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EREV YOMTOV

Ari Fleischer, Norm Coleman, Expose Obama’s Record on Israel, But Leave Too Much Hidden

Obama's proposed budget DECREASED funding for the much bragged about Israeli anti-missile systems. it was Congress which, in the end, practically doubled the President's proposed funding.

Former White House Press Secretary and political pundit Ari Fleischer at a packed pro-Romney Jewish event Last Thursday.

Former White House Press Secretary and political pundit Ari Fleischer at a packed pro-Romney Jewish event Last Thursday.
Photo Credit: Richard Chait

To paraphrase Shoeless Joe Jackson: If you hold it, they will come.  The Republican Jewish Coalition held a Town Hall-style meeting to promote a Romney candidacy in northern suburban Philadelphia last week, and boy did they ever come!  The event was held on Thursday, November 1, at Gratz College, in Melrose Park, PA.  There wasn’t a parking space left across the entire campus, and cars lined the street surrounding the entrance.

The event, “The Jewish & Pro-Israel Community at a Crossroads – Critical Issues & Choices Facing the U.S. & Israel,” featured Senator Norm Coleman (Republican former U.S. Senator from Minnesota), and former White House Press Secretary and political pundit Ari Fleischer, with RJC executive director Matt Brooks as the host. They pulled together three big, deep-red easy chairs and two small tables to hold their water bottles.  The three spoke for an hour and a half in what seemed like a relaxed, and not overly rehearsed (although, clearly, it was) conversation about why Governor Mitt Romney is the better choice for president of the United States for Israel-supporters, especially  – but far from exclusively – Republican Jews.

Former Senator Norm Coleman (R. Min.) at the event Thursday.

Former Senator Norm Coleman (R. Min.) at the event Thursday. Photo: Richard Chait.

The pro-Romney event was the belated second half of a series held by a local synagogue.  The first event was in July, hosted by American Jews for Obama.   Headlining the July event was Democratic National Committee Chair Cong. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl) as well as several local Democratic party politicians.  Thursday night’s event was moved to Gratz College because power was not yet fully restored, following the brutal lashing by Hurricane Sandy earlier in the week.

Not surprisingly, much of the discussion focused on Israel, with additional attention paid to the tragedy of the murders in Benghazi, Libya, and, to a lesser extent, domestic issues.

The evening began with a “preview” of a new RJC ad featuring Bryna Franklin, an American who now lives in Israel and who was, until recently, chair of “Democrats Abroad, Israel,” and was a past Democrat National Convention delegate.   Franklin explained why she is voting for Romney, even though “she’s never voted for a Republican before in my life.” Franklin’s words seemed to resonate for many in the audience.

This was the RJC traveling trio’s ninth stop in 5 days.  They had already appeared in Denver, Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, Reno, Las Vegas, Detroit, Boca Raton and Miami, Florida, with Philly as the caboose.

President George W. Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer re-introduced the theme of an earlier RJC ad campaign, the one called “Buyer’s Remorse,” which featured voters who had voted for Obama in 2008, but who were voting against him in 2012.  Fleischer obviously was already a Republican, but he talked about why “Buyer’s Remorse” was such an apt meme for this campaign.

Why?  “Because,” Fleischer said, “Obama earned it, he earned it by his actions, he had the Jewish community,” but he lost it.  He ticked off a litany of missteps, including the President’s reversal of the commitment he made to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2008, when he called Jerusalem, “Israel’s undivided capital,” but on which he reversed himself.  Fleischer said, “he caved, within 24 hours, he caved because of the pressure of ‘Palestinians.’”

Fleischer pointed out something that had been lost on most listeners.  As someone whose job it was to manage the message coming out of the W. Bush White House, Fleischer realized what it meant when Vice President Joe Biden in March, 2010, used the word “condemned” when he criticized Israel for building in Jerusalem. “That word is the most severe word in the political lexicon,” Fleischer said.  To put as fine a point as possible on it, he said, “during the Bush administration, we used the word ‘condemned’ to criticize terrorist attacks,” not the building of homes in Jerusalem.

Senator Norm Coleman is a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney.  With his pompadoured hair and rail-thin physique, Coleman looks like a Saturday Night Live caricature of a politician, but somehow when he speaks from the stage, his personality fills out the hollows.  Like Fleischer, Coleman is also a former Democrat.  In fact, Coleman grew up in Brooklyn and said he “never met a Republican or a Lutheran until he went to college.”

