year from now, what will the ledger of the Bush Administration include? The security fence. The debilitating (for Ps) split between the PA and Hamas. A public US rejection of the right of return. All of it pro-Israel, if (and only if) perpetuating the status quo is deemed better than the alternative. Because Sharon and Olmert have very largely enjoyed a free hand to craft the security policies they wanted. Again, is this in Israel’s true best interests? That’s another question. But Bush has left it up to them.

  • One thing I really didn’t understand about the Forward editorial was its reference to the now-defunct English-language site of Yediot Aharonot, which the last I checked (a second ago) is still functioning. (I think they wrote this because of a piece of Haaretz disinformation that they spread sometime last year that said that Ynet was being taken down – but it never was). I thought this was a very strange editorial that seemed to be wanting to say that Obama really was a Muslim, but the unfortunate fact that he is a Christian just got in the way. And by the way, he has denounced Farrakhan as an anti-semite.

  • If you look at al jazeera and its opinions you will get an idea of how much we are loved as an American or a Jew or a supporter of Israel.
    Then take a peek at their straw poll…remember most voters are
    not pro Israel, US or any religion but Islam.

    Obama is the winner.

  • The neurosis, paranoia, and outright bigotry that many Jews demonstrate towards Senator Obama is both annoying and tiring. It’s enough to turn anyone favor away your cause. If you really want to support Israel so much, then make aliyah, join the IDF, and the rest of Americans be dammed.

  • At least you said “many” Jews instead of “Jews.” But then you blew it with the bullshit about moving to Israel and “Americans be damned.” Should I be paranoid and neurotic about some shithead who goes around the internet attacking Jews for “wanting to support Israel so much…that “the rest” of Americans be damned?” Why, I think I will be.

    By the way, are you an Obama supporter?

    It seems you work for the US Government according to your IP. Wow, that sure makes me feel better and less “neurotic.”

  • I’m both a Hillary and Obama supporter, but in regards to Obama, I’m starting to get worried that, should Obama win the Democratic nomination, the Republicans will start putting out some of the following material. I’m surprised that none of this has hit the media already!

    As usual, I’m willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on this stuff, and chalk it up to the ignorance and naivete of his youth. This stuff goes dates back to so many years ago, after all, and he’s clearly learned a lot since then. There’s no actual evidence that Obama has stated anything personally that is worrisome. And this guy Abunimah is clearly very dishonest and has a definite agenda, namely, looking to attach famous people to his cause, whether those people really agree with him or not. Notice how often Abunimah ascribes thoughts to Obama without clear evidence. But I’m surprised that none of this has been raised publicly, not even by the Republicans. (Yet…) What do you think?

    “I used to know Obama when he was my state senator. I met him several times in different contexts, and he was often very progressive about Israel-Palestine. He attended fundraisers in the Palestinian community, one in which the keynote speaker was Edward Said. That’s what really made me believe in him at first. But then it all went out the window when he started his climb up the greasy pole. I wrote about this a bit in the book [One Country, an argument for a binational state in all of former Palestine], and how disappointed I was to see him basically adopting AIPAC positions. I went to see his legislative staffer in DC a couple of weeks ago and left a signed copy of the book. I got an email, ostensibly from Obama (I am sure people write these things for him), thanking me. Basically the guy has calculated that pissing off the lobby is not the way to the top, so I will eat my shoe (like Tucker Carlson) if he ever says anything remotely useful about Palestine. He is a master triangulator.” –Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, in an email to the New York Observer, Dec. 20th 2006 (http://www.observer.com/term/29496)

    “…There was absolutely nothing in Obama’s speech that deviated from the hardline consensus underpinning US policy in the region. Echoing the sort of exaggeration and alarmism that got the United States into the Iraq war, he called Iran ‘one of the greatest threats to the United States, to Israel, and world peace.’ While advocating ‘tough’ diplomacy with Iran he confirmed that ‘we should take no option, including military action, off the table.’ He opposed a Palestinian unity government between Hamas and Fatah and insisted ‘we must maintain the isolation of Hamas’ until it meets the Quartet’s one-sided conditions. He said Hizbullah, which represents millions of Lebanon’s disenfranchised and excluded, ‘threatened the fledgling movement for democracy’ and blamed it for ‘engulf[ing] that entire nation in violence and conflict.’
    “Over the years since I first saw Obama speak I met him about half a dozen times, often at Palestinian and Arab-American community events in Chicago including a May 1998 community fundraiser at which Edward Said was the keynote speaker. In 2000, when Obama unsuccessfully ran for Congress I heard him speak at a campaign fundraiser hosted by a University of Chicago professor. On that occasion and others Obama was forthright in his criticism of US policy and his call for an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
    “The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.
    “As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, ‘Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.’ He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, ‘Keep up the good work!’
    “But Obama’s gradual shift into the AIPAC camp had begun as early as 2002 as he planned his move from small time Illinois politics to the national scene. In 2003, Forward reported on how he had “been courting the pro-Israel constituency.” He co-sponsored an amendment to the Illinois Pension Code allowing the state of Illinois to lend money to the Israeli government. Among his early backers was Penny Pritzker — now his national campaign finance chair — scion of the liberal but staunchly Zionist family that owns the Hyatt hotel chain. (The Hyatt Regency hotel on Mount Scopus was built on land forcibly expropriated from Palestinian owners after Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967). He has also appointed several prominent pro-Israel advisors…
    “If disappointing, given his historically close relations to Palestinian-Americans, Obama’s about-face is not surprising. He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power. Palestinian-Americans are in the same position as civil libertarians who watched with dismay as Obama voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, or immigrant rights advocates who were horrified as he voted in favor of a Republican bill to authorize the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border with Mexico.
    “Only if enough people know what Obama and his competitors stand for, and organize to compel them to pay attention to their concerns can there be any hope of altering the disastrous course of US policy in the Middle East. It is at best a very long-term project that cannot substitute for support for the growing campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions needed to hold Israel accountable for its escalating violence and solidifying apartheid.” –Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, in “How Barack Obama learned to love Israel,”
    posted to The Electronic Intifada on March 4, 2007 (http://www.electronicintifada.net/v2/article6619.shtml)

    http://electronicintifada.net/artman2/uploads/1/barackobama483.jpg
    From left to right, Michelle Obama, then Illinois state senator Barack Obama, Columbia University Professor Edward Said and Mariam Said at a May 1998 Arab community event in Chicago at which Edward Said gave the keynote speech. (Image from archives of Ali Abunimah)

    http://electronicintifada.net/artman2/uploads/1/barackobama2483.jpg
    Michelle Obama and Barack Obama listen to Professor Edward Said give the keynote address at an Arab community event in Chicago, May 1998. (Photo: Ali Abunimah)

