I know… not what you’d expect right? But here it is – Rabbi Menachem Frohman, one of the founders of the Zionist settler movement in Israel and the Chief Rabbi of the settlement of Tekoa stating that he believes Barack Obama is the only hope for peace in the Middle East…





 

PS: For those of you who do not read comments, please note that this was not posted as an endorsement of Obama. While the Rabbi in question is a settler – he lives in a settlement and is their Chief Rabbi, he is politically atypical in that he has met with Hamas members including Sheik Yassin the founder of Hamas and espouses political views that are extremely atypical of most settlers. OK? Now go read the comments.

After the bump, the full text of his open letter to the Democratic Presidential candidate:

With God’s Help

To the person who, with God’s help, will be the next President of the United States of America:

Dear Senator Barack Obama,

“May the Lord bless you from Zion, and may you gaze upon the goodness of Jerusalem all the days of your life.”

This letter from an elder Jewish Rabbi who lives in close proximity to Jerusalem, addressed to the young candidate for President of the United States, may be considered irregular and even reckless. With that said, the Creator of the Universe, blessed be He, granted us, with His grace, the privilege to live in a reckless world. Our grandmothers, from all nations and traditions, used to say that miracles are the fingerprints of the Creator in His creation. The fingers of the Divine hand are outstretched to us in peace. The American Dream that you speak of, about everyone fulfilling all their opportunities, is the manifestation of realizing God’s ability to make miracles for everyone in the world.

It is a fact that miracles happen in the world. To attest to that is this very letter that is being sent from a Rabbi, living in proximity to Jerusalem, to the candidate for President in order to discuss the question: Can the greatest miracle of all take place; can Barack Obama be elected President in less than two months time? This letter comes to let you know that I pray and await this very miracle because we need change.

Jerusalem awaits Barack Obama. The Holy land awaits Barack Obama. The Middle East awaits Barack Obama. The whole world awaits Barack Obama. Your being elected will be God’s outstretched hand for peace.

Not only America says ‘Enough’ along with you, the entire world says ‘Enough’. Not only the American soldiers in Iraq say ‘Enough’ along with you, but also the Israelis and the Palestinians say ‘Enough’. No more War! Also the Middle East needs change and the realization of new opportunities.

Realizing new opportunities in the Middle East is in fact the realization of new opportunities in the United states and around the world. Peace in Jerusalem and in the Holy Land is the key to peace in Baghdad, Afghanistan and the whole world. The Israelis and the Palestinians are two small nations, but there is a possibility that they will be the ones to build the bridge between Western Civilization and the Islamic world. Enough with words and promises about peace in the Middle East, it’s time for realization.

It is not enough to use new words or make new promises in order to achieve realization, what is needed is depth and seriousness. I am writing to you in order to reveal to you the depth of my heart. For me, the concept of God coincides with the concepts of depth and seriousness. The practical applications of being a believer are to be deep and serious. In order to be an instrument of God’s will, one has to be deep and serious. In order to implement the greatest miracle of all – the revelation of the will of God, God’s help is needed.

In our world, depth and seriousness are sometimes revealed by wisdom gained by years of experience. This is the reason that in Hebrew (and in Arabic) the Rabbi or the religious leader is called an Elder. That having been said, the Creator in His grace gave us the privilege to live in a wondrous world that also has other possibilities. Sometimes, the young gain not only the energy of the youth, but also the blessings of the Elders. That very blessing of the Elders is what helps the young realize the greatest miracle of all.

What can I do to help realize this great miracle? Three weeks ago I initiated the filming of a video, filmed in the Holy Land in which I, as a Rabbi expressed my awaiting Barack Obama in the Holy Land.

If the U.S.A. will choose the deep and serious meaning of the American Vision that will be a message of hope for everyone around the world.

We are waiting because on November 4 there is a new opportunity that everyone in the world in his home, or in his little village will get new opportunities for his life directly from America.

I will continue to pray for the greatest miracle of all. I believe that the proper words to express my prayer are ‘Lord, Help me guard against Pride and Despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.’

Sincerely,

Rabbi Menachem Froman

Chief Rabbi of Tekoa

source: marcgopin.com with a hat tip to Dede and Yaakov

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About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

131 Comments

  • That’s why we have an unmoderated comment section JIDF. But that’s just a photo. Feel free to expand on that, eh? Shabbat Shalom!

  • This blog gets worse every day. I’m convinced that as Democrats would rather lose a war to win an election, American Jews would rather give away Jerusalem than their loyalty to Democrats. It’s pathetic. For a smart American Jew’s take on The One, I suggest you read Mere Rhetoric. Here’s a snippet from today’s post:

    ——

    * The leader of Hamas, Ahmed Yousef, expressed support for Obama and hoped for Obama’s victory – true. * Obama’s political advisors are “pro-Palestinian” – true. They also have a habit of popping up in places like Syria, where they do things like promise Assad that the US will work to push Israel into a land-for-peace swap. * Obama once said “the Palestinians have suffered the most” – the quote was actually “nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people”, but true * The president of Iran also “endorsed Obama” – true. * Obama “supported a united Jerusalem and then switched his opinion and believed in a divided Jerusalem” – true. Which makes sense when you consider that his foreign policy advisers think Israel needs to put Jerusalem on the table. * Jimmy Carter’s “anti-Israel national security adviser is one of Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers” – true. After the jump, all of the also demonstrably true Obama endorsements that these pollsters didn’t even have time to get to.

