Readers will notice that my blog, Sultan Knish, did not predict any Romney landslides. It did not engage in empty cheers or promise that he would win half the country and restore moral leadership. That's not what this site is about. This site is about the hard truths and now as we sit in the dark, let's pass out some of those around the room. We can blame Chris Christie, Sandy or Romney's last debate performance. But let's look at the actual election.
A few hours ago I lost my bid to unseat Congressman Bill Pascrell in New Jersey’s Ninth District. But thank G-d, I’m in a good place and miraculously in a good frame of mind. I’m writing this late at night to capture my thoughts and feelings after investing approximately seven months of my life in this endeavor.
There are plenty of ways to cast the divisions between parties and movements, but the elemental act of voting divides rhetoric from motive. Obama called voting the best revenge, because for a sizable portion of his base that's exactly what voting is. Their votes are a violent act, a spiteful assault on a country that they can never participate in for economic or cultural reasons. Change for them is not a positive program, but a negative assault on the national majority. Bankrupting the country by robbing it for their own benefit is their revenge.
I vote Republican because I support the party's core message of individualism, patriotism, and respect for tradition, in contrast to the core Democratic message of dependence, self-criticism, and "progress." I am inspired by the original reading of the U.S. Constitution, by ideals of personal freedom and American exceptionalism. I vote for small government, for a return of power to the states, for a strong military, and an assertive pursuit of national interests.
It happens every four years, as U.S. presidential elections roll around: I feel like a stranger. That's because news reports blare out what's not of interest: trivial statistics (171,000 jobs added in October; jobless rate up 0.1 percent to 7.9 percent), biographical irrelevancies (claims that Romney outsourced jobs to other countries when at Bain Capital), and forgettable gaffes (Obama saying that "Voting is the best revenge"). This limited discussion misses the main points.
The Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -ed.] has come up with a new method to silence its Palestinian critics. From now on, any Palestinian writer or journalist who dares to criticize Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his policies or demand an end to corruption will be accused of "belittling the dignity of the state." Since the beginning of this year, at least 10 Palestinian journalists, bloggers and political opponents have been detained by various Palestinian Authority security services for writing about corruption and criticizing the Palestinian leadership.
Aren’t we the nation that rebuilt Iraq and have done tons of nation-building in Afghanistan? Can’t we put the lights and heat back on New Jersey? Is it asking too much to bring a bunch of fuel tankers here and end the 100 vehicle long lines that are growing larger by the day? Just getting from point A to point B has been like navigating an labyrinth since the gas lines have cut off so many of the streets. President Obama declared this area to be a Federal Disaster Area. But where is FEMA? Where are the troops? Where are the gas tankers?
As Americans prepare to vote, allow me to hold up a banner with the words of the wisest man ever. The words are those of King Solomon (Koheles 1:9): “What was will be, what was done will again be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
Nuclear weapons and nuclear war. This is not a new subject for my column in The Jewish Press. What is new is the urgent need to confront, head on, an expanding international movement to eviscerate Israel's nuclear posture – and at precisely the precarious moment when this critical posture should actually be made more visible, and hence, more compelling.
What was G-d thinking when he sent Hurricane Sandy and what could have been its purpose? In truth, I don’t much care, because our role as humans is not to understand G-d’s plan in the face of horror and tragedy, but to challenge God and demand that human life always be protected and preserved. Did I say demand? Yes, humanity has rights before God. We are His children. He commanded us to preserve and promote life always. “Choose life,” Moses orders the Israelite nation in God’s name, on the last day of His life. And the Creator must abide by the same dictates He expects His creatures to.
Just yesterday I was fully engaged in my campaign for the United States Congress. Winning, elections, and victory were on my mind. Boy, what a difference a day can make. Today, I just want my family and the 50 million people in the storm’s path to be safe.
Fatah leaders were quick to declare victory in the October 20 local elections in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -Ed.]. But the results of the vote for 93 municipal and village councils show that the vote was anything but a victory. True, in some cities and villages, Fatah did win a majority of seats. But this is not the same Fatah that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and the old guard leadership of the faction had backed.