    “I don’t know if they’ve been asked in a debate, but whenever they have been asked, they have all gone out of their way to express full support for what Israel is doing. Barack Obama is not distinguished from the rest of the pack, except by for how far he has moved to try to appease AIPAC and pro-Israel movements.
    “I remember, Amy — I knew Barack Obama for many years as my state senator — when he used to attend events in the Palestinian community in Chicago all the time. I remember personally introducing him onstage in 1999, when we had a major community fundraiser for the community center in Deheisha refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. And that’s just one example of how Barack Obama used to be very comfortable speaking up for and being associated with Palestinian rights and opposing the Israeli occupation. And just yesterday, he apparently sent a letter to Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador at the UN, to urge the US not to allow any resolution to pass criticizing Israel and saying how Israel was forced to impose this barbaric medieval siege on [Gaza].” –Ali Abunimah, the
    co-founder of the online publication The Electronic Intifada

    “My point is on how Barack’s relationship with Rashid Khalidi will likely be used to tar him as someone not willing to defend Israel. Remember, we are talking US politics and no national level politician can afford to be perceived as someone who will abandon our special relationship with Israel. Why do you think Republicans and Democrats make an annual pilgrimage to the American Israeli Political Action Committee convention in Washington? Even Obama understands this. And please, I am not saying we should have (or not have) a special relationship with Israel. I am simply pointing out the reality…
    “And Khalidi has direct ties to Obama. These are not imagined. Before getting his job at Columbia University Rashid Khalidi was a Middle East professor at the University of Chicago, where he befriended none other than US presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama. In 2000 Khalidi held a successful fundraiser for Barack. I am not saying or inferring or suggesting that Obama did anything wrong in letting Khalidi hold a fund raiser. But I am willing to bet that it will become an issue in the general election. Barack also played a role in getting funding for Khalidi’s Arab American Action Network during his tenure on the board of the Woods Fund. That is another unexplored black hole.” –Larry Johnson, February 19, 2008 (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1972901/posts)

    See also:

    http://www.forward.com/articles/12543/
    http://blog.thejewishweek.com/post/Obama_Through_Arab_Eyes_.html
    http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Groups_internal_memo_points_to_Obamas_0122.html
    http://www.ccun.org/Opinion%20Editorials/2008/January/11%20o/Barak%20Obama%20Is%20he%20really%20for%20change%20By%20Tammy%20Obeidallah.htm

  • Blown what?? Just because I can call paranoia for what it really is make me antisemitic?? That’s rationale has become old and tire also. The fact that you took the time to investigate my IP demonstrates how paranoid you really are.

    I take issue with the “many” whose fearmongering, overbloated patriotism, and flag waving rhetoric would suggest their support for both US and Israel. This campaign against Obama –accusing him of being antisemetic, a radical Muslim,etc. is nothing but smear. A Lashon Hara. It’s unpatriotic, racist, exploitive, and rails against every principle this country as founded upon.

    Let’s pretend that your rabbi was a friend and supporter of the late Meir Kahane. Now does that make you, and anyone else that attends your synagogue a racist? Why the double standard?

    There’s nothing wrong with supporting Israel. But when you use zionism as a cover to promote bigotry, mean-spirtedness, and divisiveness you do more to hurt her in the long run than you do in the short term in defense.

  • Even if all of this were true, it’s as nothing next to spending too much social time with a 40 year-old lobbyist.

  • Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me. Then again, it could be that instead of paranoia, looking up your IP was simple curiosity – we’ve had an Obama operative post here before.

    As my original post states, I haven’t seen too much evidence of this supposedly huge smear campaign against Obama. In fact, we have had people here attacking Hillary for having kissed Suha Arafat. Should somebody come out here and post about the sexist smear campaign against Hillary?

    In other words, what you call an unpatriotic, racist, exploitive campaign against Obama, seems to be a bunch of Hillary supporters trying to gain advantage with the Jewish community. Some of them may be Jewish and they may not be. Obama’s campaign has run the same play on Hillary and I don’t see people running around crying “sexism.”

    Now to your questions. If my rabbi was a friend and supporter of Kahane, he wouldn’t be my rabbi. Why would I associate myself with a person whose views I dislike? My rabbi is someone who should bring some spiritual value to my practice as a Jewish person and if his values are completely opposed to mine, I’d simply go to another congregation with a rabbi whose views are more aligned with mine. By the way, I’m not commenting on Obama’s choice of pastor or religious leader, just answering your question.

    As for your final paragraph, you’re right that there’s nothing wrong with supporting Israel. However, I don’t see too many people “using Zionism as a cover for bigotry, mean-spiritedness and divisiness.” You see, first of all I reject the idea that criticizing Obama is racism. That’s the type of bullshit that the Obama campaign pulled out in South Carolina against the Clintons and while it may resonate with some people, I reject it out of hand. Obama is criticized just like Hillary is criticized for choices he has made. If he chooses to hang out with a minister who has said some unkind things about Jews, then he should expect questions about that from Jews. If he chooses to employ advisers one of whom is the only person at Camp David II to think and write that Arafat was okay and the failure of the summit was that of Barak and Clinton, then Obama should expect to be asked why he chose him over somebody else. And so on. This isn’t divisiveness and it’s certainly not bigotry, just questions about choices – and in some cases criticism of these choices – that any politician has to expect as people try to decide what he’s about and whether to support him.

    Obama should be prepared for questions and criticism. It’s not related to the color of his skin any more than criticizing McCain for an accusation of an unethical tryst with a lobbyist is ageism.

    Oh, and it also has nothing to do with “Zionism.”

  • One striking aspect of the above anti-Obama screed is the suggestion that his recent supportive remarks about Israel aren’t to be believed (indeed, they’re but further evidence of his nefarious Arab-loving). There’s a good case for distrust of what Obama, or any of the major-party candidates, say about Israel. None of them will allow themselves to be outflanked on the right. Instead, they’ll compete with one another in a kind of fulsomeness contest about Israel.

    This quadrennial ritual tells us nothing about how Obama, McCain et al. would respond to an attack on Israel, or how they view the uses of US soft and hard power. I’m inclined to think that a candidate’s view of our role in the world and of uses and abuses of the US military has much more relevance to Israeli concerns than the platitudes we can expect from them for the next several months.

  • He’s already denounced those individuals and has spoken extensively about his stance on Israel. Now remember, it was Ronald Regan who was the first president to recognize the PLO and initiate talks with Yassar Arafat. Look , I’m not out to get you and believe neither is Obama. I anticipated the reaction I’d get from my posting and used “Boogieman” as a moniker as sarcasm.