    Apparently there are so many anti-Semites surrounding Obama that push-pollers aren’t even bringing up that viciously anti-Semitic preacher who the mainstream media has decided isn’t an issue. And they also apparently ran out of time before they could bring up the warm words and/or explicit endorsements from Farrakhan and from Assad’s regime and from Ali Abunimah and from Hamas-supporting Gazans in general and from George Galloway and – most recently – from one Patrick Buchanan:

    Buchanan said on MSNBC: Let me say about Israel here. My position on Israel is frankly awful. It is like Mika [Brzezinski]’s father’s, it’s a lot closer to Barack Obama’s than it is John McCain. This is quite a boomerang in the side of the head for Congressman Robert Wexler who was out earlier accusing Sarah Palin of supporting the “Nazi sympathizer” Buchanan.

    Now in fairness, the stuff about the PLO is probably only partially true. As near as anyone can tell, Obama merely funneled cash to a PLO-linked anti-Israel organization run by a PLO-linked terrorist sympathizer with whom Obama seems strikingly well-acquainted. So there’s that.

  • Well, you know. Obama secretly hates America. If he gets to the White House, he’ll take off his mask and nuke Israel. He already said so in speeches. And, and, he said he’ll ban Hebrew and make Arabic the official language of the US. He said so. Uh-huh.

  • Ben,

    First of all, there is no secret about the Obamas’ disdain for contemporary America, but the rest of your assumed “Republican talking points” are so ridiculous that it makes you look dumb for possibly thinking others believe this drek. You could of at least tried to be funny but you failed at that too.

  • Of course, American Jews never actually deal with the accusations posted above and would rather attack the messenger or launch an attack on his opponent. If you want to prove how Obama is a good choice for Americans and especially American Jews to vote for, start with refuting the points posted at Mererhetoric.com:

    http://www.mererhetoric.com/archives/11274867.html

    Until you do, I assume you agree with them.

  • Y’know Ben, I wouldn’t put it past him, considering the church he attended for over 20 years (which printed Hamas material and honored the antisemite Louis Farrakhan,) his terrorist ties, and the fact that he considers the anti-American, antisemitic, racist Rev. Wright his close friend and mentor. I’m just surprised that Jews are being so confident in Obama considering all these clear and present warning signs.

  • Dear Alex,

    Do you mean worse, as in presents ideas that do not line up with your own?

    Rabbi Furhman is a serious peace activist, AND settler. He lives in Tekoa, and has been at the forefront of efforts to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, byt working with local Muslim religious leaders.

    And your contention that Obama is a secret Jew hater is simply not true.

    And your quoting things out of context too.

    If the question is who is suffering more from the policies of the PA?
    and I were to say: nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people, that would be a fine answer.

    PLEASE show some evidence of your PLO-Obama Connection, or stop throwing mud. It is specifically a grave sin.

  • JIDF, you join a few of us out there that are completely dumbstruck at the stupidity of many American Jews. But it wouldn’t be the first time a segment of the American Jewish population acted so stupidly as a group. Remember how they backed the Communists? Great move there! It would make me feel better in some way if I were a Gentile looking in, but sharing the same religion, tradition, and heritage as such a large number of either blind or narrow-minded fools brings about feelings of embarrassment and shame. Which is actually a nice alternative to guilt and neurosis. 🙂

  • HA! I’m being accused of taking things out of context by someone who just took McCain’s referencing Latin America while speaking about the Prime Minister of Spain out of context and drew a correlation between that statement and the man’s intelligence. You have got to be kidding me. And where was your scathing critique of your new Messiah when his teleprompter went out and said kids with Asthma need to use a “breathalyzer”? Show me that at any time.

    But the stuff I posted came right from Omri Ceren’s Mererhetoric.com blog:
    http://www.mererhetoric.com/archives/11274867.html

    It shouldn’t be a problem getting you proof, as he cites everything in the references at the bottom of his posts. Certainly a standard Jewlicious can use to boost your own credibility.

  • Once again, since I’m all excitable: I respect Rabbi Yonah as a person and think he’s probably a really righteous, nice guy, who would be great to hang out with. But his dispensing of (no offense) ignorant and misguided political analysis calls into question 1. the rest of his advice, and 2. whether it’s a good idea for spiritual leaders to mess with politics in the first place. Look how great it went for Pat Robertson, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Pfliger, and the rest of them.

    If I need a political opinion from an intelligent Jew, I’ll go to Krauthhammer, Horowitz, or even occasionally Friedman.

    My suggestion, is that you guys do what Obama can’t, cross isles and write about issues that most Jews can agree on that affects Jews world wide, otherwise, this blog runs the risk of becoming yet another Jewish mouthpiece for the Obama campaign. Frankly, Scarlett Johansson and Barbara Streisand are enough of an embarrassment. How is this blog any more open minded than Jewschool at this point?

  • Friedman?

    You mean he actually occasionaly says things that can be taken seriously?

    When was that? I must have missed it.

  • Every now and then, Thomas Friedman actually says something that isn’t profoundly stupid. It’s usually when it has nothing to do with Judaism, America, Israel, the Middle East, etc. His perspective on the global economy was actually pretty objective. But that’s about it. Arafat loved the guy, what more do you need to know? 🙂

  • Krauthammer’s the best columnist in America. Tom Friedman may have permanently lost me when he said that Putin’s invasion of Georgia proved that NATO expansion to central Europe had been a bad idea.

  • Krauthammer’s good, but I really like the pseudonymous Spengler of the Asia Times (not American, I know).

