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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 3, 2008 / 26 Adar I 5768

Obama's Spurned Supporters

By Jonathan Tobin



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Debate over candidate shows that being mainstream means being pro-Israel


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) has decided to stop letting others speak for him when it came to his position on Israel. Given the range of views imputed to or associated with him by a wide variety of sources, it wasn't a moment too soon.

Rather than allow the debate be defined by urban legends spread via e-mail about his Muslim ties or the identity of his foreign-policy advisers, Obama was wise to get people to stop talking about Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Malley, and to start parsing his own words.

Obama's question-and-answer session with members of the Jewish community in Cleveland was fascinating and remarkably candid. It also should go a long ways toward reassuring voters that an Obama administration would not rupture the U.S.-Israel alliance.

He told them that he supports Israel's existence unconditionally and views its security as non-negotiable. He wants to eliminate the threat to Israel from the radical regime in Iran which has vowed to destroy it. Though he favors diplomacy to back off Tehran, he says that he won't negotiate with Hamas so long as it refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist. He also says all the people that he listens to on Middle East policy are stalwart friends of Israel.

As for the fact that the pastor of his church has lauded Louis Farrakhan, Obama says he disagrees with him and rejects any expression of anti-Semitism.

CARD-CARRYING LOBBYIST
Everybody satisfied? Well, we should be. These statements place him well within the range of pro-Israel opinion in this country.

Saying all this earned Obama his pro-Israel merit badge. Yet that doesn't mean we shouldn't ask him to clarify his positions in the coming months.

In his Cleveland statement, he made the mistake of saying that he favors a Palestinian state that will be "contiguous."

Supporting such a state is not controversial anymore. It's the Palestinians and the Arabs who don't appear to not want one, preferring to hold on to their hopes of destroying Israel. But even if the Palestinians do accept it one day — given the realities of the map — making it "contiguous" is impossible.

Obama also said that being "pro-Israel" doesn't mean being "pro-Likud," and that being for peace doesn't mean that someone's against Israel.

He's right about that. But he's also drawing on the old paradigm of American Jews being split along pro-Labor and pro-Likud lines in their affection for Israel. That may have once been true, but it's an outdated way of looking at things.

In the wake of the collapse of the Oslo process, most Israelis and American Jews realize that such a division is meaningless. Both the left and the right in Israel have failed — and almost everyone knows it. Israelis want peace and are willing to make sacrifices for it, yet they no longer blindly trust in the peaceful intentions of their antagonists.

Obama needs to drop this line, especially since, if he's elected president, the odds are that he may have to work with a Likud prime minister of Israel named Benjamin Netanyahu some time during his term of office.

That said, like anyone who makes such unequivocal statements, Obama must now be considered a card-carrying member of the pro-Israel "lobby" conspiracy, as defined by authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

All of which has to be highly disappointing to a number of people who would otherwise be the senator's natural allies.

Obama's rhetoric of inclusion and natural charisma has created a groundswell of support from a wide spectrum of opinion, including some people who are chagrined at his proclaimed fealty to a pro-Israel platform.

One such supporter is Tikkun magazine editor Michael Lerner, a pillar of the hard left, who is deeply critical of both Israeli measures of self-defense against Palestinian terror and American supporters of Israel. He sees Obama as a kindred spirit. But he wrote last month to lament the fact that Obama had apparently sold his soul to AIPAC.

According to Lerner, "Obama's problem is that his spiritual progressive worldview is in conflict with the demands of the older generation of Jews who control the Jewish institutions and define what it is to be pro-Jewish, while his base consists of many young Jews who support him precisely because he is willing to publicly stand for the values that they hold."

More disappointed was Palestinian-American extremist Ali Abunimah, who said to Public Broadcasting's "Democracy Now" program that when Obama was his state senator in Illinois he was an opponent of Israel, but now laments "how far he has moved to try to appease AIPAC and pro-Israel movements."

This point was underlined by gadfly and perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who fulminated on "Meet the Press" that Obama used to be "pro-Palestinian," but now backs the "destruction" of Gaza.

Abunimah and Nader have given up on Obama, but Lerner is holding on to some hope that he will revert to his "spiritual progressive" identity.

The odds of that happening are pretty slim since, no matter what his foreign-policy positions might have been when he was in the Illinois State Senate, Obama knows the vast majority of Americans whose votes he needs to win in November when he hopes to face off against Republican Sen. John McCain will not support a man who repudiates the bond between Israel and the United States.

The moral of the story is that the citizens of the people's republic of Berkeley, Calif., like Lerner, as well as the radical anti-Israel/Jimmy Carter wing of the Democratic Party, have irrevocably lost Barack Obama (if indeed, they ever had him) because a person who does not embrace Israel cannot represent himself as part of the political mainstream.

CONSENSUS, NOT A CABAL
In the views of hard-core leftists like Nader, Obama's pro-Israel apostasy validates the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis about the dark power of the "lobby conspiracy."

But what it demonstrates is that, far from being a cabal, the pro-Israel position cuts across most demographic and political lines to form what is truly a bipartisan consensus. Defying it requires not an act of courage, but of political suicide.

Given all this, does this mean that we should cease, as some partisans urge, probing candidates to spell out their positions on Israel and the Middle East?

The answer here is no.

Though some fear that even to debate the putative superiority of one candidate over another on Israel is unhelpful, the process by which the would-be presidents are forced to spell out their positions is instructive.

Though many of Obama's supporters felt questions raised about him on Israel were unfair, the end result helped anchor him even more closely to the pro-Israel consensus.

The moment the Jewish community ever stops trying to hold candidates accountable in this way is the moment they can no longer count on them. That's a lesson that Obamaites, as well as backers of John McCain, should never forget.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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