The Nation of Islam's historic role as a bridge between American blacks and Islam ended in 1975 when W. Deen Mohammed followed his father, Elijah Muhammad, as leader of the Nation and immediately disavowed his father's folk religion, bringing his followers to normative Islam, the Islam of the Middle East. From then on, despite the theatrics of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation has been in a long downward trajectory. Now comes evidence, thanks to Tony Ortega in the Village Voice and Eliza Gray in The New Republic, of a jaw-dropping turn by Farrakhan, 79, to Scientology; as Gray's subtitle puts it, "America's two weirdest sects join forces."
The U.S. Administration has sought to downplay the significance of this week's visit to the Gaza Strip by the Emir of Qatar, Hamad al-Thani. "We have seen the reports that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa visits Gaza today on a humanitarian mission," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "We share Qatar's deep concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people, including those residing in Gaza." Many Palestinians, especially the Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank, do not share the U.S. Administration's position regarding the emir's visit.
Whenever an insurgent group resorts to openly unjust means, its actions become incontestably terroristic. Even if the ritualistic Palestinian claim of a hostile Israeli "occupation" were somehow reasonable rather than invented, the corresponding right of entitlement to oppose Israel "by any means necessary" would be false.
The title of this article is the supposed motto of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, but for Americans living in Israel it means, literally, vote twice. Both Israel and America are holding important elections and, hopefully, most Orthodox Jews will be voting. The United States will be holding its regular four-year elections for president and many other offices, and Israel will be voting for an entire “new” Parliament (Knesset).
What is the source of Prime Minister Netanyahu's apparent scorn for the religious, Land of Israel-faithful public in Israel?
The Palestinian Authority says it is worried because of the rise in the number of Palestinians from Jerusalem who are seeking Israeli citizenship. Hatem Abdel Kader, who is in charge of the "Jerusalem Portfolio" in the ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank, revealed that more than 10,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem have been granted Israeli citizenship.
Barack Obama has a weak record in the Middle East, but one would not learn this from the debate, where Mitt Romney praised Obama's achievements ("It's wonderful that Libya seems to be making some progress"), agreed with Obama more than he disagreed, and rarely pointed out his failings. Presumably, Romney took this mild approach to establish his likability, competence, and suitability to serve as commander-in-chief.
“We’ve been living under mortar fire for 18 years. We have to do something,” said the young woman from Sderot on Razi Barkai’s radio show. “What do you want the leaders to do?” asked Barkai. “I don't know, but what they are doing now doesn’t help,” replied the Sderot resident. “Sorry to say this to you, but they also don’t know what to do,” Barkai said. “[It’s] not because they are stupid, but because there is simply no solution.”
Hoshana Rabbah is, according to tradition, the day the judgment of Yom Kippur is sealed and finalized. There are some changes in the morning prayers. We circle the bima seven times with our lulav and esrog and then we put them down and take five aravos and beat them on the synagogue floor as if to say, “These are being beaten instead of me.”
President Obama and Governor Romney strongly disagree on many issues but the daylight between them is especially great in the imminent matter of Palestinian statehood. For his part, the president still believes in a two-state solution, and in a corollary willingness of the Palestinian side to negotiate fairly. His opponent is unambiguous in a fully contrary insistence that the Palestinians are not interested in peace.
Obama got away with saying that he had characterized the attack on the Benghazi consulate as a terrorist incident because the moderator confirmed his point; in fact he misrepresented the facts when he said "The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that … this was an act of terror."
Female Muslims are being abducted, raped, shot, tortured and forced into unwanted marriages in a number of Arab and Islamic countries. In Israel, however, Muslim women are not only allowed to drive and run for elections, but can also reach high positions. Not all Arab Israelis are an "enemy from within"; Muslim women in the Jewish state enjoy more rights and opportunities than their colleagues in Arab and Islamic countries.