web analytics
August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Why I Voted For Obama (And Why I’m Not Worried About The Next Four Years)


At first glance, it’s not surprising that I voted for Barack Obama for president this election. I’m a New Yorker and a Jew, and so any pollster would have predicted my choice.

Among my Orthodox Jewish peers, however, I am definitely an outlier.

Over the past few months – indeed for more than a year – I heard comments and fears raised about Obama. With only a few exceptions I kept my mouth shut – both because I believed that hardline McCain supporters (as most of family and friends seemed to be) would not be swayed by my arguments and because someone who believes rumors, lies and hearsay is not worth a rejoinder.

But now that Obama is our president-elect, it’s a good time to say that I believe he needs our support and that I hope other Orthodox Jews will join me and rally behind our new president.

First, the obvious: Obama is not a terrorist, nor is he a Muslim. His middle name and never-ending e-mails notwithstanding, he is a Christian. I believe Obama will be a friend to Israel. In fact, I believe that Obama will be a better president for Israel than John McCain would have been.

Yes, you read that correctly.

In order to be a close and valuable ally to Israel, America must be both powerful and influential. The amount of respect this country has lost under President Bush is overwhelming. While the United States does not and should not be concerned with winning a popularity contest, financial and military help is increasingly necessary to carry out our two wars, especially given the worsening economic climate. We are more likely to obtain such support and help with a president whose appeal is international.

Obama’s substantial win has excited the world in every place from Africa (the continent) to Europe to South America. People everywhere have been reminded about the splendor of our system, our democracy.

McCain, justifiably or not, was seen as an extension of the hugely unpopular President Bush. Under a President McCain, our prestige and influence would have continued to shrink. A President McCain who supports Israel would, therefore, not have been nearly as valuable as a President Obama who supports Israel.

Obama sent a strong signal that he is, in fact, an Israel supporter when, the day after the election, he appointed Illinois Representative Rahm Israel Emanuel as his White House chief of staff.

Emanuel is the son of an Israeli immigrant who fought in the Irgun before Israeli statehood, and Emanuel himself went to Israel as a civilian volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces during the first Gulf War. He served in the Clinton administration and supported the current war in Iraq, breaking with the nine other Democrats in the Illinois congressional delegation.

That appointment alone should be enough to alleviate fears that an Obama presidency will somehow be bad for Israel and Jews.

Obama’s foreign policy positions, especially in the Middle East, are rooted in reality and run deeper than the tough talk employed by McCain and Bush.

It’s all well and good, after all, to say you don’t negotiate with terrorists, and while terrorists certainly shouldn’t be engaged as equal partners at the world table, five former secretaries of state – Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, James Baker and Henry Kissinger (two Democrats and three Republicans) – support opening talks with Iran.

I believe Obama’s position is more rooted in reality because he has a firmer grasp of foreign affairs than McCain. Yes, McCain is a war hero and deserves to be treated as such, but he has shown time after time that he does not have a firm grasp of foreign affairs.

In a famous blunder, he accused Iran of supplying al Qaeda in Iraq. Iran is largely Shi’ite country and al Qaeda is Sunni. The Sunni-Shia balance in the Middle East is so important, both to the war in Iraq and U.S. policy in Iran, that this type of mistake raised questions about McCain’s readiness to be commander-in-chief.

And it was not simply an isolated slip; when asked to elaborate, McCain actually repeated his mistake and Sen. Joseph Lieberman had to whisper a correction to him.

Obama is much more likely than McCain would have been to seek a swifter resolution to the Iraq war. And despite what some hawkish supporters of Israel believe, the Iraq war has not been good for Israel. It has shifted the regional balance of power to Iran, and few doubt that a nuclear Iran would be a dangerous threat to Israel.

Additionally, having America’s armed forces deeply committed in both Iraq and Afghanistan severely undercuts our ability to respond to any threats made by Iran – whether those threats are directed at the U.S. or Israel.