    There’s a big difference between criticism and exploitation. Bill Clintons reference to Jesse Jackson was intended to directly associate him with someone who “many” see as a polarizing figure. If you choose to dismiss race baiting practices of the Clinton campaign so passively, then it’s no wonder you don’t see the active smear campaign against Obama.

    Surely if you’re savy enought to look up an IP you can gather other less technical info on the web?? The smear campaign against Obama is in full effect. Do a googleline with ‘+Obama “Daniel Pipes” smear right jews’. Or visit http://JewsagainstObama.com and you will see for yourself what I mean.

    My intention in my first post was not to offend, but only to express how cowardly, short-sighted, and IMO very “unjewish” to pursue these type of attacks on Obama. The suggestion is that if someone has the reason to employ such divisive and bigoted tactics in order to defame and smear Obama because of his love for Israel, then both the US and Israel would be better served if he actually were willing to go fight on the front lines. Walk the walk. It’s also my opinion that all well-intentioned supporters of Israel, both Jews and non, and regardless if you support Obama or not should dissassociate themselves with that line of attack.

    Finally, If you have any proof that Obama or any of his surrogates are actively throwing out exploitive rhetoric based on Hillary Clinton’s gender, I would be happy to see it.

  • (Completely off-topic– but does anyone know whether Israel has recognized Kosovo? Might make for an interesting post.)

  • Tom, they haven’t recognized it yet. But the Palestinians have hinted that if things don’t go as they’d like, they might pull off a Kosovo.

  • Boogieman, are you done with your straw man? First you come in here blasting away at “bigotry” of Jews and how if they want to support Israel they should move there. Then, YOU bring up Obama’s minister and when given a response you complain that Obama has “denounced” those individuals.

    Yes, Obama has spoken about his minister and about his positions on Israel. Good. And he has benefited from Jewish leaders who have spoken out and written about how the whisperings about Obama and Israel, not to mention Jews, are unfair and unwarranted. We’ve even had a number of Jewish ex-ambassadors and senior administration members like Ross and Kurtzer publicly support Malley as Obama’s consultant.

    What more do you want? It’s not enough that leaders in the Jewish community have spoken up to indicate that any “campaign” against Obama with respect to the issues of Jews and Israel is unwarranted? I think that’s plenty and in fact probably too much since he is somehow depicted as a victim of some extraordinary campaign. He’s not. As mentioned, Hillary is attacked for having kissed Suha, and by more Right wing Jews for having been married to Bill whom they consider to have been bad for Israel.

    And you know, just because some anonymous guy opened a blog called “Jews against Obama,” that doesn’t mean that he speaks for anybody but himself. It’s really easy to start a blog and it’s really easy to put up 20 posts with a particular point of view. He might be Jewish and he might not be. You used the term “lashon hara” and I can’t tell whether you’re Jewish. As for Daniel Pipes telling us that Obama has Muslim roots, I think he clearly states in there that Obama is Christian. Trying to uncover Obama’s roots is not a crime, and it is only considered a negative among those who are bigots. Since Obama is splitting the Jewish Democratic vote with Hillary, clearly this isn’t a problem for most Jews.

    I would suggest that next time you come barging into a forum with the following remark: “The neurosis, paranoia, and outright bigotry that many Jews demonstrate towards Senator Obama is both annoying and tiring. It’s enough to turn anyone favor away your cause. If you really want to support Israel so much, then make aliyah, join the IDF, and the rest of Americans be dammed” you first consider that you actually hurt your cause far more than you help it. You are an Obama supporter who is willing to attack Jews and Zionists in a nasty way because you’re upset that some Right wing Jews don’t want a Democrat in power and have attacked him. Conflating all Jews and their views with the views of this group is not where Obama supporters want to go. Right?

    Oh, and here’s a clip from an Obama operative about Hillary. Do you think it’s sexist or simply calling her a fake?

  • No, I’m upset that there are people who will use love and support of Israel as an excuse to deciminate racist and bigoted slander as a means of discrediting this candidate. I don’t believe that’s where Israel’s supporters want to go either..

    You said:

    “Conflating all Jews and their views with the views of this group is not where Obama supporters want to go. Right?”

    In no way am I “Conflating all Jews and their views”. Nor did I even say a majority. I did say “many”, which you could still argue may or may not be true. No need to distort the intention of my original post because you don’t like what I said.

    You really didn’t answer my question either, so I’ll answer it for you. I asked you if someone where a member of a shul where it’s rabbi was a supporter or a friend of the late Meir Kahane, would that qualify that congregant as a racist. The answer is “NO”. That should be clear and obvious to anyone with half a brai Only someone who is completly paranoid, extremely neurotic, and bigoted would maintain that Senator Obama embraces the exact beliefs as his minister after he has said otherwise time and time again. Contrary to what many people believe, Blacks are not a monolithic people, and vary in thought, values, and judgement.

    Of course trying to uncover Obama’s roots is not a crime. But it overemphasis on his roots, and the idea that he is unfit to be president based on the possiblity that he has Muslim heritage is bigoted and racist. Daniel Pipes is well known for is bigotry and anti-Islamic views, and clearly states that Obama is a Muslim apostate which is also a lie. http://www.danielpipes.org/article/5354 . His assersion can be easily refuted with just a little bit of investigating. Obama cannot even be considered an apostate in Islam because, as a child who was raised Christian, he never could renounce it:

    “Reaching 15 years of age: When the person reaches 15,
    he or she is a man or a woman, and anything that is
    obligatory on a man or woman is obligatory on him or
    her from that time on.

    In a hadith reported by Abdullah Bin Umar (RAA), he
    said: “My parents brought me to the Messenger of Allah
    on the eve of the Battle of Uhud and I was fourteen
    years old, so the Prophet (PBUH) did not enlist me in
    fighting.” But a year later in the Battle of
    Al-Khandaqq (Trench), I was fifteen, so this time the
    Prophet (PBUH) enlisted me in the combat.” (Muslim)
    This hadith indicates the age of 15 is the legal age
    for a Muslim boy or girl to be responsible for his or
    her religion as well as worldly responsibilities. :

    http://www.contactpakistan.com/Communitylibrary/Islam/Ramadan/mandatory.htm

    So yeah, I believe people like Daniel Pipes, who purposely promote lies, bigotry, and racism to promote Israel’s right to self-determination and defense would do better if they all made aliyah, grabbed a gun, and joined the IDF. I’m willing to attack anyone who promotes this divisive racist nonsense. It only breaks my heart to see so “many” Jewish people falling for this crap.

