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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 Oct. 7, 2003 / 11 Tishrei, 5764

The Israel Factor

By Jonathan Tobin

Will support for the Jewish state be an issue in the presidential race?


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The notion that Jews cast their votes solely on the issue of Israel is more myth than fact.

Of course, you might forget that if you listen to some of the rhetoric aimed at Jews by presidential candidates. Can it be that Israel is once again a presidential-election issue?

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For all of the alarmist rhetoric we often hear from Jewish groups, the truth is that Israel simply hasn't been an issue during the last two elections. It was conspicuously absent from the discussion during the 2000 George W. Bush vs. Al Gore match-up, as well as in 1996, when Bill Clinton bested both Republican Bob Dole and independent Ross Perot to win re-election.

BURNING THE ELDER BUSH


In fact, it has been 12 years since Israel was a factor in a presidential election. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush's administration was seen as hostile to the State of Israel and many American Jews were eager to do anything to boot him out of the White House the next year.

Bush's disdain for Israel and efforts to isolate its leaders were deeply resented. The hostility of his Secretary of State, James A. "bleep the Jews" Baker III, toward Israel was the icing on the cake. This probably didn't cost Bush the election, but he did get the lowest total of Jewish votes by a major-party candidate since Barry Goldwater, and set back GOP efforts to make inroads among Jews by a decade.

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The issue disappeared entirely in 1996, as neither of Bill Clinton's c hallengers could credibly present themselves as more pro-Israel than the president. Nor was the 2000 election much of a test of affection for Israel. Despite some outreach efforts to the pro-Israel community, George W. Bush was fatally handicapped by the association with his father, as well as by the fact that the Democrats nominated a Jew, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, for vice president.

Ironically, Lieberman, who is attempting to move up on the ticket this time and become the first Jewish president, isn't the only Democrat candidate with Jewish roots. Gen. Wesley Clark's father was Jewish (Clark was raised as a Protestant, and is currently a Catholic); Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts recently "discovered" that his grandfather was Jewish; and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is married to a Jew, and his children were raised as Jews.

Will any of this appeal to Jewish voters? I doubt it, but as a minyan of Democrats line up for the chance to knock off Bush the younger, some of them have not been shy about attempting to use the Middle East to make some political hay.

DEAN GIVES THEM AN OPENING


In August, Dean gave an opening to his rivals by stating that the United States must be "evenhanded," in its policy between Israel and the Arabs. This prompted Lieberman to publicly chastise Dean for abandoning Israel. Kerry, the putative Democratic front-runner until Dean mobilized anti-Iraq war sentiment on his behalf, chimed in on that score, and then one-upped Lieberman by seizing upon a Dean quote in which he referred to Hamas terrorists as "soldiers."

The latest entrant to the Democratic race may soon face some of the same treatment. A political greenhorn, Clark has been all over the place on the war in Iraq. But he has stated support for the idea that NATO troops could serve as peacekeepers in Israel, as well as for an enhanced international component to Middle East diplomacy.

That immediately drew fire from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, which pointed out the dangers for Israel involved in bringing American soldiers, or more European or U.N. diplomats, into the conflict with the P alestinians.

The decision of Lieberman to use the Israel issue against Dean is interesting because it may be his best chance to rally Jewish voters to his flagging campaign. Lieberman is seen by some as having trouble raising Jewish money. That is happening for two reasons, one of which is based on nonsense, while the other is rooted in hard fact.

On the one hand, some believe Lieberman's election, would stir up more anti-Semitism. That is patently false, as his well-regarded run for the vice presidency in 2000 proved. But others are right to worry whether Lieberman or any Jewish president would be so eager to prove his "evenhandedness" on the Middle East that they would bend over backward to show no favoritism to Israel. But Lieberman is probably barking up the wrong tree here. After all, many of the liberal Jews who will help determine the outcome probably are supporters of "evenhanded" policies toward Israel themselves.

But if Dean or Clark do emerge from the pack, they will have to be wary of anything that will make them seem to be too closely identified with an anti-Israel tint. In a close election, a swing of a few Jewish voters in key states could prove fatal to Democratic hopes.

And that's where one major difference from 1992 comes in. Because, in stark contrast to his father, George W. Bush is regarded by most Jewish voters as sympathetic to Israel.

A DIFFERENT BUSH


Though he hasn't a single Jew in his Cabinet, the presence of many pro-Israel voices in the administration (the neoconservative cabal that leftists are so worried about) has led to the crafting of a policies that are seen as closely aligned with that of Israel. In particular, his refusal to meet with Yasser Arafat, whom he rightly regards as a terrorist, is deeply satisfying to most pro-Israel voters.

Some on the Jewish right are still unhappy about Bush's support of the road-map peace plan and a Palestinian state, a position now shared by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But given the fact that any of the Democrats would probably emulate Clinton in his support for the Israeli left, Jews who bash Bush from the right have no place to go.

And as November 2004 gets closer, we can probably see even less interest from the White House in any plan that makes Israel uncomfortable. That will allow Bush to help secure some key Jewish votes and firm up his hold on conservative Christians, who are more fervently pro-Israel than many Jews.

It is unlikely that 2004 will see a return of the old-time pandering to Jewish voters, which once had every challenger falsely promising to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But, given the fact that Israel is still assailed by a bloody Palestinian terror war, it would be foolish to think that Israel is a negligible factor. If the GOP can label a Democratic candidate as soft on Israel, it will hurt them.

Despite the current banter, it's hard to imagine Israel being an issue next spring in the Democratic primaries. But if the Democrats aren't careful, history might reverse itself, as a Bush turns the Israel factor to his advantage this time.

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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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