In this issue

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 10, 2004 / 17 Adar, 5764

Tap dancing to Washington

By Jonathan Tobin

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

Instead of partisan spin, supporters of both candidates should hold their men accountable

https://www.jewishworldreview.com | In the run up to the 1996 presidential election, former Sen. Bob Dole, then the Senate's Republican majority leader, discovered Israel on his way to the GOP's presidential nomination.

Though he had not been known as an ardent advocate for the Jewish state, Dole went all out to make new friends before his eventual defeat at the hands of Bill Clinton. The monument to this effort is the legislation he sponsored that mandated that the United States move its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Still on the books — though routinely flouted by both Clinton and his successor, George W. Bush — Dole's Jerusalem bill bears witness to the lengths to which presidential wannabes will go to get Jewish money and votes. Cynics can point to this transparent attempt to pander to pro-Israel sentiment as proof of how pointless the process can be. And yet who can deny that the ritual of appealing to the pro-Israel sentiments of voters (both Jewish and non-Jewish) has a profound affect on America's Middle East policy? The mere act of making such a promise, even one as meaningless as Dole's, makes it less likely that Israel's foes will miscalculate and think they can drive a wedge between Israel and America.

All of which brings us to an examination of the latest round of pandering: this time the efforts of Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who has sewn up his party's presidential nomination.

Kerry is more familiar with Jewish voters than Dole. He also has a coterie of influential Jewish supporters and financial backers, in addition to a lengthy record of support for Israel. Yet even Kerry found himself tap dancing for a group of Jewish leaders last week in the days before the New York primary, trying to explain away a couple of damaging statements that opponents have been circulating to undermine his candidacy.

One revolved around a Kerry speech to an Arab-American group last fall, in which he said he opposed the security fence that Israel is building to protect its citizens against Palestinian terrorists, calling it a "barrier to peace."

Kerry stepped in it again in December when during the course of a foreign-policy address, he blasted the Bush administration's unwillingness to intervene more forcefully in the Middle East peace process, and said that, if elected, he would send a special envoy to the region. He went on to mention former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker as people he might consider for the role, nominees that most Jews would consider a bipartisan short list of those most hostile to the interests of the Jewish nation.

But when confronted on these points in New York, Kerry backpedaled furiously. Demonstrating his well-known ability to come down on both sides of all issues (what some call his "flexibility"), the candidate claimed to be a big supporter of the fence. He also promised that his Mideast envoy would certainly be someone far more acceptable to Israel than either Carter or Baker. Previous statements were, Kerry's spinmasters said, just a misunderstanding.

Maybe so, but Kerry can expect that both flip-flops will be thrown in his face by Bush supporters all the way to November. Others will cite a passage in Kerry's 1997 book on foreign policy, The New War, in which he wrote that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was a "role model" for other terrorists because of his "transformation from outlaw to statesman." Of course, Kerry says he doesn't believe that any more either.

Donate to JWR

All the same, it isn't likely this issue will have much of an impact on the Jewish vote this year. Most Jews remain partisan Democrats, and Israel notw ithstanding, share their fellow party members' deep antipathy to the president. But even a small gain in the percentage of Jewish votes for Bush over the 18 percent he received in 2000 would make a crucial difference in battleground states such as Florida.

So you can expect Republicans to emphasize Bush's support for Israel and the war on terrorism for Jewish voters. In reply, Democrats will assert that Kerry has a longer history of support for Jewish causes than Bush. They will also keep wavering voters in line by linking Bush to conservative Christians, who scare liberal Jews to death on domestic issues, even if most Evangelicals are stronger supporters of Israel than some Jews.

But the problem with the gotcha game that both sides play is that it leaves little time to discuss the real differences between a possible Kerry presidency and that of the Bush administration.

In the last four years, Bush's strong support of Israel and implacable criticism of Arafat have resonated with backers of Israel. So, too, has his insistence that democracy in the Arab world be a precondition for peace — a position that appalled Europeans and the American foreign-policy establishment. In contrast, Kerry is a true believer in multilateral diplomacy. And while Bush has shown himself to be more comfortable with Ariel Sharon and his right-of-center Israeli government than any previous American president, Kerry enjoys the company of Israelis like Geneva accord mastermind Yossi Beilin. On the Middle East, a Kerry presidency is almost certain to feel like a continuation of the Clinton administration.

On the other hand, Kerry would come in to office as a strong critic of the Saudis, the funders of Islamic terror consistently appeased by Bush. And, despite all the applause Bush has gotten for his snubs of Arafat and for the ouster of Saddam Hussein, some right-wing Jews, such as Zionist Organization of America head Morton Klein, damn him all the same for his support for a Palestinian state.

But instead of spending the next eight months bashing their opponents, Jewish Democrats and Republicans would do us all a favor if they spent some of this time pushing their own standard-bearers to clarify their positions.

Democrats should keep Kerry's feet to the fire on Israel, and push him to draw appropriate conclusions from the failure of Oslo and Clinton's policies in the region.

Republicans need to make it clear to the president that he, too, doesn't have a blank check. For one thing, Bush needs to stop backing away from his demand that Palestinians oust Arafat.

What we need during this campaign is more accountability from both candidates on Middle East policy. What we're likely to get is just more spin and the same old partisanship.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here. In June, Mr. Tobin won first places honors in the American Jewish Press Association's Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary as well as the Philadelphia Press Association's Media Award for top weekly columnist. Both competitions were for articles written in the year 2002.

Jonathan Tobin Archives

© 2004, Jonathan Tobin