Of course, Israel was not my only reason for supporting Obama. It is time, I believe, for a smart man – an intellectual man – to lead this nation. The problems we face today are frightening in their scope as they are overwhelming in their depth.

So I say to my fellow Orthodox Jews, let’s be on Obama’s side – and rather than running around scared making offensive remarks, let’s endeavor to make sure he stays on our side.

About the Author: Shoshana Batya Greenwald recently received a master's degree in decorative arts, material culture and design history from Bard Graduate Center. She is the collections manager at Kleinman Family Holocaust Educational Center (KFHEC) and a freelance writer.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Why I Voted For Obama (And Why I’m Not Worried About The Next Four Years)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility.
Nearing Double Digits in the Democrat Defection from Bad Iran Deal
Latest Indepth Stories
President  Barack Obama.

How and when is it appropriate for pulpit rabbis to comment publicly on the Iran issue?

David Menachem Gordon

David was many things: Brother, son, grandson, nephew, uncle, cousin, talmid, comrade, AND a WARRIOR

Graffiti at Duma home that was torched in Samara.

Some Israelis seem to have forgotten no one has yet tracked down the murderers of Ali Bawabsheh.

On-The-Bookshelf-logo

Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.

“Isn’t it enough that the whole world hates us? WHy do we have to hate each other?”

Who said Kerry won no concessions from Iran? He secured pistachios and Beluga caviar for America!

In 2015, Israel’s fertility rate (3+ births per woman) is higher than all Arab countries except 3

The New Israel Fund, as usual, condemns the State of Israel rather than condemning a horrible act.

I sought a Muslim group that claims to preach a peaceful and accepting posture of Islam, Ahmadiyya

While Orthodox men are encouraged to achieve and celebrated for it, Orthodox women too often are not

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.

“The fear of being exposed publicly is the only thing that will stop people,” observed Seewald.

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

More Articles from Shoshana Batya Greenwald
A still from film "Memory After Belsen"

The most uplifting aspect of the film was the footage from the displaced persons camps.

Undated photo of Rabbi Avigdor, courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford.

People often ask me why do we need another Holocaust center? The story of Isaac Avigdor is the answer.

This time of year, there is little pleasure greater than cozying up with a good book. The problem is, of course, that there is a lot to do.

As professions go, an international children’s rights advocate is probably not listed anywhere as a low stress job. Fighting on behalf of children in places as far off as Sudan, Yvette Garfield took their plight to heart and came up with – a cookbook. Handstand Kids, Garfield’s company, was established in 2007 to connect children in a global community. In her words, “I had done a lot of traveling and wanted to introduce kids to the world and food seemed the best way to do it.”

On my third visit to the annual New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show, I did not take any pictures.

Work-life balance has been in the media a lot lately. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton professor who served as the first female Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department, wrote a groundbreaking article in The Atlantic entitled “Women Can’t Have It All.” Slaughter writes about her struggle with balance—parenting and working, and the importance of being present, as well as the importance of absolute boundaries between work and parenting. As evidence—both of the compartmentalizing men are capable of and as an example of the type of behavior women should engage in more, Slaughter writes about Orthodox men she has worked with: “Come Friday at sundown, they were unavailable because of the Jewish Shabbat.”

Now, only months after the artist’s death, is no time to be coy. Moshe Givati’s work is a revelation: dynamic, throbbing with life, pulsating with meaning. The exhibition “Equus Ambiguity – The Emergence of Maturity,” is up for only a few more days but I urge you to hurry to the Jadite Gallery and familiarize yourself with this under-recognized artist.

It’s time for the next chapter in the re-education of kosher cooks. First came correctly pronouncing quinoa, incorporating edamame into salads and soups, and who can forget the strawberry mango salad? Now, there is a mass of new recipes available with the introduction of Kolatin, a parve bovine-based, kosher gelatin. Espresso panna cotta, here we come.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/why-i-voted-for-obama-and-why-im-not-worried-about-the-next-four-years/2008/11/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: