The Problem With Rice (I)
I don’t know how those members of the Black Congressional Caucus who labeled criticism of UN ambassador Susan Rice racist and sexist got away with it (“In the Matter of Susan Rice,” editorial, Nov. 23).
She was being challenged because she created a false impression to the public at large, claiming the death of the American ambassador in Libya was not the result of a terrorist attack.
It is indisputable that she did so, though whether she did it knowingly is not yet known. I fail to see any connection to her race or sex in such criticism. I have no doubt that if a white male official did the same thing, he would be similarly criticized. Are those aforementioned members of Congress suggesting otherwise?
The Problem With Rice (II)
President Obama came into office with a plan to create more balance between America’s relationship with both Israel and the Muslim world. Political reality, however, got in the way and soon forced a midcourse correction. Susan Rice came to office with him but, relatively immune to politics, she remains an unconverted true believer.
I don’t know how much discretion she will have as secretary of state as far as Israel is concerned or how much President Obama will rely on her advice. I do know that at the very least she presents an unacceptable risk.
Rose Ellen Blatt
The Jewish Vote (I)
I found Rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s front-page essay last week (“The Jewish Vote: Same Old, Same Old”) very illuminating. It certainly got me thinking.
I agree with him that cold logic should have drawn most Jews to the Republican Party in the past few election cycles. As he demonstrates quite eloquently, in terms of values and issues we generally are more compatible with Republicans than with Democrats. However, I think it must also be stressed that American Jews continue to worry about their future as a very small minority and are more comfortable with a political party that is seen, rightly or not, as protective rather than merely tolerant of its citizens.
The Jewish Vote (II)
The same week Rabbi Pruzansky penned a sour grapes column following the Democratic Party’s sweep of the Jewish vote, an important story was taking place across the ocean. Israel was fighting a defensive war against Hamas, and President Obama demonstrated real leadership.
Contrary to the fears of many Orthodox Republican voters, the president expressed strong support for Israel. As international pressure grew, he insisted that the conflict would be best resolved by local stakeholders, firmly guiding Egypt into a mediator role. Regretfully, Hamas survives to fight another day. But even if we dismiss the record amount in military funding Obama has allocated to Israel in his first term, two words sum up the countless Israeli lives that were saved last week: Iron Dome.
And while Hamas insists on claiming victory, we should be confident that if the truce is broken, President Obama will continue to stand by Israel. A hakarat hatov is in order.
The Jewish Vote (III)
Rabbi Pruzansky writes: “Based on our race, status, education, employment, etc., Jews should be voting for Republicans but rarely do in significant numbers.” In other words, Jews should vote for Republicans, but they actually vote for Democrats; hence they must be voting based on irrational or misguided thinking.
Now, there are interesting features of Jewish voting patterns that merit examination, but I think the essential incongruity of the Jewish vote is somewhat overstated by Rabbi Pruzansky and others. Consider the exit polling regarding those factors – race, status, employment education, etc. – that Rabbi Pruzansky believes would make any Jew into a Republican Jew.
Most Jews are white, and it’s true that nationally the white vote went overwhelmingly to Romney (59 percent vs. 39 percent). However, Jews are among the most educated groups, and while more college graduates voted for Romney nationally (51 percent vs. 47 percent), in New York, California, Massachusetts and New Jersey, the college-educated vote went very heavily for Obama, more so than could be accounted for merely by the number of Jews in the electorate. Moreover, nationally Obama decisively won the vote of those who had done post-graduate study (55 percent to 42 percent).