My speaking trips around the world have left me with many friends in both the Islamic and Jewish cultures. It is no secret that Muslims are almost unanimously rooting for Barack Obama in the upcoming U.S. elections, and that a majority of American Jews, led by the intrepid George Soros and Steven Spielberg, are too. But the more savvy among my American Jewish friends and most of my Israeli Jewish contacts, are deeply concerned about the possibility of an Obama presidency and what it will mean for them and the danger for Israel.
It may be yet another small piece of the puzzle of why this presidential race, with an incumbent Republican administration on the edge of an economic recession, is still as close as it is. For, if they are small in numbers, the Jews in America are influential and beloved by many others beyond their own. Among America’s many self appointed moral tasks, is our decision to protect the Jews from another holocaust.
So where does the anti-Obama hostility emanate? And what is its basis? And how will it impact the coming election? Will Joe Biden on the ticket help?
For the most part the media has treated this as a “politically incorrect” story. Meaning, they have ignored it, as if it doesn’t exist, or the public cannot be trusted to understand it. They finally waded in when the word of mouth discussion reached a crescendo. In January, 2008, the Jewish community was alive with E-mails passing back and forth with false accusations. Barack Obama was secretly Muslim, they said. Or he had studied in an Indonesian madrassa. He had refused to honor the pledge allegiance.
At the urging of friends within the Jewish community, Obama held a telephone conference call on January 28, to correct the false rumors and reassure the Jewish leaders. Obama declared his support for Israel “as a Jewish state,” spoke out against the continued rocket attacks from Gaza and opposed negotiations with Hamas as long as they deny Israel’s right to exist. He also corrected earlier comments, making it clear that the Palestinian slogan of its “right of return” should not be accepted literally.
The media reported the false e-mails and Obama’s corrections without mentioning the Jews. But many in that community remained nervous. They were alarmed by the link between the Islamic, anti-Semitic, Louis Farrakhan and the church that Obama attended for twenty years. What did that mean? The story would flare out into the open months later. And there were other internet stories that the Obama campaign and a sympathetic media were not answering.
One of the more telling moments for Barack Obama, and one of the reasons some prominent Jews have dug in their heels in opposing his election, was his rejection of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of a weekly newspaper in Bangladesh. Choudhury, a Muslim, became an outspoken advocate of Muslims and Jews living together in peace. When he was invited to speak in Israel he was arrested on charges of blasphemy and hauled before an Islamist judge. According to A Moslem Hero, a story written by journalist Rael Jean Issac, Choudhury was “imprisoned and tortured for ten days as the authorities vainly tried to make him confess he was an Israeli spy. He spent the next 17 months in solitary confinement, his cell the size of a table, the diet miserably inadequate, denied medical treatment.”
When Chicago Jews, led by Dr. Richard Benkin, repeatedly asked for help from Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s office they were brushed aside. Susan Rosenbluth, editor of The Jewish Voice and Opinion, took up the cause and within months the U. S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed House Resolution 2006 calling on the Bangladeshi government to drop all charges against Choudhury. It passed in March 2007. Choudhury is still imprisoned. Obama’s campaign and the national media are silent.
Barack Obama’s new rhetoric is decidedly favorable to Israel. But it is held suspect by many. You will never hear this on MSNBC or CNN but before he was a presidential candidate, Obama was on record calling for an “even handed approach” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And this after the Palestinians had began their Second Intifada. There is Obama’s famous comments in 2004 to Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada. Obama was in the middle of his run for the U.S. Senate. “Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.” (For an excellent account of this read Eric Trager, Obama and the American Jews, 1/29/08.)
What is known about the Senator’s own staff is even more troubling to Jews and heartening to Muslims. If “people are policy” as the old Washington saying goes, then the American Jews are in for a tumultuous period ahead for Obama’s staff give clear evidence of a shift away from Israel.
Onboard the Obama foreign policy team is Jimmy Carter’s brilliant national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who once famously declared that “Israel is an apartheid state” and whose views greatly worry the Jewish community.
There is Robert Malley who according to the Jerusalem Post, is “an unabashed advocate for the Palestinians, co-authoring a spate of anti-Israel propaganda with former Arafat advisor, Hussein Agha.” (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2008.)
There is Susan Rice, who as an advisor to John Kerry once suggested sending Jimmy Carter and James Baker, to the Middle East to find a solution.