    A pessimist of the first order, but a hell of a writer, with erudition that should make soft and squishy CW dispensers like Friedman hang up his pen and go start flipping burgers, something for which he might actually be qualified.

  • I’m almost convinced that it’s better to entertain the belief that Jewish victims of terror are paying the price mandated by Heaven for not accepting Jesus Christ as their savior, than it is to have the slightest smidgen of sympathy for Palestinians as human beings, but not quite. I’m almost there though. Try a little harder, Alex.

  • The site took my info! Surprise. That’s the reason for my absence. Must have seemed like a faulty address.

    I’ll defend sitting through Wright’s jeremiads (and the most contentious one that Hannity loves Obama wasn’t even present for) over Brickner’s any day. Why? Jeremiads, named after the biblical prophet Jeremiah, established the precedent of speaking truth to power on a national level, with consequences implied for failing to live up to whichever precepts the person had in mind. And while I’ll not defend dogma here – whether it be Wright’s belief in blowback or Brickner’s belief in retribution towards Jews for their “unbelief” – Brickner’s is more dangerous. Wright’s references to chickens coming home to roost resonate with secular political theories with which one may or may not agree. But Brickner is going on about being punished simply on the basis of one’s beliefs – an idea that has no secular equivalent. Not only is this idea politically anathema in a secular republic such as America, it illustrates the utter intellectual corruption of the right. It’s one thing to have faith in certain questionable beliefs. It’s another to have faith in unproven beliefs that lack any secular equivalents. And it is utterly depraved to hold to the latter in such a way as to justify not only the widescale destruction of humanity, but of groups of human beings on the basis of what they think of the supposed divinity of an obscure Jewish preacher from 2,000 years ago.

    Until the Republicans realize that thumping bibles, waving flags and brandishing guns – for all the emotional resonance of these acts – reveal nothing about the thoughtful deliberation required for actually governing a powerful nation, then they will sink ever more into the decline and decadence that their reign has so far exemplified. They’re done, Alex. Face it. Toast. And the way they’re trying to spin the fact that they have nothing reassuring to say about the current economic meltdown, which they did absolutely nothing to stave off, seals the deal.

    The Democrats will now have their chance. And they could screw things up as badly, if for different reasons, as the Republicans have. But as for the here and now, the American people are in the mood for a political expulsion – and deservedly so. You’ll just have to sit through it and rejoin them after they decide to regroup and embrace new philosophies and talking points for you and their other followers to parrot. But that will take a while. Not everyone can come up with new and reasonable proposals overnight. Or newfound credibility either.

  • MUL,

    1. Did I say something about Palestinians? Or do you want me to rifle through your eloquent metaphorical poetry until I’m smart enough to parse out the insult?

    2. Just wondering, but are you Jewish?

    3. I forgot that Congress was in Republican control, what with that 14% approval rating (up from 9%!). But seriously, I underestimated the president’s role to stave off this (still potential) collapse. Please enlighten me with what your mighty Democrats would have done if they controlled Congress AND the presidency?

  • 1. Being sympathetic toward Palestinians on a human level is the most you can accuse, and are accusing Obama, of. You’ll have to parse your own comments to show where you are charging anything else, let alone anything more insidious in this regard.

    2. Being “pro-Israel” and disinterested in the U.S. having the lowest international standing it’s had in decades, if not ever, is not a tribal or political thing.

    3. Get bills signed and overcome filibuster. Not that I would expect to know things like that or anything.

  • MUL shifts from Daily Kos once again to contend that a 20-plus year association with Rev. Wright by the candidate at the top of one ticket, exactly equals a one-time appearance at the church of the other ticket’s candidate for vice president. Right.

    One of the, uh, oddments of this site is its occasional foray into Christian exegesis…. I’ve really got to share my unique insights into the Talmud with you all.

    Ephraim, do you have a link to the Spengler material?

  • That’s some pretty hard-core dissuasion, Tom. Obama wasn’t even in the pews during the comment in question, repudiated it, and eventually Wright. Whereas Palin, according to Politico, couldn’t even do that much. Kroon, who we assume speaks for her, “cautioned against attributing his views to her”. If that’s the best your little lamb can do, then I’d say it’s woefully inadequate. But then again, we know how scary the media is. It actually takes note of what people say. How slimy. Palin’s shield against scrutiny by the media and all.

    On the other hand, if all you’ve got are length of “associations”, then I’d say that’s pretty unconvincing. We are getting into what ideas the candidates actually endorse, or are at least willing to entertain, and take with them into government. If that territory scares you, it should. After all, you’re defending the nutbar Palin. No candidate is claiming that God chose them to ascend to office to implement some of the stranger precepts of the Talmud into national life. Sorry.

    Apparently you’re in as much need of a remedial education on the American Constitution as Alex is. And not that your side of the aisle is particularly interested in avoiding cognitive dissonance these days, but just so you know, I’ll inform you of the fact that your innuendo is also a fallacy of basic logic.

    The American people are catching on. What’s the gap that McCain-Palin have fallen back to in the national polls? 10%? I suggest you stop trying to insult their intelligence. We already know how embarrassed the Republicans feel for insulting their superior morals.

  • Back to the original post: it’s not really honest to present Rabbi F. as representative of the settler movement.

  • Ha, Tom, right on. 🙂 A few interfaith lessons definitely couldn’t hurt as I’ve already stated in another thread.

    Was Obama never ever in the pews during all those twenty plus years? (Way beyond a congregant of his, he considered Wright a friend.) Did he tape his postbox shut so as not to receive the church bulletin? C’mon, St Nicholas sees everything, and St Nicholas doesn’t believe that story. St Nicholas won’t be bringing MUL any gifts on 5th / 6th December.

