Are we surprised that a media firestorm is let loose based on legitimate business decisions made by Bain when Romney had no management connection, yet the media had no real interest in Obama's 20 year close relationship with his pastor whose world view was the black equivalent of David Duke? Nor have they any interest in Obama's past history. Bias? Of course not, just your every day left wing effort to bring about radical change by their radical friends. (See 1 below.)
Race over reasoning? What will it be? (See 1a below.)
As I have said many times, this is going to be one of the nastiest of campaigns because Obama lacks character , wants desperately to win at any price, has no record worth talking about and polling is what interests him. If it polls he will stoop to anything.
What a long standing dear friend and fellow memo reader had to say about my previous memo about freedoms: "Interesting memo ... I am now reading "FDR and Chief Justice Hughes." It is all about how FDR tried to pad or expand the supreme court because they were shooting down all is New Deal Legislation. Lots of parallels to what is happening today except that thanks to the current Chief Justice, Obama doesn't have a problem.
And,while I hate to say so, I think Obama's attack ads on Romney are working ... we have an uninformed electorate and who don't really know what's going on.
Look at it this way:
Obama is right now even or ahead of Romney is the polls despite:
He screwed labor by killing the keystone pipeline, but they still support him;
He talks about the greedy people on Wall Street, and they still send him money:
He disses the Catholic church on the contraceptive issue and most catholics still support him.
He throws Israel under the bus and 64 percent of Jewish voters still support him;
And, black unemployment is almost twice the national average and it hard to find more than 2 or 3 blacks who don't support him."
And from another dear friend and fellow memo reader: "There once was a fraud named Obama
Now the fraud cannot deal with the trauma
American Jews just do not get it and/or do not want to get it. Why? Here is Dov Fischer's reasoning. (See 2 below.)
But then, some are! (See 2a below.)
But then, some are! (See 2a below.)
When Robbie Friedmann was in town he spoke about the rise in a new form of soft anti-Semitism (see his comments posted in a previous memo and 3 below.)
Five stories you may have missed that are worth perusing. Do right click over click here. You decide. (See 4 below.)
Five stories you may have missed that are worth perusing. Do right click over click here. You decide. (See 4 below.)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1)Now it's Personal: Romney Goes Toe-to-Toe With Obama Over Bain Attacks
By Paul Scicchitano
The first hint of the personal attacks that will inevitably feature in the presidential campaign came Friday when President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney lashed out at each other Romney’s history with his private equity company Bain Capital.
Obama called on Romney to come clean on the exact date he left the company, while Romney fired back calling on the president to apologize after one of his aides suggested Romney might have broken the law.
Romney immediately went on the offensive, granting five-minute interviews to CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News and CNN.
"He sure as heck ought to say that he's sorry for the kinds of attacks that are coming from his team," Romney told ABC.
On CBS, he said of Obama, "This is reckless and absurd on his part, and it's something that's beneath his dignity. I hope he recognizes that even fellow Democrats have said that."
On CNN he said the Obama campaign's tactics were "disgusting and demeaning," adding "Is this the level that the Obama campaign is willing to stoop to? Is this up to the standards expected of the presidency of the United States?"
And on Fox News he said, "This is showing a pattern. You just had bad news on the economic front with now 41 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent. And what does the president do? He says he is going to raise taxes on people, he's trying to gut welfare reform as we know it, and he launches attacks of this nature. It's beneath the dignity of his office,"
Before Friday, the two candidates have let their campaigns battle it out on the issue, but now both have personally jumped into the fray. The Obama campaign has pointed to documents it says proves Romney was in fact in control of Bain during a three-year period after 1999 when jobs were sent abroad. Romney said gave up his role in the company in 1999.
But Obama was in no mood to quit. “Ultimately, I think, Mr. Romney is going to have to answer those questions because if he aspires to being president, one of the things you learn is you're ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations," the president said in an interview with WJLA-TV in Virginia as he campaigned across the battleground state.
"Now, my understanding is that Mr. Romney attested to the SEC multiple times that he was the chairman, CEO and president of Bain Capital. And I think most Americans figure if you're the chairman, CEO and president of a company that you are responsible for what the company does," Obama said.
On Thursday Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades attacked the president’s campaign for suggesting Romney could have committed a felony by misrepresenting his position at Bain Capital to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“President Obama’s campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign,” snapped Rhoades.
Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager hurled the accusation earlier in the day in response to a Boston Globe article, which purported to show that Romney was in charge of Bain — at least on paper — longer than he had claimed.
"Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony," said Cutter, "or he is misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments."
Rhoades said that was hitting below the belt. “President Obama ought to apologize for the out-of-control behavior of his staff, which demeans the office he holds,” he charged.
“Campaigns are supposed to be hard fought, but statements like those made by Stephanie Cutter belittle the process and the candidate on whose behalf she works.”