Coleman got off one of the best lines of the evening when he told the standing-room crowd, that the “Buyer’s Remorse” theme goes beyond the Jewish community.  He said that after two wars and an economic downturn, “Americans wanted to change Washington . . . but they didn’t want to change America.”

Brooks asked Coleman, what about the phrase we keep hearing, that “Obama is the best friend for Israel’s security?”  “We’ve heard it from [Israeli President] Shimon Peres, [Israeli Defense Minister Ehud] Barak?”

Coleman disposed of the softball question with the obvious answer, “every Israeli leader is going to say every current American leader is ‘the best,’ because to do otherwise is not only unprofessional, it’s political suicide.”  In other words, anyone who quotes a sitting Israeli politician saying anything flattering about a sitting American politician has nothing of substance to offer.

The evening hit the high notes of the Romney campaign, bemoaning President Obama’s “leading from behind” lack of leadership which has led to a “less safe, less secure America, which, in turn, will only increase the need for boots on the ground” at more advanced, less opportune moments of international engagement, such as in various parts of the Middle East and elsewhere.

A recurring note was the dangers inherent in the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the resurrection of Al Qaeda, including in Syria, Lebanon and Mali.

Fleischer took the oar on the domestic front.  He reminded the audience that America was already on its way out of the recession by the spring of 2009.  “But,” he said, “the actions of the anti-growth, anti-capitalism administration, through its ill-advised stimulus, the cash for clunkers program, the home-buying credits and the auto bailouts have actually steered us deeper into debt, and more firmly into the red.” He said we are “now in the slowest recovery since the Great Depression,” while pointing out that the President had “two full years with a veto-proof House of Representatives and a filibuster-proof Senate.”

ON IRAN SANCTIONS

Coleman said that this Administration originally opposed sanctions against Iran, it later opposed increasing the sanctions, and it opposed placing sanctions on the Bank of Iran, all of which the Obama campaign now claims are accomplishments of his administration.  Coleman also pointed out that even with the current level of sanctions – which is having an impact on Iranians, even if not on the Iranian regime’s efforts to acquire nuclear weaponization – there are too many exemptions.  But Sen. Coleman suggested there are additional measures that could be taken, and should already have been taken, to actually achieve a biting impact on the Iranian regime. He suggested treating a pariah-like nation like a pariah. “For example,” he said, “Iranian diplomats should not be able to travel freely.”

ON BENGHAZI

In what some see as akin to a Watergate-level presidential failure, Ari Fleischer said of the Benghazi tragedy, “as someone who was behind the podium on September 11, 2001, I initially refused to criticize the president or his administration for their performance, and instead insisted on ‘waiting for the factual information to come in.’”

Fleischer reminded the audience that Cong. Peter King (R-NY) immediately called for US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to be fired, after she appeared on five different talk shows blaming the violence on a cheap video, when it turned out there was evidence long before that the violence was a planned terrorist attack and had nothing to do with the movie.  Fleischer had publicly disagreed with King.

But, Fleischer said, what changed his mind was learning that the CounterTerrorism Security Group was never even convened while the attack was on-going. (According to CBS News, “The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies.”  A high-ranking government official told CBS News, “they were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”)

When Fleischer continued, “and yet the president blamed it on a video,” he was interrupted by the first and only major heckling incident of the evening.  A man stood up, shouting, “on the first day he said ‘terrorist!’” and walked out of the event.

After the outburst, Sen. Coleman tried to call the protester back into the auditorium, but the man had left, apparently uninterested in dialogue.  Coleman went on to calmly explain that while President Obama said the words “terrorist attacks,” during his talk in the Rose Garden on September 12, he was not referring specifically to the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic outpost, and that the administration continued for weeks to blame what was believed to be an American-made video for the violence that claimed the lives of the four Americans in Benghazi.

Both Coleman and Fleischer repeatedly said that “unfortunately,” the full truth about who knew what, when, and who made which decisions, is not going to come out before the election.  One audience member shouted out, “Fire him!” to which Sen. Coleman retorted, “you can do that on Nov. 6.”