    Prize questions:
    a) Why does St Nicholas look like a Lubavitcher?
    b) Who of the Jewlicious bloggers have been nice enough to deserve a gift?
    c) What is Tom’s profession? (I don’t think he really needs any lessons on US law by any of us…)

  • Alex wrote: “My suggestion, is that you guys do what Obama can’t, cross isles and write about issues that most Jews can agree on that affects Jews world wide, otherwise, this blog runs the risk of becoming yet another Jewish mouthpiece for the Obama campaign. Frankly, Scarlett Johansson and Barbara Streisand are enough of an embarrassment. How is this blog any more open minded than Jewschool at this point?”

    Uh… what? I think you’ve mistaken us for Jewcy. We’ve taken the piss out of both sides. And frankly, it’s not hard to do. What’s really important is that we provide you all with a place where you can engage in intelligent discussion. O how sad I am when I see the conversation devolve into silly talking points. As far as I am concerned, no matter what the outcome of the election is, I’m afraid I am going to have lots of “taking the piss” blog fodder.

    In brief (and absent any detailed analysis), McCain doesn’t seem that different from Bush. Palin doesn’t believe in dinosaurs and would refuse a victim of rape or incest the right to abort her fetus. Obama – well, I have no clear idea of how he stands on certain issues near and dear to my heart and Biden? I like Biden. But he’s just running for VP. Luckily, I am Canadian/Israeli and will not be voting. But as a resident of Jerusalem I feel a little uncomfortable with that big ol’ target sign I feel hovering above me wherever I go. Oh well.

    But getting back to tachlis – Alex, if you want to write a well thought out post about why you think McCain and Palin are the bees knees, let me know. I’ll post it. I have no problem with that, as long as you have no problem with folks disagreeing with you.

    And Rabbi Yonah is an awesome guy. If you’re ever in Long Beach or LA, let me know, I’ll hook you guys up.

  • BD: He’s definitely not a representative of the settler movement. But he is Chief Rabbi of a settlement. And he’s a Zionist. And please just bc I posted this with hardly any commentary, it does not mean that I am a breathless, bubble headed Obama supporter. I posted it bc I thought it was interesting and because I can. Yes I can!

  • If Tom’s familiar with the First Amendment and freedom of association, then it would be nice to know that he actually values it enough to not use its antithesis as a cudgel against Obama for the purpose of mindless, bad-faith smears that aren’t having much of an impact anyway in the grand scheme of things.

    But I can understand why you’d want to let him do your arguing for you, Froylein. I mean, if I maintained that Ahmedinejad was as dangerous as you do, and then insisted that Ali Khamenei either didn’t exist or was a made-up entity, then I’d prefer to let someone else do my arguing for me, too.

    In America we don’t have much of a problem respecting the right of people to believe whatever silliness they want to believe. We just don’t think that someone who believes that dinosaurs walked with humans 4,000 years ago should be that high up taking the reins of the federal government. Ditto for someone who thinks that their election to governor of a corrupt and unpopulated outpost is a part of G-d’s literal plans, or that cataclysmic events in the Near East are (or should be considered) a part of the same calculus either. Leave that cockamamie crap to whoever you’d elect in your own dystopian fantasy sequence.

  • But I can understand why you’d want to let him do your arguing for you, Froylein.

    Well, certainly, he agreed to being my lawyer. So if I ever get arrested, I’ll be able to “call my lawyer”. Isn’t that nice of him?

    I mean, if I maintained that Ahmedinejad was as dangerous as you do, and then insisted that Ali Khamenei either didn’t exist or was a made-up entity, then I’d prefer to let someone else do my arguing for me, too.

    Could you please point out to me where I did that? But if you must know, my Persian students and their families consider Ahmadinejad one of the greatest and most dangerous loons ever. BTW, a Muslim that has converted out of faith is considered an animal in Islam. Muslim students of mine made me aware that people like Ahmadinejad won’t feel tied to keep the word they gave a person they don’t even consider human. Just a little inter-cultural understanding for your consideration.

    Leave that cockamamie crap to whoever you’d elect in your own dystopian fantasy sequence.

    Newspeak wasn’t my invention.

  • On a lighter note, the Blues Brothers also spoke with extremely annoying Upper Midwestern accents and claimed that they were on a mission “from Gahd”.

  • It’s nice of anyone to represent their friend, as any one of my lawyer friends or family members would also surely do. Of course, making ridiculous arguments about how it’s unfair to make judgement calls on an anti-empirical end-times fantasist who aspires to become VP isn’t against any law, so far as I know. But then again, it’s generally not against any law to make illogical, unserious statements.

    You remember conversation, F. I don’t have to (and don’t have time to now, maybe later) search the archives for that conversation. It’s the one where you make the same assertions you do here. Ahmedinejad, like Palin, is a loon. Whether or not he’s “one of the greatest and most dangerous loons ever”, however, is certainly debateable – regardless of whatever your Persian students and families have to say about him. They do not consitute some kind of authority on the geopolitical significance of Ahmedinejad by virtue of being from his country and speaking his language. It is utterly fallacious to imply otherwise.

    You’re confusing me with the last statement. I hope it’s not derived from not understanding the discussion.

    Reminder: Ali Khamenei is known as the “Supreme Leader”. What do your students think of him? Do they know who he is? Do you? Do we have to poll them on all things Iranian that affect U.S. interests before understanding their meaning and determining their significance?

