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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

A Rabbi Who Can't Tell the Difference Between Iran and America

By Jonathan Tobin


Kula



Rant by CLAL's Irwin Kula ranks somewhere between the musings of a Marxist high school sophomore and the product of an Occupy Wall Street tent city seminar conducted in a haze of marijuana smoke



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Absent the ability to make moral distinctions, ethics is a meaningless concept. Indeed, if you can't tell the difference between, say, a despotic theocracy and a genuine if flawed democracy, you are in a poor position to claim any moral authority, let alone speak for a great religious tradition grounded in the Torah and the work of countless generations of Jewish scholars.

Yet that is the position that CLAL—The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership finds itself in today. Founded in 1974 by Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg, CLAL's main initial focus was to forge a sense of Jewish unity in an American community divided by bickering denominations and a vast array of political and religious disputes.

If today, 16 years after Greenberg retired and was replaced by Rabbi Irwin Kula, many of its efforts often might be mistaken for a faint shadow of whatever liberal conventional wisdom recently came down the pike, its slogan "The Hebrew word for inclusive" still highlights a brand that is rooted in the idea of bringing together a diverse Jewish community.

Kula has never been mistaken for Greenberg, whose centrism was not just a pose but also a genuine conviction (he was fond of saying that no matter which denomination you belonged to, you had something to be ashamed of).

Rather than tell each segment of American Jewry hard truths, Kula has specialized in telling liberal Jewish audiences what they want to hear. But while there has never been much doubt that he is a figure of the left, something he posted on his official Facebook page on Tuesday that claimed Iran's faux elections are little different from America's democratic system calls into questions not only his judgment, but his moral compass.

The post (hat tip to Alan Luxenberg of the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute) read as follows:

Of course there is a difference and yet there is something strangely parallel how in Iran you have to be vetted by the guardian council of clerics to run for president while in the United States, while you don't have to be vetted by clerics, you have to be vetted by concentrations of private capital. With very rare exceptions unless you pass their filter, you don't enter the political system. I guess one way or another it is always clerics…the only question being just what religion they are peddling, using, distorting? to preserve and expand their power…yes yes yes i would rather live here than in Iran…

While we're glad that Kula prefers to dwell in the American theocracy of "private capital" to the pleasures of life in an Islamist state where Jews are demonized, that is about the only thought here that makes any sense. Suffice it to say that there is nothing remotely analogous about the process by which American politicians seek to raise money from citizens and groups and a system that rules as ineligible for inclusion on a ballot anyone who diverges even a smidge from the ideology of Ayatollah Khomeini.



Some on the left may lament the fact that Americans of all stripes and convictions can individually or collectively mobilize their financial resources to promote political speech or candidates as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. They may prefer a system in which all candidates are restricted to public funds. That would restrict the ability of citizens to express their opinions and preferences as well as to reinforce the influence of the mainstream liberal media.

But to pretend that a system that provides opportunity for all comers to test their popularity and the strength of their ideas are also no different from the fake elections conducted in Iran is beyond absurd.


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As an example of political insight, Kula's rant ranks somewhere between the musings of a Marxist high school sophomore and the product of an Occupy Wall Street tent city seminar conducted in a haze of marijuana smoke. But what is really troubling about it is not so much an inane argument for campaign finance laws as is his not-so-subtle effort to legitimize the regime in Tehran or at least to defuse support for action against Iran.

At a time when Iran's theocratic regime that has threatened genocide against Israel and the Jewish people continues to work toward the creation of a nuclear weapon to accomplish that despicable goal, for someone who claims the mantle of leadership to be making such specious analogies is a blow to efforts to push for Jewish unity on the issue of Iran. That CLAL would tolerate this type of behavior from its head speaks volumes about how far the group has fallen since Greenberg's day.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of Commentary magazine, in whose blog "Contentions" this first appeared.

© 2013, Jonathan S. Tobin

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