There is General Merrill McPeak, Obama’s chief military adviser and national-campaign co-chairman. McPeak has criticized Israel for not returning to its 1967 borders and handing the Golan Heights back to Syria. He has accused Jewish and evangelical voters of placing their interest in Israel above the nation, telling the Oregonian that world peace was held back by “New York City. Miami. We have a large vote …. here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.”
And while most of the Obama team is smart enough to keep their heads down, there are others who cannot resist leaking their views. Obama advisor, Samantha Power, warns obliquely that the Senator’s M iddle East policy could result in “alienating a domestic constituency.” (Ibid. Trager.)
Obama has disavowed some of the statements of his team but all are still onboard. None have been fired. Some see his announcement of Senator Joe Biden, a friend of Israel, as an attempt to counter this appearance.
Jewish strategic analyst, Joel Watterman, worries that “Obama’s personal record offers us only paper thin legs in which to engage him.” Still some of his statements, votes or curious absences from the Senate, offer nuanced clues.
Obama has declared that “Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people.”
He insists that we should reach out to Iran even though its leaders have recently referred to Israel as a “filthy bacteria” and have repeatedly called for the annihilation of the Jewish State, including recent hints that this will be accomplished by a nuclear attack. (Ibid, Jerusalem Post.)
He has said that the “creation of a wall dividing the two nations is yet another example of the neglect of this Administration in brokering peace.” (Ibid.)
He has praised Al Sharpton and the National Action Network as “a voice for the dispossessed.” This organization led protests against the Jewish owner of Freddy’s Fashion Mart in New York in which picketers, sometimes joined by Sharpton himself, repeatedly screamed epithets about “bloodsucking Jews” and “Jew bastards.” (Ibid.)
Mark Hemingway points out that Obama announced he would vote against an amendment in the Senate declaring Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — which has long supported Hezbollah terrorists and otherwise abetted the murder of Israelis — a terrorist group. The resolution passed anyway, 76–22, with the support of Hillary Clinton. Obama missed the vote while campaigning in New Hampshire, but he attacked Clinton on the issue, saying “the non-binding amendment might exacerbate tensions with Iran.”
In the past, most American politicians who spoke boldly to international audiences about returning the West Bank to the Palestinians changed their minds when they actually visited Israel and saw how the land in question could be used by terrorists to launch attacks to the whole country. Israel’s vulnerability is hard to miss when you experience it yourself, riding in a car caravan along those highways. So many were surprised that Osama’s visit to Israel in July brought no such epiphany.
After the visit, the Middle-Eastern scholar and author, Professor Paul Eidelberg, who heads a Jerusalem think tank, offered the strongest statement to date. “Never in my lifetime has there been a Presidential candidate so utterly clueless about the importance of the State of Israel and the need for the U.S. to stand with her.” (Ibid.)
Ted Belman, Jewish pundit, wonders how a person can vote for Obama and be pro-Israel at the same time? Pointing out that Obama is the first presidential candidate to receive the endorsement of Hamas. And Belman offers the numbers to show that it is happening. While Hillary Clinton beat Obama with the Jewish vote, 62% – 38%, in one of her last polls, Obama is beating McCain 62%-32%. To offer some context, in 1980, Reagan won 39% of the Jewish vote agains t Jimmy Carter.
Still, as one involved in several presidential campaigns I can tell you that this represents a critical shift away from the Democrat Party. The addition of Joe Biden as the Vice Presidential running mate helps immensely, with Jews, Catholics and Evangelicals. But McCain, who keeps Jewish Senator, Joe Leiberman, as his shadow knows that the shift is happening. One comment on the internet suggests that most American Jews are liberal Democrats first and only Jews second. Another suggests that they would vote for anybody with a D next to the name. So McCain’s 32%, against the headwind of a failing economy, is significant.
Gentiles have a hard time understanding this. Any casual reader of the Holocaust sees the danger of policy drift, and threatening public words, and bureaucracy empowered. Israel should represent the canary in the coal mine. If it is thr eatened then is not the whole world Jewish community threatened as well? Are we as Gentiles, seeing something that they are missing? Doesn’t survival trump any other policy?