The Romney campaign also rolled out a hard-hitting television ad that accused the president of launching "misleading, unfair, and untrue" attacks about the Republican's role in outsourcing U.S. jobs.
"When a president doesn't tell the truth, how can we trust him to lead?" the narrator says in the Romney ad titled "No Evidence."
Obama has accused Romney of being an "outsourcing pioneer" who invested in companies that shipped jobs to China, India, and elsewhere overseas. But Romney, who has made his business experience the central part of his candidacy, claims he had no role in outsourcing U.S. jobs because much of that activity didn't happen until after 1999, when he says he had given up operational control at Bain.
Romney’s former colleagues, who helped him organize the 2002 Winter Olympics, also were quoted in news accounts as being skeptical that Romney could have found the time to work at Bain Capital during his time at the Olympics.
Both candidates dug in on their positions, dispatching aides to level deeply personal criticisms aimed at casting each opponent as little more than a typical politician. Each candidate is seeking to sully his rival's integrity in hopes of gaining ground in closely contested campaign four months before Election Day.
But the strategy carries risks: It could alienate voters — especially critical independents — who may be turned off by negative campaigning and want to see the candidates focus on the economy and job growth.
At issue is when Romney left Bain, and whether he was at the helm when it sent jobs overseas.
The documents, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, place Romney in charge of Bain from 1999 to 2001, a period in which the company outsourced jobs and ran companies that fell into bankruptcy.
Romney has tried to distance himself from this period in Bain's history, saying on financial disclosure forms that he had no active role in Bain as of February 1999.
But at least three times since then, Bain listed Romney as the company's "controlling person," as well as its "sole shareholder, sole director, chief executive officer, and president." And one of those documents — as late as February 2001 — lists Romney's "principal occupation" as Bain's managing director.
The Obama campaign called the SEC documents detailing Romney's role post-1999 a "big Bain lie." Cutter said the presumptive GOP nominee may have even engaged in illegal activity.
After weeks of Bain attacks by Obama, Romney rolled out his new ad alleging dishonesty — a signal that the Democratic criticism may be hurting him.
The ad sought to establish dishonesty as a pattern for Obama, and uses his 2008 Democratic primary rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to do it. It included a clip of Clinton — now serving Obama as secretary of state — saying, "Shame on you, Barack Obama" and calling on her then-challenger to stop running dishonest ads.
The campaign also issued a statement from Bain saying that "due to the sudden nature of Mr. Romney's departure, he remained the sole stockholder for a time while formal ownership was being documented and transferred to the group of partners who took over management of the firm in 1999. Accordingly, Mr. Romney was reported in various capacities on SEC filings during this period."
The SEC documents raise questions about Romney's role at Bain in 1999, 2000, and early 2001. If he turned his full attention to the Olympics in early 1999, as his campaign says, it's hard to square with the Bain SEC filing, two years later, listing his "principal occupation" as the company's managing director and his titles as CEO and president.
James Cox, a securities law professor at Duke University, said the SEC's Schedule 13D forms have always been under legal scrutiny by SEC officials and company executives. He said law firms hired to file such reports — known as "beneficial ownership reports" because they deem who can sell securities — "pay great attention to these forms. I don't find that these parts of the documents are casually reported."
"It's hard for me to believe you could be listed as 'management anything' without it taking up a bulk of your time," said Cox, who had not reviewed Bain's statement on Thursday.
During the years in question — 1999 to 2011 — Bain oversaw investments that either sent jobs abroad or filed for bankruptcy. For example, in late 1999, Bain-controlled Steam International set up overseas call centers, and a subsidiary moved jobs from California to Mexico. In 2000, the Ampad company declared bankruptcy. The following year, so did steel-maker GS Industries — just as Bain made $58.4 million from its investment.
The Obama campaign has used workers laid off from Ampad in attacks on Romney's business record.
Romney helped found Bain Capital in 1984. The private equity firm invested in various companies, often restructuring their management and operations. Some became success stories that hired new workers and enriched Bain's investors. Others struggled or went out of business. Romney made millions of dollars and cites Bain as chief proof that he understands private enterprise and job-creation.
Romney eventually negotiated a retirement agreement with Bain Capital in 2002. The agreement was made retroactive to February 1999.
The Boston Globe reported Thursday that a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 stated he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002, the year he was elected to his single term as Massachusetts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
1a)The Democratic Party as the Party of Race
1a)The Democratic Party as the Party of Race
By Roger L. Simon
As someone who was a sixties civil rights worker, wrote movies for Richard Pryor (successfully) and Whoopi Goldberg(unsuccessfully), and has had the pleasure of working with many talented African Americans at PJ Media for nearly seven years now, I think I have earned the right to write what should be painfully obvious to everyone — most of the racism in America today is from blacks (aided and abetted by white liberals) toward whites.
In fact, it’s getting to be outrageously so. The rude treatment of Mitt Romney at the NAACP convention is yet another data point in what has become an all-too-predictable scenario.