  • Froylein, I must say… the most striking thing about how you are approaching this disussion is your willingness to dismiss real gaps in Palin’s understanding of the world as it is, while entertaining gaps that are just as bizarre when it comes to Ahmedinejad’s understanding of the world. Ahmedinejad’s weird beliefs, it seems you would argue, are part of what make him “one of the greatest and most dangerous loons ever”, while Palin’s do not seem to merit your consideration. Part of “inter-cultural understanding”, as you put it, might warrant the idea that American leaders can make judgments just as irrational and dangerous based on things that are condoned in their culture as can Persian leaders. That someone would think that Ahmedinejad’s beliefs are dangerously irrational, but that Palin’s aren’t, smacks of cultural chauvinism – which only detracts from that understanding you advocate, if you really want to know.

  • MUL, I’m not quite sure we speak the same language… I said it was sexist to belittle Palin for her good looks, particularly by those that had previously delighted in Obama’s handsomeness. That has nothing to do at all with either’s political agenda but the way standards are applied. BTW, end-times fantasies, messianic hopeful-thinking and their particular eschatology is likely shared by all of the Evangelical candidates. Note, I haven’t officially “endorsed” anyone, but seeing how cranky Obama supporters get when certain topics get mentioned, I wonder whether it’s even in Obama’s as well as the USA’s best interest for him to get conventionalised into a sacrosanct poster boy.

    You might consider it utterly fallacious to ignore the views of Iranian refugees (of which there are plenty in the US, too), but I consider it utterly fallacious to have someone with obviously such scaringly little insight into the cultural settings of those parts do the talking.

    I know who Khameini is; nobody needs to be polled. But I can expect an aspiring political leader, particularly one of a world power, to get a clue about politics, foreign affairs and foreign cultures, not just about self-dramatisation.

  • Oh, ok. You’re scared by me talking. I’m not scared of you talking or of other Evangelicals talking because: 1. I think better arguments can be made when it comes to the worldviews that inform their philosophy of governing, and 2. I think there are a sufficient number of individuals rational enough to listen to those better arguments.

    I don’t know why you’re bringing up Palin’s supposed “good looks” here. I haven’t said anything about them on this thread, nor did anyone else that I’m aware of. It’s certainly not the topic of conversation today, is it?

    “I know who Khameini is; nobody needs to be polled.”

    Now you claim you know who Khameini is. When you said “who is this supposed Supreme Leader” before either you didn’t, or you didn’t know that was his title. In any event, congratulations on learning more about Iranian politics.

    “But I can expect an aspiring political leader, particularly one of a world power, to get a clue about politics, foreign affairs and foreign cultures, not just about self-dramatisation.”

    Ah. I’m glad to see that you approve of Obama, then. Palin wouldn’t pass that test. And every time she deigns to step outside of her bubble of protection from the media, Palin doesn’t pass that test.

    BTW, there are no “other Evangelical candidates”. They were all wiped out by the time McCain was left. Only Palin, whom he later nominated, remains (I’m including entire tickets here, including VP). But hopefully not for long! 😉

  • When Palin calls for the destruction of Israel or starts executing gay people, we’ll entertain your latest comparison, MUL.

  • Of course, you’ll wait until then, Tom. The rest of us silly empiricists can deduce that given her statement that it was part of G-d’s plan for her to become governor, that she hopes that we are doing G-d’s will in Iraq and her insistence on the likelihood that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth together, that she believes silly things and doesn’t have a problem letting those things get in the way of a rational approach to governing. These aren’t isolated statements or thoughts, they seem to form a large part of her worldview. Not all of them constitute specific plans, but her penchant for secrecy and vindictiveness lead one to believe that the non-Godly portions of her decision-making processes don’t do much more justice for her as a statesman, either. So I have no problem believing that she will exercise the political discretion to not proclaim outright everything that she may believe.

    In any event, she was in the audience when her religious friend spoke of Jews dying as part of God’s plan. You/i> might think that such views are acceptable, mainstream, or require no denunciations – (she hasn’t denounced them or made clear her ostensible rejection of them, by the way). I do not. I also compare this to the fact that Obama, who was forced to denounce what Wright said, wasn’t present when Wright said what he said.

    Your standard of absolute evidence required of Palin and her beliefs is a stark contrast to the innuendo and smear you’re willing to entertain when it comes to Obama and his mere “associations”. Maybe that makes for acceptable politics in your book. But I’ll have no problem calling them out. Just so you know.

    And until those tactics stop, I look forward to your clarification that Obama has never called for the destruction of America, either… assuming you’re honest enough to hold to a single standard.

  • Of course, you’ll wait until then, Tom. The rest of us silly empiricists can deduce that given her statement that it was part of G-d’s plan for her to become governor, that she hopes that we are doing G-d’s will in Iraq and her insistence on the likelihood that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth together, that she believes silly things and doesn’t have a problem letting those things get in the way of a rational approach to governing. These aren’t isolated statements or thoughts, they seem to form a large part of her worldview. Not all of them constitute specific plans, but her penchant for secrecy and vindictiveness lead one to believe that the non-Godly portions of her decision-making processes don’t do much more justice for her as a statesman, either. So I have no problem believing that she will exercise the political discretion to not proclaim outright everything that she may believe.

    In any event, she was in the audience when her religious friend spoke of Jews dying as part of God’s plan. You might think that such views are acceptable, mainstream, or require no denunciations – (she hasn’t denounced them or made clear her ostensible rejection of them, by the way). I do not. I also compare this to the fact that Obama, who was forced to denounce what Wright said, wasn’t present when Wright said what he said.