But Obama’s appeal to Jewish voters, as his appeal to Evangelical Christian voters, still works because regardless of his comments or his record, or his team, he passionately courts both voter blocs. Jews, Evangelicals, indeed, all Americans like the idea of a Black president, putting a very big nail in the coffin of racism in America. Ron Kampeas of JTA, points out that Obama has always sought out Jewish political support, from his first Senate campaign to his presidential run. Thomas Friedman offers just as many pro Palestinian quotes from George W. Bush, arguing that whoever becomes president, the policies in the Middle East will have to involve all sides.
So the issue of Barack Obama and the Jews wil l not likely be resolved before November. The Illinois Senator, who is a superb politician, will be much too canny for any more revelations. And if what is already known about Obama is not sufficiently significant, then it is not likely that anything more – outside the nomination of Joe Lieberman as McCain’s running mate – will make a difference.
Says the Canadian gadfly and former Member of Parliament, Simma Holt, “We Jews, who look on from outside America, are a little nervous. We like McCain but fear Obama may win. We can only hope that Obama really means what he is now saying. If America falls into the hands of an ascendant Islamic influence, with its growing oil money, what’s left? Israel is alone.”
31 thoughts on “Why many Jews fear Obama”
Getting one of your primary target audiences for this blog (isolationist and anti-imperialist Losertarians) concerned about the plight of Jews is like asking for open gay rights support at a NASCAR race.
Thank you for the information Doug.
I will be researching the context and definately be praying over this.
I got chills down my spine while reading this. Wow…it won’t be long now.
This puts me all that much more against Obama. We as a Nation need to maintain support for Isreal. Any christian that does not support Isreal, needs to go back and study his/her Bible more closely! Pray for the peace of Isreal!
joseph: How can you support a country when you can’t even spell its name?
Uh-oh…DB is on his spelling rampage again. Look out…the sixth grade teacher is back! 🙂
How are you DB? I hope you are having a wonderful day. I have been praying for you. Oh I know you don’t believe in prayer…but I will still do it even if you don’t want me to. Hope you are having a great day DB 🙂
Hmm, all that prayer and I still think you’re a moron.
But really, how stupid do you have to be to misspell Israel?
🙂 🙂 🙂
Everyone has an opinion DB…how can you think I am a moron? You don’t even know me. You are ignorant of who I am. So, you’ve read a few comments I’ve posted. And? You still don’t even know me…ya hater 🙂
That’s alright…I’m still praying for ya ol’geezer.
By the way…how are the worms doing?
Why do I think you are a moron?
The fact that you place your faith in mythical supernatural beings is just the beginning.
You use emoticons. Netspeak and emoticons are for morons.
You use hip hop thug jargon like “ya hater,” as in “don’t be a playa hata” or some such illiterate gibberish white kids seem to think is cool to imitate.
Hmmm….well I suppose you have the right to an opinion as skewed as it is. I use slang and Netspeak (like many people around the globe) for fun. I suppose a older man such as yourself can not relate to that – different generation I suppose. But, you still don’t know me and feel more comfortable in hating what you do not understand or agree with. You have the right to your opinion though.
I do not go by just emotions. I am inteligent and college educated. Silly typos and mistakes happen to everyone, even yourself. What I choose to believe is my right and freedom to do so. That does not make me a moron. I say “ya hater” because it seems to me that is your favorite thing to do. I haven’t seen even one kind word from you since I’ve started checking out this site. That is really unfortunate.
I still love you DB and will constantly pray for you.
In fact, I now have many other people praying for you too.
“I haven’t seen even one kind word from you since I’ve started checking out this site.”
You haven’t read everything, but just what you want to support your sick agenda.
“I use slang and Netspeak (like many people around the globe) for fun.”
So having “fun” trumps looking like a moron? No one truly educated would converse that way. Someone truly educated would never imitate that low class hip hop patter.
No wonder society is doomed. How can I feel confident knowing that illiterate Generation X/Y schmucks like you will someday take the keys?
Actually David, I think you would be surprised how I’ve followed your comments and blogs. I have researched you quite a bit. You don’t have a positive or kind word on even one statement typed. I do support my constitutional rights. I live in a country that provides freedoms that other countries do not.
It is a shame that you judge and sterotype an entire generation. I suppose it is understandable given you grew up in the 50’s. I have the utmost respect for your generation and envy people from your time in history. IN MOST cases (and not necessarily this one) your generation has a better understanding of honor and good manors.
As for someone who is truly educated would not use netspeak and slang…well, I know a few journalists that use netspeak and slang and they are very educated. That is what editors are for. An entire globe of people use this manor of communication. You are different and ‘choose’ to use a differnt type of communication. Posting comments here is for my personal pleasure and not a prefessional obligation. If I had been typing as part of my job function for a job, I am sure I would be more conservitive. In this case I am not, and if I feel like placing a smile next to a comment to express my feelings or a joke or whatever, than I also have the right and freedom to do so, just like you have the right and freedom to be my personal editor. I appreciate your FREE editing though 🙂 🙂 🙂
I have a question for just you David…is it possible for a compromise? Instead of your rudness and bitterness….perhaps we communicate like a MATURE ADULTS instead of mud slinging and judging? I can only hope there is some sort of possibility that you can effectively communicate in a mature fashion.
“IN MOST cases (and not necessarily this one) your generation has a better understanding of honor and good manors. (sic)”
“An entire globe of people use this manor (sic) of communication.”
You are the case for sterilizing parents with below average IQs.
Funny, I never hear George Bush or John McCain talk like a hip hop loser.
“Posting comments here is for my personal pleasure and not a prefessional (sic) obligation.”
Tell me, any inbreeding in your family?
“perhaps we communicate like a MATURE ADULTS instead of mud slinging and judging? I can only hope there is some sort of possibility that you can effectively communicate in a mature fashion.”
Not with an illiterate inbred hillbilly like you.
You sound like my children…on second though, they seem more mature.
Are you sure you are in your sixties?
Sorry to disappoint you, not a hillbilly, and no inbreding in my family history.
I’m from the northern part of the United States. Perhaps on the same street you live on.
Lighten up ol’geezer 🙂
Hillbillies are not restricted to the southern USA, but how else can I attribute such poor English skills?
You have children? Great, load the population with more illiterate future french fry machine operators.
Please have your tubes tied. Stop dragging down the median IQ range of the US population.
I still love you David and I’m still praying for you.
Say whatever insults you like…your failed attempst to upset me or offend me does not accomplish your desired results and only displays your immature childlike nature. Some people never really grow up, you are definately a member of that group of society.
So much for adult conversation. Oh well. Moving on…..
Funny that a person who prays to imaginary beings has the gall to allege an “immature child like nature” in someone else.
You got it.
Keep laughing, because your hypocrisy makes you look even more like a schmuck.
How disappointing that this is the only commentary on a really important topic.
I appreciate knowing who some of Obama’s advisors are, Doug. This does not always come out to as much of the electorate as it should.
I am quite worried now as to whom I will vote for this time around. The world needs more and better choices, and so does our country, on just about any topic we could discuss. This includes the Presidency, even though the game is supposedly “decided” by each Party.
Are we in for a rip-off “saving” by the Electoral College this time? Nothing would surprise me.
Sorry to intrude, but back to the subject article. And actually a reaction to Mr. Black’s first assertion. Quite a few Christians care with their vote about whether a candidate is pro-Israel. With myself and my Christian affiliation, it is a pivotal issue, on a par with a pro-life stance. We’ve been uncomfortable with the current administration’s part in encouraging (?!) Israel to give up land for peace and were sickened when it took place. Judaism is part of our foundation. Israel is in our hearts. We strongly support US tax dollars going to strengthen Israel in their defense of their land and national security.
“Quite a few Christians care with their vote about whether a candidate is pro-Israel. ”
Yet, many so-called Christians adopt the isolationist views of paleo-cons and Losertarians and believe we should not have gone to war in the Middle East, even though part of the motivation to do so was to secure the area to protect Israel.
Per the above, how do I know this?
Many of the aforementioned have posted to his blog and have made their thoughts known.
“Many of the aforementioned have posted to his blog and have made their thoughts known.”
Thank you for your exhaustive research and analysis on the subject … (not!) And thanks for the comic relief on these serious sites. You give us all a laugh.
“And thanks for the comic relief on these serious sites. You give us all a laugh.”
You know what the REAL joke is, halcyon2?
Ignorant dolts who can’t make up their minds about how to think or act without first consulting a book of old Hebrew folk tales or mythical supernatural beings.
What a shame that you have the complete inability to think for yourselves and stand virtually alone in the universe, living by your own wits.
Another shame is that you can’t see organized religion for the scam that it truly is. Imagine paying money to some creep who doesn’t give a damn about you personally to earn a spot in some mythical place in a mythical afterlife. Why not instead flush that money down the toilet for al the good it will do you?
for all the good it will do you?