  • Okay, you got me there. Both him and his dad are attention whores, and neither can help not shutting their mouths and showing themselves as morons when the camera is on them.

    Hillary’s co-chair isn’t that much better in “Hurricane” Sheila Jackon-Lee.

  • Would you please stop calling people that take a stand opposing yours “paranoid” and “neurotic”? Paranoia and neurosis are serious medical conditions, not necessarily initiated by the person affected with either.

  • Froylein, don’t worry too much about boogieman, he seems to have a little agenda here. It’s weird that this is the second Obama supporter to come here and go on the attack like this. I’m assuming there are little messengers of this sort in all sorts of Internet forums and the mission is to “help” people see Obama as a victim while they attack his supposed detractors in the most aggressive terms.

    Boogieman, once again I don’t buy the accusation that “many” Jews are disseminating or buying “racist and bigoted slander” regarding anybody, much less Obama. There have been some emails circulating that complain that his views are not Israel-friendly and pointing out that his church’s minister has made some pretty unpleasant claims. Neither position is racist or bigoted and Obama’s being black does not mean that criticism of his views is racist or bigoted. This remains an unsupported claim of yours and it is tiresome. We also can’t know the source of the emails and whether they reflect a large movement among Jews or a relatively small one. As I note in this post, in my circles, this topic rarely if ever comes up. So far, your “evidence” has been an anonymous one-topic blog and a Daniel Pipes article that isn’t bigoted or racist.

    As to Pipes, he is far from the only person to discuss the possibility of Obama having been a Muslim as a child. The story got legs from articles in right wing papers months ago. Even John Kerry, the former Democratic nominee for President brought it up when he endorsed Obama. In other words, your focus on Pipes merely because he’s Jewish may be relevant to our site and this discussion but is far from being important in the many other mainstream discussions about Obama’s religious roots. In fact, Pipes is discussing a story in the LA Times, parts of which are then disputed by the Chicago Tribune. So this topic is mainstream and has little to do with “many” Jews or with racist slander.

    Now, I fail to understand the problem. Are you suggesting that bringing up that Obama has Muslim roots is bigotry or slander? I don’t think so. Obama himself has said that if it were his faith, he’d speak openly about it.

    I don’t feel strongly about Pipes one way or the other, but he is not a person who “purposely promotes lies, bigotry, and racism to promote Israel’s right to self-determination and defense.” Pipes is also not “well known for is bigotry and anti-Islamic views” other than in circles that have fairly extreme views themselves. When we showed a video clip of the demonstration by the Muslim Students Association at UC Irvine walking out on a talk that Pipes was giving, it was fairly clear who the haters were and who the civil speaker was. In fact, you can compare him any day to the typical speakers the UC Irvine MSA brings out regularly and Pipes will shine like a beacon of goodwill among all religions, including Islam, in comparison.

    Pipes is well known for speaking critically of extremist forms of Islam. Apparently, he is, literally, a scholar of Islam and is critical of certain elements of Islam Considering the current war against the West being waged by certain Islamists, I fail to see what your problem is with that. Let me guess, 9/11 was perpetrated by the Mossad…

    So let’s stop with Pipes because he’s another straw man of yours. He’s one person and isn’t representative of “many” Jews. The vast majority of Jews are going to vote Democratic and right now they are split between Hillary and Obama with a fairly good chance that they will vote for whoever wins the final nomination. I don’t see people “falling for this divisive racist nonsense” or “‘many’ jewish people falling for this crap.” Quite the opposite.

  • “The vast majority of Jews are going to vote Democratic and right now they are split between Hillary and Obama with a fairly good chance that they will vote for whoever wins the final nomination. I don’t see people “falling for this divisive racist nonsense” or “‘many’ jewish people falling for this crap.” Quite the opposite.”

    I’ll be edundant and once again bring up the comparison of the Jewish view of Obama with Keith Ellison’s campaign. Ellison ran in a heavily Democratic district against a Conservative Jewish Republican and a pro-business/socially liberal woman Independent with two first names (who I’ve met and who I think would have made a fine congressperson).

    The district is heavily Democratic and has the biggest Jewish demographic in the state (and includes the largest concentration of Orthodox Jews in the state). Ellison won hands down. The woman Independent showed respectively. The Jewish Republican came in a distant third. It’s like TM said above – and Obama, unlike Ellison, isn’t Muslim.

    Also, Obama, at his Minneapolis rally early on in his address, thanked his two biggest supporters from the business community (if I remember correctly the only non-politicians he thanked) – both Jewish and staunch Democrats and supporters of Israel. If anything, the old Democratic voting base is stronger than ever. Let’s see what they’re going to do to screw it up.

  • Hey Boogieman, I’m interested to know whom these “many Jews” are who demonstrate “the neurosis, paranoia, and outright bigotry” towards Obama?

    So, if I told you I cant stand Obama’s overall socialist, naive, and unrealistic message, can I get on your list?

  • TM – do you see the possibility of a drastic redrawing of borders in a final agreement – which, maybe in the end, would be closer in reflecting (not in total land, but so-called “right of return issues”) that would satisfy more West Bank land for settlers, less “Israel proper” land for Jews? Could the Haaretz article be an indication of that?

    In other words (and from what I’ve seen in some proposals), to satisfy the “right of return” issues, would Israel be willing to cede certain parts of the post ’67 borders in order to maintain settler presence in the West Bank?

    Just a question.

  • Do you guys ever go to sleep?
    I’m off to work in an hour, but my time zone is CET.

    Oh, and Middle, I’m not too much worried about that campaigner, but I’m worried about the thoughtless use of adjectives that describe serious medical conditions many people are painfully affected by.

  • Yes Froylein, I sleep… although it’s usually in Spiderman thermal underwear… which some women in certain climates find attractive… i don’t but…

    Would one of those painful medical conditions be called OCD?

  • Ramon, it’s funny you should bring that up in a discussion about Obama. His Middle East adviser, Robert Malley, together with his writing partner, Hussein Agha (a Palestinian), wrote an essay in 2002 in Foreign Affairs magazine where they essentially proposed what Avigdor Lieberman would propose a bit later – the handing off of the Arabs who live in the “Triangle,” including the land upon which they live, which is the Galillee just north of the West Bank, to the new Palestinian state in return for some percentage of land within the West Bank that would be retained by Israel.

    Nobody can figure out quite how to do this, but I think it’s a compelling idea in light of recent publications by Adalah which suggest that Israeli Arabs are just a few years away from seeking autonomy of sorts within Israel because they appear to reject almost every aspect of the political entity as it exists today.