Much of the reason for this stems from the extreme dependency of the Democratic Party on race politics. With union membership dwindling, the party would literally disintegrate without the overwhelming support of African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Without at least the perception of racism, the Democratic Party has only marginal support. The party is forced to encourage it for its survival.
A whole network of connections, careers, and lifestyles has evolved from that, many of them largely counter-productive. Indeed, the argument can be made that the Democratic Party has destroyed the lives of minorities in order to save itself. Their programs, from the Great Society onwards, have done nothing substantial to improve minority lives, only to encourage dependency. The proof of this failure we see before us today in the dreadful statistics on black and Hispanic unemployment, far worse than the already horrendous national numbers. The more minorities are “helped,” the worse their lives become, and the less equal we are.
The Democratic Party is then the true racist party, trapped in nostalgia for a time when genuine racism — Jim Crow, etc. — stalked the land. They have to assume significant white racism still exists because not to do so threatens the fabric of their being. A Tea Partier has to be a racist so you can dismiss his ideas without having to confront them or even think about them. Mitt Romney is just another rich white man so you don’t have to deal with what he is saying, you don’t have to evaluate whether he has a solution to a mutual problem.
It’s all racist as I understood the word in the sixties — making assumptions about other people so you don’t have to consider their humanity — only it’s now in reverse. This isn’t to say that whites undergo severe oppression. They don’t. But the racial climate of our society is increasingly polarized and the survival of the Democratic Party, as presently constituted, is the cause. Everyone’s life suffers as a consequence, with the exception perhaps of those who make a living off race-baiting. That the minorities being exploited suffer most of all is almost a cliché. Unfortunately, it also happens to be true.
Correcting this depressing conundrum will not be easy. It is a long time in the making and is based on numerous mythologies and misconceptions, not to mention deeply entrenched habit. It is also based on vengeance, a vengeance fanned by the liberal media for the preservation of their own power and to validate that same nostalgic self-righteousness. But vengeance is an especially powerful creator of racism (remember Gandhi: an eye for an eye and the world will die). Because whites behaved in an atrociously racist manner toward blacks in the past cannot be allowed as any sort of justification for the reverse. That is a prescription for perpetuated mutual destruction.
And yet that remains the spoken/unspoken predicate of election 2012. Just as America rejoiced in electing Barack Obama in 2008 as the first (partly) African American president, we are being asked to reelect him for similar reasons. But it would also be racist, perhaps more so, actually to reelect him for similar reasons. The color of Barack Obama’s skin is and should be irrelevant. And yet, of course, it has not been and continues to be the trump card of the Democratic Party. If Barack Obama were white, he would be one of the least likely candidates for reelection in American history. Instead, despite demonstrated incompetence, he remains in contention, perhaps even the favorite. Under current conditions, however, the reelection of Barack Obama can be seen only as a triumph of racism.
Jews and American ConservatismBy Dov Fischer
Last year, when voters in the Queens-Brooklyn Ninth Congressional District of New York elected Bob Turner, a solid Republican conservative, to the seat abandoned by disgraced Anthony Weiner, it marked a watershed moment in American Jewish history, as Orthodox Jews finally flexed some muscle alongside Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. That seat had not left the Democrats since 1923, and it seems that Jewish voters have been liberal Democrat as long, if not longer.
Alongside African-Americans, Jewish Americans traditionally have been the Democrats' most reliable voting bloc. In that way, rather than advancing legitimate interests, Jews effectively throw away their voting influence, year after year, as do African-Americans. Democrats know that African-American votes mostly are in the bag, as are Jewish votes, so Democrats need not vie seriously for support. Contrary to increasing their influence by such group voting, they dilute by signaling to one party that they will be there no-matter-what, while signaling to the other party that virtually nothing will influence their voting.
Ironically, however, the political party that stands strongest behind Israel, her military security, her right to populate Jews in the liberated lands of Judea and Samaria, her right to build Jewish communities in East Jerusalem and her right to declare united Jerusalem as her national capital, and her right to refuse pressure to capitulate to demonstrable terrorists and to quasi-terrorists-in-suits who now run the "Palestinian Authority" is the Republican Party. Republicans support Israel not because that position will help garner Jewish votes, but because Republicans know that support is morally right, ethically right, and most importantly advances the national and strategic interests of the United States. Towards that support, the impassioned and overwhelming support of American Christians for Israel has been extraordinary.
So why do so many American Jews not get it?
First of all, as Bob Turner's election in 2011 evidenced, the Democrat fever is breaking. While Jews voted for Obama in numbers estimated around 85% in the last election, polls now show slippage to support in the 60% range. His support has dropped among Jews by some 25 percent, and that's not shabby. It is a start, perhaps the sign of an awakening. Voting pattern transformations take years, exactly as it took more than a century to wean White Southern Christians off the Democrats, and it is important to understand why these paradigm shifts do not happen overnight. In a way, it takes an Obama -- a "transformational figure in history" -- to help transform traditional Democrat voting blocs towards Republican conservatism.