    Your standard of absolute evidence required of Palin and her beliefs is a stark contrast to the innuendo and smear you’re willing to entertain when it comes to Obama and his mere “associations”. Maybe that makes for acceptable politics in your book. But I’ll have no problem calling them out. Just so you know.

    And until those tactics stop, I look forward to your clarification that Obama has never called for the destruction of America, either… assuming you’re honest enough to hold to a single standard.

    Moderator: Hope this comment doesn’t duplicate. But the running italics on the last version of the comment was really bothering me. I had to fix it.

  • This dumb Jew would like somebody to explain – as we watch the Republican led destruction of the financial markets (“Regulation? That’s for wussy Democrats”), and sudden ideological flip flop where the largest and richest get a $700 billion bailout that the same politicians refused to provide to households and individuals over the previous months – why anybody should vote for Republicans. Ever again.

    Give it your best shot, Alex. Keep Israel out of it and explain why anybody should vote for a Republican president again.

  • It will require the abandonment of much rational thought, but that’s what anyone sticking with the Repubs in 2008 is unfortunately reduced to – as much in this matter as in many others. But he may give it a shot. Or not. I think this is a difficult matter to overcome politically and the Rs know their goose is cooked because of it. As do many of their supporters. McCain has been looking mighty distressed lately – as the journalists in his “Straight Talk Express” will attest to.

  • It’s part of their effort to destroy America on two fronts, Middle: through foreign policy as understood solely through the lens of religious war and economically. Don’t you understand, it’s part of G-d’s plan to bail out the financial markets that they didn’t want to minimally regulate in the first place? It sure makes for the kind of drama they seem to thrive on. The “Oops, we didn’t mean it”/”what an awesome disaster” spectacle is very theatrical!

    Americans are now scared shitless of the prospect of voting for these utterly irrational frauds.

  • It’s nice at least to know how one can guarantee being rich forever:

    1) open a business
    2) follow any measure to get rich through giving out money no matter how irresponsibly and taken on massively risky policies, thus bullshitting yourself to a wonderful looking balance sheet and forcing your competitors to do the same so that their investors don’t flee to you. Don’t follow any responsible patterns since otherwise you won’t be able to make good on (4) below.
    3) Pay yourself REALLY well while the getting is good.
    4) Point out when things go wrong that you are indispensable and that it’s partly the fault of all the schmucks who were taking your ridiculous loans in the first place.

    You gotta love an industry which can’t fail.

  • By the way, is this:

    Can the greatest miracle of all take place; can Barack Obama be elected President in less than two months time? This letter comes to let you know that I pray and await this very miracle because we need change.

    really the greatest miracle of all? Is Obama’s election really hinging on divine intervention?

  • given how much the reptiblicans have screwed/are screwing up, perhaps a divine intervention/deliverance metaphor is approriate

  • TM,

    I’ll be happy to take my best shot as soon as you an prove how how it was a specifically “Republican led destruction of the financial markets”. You can’t just pop up a straw man like that, I expect more than that from you.

    From what I remember, plenty of rich liberals both lent ridiculous amounts of money without oversight, helped over-inflate the prices of houses, and borrowed more than they could afford and you are going to blame the collapse of these irrational business models on the entire party? I don’t understand how you guys keep forgetting that Congress has been in the Democrats for almost two years now, and they haven’t done a damn thing to stave off this collapse except threaten to natinalize the oil companies, sheesh.

    I’ll give you a hint, no one will or would. Markets correct themselves, generally learn from their mistakes, and increase “market efficiency”. Furthermore, it’s absolutely not a conservative quality to nationalize and bail out companies. In fact, it’s the anti-thesis to conservatism. Nor is it a conservative quality to rake up national debt and create more programs and increase the size of the government. I will most definitely admit, that the Republicans in the last 10 + years have stopped being the counterweight to Democratic waste and played right along, at everyone’s expense. If you are so concerned with lowering debt, you should vote McCain. He’s taken less earmarks than your guy and he even warned against the coming market bubble several times, while Biden wanted to throw 200 million at Iran “with no strings attached” a few days after 911. And don’t get me started about Obama’s earmarks. Lastly, your “uniter” has never crossed party lines or the isle, nor even fought against his party for anything. He barely has a record. McCain has on numerous occasions, done so, and Palin has too, in her small amount of time. Why would you think someone who only faces one direction (left) be the best person for a country composed of a full spectrum. Isn’t that kinda selfish?

    Sorry to imply you specifically are a Dumb Jew. I did not mean to, but there are people I feel that term strongly applies to.

  • Yosef,

    Love that site!

    MUL,

    I thought I was talking to someone rational but then I read through your comments. Yeah….

    You don’t have to support Armed Terrorist groups and baby killers to have compassion for what the Palestinians have and do go through. Nice spin for your loved hero though. Try to appear a bit less infatuated with the guy, will you? He’s a married man for g-d’s sake. And I take it you aren’t Jewish. Thanks for being straight.

  • Middle, the financial industry has been operating in a less regulated environment for years. Bob Rubin and Bill Clinton were fully on board with Republicans in repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, enabling Citibank, Bear Stearns and the rest to pursue subprime lending and trade in mortgage-backed securities in a manner free from meaningful regulation. So pinning this on Republicans exclusively won’t wash.

    Fittingly, George W. Bush and Barney Frank seem agreed on the fix, a new-fangled RTC.

  • Name a single thing I uttered which can’t be defended on a rational basis. (The things you don’t understand don’t count).

    If you had a rational defense for St. Sarah and Company’s agenda, you’d have made it. Talk about infatuation! You don’t even have a single defense to make of her or her friends!

    I’ve got a newsflash for you, Alex. Your being Jewish doesn’t matter to her. Nor does it matter to her that I am. But is the only remaining appeal you can make to… tribalism? And I’m the one who isn’t being rational? Talk about desperation!

  • MUL, Obama’s branch of Christianity is a type of Evangelicalism FYI. I’ve explained the Evangelical view on Judaism and Israel in another thread. I’ll blame my academic studies of religion for actually understanding the different eschatological views of Christian denominations.

    I mentioned Palin’s “supposed good looks” because you were complaining above about the silly-tone criticism Obama was receiving on here. I pointed out double standards being applied. BTW, did it ever make it the US news what he’d stated on his trip to Germany?

    Just because we don’t call Khameini “Supreme Leader” in German doesn’t mean I’d never heard of him. But that doesn’t mean either that I’d ignore the reality confirmed by those that really know what’s going on in Iran; a little knowledge of Islam couldn’t hurt you either. BTW, even Neturei Karta considers Ahmadinejad the decisive figure.

    And please, if you want to insult people on their alleged lack of intelligence, do it in style.

  • BTW, it was your beloved, soooo educated on foreign cultures Obama that, in absolute ignorance of the German political protocol and the possibility of the existence of such, wanted to hold his Berlin speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate, which protocol mandates only heads-of-state may do. He also ignored the need and wish of many German citizens to see that he’d visit injured US military (afterall, while in Germany, he announced that he’d extend the Afghanistan ticket for those chaps), largely also because a huge part of Germans, regardless of their own take on any bellicose conflicts the US is involved in, feel sympathies for the US military as it has been doing Germany great favours for more than sixty years now and a lot of German families have friends and / or relatives in the US military. But I suppose Obama had better things to do apart from going shopping in Berlin rather than to visit those young people whose life might eventually depend on decisiosions made by him. Was he already trying to pose like JFK?

  • Yosef: Good breakdown? Hardly. The comments already noted the Rabbi’s meeting with Sheik Yassin over 10 years ago. Also, I didn’t post this as an endorsement of Obama. I let people make up their own minds. Finally, how is a post on a Jewish blog that, unlike your site, allows pretty much unmoderated comments, how is that a matter for the Jewish Internet Defense Forces? Are we attacking Judaism? How is that fulfilling your mandate of promoting Jewish unity? You know, you could have just asked me to clarify the post… which I did by the way. But then you wouldn’t have been able to put up a self congratulatory post up on your site.

    What a bad ass you are!

  • Last night Obama quoted McCain:

    “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/09/obama-hammers-m.html

    Tom, forgive me for using Wikipedia but here goes:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass-Steagall_Act

    The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (R-TX) and in the House of Representatives by James Leach (R-IA) in 1999. The bills were passed by a 54-44 vote along party lines with Republican support in the Senate[8] and by a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives[9]. Nov 4, 1999: After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90-8-1 and in the House: 362-57-15. This veto proof legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999. [10]

    The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the 1980s. In 1987 the Congressional Research Service prepared a report which explored the case for preserving Glass-Steagall and the case against preserving the act.[11]

    The repeal enabled commercial lenders such as Citigroup, the largest U.S. bank by assets, to underwrite and trade instruments such as mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations and establish so-called structured investment vehicles, or SIVs, that bought those securities. Citigroup played a major part in the repeal. Then called Citicorp, the company merged with Travelers Insurance company the year before using loopholes in Glass-Steagall that allowed for temporary exemptions. With lobbying led by Roger Levy, the “finance, insurance and real estate industries together are regularly the largest campaign contributors and biggest spenders on lobbying of all business sectors [in 1999]. They laid out more than $200 million for lobbying in 1998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics…” These industries succeeded in their two decades long effort to repeal the act.[12]

    Notice the party line vote at the beginning? Republicans controlled both Houses and they were pushing through a bill that forces the Dems to choose to stick to their guns and lose all the campaign money or to vote along. It was also out of Clinton’s hands. Veto-proof.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Act

    “Democrats agreed to support the bill only after Republicans agreed to strengthen provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act and address certain privacy concerns”

    Who was running the Houses again? Republicans. Remember those dark old days?

    The White House opposed the bill and these were Summers’ days in office, not Rubin’s:

    “http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-630698.html”

    And according to the NY Times, the WH fought hard to include provisions to protect the public and attempt to restrain the banks, at least somewhat. It should be noted that the negotiations were held with Gramm who was co-sponsor along with Leach, another Republican.

    http://partners.nytimes.com/library/financial/102399banks-congress.html

    The Times also blames Schumer, but at least Wall Street is his constituency.

  • You know Froylein, we might both come to these conversations with what we already know — you seem to have some type of issue with you or other people wanting to not feel insulted on that score — but I think the deeper issue is what’s actually relevant. I’m not coming on here spouting off about how I know this or that to satisfy some ego-based need or proclaiming that anyone else is the personification of lesser knowledge. Sure, there are times for intellectual enlightenment, or edification, or whatever one wants to call it. But when there are disagreements, say about the implications of Obama’s calls to meet with foreign leaders instead of thinking that shunning them is always an effective posture, then what ensues are arguments by the proponents and detractors of that approach to attempt a resolution between both sides’ respective case. It’s not always pretty. Nor is it supposed to be. But it can be, and that all depends on what either side is willing to entertain.

    I don’t have some set agenda (as Middle once accused me of). Nor do I have a fixed set of beliefs on these sort of things (although I’ve come to the point that in this election year, some stances can be more easily and consistently defended than others). But I’m always willing to change my mind as the facts or arguments change. Here you spend an entire paragraph cataloguing Obama’s supposed mis-steps and/or gaffes in Germany. I’m not sure I see the point or relevance in it. If you posted that just for the purpose of interesting small talk and to prove to me that you know things about Germany vis a vis Obama (which I never denied), I suppose I appreciate that. But I hardly see what the relevance is. You’re trying to say that Obama isn’t perfect. When did I ever say that he was?

    Anyway, keeping in mind the ultimate purpose of reasoned discourse, I realize that ad hominems are distractions that generally detract from the meaning of such discussions. And when I use them I suppose I’ll try to be wittier in constructing them. But when it’s evident that someone is immune to give-and-take, merely toeing a line and intellectually impervious to legitimate challenges to that stance (I’m not talking about you here, but about someone else who is obsessed with doing the same thing, only more clumsily), then I take the Nietzschean exception and ask what kind of a person would do that. Like with the arguments, it’s not about dressing them up to make them look pretty and witty — at least that’s not the primary point, it can be fun to do so — but to make sure they’re effective. A surgeon’s scalpel isn’t always necessary or called for. Sometimes a blunt object will do.

  • Alex’s comment from last night was held for moderation so long that I couldn’t read it until now. Some of the points may be legit, some not, it’s hard to tell without doing a significant amount of background research right now on it — and I don’t have time, nor am I the best qualified to do so. But I think Tom’s comment misses the point entirely. Regardless of who went along with what, and what party they were from, the Republicans will reap the blame in all this – rightly or wrongly. It’s an election year and whoever’s party is in charge of the executive branch gets the credit or blame for how the economy’s doing. That’s just how it goes.

    The only economist I’ve heard from so far is Krugman. He’s pretty damn partisan, and was pretty much in Hillary’s camp (why wouldn’t he be, he’s familiar with everything that went right during the nineties). His take on it is that there are “no atheists in a foxhole and no libertarians in financial crises”. So he was referring primarily to the bail-out but also to how the event was the culmination of Bush’s ownership society in practice. I’m not sure which of what he said was for partisan point-scoring or not, but the honest answer he gave was that he’d not seen anything that bad in his life and they’re all (economists) trying to sort it out now. Perhaps short-selling exacerbated everything. I’ve heard both sides of the aisle go on about how Clinton made lending easier and how Bush neglected to regulate it. This is all moot in terms of solutions; despite credit or blame in an election year, bipartisan correctives will now occur.

    Two things are for certain though: 1. The hyper-polarization, which Bush/Rove is responsible for, didn’t help us avoid this crisis and his disinterest in preventing things generally only exacerbates that perception, and 2. Whether or not his libertarian “Ownership Society” would have been a good or bad thing will never be known now. A more significant, non-partisan narrative of the events that led to this will now take priority and it’s unlikely that Bush’s and Greenspan’s and other libertarians’ ideas will or would have received a fair hearing de-coupled from the crisis that followed their implementation.

    We need someone in power with a more comprehensive and well though-out philosophy to government and the economy. Regardless of whose ideas you think are better or more attractive, once someone’s in power, they’re getting paid at taxpayer (my) expense, and should do a minimally competent job at preventing crises and facilitating the kind of environment in which individuals can thrive. If they can’t, or if they won’t, then they can take a pay-cut or work for free – cause that’s not the job I’m paying them to do – especially if their mantra is that government does nothing useful and should be shrunk. If they’re going to implement that approach they can start with themselves. McCain hit on this theme pretty well at the RNC. Let’s see if he believes it.

  • I’m pretty sure you accused me of working for Obama. Which is untrue. A one-time $100 contribution means I own more of a chunk of him than he owns of me as an “employee”, knucklehead.

  • Now you’re being snide, Froylein. Maybe you think you’re being cute. I gave you a comprehensive response. If Middle’s response wasn’t serious, I didn’t perceive it as mocking me. Besides, unless he votes for McCain, and continues defending the Democrats, his agenda is pro-Obama too now, so the joke’s on him if that’s how it was meant.

    I never said 10,000. That’s you pulling things out of your ass. I might have said “thousands”, in which case it was probably a bit of an exaggeration or rough figure to prove the point… I’m not sure. I don’t have a meter and I don’t keep count. In any event, my on-line discussions aren’t so extensive that they get in the way of having an off-line life in which I can engage in the mindless banter and academic sophistry that you evidently think more highly of.

  • knucklehead

    That’s you pulling things out of your ass.

    mindless banter and academic sophistry that you evidently think more highly of

    ck, since when has scum been permitted on here?

  • “knucklehead” was meant in jest

    “pulling things out of your ass” is not an insult

    “mindless banter and academic sophistry” is you proving that one’s perception of your intelligence is more important to you than whether or not someone actually had something intelligent and topical to say

    “scum” is your own whining, tattle-tail concession that you can’t take the heat – even if light-hearted. And as far as insults go, it’s a pathetic one. Give me a break! Do you really want to regulate speech as if you were a monarch!

  • uh… knucklehead? Ass? Sophistry? If that’s scum then I am lord god king ruler of all scum, and all my fellow scums are welcome here.

    I’m being sorta disingenuous … froylein can explain …

  • Heh. Let’s all chill out here… I just know that this wek I’ve been called both rabidly pro Obama and an anti-Obama racist.

    You don’t see me freaking out?