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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 June 18, 2008 / 15 Sivan 5768

Still Dancing Around Jerusalem

By Jonathan Tobin



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Obama's pandering and immediate retractions and his critics' jibes are the latest installment of a cynical game


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There are times when even the most ardent supporters of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem wish the politicians would just shut up.


Not that they mind it when men like Sen. Barack Obama, the putative Democratic nominee for president, waxed lyrical about the Jewish state's capital. When Obama told the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., earlier this month that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," he was cheered to the echo.


In doing so, Obama was following a long tradition observed by both Republicans and Democrats who have been feeding Jewish audiences with the proverbial red meat about this core issue.

PLAYING THE CARD
Indeed, Obama's sudden annunciation of a hard line on Jerusalem recalls the decision of former Sen. Bob Dole — a man who'd previously never evinced much interest in Zionism — to introduce legislation requiring the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 1995. This happened to coincide with the fact that he was running for president the following year and was hopeful of Jewish contributions, if not votes.


For decades, both parties played this card every four years, putting the same sentiment about the embassy in their platforms. Of course, no president ever elected on such a platform, including some like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, who were both sympathetic to Israel, ever fulfilled that promise. And although Dole's bill was passed, it included a poison pill allowing the president to enact a waiver to put off moving the embassy. Both Clinton and President George W. Bush have used that waiver to make sure that the embassy stays put.


Due to the fact that the United States has never formally recognized Israel's hold on its "eternal and indivisible" capital, surely none but the most simple-minded of Israel's supporters in this country ever thought that the embassy was going anywhere anytime soon. But the ritual statements put forward on the issue are considered a measure of good intentions, if nothing else.


Still, Obama's speech was politically significant.


Unlike most of the recent presidential candidates of both parties, Obama does not have a track record on Israel. And his associations with some anti-Israel foreign-policy wonks, as well as with others considered favorable to the Palestinians, have raised other questions. Like Bush, who entered the 2000 election with many assuming he was as unsympathetic to the Jewish state as his father, Obama has something to prove. But unlike Bush, who was elected with little Jewish support, Obama cannot afford to let the bad vibes about Israel significantly diminish the usually overwhelming Jewish vote for the Democrats.


That explains the decision to have him verbally wave the blue-and-white flag over Jerusalem. Unfortunately for Obama and Israel, his comments to AIPAC were spoiled within 24 hours when he backtracked on the "undivided" Jerusalem talk after the Palestinian Authority and various Arab nations denounced his stand. So a day after drawing a line in the sand on Israel's hold on the city, Obama told CNN that although he wanted the city to stay united, "as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute."


Later, a spokesperson tried to explain that what Obama was against was a return to a division via "barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-67."


Well, I should hope not. During the 19 years prior to the unification of the city during the 1967 Six-Day War, Jordanian occupation of parts of the city meant no Jew could step foot on Judaism's holiest places, which were also frequently desecrated.


Obama's dilemma shows how hard it is for a man who likes the idea that most of the world (which does not share America's love for Israel) is rooting for him, but still wants to assure Jewish Democrats that they can trust him.


Of course, his Republican rival, the presumptive GOP candidate Sen. John McCain, was quick to deride Obama's flip-flop. But even though Jewish Republicans think they can make hay on this issue, McCain's stand is also that Jerusalem's status is subject to negotiations — the same as both President Bush and Obama. But just to show how experienced a hand he is at working the pro-Israel crowd, McCain added "we should move our embassy to Jerusalem before anything happens."


McCain's sympathy for Israel and antipathy to its foes is a matter of record, but we all know that pigs will fly before an ambassador to Israel appointed by a president McCain reports for work in Jerusalem.


That said, the rhetorical games about Jerusalem do have some impact beyond the dash for votes.


Despite the growing chorus of pundits who claim that groups like AIPAC are unrepresentative of Israel's supporters in this nation, the fact is that most Americans still wholeheartedly support Israel's stand on Jerusalem.


Even though Israel's current prime minister has hinted that he will allow some of the Arab neighborhoods of the city to go to a Palestinian state in peace agreement, the odds of such a deal happening anytime in the foreseeable future are virtually nil. Even those few Palestinians who would make such a deal know that they cannot stop Hamas terrorists from using any soil surrendered to them from being used as a base for terror.

POLITICAL SUICIDE
But that hasn't stopped some of Israel's critics and a few who claim to be its friends from asking that the United States pressure Israel to be make more futile concessions, including some on Jerusalem. In particular, some of Obama's fans on the left have been hoping that he would do so, and were bitterly disappointed by his speech to AIPAC.


But their hopes are absurd. Pressure on Israel doesn't bring peace; it just undermines the already slim chances that the Palestinians will come to their senses and start reconciling themselves to the reality of the Jewish state.


Outside of the pro-Arab lobby and a small cadre of Jewish left-wingers — whose agenda is divorced from the realities of the Middle East and more about opposition to AIPAC's status as the pre-eminent pro-Israel lobby than anything else — few in this country want to pressure Jerusalem. Indeed, as Obama's statements trying to reassure the country of his pro-Israel views this year demonstrated, support for the Jewish state remains a consensus issue that candidates ignore at their peril. Anything that clouds the issue, including Obama's backtracking will only encourage more Israel-bashing, not peace.


As the general election begins to unfold, Obama needs to stop trying to fine-tune his stances. More clarifications, such as those that followed his AIPAC speech, will only reinforce doubts about his steadfastness, and hurt him and the U.S.-Israel alliance. If he can't stick to that line, it would almost be better to say nothing. Rather than worrying about being accused of pandering to the Jews, the best thing for both him and the cause of peace is to stick to the pro-Israel playbook.

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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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