More than 90% of American Jews descend from grandparents and great-grandparents who arrived in the United States from Eastern Europe between 1881-1914. In 1881, there were approximately 250,000 Jews in America; by 1914, there were more than three and a half million. Centuries of anti-Semitism bred in many Jews a desperate need to find ways to escape the hate -- or just to escape their Jewishness. The kind of irrational hate that sees a targeted from the moment of birth, no matter what he does or believes the rest of his life, leads to many reasonable and many other strange strategies aiming at just being left alone. One painful approach that gained sway among children of the American Jewish immigrants a century ago was to assimilate into America's "melting pot," to move away from authentic Jewish teaching and practice, the ways of Torah life, and to try hiding among the greater population. Cut one's overt ties to Jewishness. Hide the religion and the identity. Unlearn the languages of Yiddish and Hebrew. Pray in English. Eat non-kosher. Treat Saturday the way everyone else does. Melt into the melting pot. Dissolve if possible. And change the name.
Names were changed from Emmanuel Goldenberg to Edward G. Robinson, Leo Jacob to Lee J. Cobb, Bernie Schwartz to Tony Curtis, Betty Perske to Lauren Bacall, Jacob Julius Garfinkle to John Garfield. They were changed from Judith Tuvim to Judy Holliday, Benjamin Kubelsky to Jack Benny, Joseph Abraham Gottlieb to Joey Bishop, Jacob Cohen to Rodney Dangerfield, Arthur Leonard Rosenberg to Tony Randall. Even among the more recent, Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz became Jon Stewart, Andrew Silverstein became Andrew Dice Clay, and Jerome Silberman became Gene Wilder. Early Jewish immigrants flooded to the United States from Eastern Europe between 1881, when Tsar Alexander II's assassination set off anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia that spread throughout the region, through 1914 when America closed its borders to all immigrants at the outset of World War I. As the naïve immigrants flooded into New York Harbor and Ellis Island, unschooled in Western ways of democracy and untutored in English, the New York Democrat political machine was there to greet them and sign them up, much as they did in New York, Boston, and other cities with the ethnic Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and Poland. They smelled votes.
The move to liberalism and Democrat politics among Jews intensified between the 1920s-1950s, as a subtle but distinct anti-Semitism in America kept Jews out of exclusive country clubs, excellent universities, and white-shoe law firms that were perceived as synonymous with "Republican types." Jews could not spend a night in many decent American hotels, could not rent apartments even in parts of Manhattan, were barred from Ivy League schools each year after the universities filled their respective annual Jewish admissions quotas, were barred from practicing medicine in many of America's best hospitals, and even were kept out of prominent American law firms or relegated solely to practicing then-disfavored . Republicans were not identified with giving Jews a break, while Democrats did open some doors. Woodrow Wilson named Louis Brandeis to the , the first Jewish jurist ever so named, met by a torrent of anti-Jewish opposition. Franklin Roosevelt brought Jews into his cabinet, albeit the kinds of Jews who "knew their place" and (but for one exception, Henry Morgenthau) would not bother the President with such mundane parochial Jewish concerns as saving victims being slaughtered during the Holocaust or advancing a burgeoning Jewish national enterprise in the Holy Land.
Through a quirk of modern history, American Jews mistakenly misinterpreted an historical coincidence as reflecting that Roosevelt was their friend. Because Adolph Hitler was elected Germany's Chancellor in March 1933, only months after Roosevelt led a liberal sweep of the White House when he won his first term in November 1932, a false coincidental perception arose among the large body of uninformed American Jewish immigrants that the liberal FDR was a freedom fighter courageously leading the war against the Jew-hater Hitler. In reality, FDR was nothing of the sort. However, he just-so-happened to be President on December 7, 1941 when Japan hit Pearl Harbor nine years after his first election, and he consequently was left with no choice but to defend America militarily against the Japan-Mussolini-Hitler axis. So a quirk of history convinced the unsophisticated that liberals are the bulwarks against tyrannical Jew-haters. The old guard of Jew-haters like the Tsars of Russia were associated with the Right, and the new anti-Semites of fascism like Hitler, who happened to rise while Franklin Roosevelt was President, were perceived as manifestations of a newer Right (although Jonah Goldberg has shown that Hitler Nazism actually was an extreme of the Left). FDR was no friend of Jews, actively preventing Jewish refugees from entering America during the Nazi years, even authorizing a naval blockade to bar a Jewish refugee ship, "The St. Louis," from debarking in Florida after its prior port of call at Havana, Cuba had refused to allow entry to the nearly thousand refugees from Hitler aboard that "voyage of the damned." In the end, the ship had to sail back to Europe.