    Another copy of the article (shortened a bit, I think) resides here.

  • Thanks for the Haaretz link, Middle. I must say I’m pretty taken aback by the article. Surely some of the Israeli Arab opinion cited is fairly marginal, at least for now. Even if it is representative of a trend, I don’t see why ceding territory is an answer. Perhaps some/all Israeli Arabs could be included within an offer to resettle Jews and Arabs dissatisfied with whatever final borders emerge from a peace deal.

    Or, alternatively, portions of Israel could be given Kosovo-style semi-autonomy within Israeli state sovereignty. If Milosevic hadn’t abrogated Kosovo’s semi-autonomous status, Kosovo may have remained restive, but it remain part of Serbia today. No one, after all, will support independence in the (admittedly more ethically mixed) Vojvodina.

    In any event, I hope Israel doesn’t find itself hoist on the petard of failing to reflect fully in its laws and civic life its character as a multi-ethnic state. As I’ve written here before, Latvia is the state of Latvian people, but it has substantial numbers of ethnic Russians with a different history, language and religion, who aren’t going back where they came from and who should receive equal treatment. If some Latvian Russians, or Israeli Arabs, want to leave, that’s a different question. Domestic policy should strive to reflect the equality of all people living within state borders.

  • Ramon, I’ll settle for a pic of you in Spiderman thermal underwear. I’m not sure about Spiderman (got to look that one up), but Superman was created by two Jewish boys. I’m not quite sure whether I’ll get the other folks to share what outfit they sleep in.

  • ramon sports this neat little pinstipe number with the word ‘Santana’ on the back. Just when you’re looking for the yakker he gives you the express.

  • When Hilary is defeated in TX what will you do? I’m not saying who I am for – but the writing is on the walls. Obamamania is the hottest thing since beanie babies.

    Will you vote McCain?

  • You’re asking me? I’m a good Jewish single-issue voter. I’m writing in Lieberman. Always was. 🙂

  • If you’re asking me, I haven’t decided what to do. I’m astounded that Hillary actually may lose. In Wisconsin, the exit polls showed that the economy was the uppermost issue for voters and the majority of those who expressed this concern voted for Obama. Wtf? What the hell has he done in his career or life that would indicate that he’s a strong candidate for dealing with a challenging economy? At this point, there seems to be a herd following this man, but to me Obama seems to offer fluff without substance.

    Then again, after the past 8 years, I can’t begin to imagine another Republican administration even if Moses was their candidate. And he’s not.

  • What experience with the national economy did Reagan, Carter, little Bush and Clinton have? This is the first election in decades that will pit two candidates who have served in U.S. Congress.

    Why have governors been so successful against senators? Maybe Obama’s lack of experience, his ability to distance himself from the old school of Washington wheeling and dealing is what makes him more viable. Lack of experience can also be perceived as being free from preconceived, partisan methods of getting things done. Not to mention, having little record to stand on also means having little negative record to stand on.

    I was shocked at Carter, baffled at Reagan, a little surprised at Clinton, and “oh duh, of course” at two terms of Bush.

  • Ramon, you’re old enough to remember Carter’s election?

    I read some commentary over here the other day that whatever Republican candidate makes the run for Presidential candidacy, Obama will have a much harder time getting votes among the general population than Clinton would. Besides, I’ll agree with Middle there, substantiality in Obama’s political visions still leaves much to be desired (going by European standards). Emphasizing the importance of new media and freedom of speech is pretty banal: the former, since he would not emphasize their importance if he were as familiar with them as the demographic he hopes to address by that – he’d take them for granted and knew about and more likely address their fairly easy manipulatibility; the latter because freedom of speech is granted in the US Constitution / Bill of Rights, and it should go without saying that a President abides by the most fundamental body of laws the US has got.

  • froylein – yes I am old enough to remember Carter’s election. Damn my good memories. But I’m constantly told age doesn’t matter.

    Let’s just say I’m daddy’s Jewilicious. 🙂 Think a hot Warren Beatty. Then dont’ think of me.

  • Warren Beatty? That’s rather my grandma’s generation… Whether age matters or not depends on the situation and the society, methinkth. 🙂

  • ramon was Warren Beatty’s body double in ‘Shampoo’, froylein. He remembers Carter, and Larry Hisle and Lyman Bostock, too.

    Funny that our newbie MA governor, Deval Patrick, is at the heart of the raging Great Plagiarism Scandal. Patrick, Barack’s national co-chair, is an interesting point of comparison: same rhetorical uplift and style rooted in the black church; promises of change in a vaguely progressive direction. Deval’s been a disappointment, even a bust, so far, however: he’s had precious few substantive policy ideas– apart from aggressively promoting casino gambling as a way out of the Commonwealth’s fiscal mess.

    Marty Peretz analyzes the Patrick connection on the New Republic website.

    I’m going to try to keep an open mind this year. I have to believe that Barack will become more specific this fall. One of Hillary’s signal failures has been her inability to smoke Barack out on his views. For example, she’s had a huge opening on national security, where she’s worked hard to build expertise, but hasn’t held Obama’s feet to the fire on terrorism, Pakistan, Russia, Israel/Palestine, Iran etc.

    McCain’s done more in about a week to go after Barack (on substance) than Hillary’s done in ten months.

  • Tom, I think Hillary found herself hamstrung on security because of Obama’s “no” vote on Iraq. Don’t forget they’re going after the Democratic base here, which means quite a few voters on the Left. Obama pilloried her (and continues to do so) for the “error” of her Iraq vote. By doing so, he neutralized and neutralizes her ability to attack him on this issue. All he has to do (and does) is point out her “mistake” with Iraq.

    Many of the advantages he gets by being her opponent in a Democratic primary will disappear in a national election against McCain and the Republican attack machine. Even the goodwill advantage he automatically gains from the media over Hillary will disappear.

  • I was also Woody Allen’s body double in “Annie Hall”.

    Tom – I do remember Lyman Bostock. I think if we didn’t have a cheap, racist owner at the time and kept him and Carew. If he wasn’t murdered he would have been a star.

    TM – don’t you get the feeling there’s going to be a newly energized and vicious (re: Republican-style) Democratic attack machine this election? McCain does have a long voting record full of inconsistencies and flip-flops that the Dems can easily exploit – which neither Reagan nor Bush had and which made it harder for the Dems to attack them on issues. Which goes back to my point about the lack of success of federal-level politicians in previous elections.

  • Well, if Obama is half as good at attacking McCain as he is at going after Hillary, then we’ll have a real contest. I just think he’s vulnerable in ways she’s not and some natural advantages he wields in a Democratic primary won’t extend to a national campaign.