Once liberalism had set in among American Jews, they naively passed their liberalism down to their kids, much as a century of Southern Democrats passed their Party affiliation to their kids. Initially, Southern Democrats had voted Democrat because Lincoln, the first Republican President, was their arch-foe when they tried seceding from the Union. So the Republicans, a liberal anti-slavery party based in the north, were their enemy. The Democrats were the slave-owners, the racists, the Ku Klux Klan. Even into the modern era, the worst anti-Black hatred and most intense political segregationism came out of the Democrat Party and their leading racial separatists like Alabama Governor George Wallace and Georgia Governor Lester Maddox. Somehow, even as the national Democrat Party had shifted leftward through the 1930s and beyond, Southern conservatives continued blindly voting for Democrats, voting against interest and belief for decades and decades, not breaking their trance until George McGovern carried the Democrats' standard into the 1972 Presidential elections. Even afterwards, for yet another forty years, Southern conservatives continued electing primarily Democrats to their local state offices throughout the South. As with Christians in the American South, the same irrational voting patterns continue among Jews.
So it is about process and the quirks of the voting system, voting for the party that your parents and grandparents backed, aligning with that party and therefore committing your political aspirations to that party, even as that party no longer represents anything that it stood for a century earlier and today stands for values inimical to your own. Consider: As a core value, Democrats advocate raising taxes on businesses, while Republicans advocate reducing tax pressure on corporations. The Hollywood community is a haven for Obama fundraising, and he and the Secret Service repeatedly mess up rush-hour traffic in the Greater Los Angeles region as he continues helicoptering in for soirees with the glitz set. Those Beautiful People back Obama's vision of increasing taxes on business, on the rich, on the "One Percent" -- on them. But they are not really as selfless as they may seem. The movie industry has been fleeing Hollywood and now makes more films than ever before outside California, in order to avoid the taxes.
It took Ronald Reagan time to determine that, rather than leaving the Democrats, it was the Democrat Party that had left him. So, too, the American South. Once Southerners had aligned with the Democrats during the Lincoln years, they put their hopes in that party, joined that party, and regularly voted for that party. A century later, when they truly were conservative Republicans in spirit, they still were joining the Democrat Party, people like Rick Perry in Texas, because that was where political opportunity for advancement and a career in government lay. Similarly, in liberal northeastern cities, it became so hopeless for a conservative to seek office as a Republicans that it became commonplace instead to see election campaigns pitting the "mainstream Democrat" against the "conservative Democrat." Because the local state Republican parties could not get their acts together in such a climate, national elections would see "Democrats for Nixon" or "Democrats for Reagan" as the major Republican organizing models in one northeastern city after another. In the same way, rock-solid conservatives, such as Orthodox Jewish New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has represented his rock-solid conservative, Orthodox Jewish district in Brooklyn for 30 years since 1983, still run on the Democrat line. If Hikind had tried running as a Republican in 1983, he knew he would not have been elected, much as conservatives in the South could not get elected on the Republican line until the most recent era, finally terminating the paradox with the 2010 watershed nationwide shellacking of Democrats. The Republican Party owes a great deal to George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama.
As the 2010 watershed shellacking elections evidenced, Obama has been transformational, opening new vistas for Republicans. That transformation slowly is reaching the Jewish electorate, reflected by Orthodox Jews electing non-Jewish Republican conservative Bob Turner, even as America's most prominent conservative analysts today include deeply conservative voices like Mark Levin and Michael Savage, as well as mainstream conservative thinkers like Ben Stein, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Charles Krauthammer, Jeff Jacoby, and Rabbis like Daniel Lapin and Aryeh Spero. They continue in a tradition going back to American Jewish conservatives and libertarians like Norman Podhoretz, Milton Friedman and even Ayn Rand (renamed from Alisa Rosenbaum). Newly emerging Jewish voices in conservative America include Eric Cantor and Josh Mandel, who is seeking the U.S. Senate seat in Ohio now held by Sherrod Brown, as well as Ben Shapiro, Steven Plaut, and the late Andrew Beitbart, who was raised Jewish by his adoptive parents. There are many more in the blogosphere. Major Jewish support for Republican conservative candidates has been coming from a geometrically expanding base of donors best typified by Nevada casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, now offsetting those on the left. Obama has been transformational.
Centuries of irrational hatred eventually bred in many Jews irrational responses. If you have not faced it, you cannot imagine it. Some of the responses border on outright crazy. Virtually the entire political science department at Israel's Ben Gurion University in Beersheba is internationally famous as a world center of virulentlyanti-Israel advocacy. An Israeli Ph.D. candidate, doing a doctoral thesis aimed at proving that Israelis are racists, focused on data evidencing that soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces do not perpetrate rapes. The insane thesis: since most armies include soldiers who rape civilians, therefore it must be that Israel's armed forces do not rape civilians because they are racist. (Nazi German officers never raped women in groups that the Nazis hated?)
At the head of virtually every anti-Israel organization in the world, we find Jews. Flotillas aimed at supporting Hamas terrorists in Gaza include Jews. When there is a full-page newspaper advertisement attacking Israel, it is challenging to find non-Jewish names, as they are crowded out by Jewish liberals desperately trying to prove their universalism. Whether groups like Breira in the 1970s or the George Soros-funded "J Street" in Washington, punctuated by the strangest Jews in academia, whether Noam Chomsky the linguist or Norman Finkelstein the child of Holocaust Survivors, these troubled outliers continue a tradition that traces back to a tragic psycho-social phenomenon in past centuries among small numbers of Jews animated by values antithetical to Judaism. Yet, ironically, it is Barack Obama, darling of ogling Jewish liberals in Hollywood and other predictable Democrat redoubts, who now has opened doors unimaginably for Jewish Americans to see the perils of continuing in alliances that make no sense. Like the deeply conservative American White Anglo-Saxon Protestants of the American South who continued voting into 1972 for Democrats as President, and until 2010 for Democrats to dominate local state offices, we now are seeing the century's first maturing of the American Jewish voter, as Obama now polls worse among Jews than has any other Democrat since Jimmy Carter. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
The Christians of the American South did it. We are getting there, too.
Dov Fischer, adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School, is a columnist for several online magazines and is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County. He blogs at rabbidov.com.
Lawrence Solomon: The lost tribe of Obama
Rants against the rich, anti-Israeli ideology turn off funds
Jews provide an estimated 50% to 60% of the entire funding of the Democratic Party, making them vital to President Barack Obama’s prospects for re-election. But many Jews are now questioning their commitment to Obama, not least when it comes to pulling out their chequebooks. Some Jews are disappointed with Obama, others angry at him, still others downright fearful, leading to dry holes in Obama’s prospecting for funds and gushers of cash for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. According to a poll published last fall, only 64% of Jews who had donated to Obama’s 2008 campaign planned to support him again.
How could Obama have lost so many of his Jewish supporters, a group that gave him almost 80% of their vote in 2008? Obama blames Republicans for spreading bigotry, such as the claim Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim, and counters that he’s as good as it gets for Jews. Obama reportedly told a group of rabbis visiting the White House in May that all of his Chicago friends were Jewish, that he’s well read on Judaism, and that he “probably knows about Judaism more than any other president.” Burnishing this image of himself, Obama doubtless appreciates a New York magazine cover story, titledThe First Jewish President, that illustrated Obama in a skull cap.
But the estrangement of Jewish Democrats from Obama has nothing to do with his Muslim name and everything to do with how Jews now perceive him and his policies. This “Jewish president,” so confident of his knowledge of Jews, badly misread the Jewish community. His misreading could cost him the money he needs to win re-election.
Obama certainly is steeped in a Jewish milieu. The men most responsible for engineering his political strategies and running his campaigns — David Plouffe and David Axelrod — are both savvy Jews, as are most of his top economic advisors and his current and former chief of staff. J Street, the George Soros funded “pro-Israel” advocacy group, has Obama’s ear, having visited the White House numerous times since he became president, as has Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union. But Obama’s familiarity with Jews extends well beyond this contemporary crew.
For starters, there’s Rabbi Arnold Wolf, a man said to have helped shape Obama’s views in the Chicago of the 1990s. Wolf is known for siding with the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was hijacking airplanes and conducting other terrorist acts, for chairing Breira, a radical anti-Israel organization that had tried to prevent the U.S. from supplying Israel with arms during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and for inviting the Chicago Seven, the radicals famed for their role in the Chicago Riots of 1968, to speak at his synagogue. Obama, who lived across the street from Wolf’s Chicago synagogue, often dropped by to discuss Israel and the Middle East with Wolf and like-minded Jews, giving Obama an insight into radical Jewish thought.
Wolf himself inspired and was inspired by Jewish radicals and revolutionaries — they included Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, two leaders of the Chicago Seven, and the revolutionary Jews who pervaded the anti-capitalist, anti-Vietnam War movement through the Weathermen and Students for a Democratic Society. Wolf, who was one of Obama’s earliest political backers, hosted a coffee party for Obama to aid his campaign, as did other members of this set, such as Weatherman founders Bernadette Dohrn, daughter of a wealthy Jew, and her husband, Bill Ayers. A Chicago Jew who did not meet Obama but who nevertheless profoundly influenced all in his progressive circle was Saul Alinsky, the legendary community organizer, who remains the gold standard in fighting the establishment. As late as 2007, The Washington Post and The New Republic reported that Obama remained enamoured by Alinsky.
Surrounded as he was by radical Jews and their anti-capitalist, pro-Palestinian ideology, Obama could be forgiven for thinking that the Chicago crew he knew so well was representative of American Jewry as a whole, particularly since research by J Street confirmed for him that American Jews don’t support Israel’s “occupation” of Palestine, don’t support the right-wing government of Israel, and in any case don’t vote on the basis of America’s policies toward Israel. Obama’s Jewish advisors doubtless thought that offending Israel and its right-wing prime minister would play well to his Jewish base. Hence Obama pointedly skipped Israel in his high-profile trips to Muslim countries in the Middle East and, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to the White House, Obama denied his guest the customary photo-ops and joint press statement, and even refused to dine with him, curtly leaving Netanyahu and his aides without dinner arrangements and alone in the White House while Obama dined in another room. For good measure, Obama reneged on understandings Israel had with previous U.S. administrations and, in the minds of many Jews, made a show of putting Israel in its place.
This conduct, which shocked many Jews, began their reappraisal of Obama. While America’s Jews may not vote on the basis of Israel — just 7% do, according to polls — neither do they want to see their co-religionists and the birthplace of their religion dissed. As seen in a survey released this week of the political values of American Jews, a significant minority have a strong attachment to Israel and a large majority believes that Israel, but not the Palestinians, truly want peace. Moreover, most American Jews are far from being radicals or anti-capitalist, as are many in Obama’s Jewish circle. Only 10% see themselves as either somewhat radical (8%) or largely radical (2%) and 58% believe they are “not at all” leftist, even though most Jews worry about global warming, favour abortion rights, support higher taxes on those earning more than $200,000, and want more government services and spending. (America’s Jews are in fact even less left-leaning than this survey suggests, because it excluded Orthodox Jews and those who had attended Jewish day school.)
If Obama’s stance toward Israel gave many Democratic Jews pause, his railing against the rich and the 1%, culminating in the Occupy Wall Street movement, motivated many to abandon Obama. Jews may believe in the need for higher taxes on large earners, but they also see themselves as pro-business and pro-wealth creation. “Why does he always say ‘rich’ like it is a four-letter word?,” one person complained. “Why doesn’t he say ‘prosperous’ like [the wealth was earned]?” Jews, many of whom are in the 1%, both want to be proud of their accomplishments and have a visceral fear of being singled out. Occupy Wall Street, which Obama publicly endorsed, sent a chill through many Jews because of the division and hatred it unleashed.
Almost from the start, the Occupy Wall Street protest — whose implicit target was the Jewish-dominated New York financial sector — featured anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli placards, a development that the Jewish press in the U.S. and abroad did not fail to note in its ongoing coverage. Stated Commentary magazine: “Occupy Wall Street’s group page on Facebook was littered with images of the title page of Henry Ford’s notorious pamphlet, The International Jew, as well as a picture featuring the phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei,” lifted from the entrance gate at Auschwitz, with the accompaniment: ‘We don’t work for bad money.’” That many of the Occupy Wall Street organizers were Jewish, and spurred on by prominent Jews such as the head of J Street and the SEIU’s Andy Stern, did nothing to allay Jewish fears — as Jews know all too well, Jews excel in many fields, including anti-Semitism.
Will Obama get his alienated Jewish backers back? His fundraisers are certainly doing their best to explain that Obama’s position on Israel has been misunderstood, that many of Obama’s best friends are Jewish, that Obama doesn’t have anything against people becoming rich, that what Obama might say in public for political purposes doesn’t represent his private views. But many aren’t coming back. As The New York Times reported earlier this year in an article on Obama’s fundraising woes, past donors “felt unfairly demonized for being wealthy. They felt scapegoated for the recession … with mass protests against the 1% springing up all around the country, [some felt he] had created a hostile environment for job creators.
3)Europe's New Anti-Semitism
By Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain
In May 2007 a small group of religious leaders met in the E.U. headquarters in Brussels with the three most significant leaders of Europe: Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and at the time president of the European Council; Jose-Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission; and Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament.
The meeting was one of those semiformal occasions at which little is said, and a great deal of time taken in saying it. Concerned at the return of anti-Semitism to Europe within living memory of the Holocaust, I decided that the time had come to break protocol and speak plainly, even bluntly.
I gave the shortest speech of my life. Sitting directly opposite the three leaders, I said this: "Jews and Europe go back a long way. The experience of Jews in Europe has added several words to the human vocabulary—words like expulsion, public disputation, forced conversion, inquisition, auto-da-fe, blood libel, ghetto and pogrom, without even mentioning the word Holocaust. That is the past. My concern is with the future. Today the Jews of Europe are asking whether there is a future for Jews in Europe, and that should concern you, the leaders of Europe."
It took less than a minute, and after it there was a shocked silence. We adjourned for lunch, and over it Angela Merkel asked, "What would you like me to do, Chief Rabbi?" I did not have an easy answer for her then. I do now. It is: reverse immediately the decision of the Cologne court that renders Jewish parents who give their son a , even if performed in hospital by a qualified doctor, liable to prosecution.
It is hard to think of a more appalling decision. Did the court know that circumcision is the most ancient ritual in the history of Judaism, dating back almost 4,000 years to the days of Abraham? Did it know that Spinoza, not religious but together with John Locke the father of European liberalism, wrote that in and of itself had the power to sustain Jewish identity through the centuries?
Did it know that banning was the route chosen by two of the worst enemies the Jewish people ever had, the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV and the Roman emperor Hadrian, both of whom set out to extinguish not only Jews but also Judaism? Either the court knew these things or it did not. If it did not, then how was it competent to assess the claim of religious liberty? If it did, then there are judges in Germany quite willing to say to religious Jews, in effect, "If you don't like it, leave." Do judges in Cologne today really not know what happened the last time Germany went down that road?
The case—like the banning of the misguided policy, adopted by most European countries in the 1970s, known as multiculturalism. This was meant to promote tolerance. Its effect was precisely the opposite. It encouraged segregation of ethnic minorities, not integration, and instead of getting people to ignore differences it made an issue of them at every stage. (ritual animal slaughter) by the Dutch parliament, now thankfully reversed—illustrates the deep difficulty Jews are facing in Europe today. Both cases initially had nothing to do with Jews. They were directed predominantly against Muslims, whose population vastly outnumbers that of Jews in almost every country in Europe. They are part of the backlash against
The Muslim communities of Europe have been in the frontline of both the policy and its discontents. The result has been that in Germany the court, and in Holland the Parliament, have sought to ban a Muslim practice, while the Jewish community has suffered collateral damage in both places.
That is part of the problem but not all of it. I have argued for some years that an assault on Jewish life always needs justification by the highest source of authority in the culture at any given age. Throughout the Middle Ages the highest authority in Europe was the Church. Hence anti-Semitism took the form of Christian anti-Judaism.
In the post-enlightenment Europe of the 19th century the highest authority was no longer the Church. Instead it was science. Thus was born racial anti-Semitism, based on two disciplines regarded as science in their day: the "scientific study of race" and the Social Darwinism of Herbert Spencer and Ernst Haeckel. Today we know that both of these were pseudo-sciences, but in their day they were endorsed by some of the leading figures of the age.
Since Hiroshima and the Holocaust, science no longer holds its pristine place as the highest moral authority. Instead, that role is taken by human rights. It follows that any assault on Jewish life—on Jews or Judaism or the Jewish state—must be cast in the language of human rights. Hence the by-now routine accusation that Israel has committed the five cardinal sins against human rights: racism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, attempted genocide and crimes against humanity. This is not because the people making these accusations seriously believe them—some do, some don't. It is because this is the only form in which an assault on Jews can be stated today.
That is what the court in Cologne has done. It has declared that circumcision is an assault on the rights of the child since it is performed without his consent. It ignored the fact that if this is true, teaching children to speak German, sending them to school and vaccinating them against illness are all assaults against the rights of the child since they are done without consent. The court's judgment was tendentious, foolish and has set a dangerous precedent.
In historical context, however, it is far worse. By ruling that religious Jews performing their most ancient sacred ritual are abusing the rights of the child, a German court has just invented a new form of Blood Libel perfectly designed for the 21st century. Chancellor Merkel, the answer to your question, "What would you like me to do?" is simple. Ensure that this ruling is overturned, for the sake of religious freedom and the moral reputation of Germany.
4)Top Five Stories
4)Top Five Stories
You May Have Missed
Dear Moneynews Reader:
Here are the five top Moneynews stories from the past week that you may have missed:
- Wiedemer: Further Fed Easing Won't Prevent US RecessionThe Federal Reserve will probably move to stimulate the economy via easing measures this year, though such policy tools can't guarantee that the country won't slide into recession, says Robert Wiedemer, financial commentator and best-selling author of "Aftershock" . . . Click Here.
- Former Clinton Adviser Erskine Bowles: ‘Fiscal Cliff’ May Be a $7 Trillion Disaster for USU.S. policymakers will fail to deal with a sharp fiscal adjustment coming at the end of the year and risk sending the country spiraling into a disastrous recession, says Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton . . . Click Here.
Greenspan: Fed’s Tactics Have Done Little to Help Economy
- The Federal Reserve's monetary policy stimulus measures rolled out since the downturn have had little impact on the economy, says former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan . . . Click Here.
- WSJ: Higher Unemployment Rate Will Stick Around for YearsIf history serves as a lesson, high unemployment rates will stick around for several years to come, Wall Street Journal analysis of government jobs reports shows. The U.S. unemployment rate has hovered over 8 percent for more than three years . . . Click Here.
- Roubini: 2013 ‘Perfect Storm’ Unfolding NowA “Perfect Storm” of economic events forecast to strike the global economy in 2013 is gathering steam earlier than expected, and the world is beginning to feel its effects now, says New York University economist Nouriel Roubini . . . Click Here.