  • I agree TM except for the last part of your comment. Here’s my argument for Obama vs. McCain:

    Natural advantages. Besides his speechmaking, he’s got plenty for a national campaign. In fact, I feel they’re more suited for a general election than the primaries. I know you’ve heard the Kennedy analogy too much, but it’s not to be scoffed at. Obama’s physical presence, how he makes sure to look you in the eye when he shakes you hand, how much better tailored his suits are – I’m not saying Clinton couldn’t do it well, but to me Obama makes McCain look even older and frumpier.

    After the conventions, when the two candidates feel free to ignore their voting base and go after Independents and Undecideds, Obama’s ability to channel Kennedy’s confident strength with Clintons’ ease in connecting with voters will sway the Independents – who (unlike Undecideds IMHO) don’t like being talked down to or told what to think (which makes Obama’s health plan, for example, more palatable to Independents).

    In Obama’s standard speech, he makes a big (although it felt a bit disingenuous) point of speaking for the disaffected Republicans and Independents, something Clinton doesn’t seem to want to do. It’s a shtick that will serve Obama well in the general election as McCain struggles to soundbite his for-the-war-against-the-way-it-was-waged logic.

    As far as the Republican dirty trix machine, it’s exactly how Obama is going after Clinton that inspires my confidence in him. Kerry laid down like a dog when he got Swift Boated. I’m not saying Clinton would. But your point about Obama going after Clinton hard is a good one. At the moment she’s in Cincy blowing up over a little Obama dirty trick. What’s she going to do when it really gets dirty in the general election? Bush did the same thing to McCain eight years ago and McCain didn’t publicly lose it like Clinton sometimes seems to.

    As usual, it will come down to the televised debates. Eight, or even four years ago McCain would’ve held his own against an Obama but now either Obama or Clinton should best McCain on TV. I give Obama the edge over Clinton. I hate to say it, but it wouldn’t hurt for the Dem nominee to have a little Reagan-style in him.

    IMHO

  • Interesting points about Obama’s prospects versus McCain. Of course, Obama has the vices of his virtues: lack of a paper trail, but lack of a record; opposition to the war, but weighed down by the success of the surge and the growing prospect that Iraq may meet the Democrats’ benchmarks for political progress.

    If you’re McCain, you’re going to play Truman to Obama’s Dewey. The former NY governor had immaculately tailored suits and a genteel manner, too, but Truman’s street fighting won the day. McCain is well advised to stay unvarnished, at the risk of periodic gaffes, but to tell the public what it needs to hear.

    Obama’s no doubt a formidable candidate, but press scrutiny (and boredom) will kick in eventually. I think the biggest risk to his prospects is an unforeseen development internationally, or perhaps a terror attack at home. The latter should highlight McCain’s strengths. Fundamentally, the US public is tired of the war on terror, tired of Iraq, sullen and indifferent about Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and the rest of the country’s foreign policy challenges. Obama flatters these attitudes by largely ignoring national security.

  • Thanks, froylein, but one of the benefits of being American is that nothing really, really, really bad happens (contrast German history of the 20th C.). Besides, I doubt Middle, ramon et al. could deal with asylum in the good ol’ land of poets and thinkers. As a gentile and all, I figure I could– until the cuisine kills me, anyway….

  • Be not afraid, Tom, “stereotypical” German food is just Bavarian stuff. Cooking’s pretty international here, and you also get really sophisticated German dishes. In the garden we could grill as my lil bro and I built a fire / grilling site there two years ago. Middle could be wearing a mask, and Ramon could be wearing his Spiderman thermal underwear. I’d take out one of my guitars, and we could have our own little festival.

  • No blood sausage for me, but I love to stare stupidly at food cooking on the grill (i must be a latent pyro). I somehow don’t associate the guitar with German music. Do you know any Brazilian stuff?

    We’d put Middle to work agitating for Turkish rights, and hook up ramon with the local branch of the SPD.

  • WOW!!!As a sixty year old African American woman I just left a message how outraged I am about Gov. Don Siegelman’s plight and I plan to organize and have all my friends rally around the Gov. and do whatever we can to help in his fight. I’m happy we aren’t as narrow minded as most of your bloggers’ about Obama. I have visited his church which is not racist or anti-semitic. He has never agreed with or condoned Farakhan.
    Please stop painting him with a broad brush and practice what you preach.

  • “I’d take out one of my guitars, and we could have our own little festival.”

    How many guitars you got there, froylein?

    Evelyn – Many of us here are in agreement with you. It does help to pull some of the quotes of commenters who are “Painting him with a broad brush” so we can respond in better context.

    Tom – very interesting, the comparison to the Truman/Dewey election. Now I’m going to have to pull out Eisenhower/Stevenson… if I can remember that far back. 🙂 Explain a little more the specific comparison between (the situations) of McCain and Truman. I don’t see McCain as much the dark horse Truman was. For some reason I see Bush/Gore more like Truman/Dewey. If only for the wrong call.

    You think Moss is a Pat next year?

  • Tom, blood sausage compares to the Scottish black pudding. It doesn’t get grilled. Many sausages (franks etc.) are made for boiling / simmering / steaming and are not suitable for grilling or frying as they produce high levels of nitrosamine then; there are special grill sausages made, but you also get steaks of all kinds, chicken varieties, turkey’s been catching on, ostrich, kangaroo – you name it. Fish and veggies, too.

    Ramon, I’ve got four guitars, five if you count in the one my sis has never returned.

  • ramon, the Pats didn’t franchise Moss (which I gather would’ve meant one more year guaranteed in a Pats uni), but rumor has it that they’re engaged in long-term contract talks. Randy’s exciting, but he did come up a tad short in the playoffs. Put a body on him and he’s not the same player.

    Psyched about the Twinks? You know, when I heard about Garza for Delmon Young, for the first time in ten years I thought to myself, ‘that’s a good trade for the Devil Rays.’ (Delmon will be a hell of a player if he stays out of jail. He’ll hit 35 HR in his sleep.)

    The Truman analogy looks best if McCain goes in as a heavy underdog, and I’m not sure that will happen. Certainly Obama’s the favorite– he has to be, right? The analogy’s also a bit flawed in that Dewey was famous for floating above the fray, declining to respond to negative attacks, and taking victory as a given. Maybe the best analogy is Ali-Frazier. McCain will stay right in front of Obama and pound away, that much is certain.

    Hey evelyn, we’re not all out to paint Obama as some sort of NOI kook, don’t worry.

    froylein, if I adopted a German diet, my arteries would clog in less than a week. How do y’all do it?

  • Tom, easy thing: eating out is reserved for special occasions, take-out lunch’s still considered more or less sleazy or symptomatic of single student life. Cooking fresh daily is common. The main meal is lunch, and usually contains protein (meat, fish), carbs & fibre (potatoes, noodles, rice) vitamins and fibre (salad, veggies). Bread’s usually wholemeal or a wholemeal mix. Bread bought at bakeries is, on average, three times as high in fibre as factory produced bread, hence the saying, “Bakers’ bread makes cheeks red.” Mineral water is the common beverage accompanying meals. (We’ve got lots of sources here. What people over there call “seltzer” strictly speaking only refers to mineral water from the source of Selters on the Lahn River. Mineral water is subject to strict supervision and may only be bottled on the spot of its source as oppose to table water, which refers to blends. I saw you can get Gerolsteiner at a few supermarkets in NYC; it’s one of my favourites taste-wise.) And we’re happy eaters. Worrying too much about your food can be counterproductive. Oh, and table manners matter. And most families still hold common meals. Disposable dishes are for picnics and teenagers’ parties.

  • That’s true about Americans– we’re worried eaters. (Actually, that was going to be my contribution to ‘what Jews like’: worrying, which Jews seem to do more of, per capita, than anyone else.) But when it comes to food… well, we Americans have issues with pleasure in general. If it feels good, there’s got to be something wrong with it.

  • Oh, as to the music, indeed, there’s German folk music that involves guitars; unfortunately, pseudo-Bavarian pseudo-folk music often presents itself as German folk music, while there are lots of fantastic old ballads and political songs. I’ll give you a few vids…

    [Update:] I’ve removed the videos, so this thread won’t take so long to load.

  • Tom – I’m not psyched about anything sports-wise in this town. Decided to re-read Jane Leavy’s bio on Sandy Koufax instead of hoping for anything good here.

  • Koufax just visited Mets camp last weekend. I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall when he chatted with Pedro. (Then again, what does Koufax know about cockfighting?)

  • Oh, and not that anyone asked– but Hillary’s got to come out at tonight’s debate and be very, very tough on Obama. (Yes, even if the crowd boos, as it did last time.) She’s got to show some tenacity, not the defeatist attitude of the last debate. She’s gotten better these last few days. If you support her, you need her to show real determination to win next Tuesday and beyond.

  • “Is Worldnetdaily a reliable source of information?”

    I don’t know, but this is what Ali Abunimah, founder of the “The Electronic Intifada” website had to say:

    http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6619.shtml

    “The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.

    As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, “Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.” He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, “Keep up the good work!”

    But Obama’s gradual shift into the AIPAC camp had begun as early as 2002 as he planned his move from small time Illinois politics to the national scene. In 2003, Forward reported on how he had “been courting the pro-Israel constituency.”

  • As we begin to hear more about Senator Obamas’ past lives, his complex relationships with shady land deals, the Pastor that “inspires” him who is in turn inspired by Islamic extremists like farrkhan, and now revealed meetings by these supporters with the PLO, I will tell you what I have finally said to others today. While there are those who would ridicule my position, they are those who cannot fully comprehend its’ basis:

    “”To all:
    I have remained publicly silent most of my life. I am the immigrant daughter of my father–a Holocaust survivor. My childhood was grim with graphic personal accounts and photos of what happened to my family, my country, and my life is forever altered. As others may tell you, the children of many survivors were exposed to the horrors of what happened so that we, as a people, never forget. So that through us, we carry the words to the future generations…”Never again!”

    I say to you and all who might listen now…the German people were much discontented, their economy broken with great unemployment…and then one man, clever at assessing the nature and needs of the human condition, arose from relative obscurity and rallied the people together. He was mezmorising, Svengali-like, and promised the hysterical cheering masses ‘Follow me…I am the only one who can restore our glory, who knows your misery, and only I can take away all your troubles…follow me’
    More than 6 million paid the price.

    The lack of sufficient probing into the intricacies of the Senators’ past lives (for he presents himself as many things to many people depending on his location) and of his relationships with those known to wish us genocide, is a frightening pool of possibilities. What little we know is like an iceberg. The obvious yet distant threat should cause us to turn back, for it is what is below the surface which we do not see until we are upon it and it is too late that we know the full extent of our peril. When we will learn? Are we so hungry for our Messiah, that are willing to follow blindly the poetic eloquence without substance of this man who would be President?

    When there are other choices to lead this country whose lives are well known to us, it is an unnecessary and potentially dangerous risk.

    I am glad my parents are not here now…to live again through the fear of what the world knows is happening, and yet says nothing, would be too much to bear.

    The world may forget. I can not, I will not…and I hope neither will you.”

  • Gravin, excellent letter! I fully relate to what you are saying, and express the same fears as you do in this letter. Let’s hope people do due dilligence before voting for someone we don’t know much about… Let’s not just listen to his pretty words, but dig deeper and make sure they are not just empty promises, conveniently invoked to get him installed in the White House. The stakes are too high to be ignored!!!

  • Except for one thing. Hitler was very very clear about his intentions many yeas before he rose to power. The analogy is both offensive and ridiculous. I’m not supporting Obama because I don’t like his platform, his policies on health care, his not voting on crucial issues and his lack of experience. I don’t buy that Kennedy meets MLK Jr. thing he is trying to pull off and his speeches are nonsense.

    Comparing Obama to Hitler is, forgive me, totally retarded. TOTALLY RETARDED!!

    Anyhow, it don’t matter. Looks like all the internicine fighting in the Democratic Party accomplished one thing – McCain is now ahead of both Hillary and Obama. Good job dumbasses.

  • Gabi, there are no promises, “empty” or otherwise, which is the beauty of the strategy.

  • Let me clarify: we are NOT comparing Obama to Hitler here. I think Gavin’s point (and maybe I should let her defend it), is that we should be circumspect of such utterly “inspiring”, “messianic” political figures, that history has proven CAN be bad news. That we should vet everyone, regardless of how charismatic and gifted they may be as speakers — in other words, resist getting carried away by form, and carefully evaluate the substance.
    The analogy only carries as far as HOW Hitler came to power (his ability to rally the masses), not WHAT he stood for. The fervor, the quest for hope, the trandescental, messianic quality of Obama’s campaign just make me a little uncomfortable and skeptical, that’s all.

  • Yeah. Farrakhan is (bad) enough. Very damaging even if it reveals how easily we can all fall prey to associative links that are not necessarily all that penetrating.

    Personally I was logically satisfied with the answer and consider Russert’s approach a “when did you stop beating your wife?” type of question. It’s not like the Black community has historically been as big and as powerful as the white majority when it comes to a need to prove that we/they are ideologically unsatisfied until we’ve smashed the rhetorical extremists and separatists in our midst into little tiny bits. And I felt that he had done all that he should have logically been expected to do, in addition to emphasizing the future and the more important task of rebuilding Black-Jewish relations. But there is an associative and not necessarily rational fall-out today that I’m finding a bit harder to shake off.

    And I’m not making this into a Hillary versus Obama thing, because I appreciate her largesse in moving him to the stronger position during the course of the debate last night no less, but that Indepence party comparison I heard is somewhat bogus in that she is said to have first solicited their support – before rejecting it upon finding out some of the unsavory details she mentioned about them. Obama is not alleged to have ever solicited Farrakhan’s support.

  • I wonder if Gabi and Gavin might be speaking from a European perspective, as vague (although it’s true what Hitler was NOT very vague about), powerful, unifying rhetoric might have a history in American political speech for which other parts of the world might lack a less nefarious equivalent.

  • It’s his vagueness combined with lack of experience (on one hand), and the supporters’ frenzy and willingness to overlook these facts for the sake of his “mantras” (on the other hand), that make me somewhat uneasy and skeptical. Also, his past associations with pro-PLO figures like Khalidi and then sudden position shift to a pro-Israel stance right before running for senate in 2002, make me even more suspicious.
    Here are a couple of (I think) good and balanced analyses from two reputable sources (NY Times and The Economist), that I suggest everyone reads:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/opinion/19brooks.html?scp=3&sq=brooks&st=nyt

    https://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10689547

  • I’m in full agreement with Gabi and Gravin with the exception that I don’t equate Obama with Hitler. Maybe with that idiot who ran against Sarkozy recently, but not Hitler. I also love to see some atypical Jewish opinions in here, as this blog has been in desperate need of that for years. Maybe promoting one of your “European perspective” Jewish commentors to the role of a blogger so that the outside eyes looking in can truly see that we are not a monolith at all.

    But I agree with CK also…. dumbasses. But that’s what you get when the last two of your contenders left in the race are simply ideological cardboard cutouts. When I see them debating I think of them as pale ghosts with overlayed text that says… “Insert African-American here.” and “Insert Ball Breaking Woman here.” Good luck with that.

    Don’t get me wrong, McCain wasn’t anywhere near my first choice neither. Like usual, I’ll be voting against someone rather than for…

  • Alex, if the only difference you see between Obama and Clinton are an African American and a “Ball Breaking Woman” then what’s the point in valuing the perspective of “outside eyes” on this blog? I fail to see how Obama’s experiences living and learning amongst many other different sorts of cultures than Clinton’s ever incorporated into her understanding of the world is not a meaningful distinction.

    Again, much of the differences between them come down to approach and the respective breadth of their perspectives politically.

    TM, Obama had probably better get an astonishingly hawkish running mate right about now.

  • The following is a good analysis of who some of Obama’s advisors are:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/02/samantha_power_and_obamas_fore_1.html

    Also from this publication, but a different article (“Senator Obama’s Coming Out Party in Cleveland”):

    “Ralph Nader claims that Senator Obama is too pro-Israel these days and remarked that the Senator was pro-Palestinian for years before he began his campaign for higher office. While some may view this as a reflection of Senator Obama’s evolving views (certainly his supporters will), others might question the coincidence of changing his views when he sought to garner support for his campaign.”

    As I was saying…

  • Liberal Jews brought this upon themselves with their left-wing zeal. They never woke to the fact that anti-Semitic sentiment is well-tolerated by the DEM party & that their modern day fascist buds at move.on & Berkeley wouldn’t hesitate to throw them into self-cleaning ovens.

  • Montana,

    Obama may be more “worldly” than Clinton. (Trust me, I have had personal delight in watching her flaming ship of a campaign go down). I’ve enjoyed his campaign tactics far more than Obama and I think he should revel in the fact that he didn’t go as low as her and still beat her.

    However, that means little to me, Billy Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and all that meant was that he was better at kissing Arafat’s ass than Bush is at kissing Saudi hands. I’m not in the market for an internationalist/socialist/populist. I’m in the market for a proud American with experience and a realistic view and understanding of the imperfect world we live in. Someone that doesn’t want to talk to our enemies unless he has to say “see, I told you so.” I’m still waiting for Messiah if you know what I mean.

  • Well, as I might have said elsewhere, telling Palestinians in Ramallah that they can fuggedahbout American involvement on their behalf until they come around, shows more resolve than shunning them and lobbing the same sort of verbal grenade from across the ocean. Ditto with what Obama told the Big Three in Detroit. On their home turf. I grew up in Detroit. I can’t remember another politician ever having the balls to tell Chrysler, GM and Ford something so obvious, and in regards to behavior that had been so obviously detrimental to: Detroit, the country, the political process, the economy and themselves.

    Talking to someone sometimes means you can give them a piece of your mind in a way that more effectively strengthens your own position than shunning can, if you get my drift. Not always, but certainly as a matter of principle, it can be so.

    And I think growing up in a country or spending one’s very formitive years there might make them more realistic about the understandings they pick up on, than if they travel abroad once they’re a hopelessly idealistic college student, suddenly convinced of the success that will inevitably become of their pompously self-righteous claim to changing the world. Just my two cents, of course.

  • Thank you, Xcite. This website is a valuable source of information, and should be publicized to all people supporters of Obama.

  • Today’s teorrorist attack in Jerusalem made all of us sad!
    After the attack, Mr. John Mccain and Mrs. clinton press released and condemnted the attacks! But NOT Obama yet!
    I will tell you, obama will be the worst thing ever can happen to Israel and Jewish people!
    Reaosn is simple! With Obama presidency, since he has a muslim father, sep father, muslim middle name and muslim supporters like farakhan, Rezko and Muslim nations, and the most important he will talk to Iran and be open to every enemy and be very liberal, All those facts will provoke the terrorists , Iran will find the currage to try to take over Israel, syria will increase terroist attacks in the middle East! Than what wil happen? Obama will backfire and retaliate, Than what will happen ? AlQaida will attack USA big time !
    Iran, Syria, hamas will attack Israel!
    Obama is an extreme danger for the Middle East and the United States not because he is a bad person but he has the wrong ties and supporters to begin with!
    VOTE HILLARY OR MCCAIN
    NOBAMA NOWAY!

  • Hey Evelyn, this is a long, long shot, but you’re not the same Evelyn Smith that recorded a single for Magic Touch, are you?

Leave a Comment