DOMESTIC ISSUES

One woman asked the panelists to comment on whether Mitt Romney wanted to get rid of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Fleischer explained that he had also heard that rumor, and went to the source to see where it came from.  “Actually,” he explained, “while the question Romney was responding to was about FEMA, his answer was a more general response to government agencies which would be handled more efficiently and more expediently at the municipal and state levels, or even by private industry.”

Although Romney was being cast as shortsighted for calling for a change to be made to FEMA shortly before Hurricane Sandy hit, as Fleischer pointed out, it was the mayors and governors who were continually interviewed for information and updates, which was exactly Romney’s point.

On issues that present the ultimate barrier for so many Jews who might otherwise vote for a Republican, the two Republican politicians seemed to reflect the very nub of the issue.  Neither Coleman or Fleischer took a hard line on the issue of reproductive rights.  Fleischer was quick to make the point that on this issue, it is the Republican party that has the “big tent” approach.  He said that other than Pennsylvania’s own Sen. Bob Casey, it is hard to find any Democratic politicians who are pro-life, while there are many Republican pols who are pro-choice.

On the issue of health care, Coleman said that there are sections of Obamacare that are “pretty good,” and specifically mentioned the very real need to take care of those with a pre-existing condition.  The problem, he said, is that the way Obamacare is packaged, you can’t adopt the sensible provisions without being saddled with the ones that make no sense.

ONE BIG PROBLEM – LEADERS OVERESTIMATE THE PUBLIC’S KNOWLEDGE

FUNDING COMES FROM CONGRESS

One reason why so many Jewish supporters of President Obama have stuck with their 2008 choice is that the Democrats’ talking points are so reassuring, and because the Republican officials are so out of touch with what lay people know about how our government works.

Top talking points from the Jews for Obama playbook are that under Obama, Israel has received more financial and military assistance from the U.S. than under any other U.S. president, ever.

Of course that is nonsense, first, because Congress is primarily in charge of passing the budget.  It is in Congressional committees that the numbers get crunched – the President gets to submit a proposed budget, but Congress decides on the final budget, subject only to a presidential veto.

ISRAEL’S MISSILE DEFENSE

But at least as importantly, in this year, when President Obama and the Democrats have crowed so loudly about the enormous funding for Israel’s Arrow systems — two medium- and long-range anti-ballistic missile systems — and David’s Sling, a short-range anti-missile system, President Obama’s proposed budget actually decreased funding for that line item.  Congress ignored the President’s effort to reduce funding for Israel’s defense and instead practically doubled the amount requested by the Administration.  It was because of Congress that Israel received more “financial and military assistance” during this time period – although it was, indeed, technically, a time period during which Barrack Obama was the president – than ever before.

ISRAEL’S IRON DOME SYSTEM – AID AGREEMENT BEGAN IN 2007

At least one other point that bears discussion is the funding for Israel’s Iron Dome mobile defense system.  This system, which uses an interceptor to detonate incoming rockets and artillery shells, is largely credited with protecting much of southern Israel from its’ neighbors’ escalating aggression.   It is a project developed in and produced in Israel, but financed, in large part, by the U.S.  The financial agreement was part of a $30 billion 10-year military-aid agreement signed by the Bush administration back in 2007.

President Obama has not attempted to derail the Iron Dome aid project, but as a binding 10-year agreement, it is not clear that he even has the power to do so. But the project was neither developed during the Obama administration, nor did financial support for it originate with President Obama.

Unfortunately, the RJC trio gave short shrift to those major Democratic talking points that serve to allay the concerns of so many Jewish Americans who might otherwise be apprehensive about voting again for President Obama. Apparently they think “everyone knows” that it is Congress, the stalwart friend of Israel, that is the holder of the purse, and is the source for all U.S. aid, and they likewise think that “everyone knows” the Iron Dome defense system was a project agreed to during President Bush’s tenure in the White House, one which, as with virtually all military spending projects, is shepherded by hawks in Congress, in concert with the U.S. military – almost always a reliable friend to Israel.

But this is where the RJC and so many other political surrogates have lost touch with their audience, and it is a critical gap in comprehension which gives the edge to the Democratic party, when it comes to messaging to Jews and other pro-Israel supporters.

When the event concluded, two teenage boys stood out amidst a sea of late-middle age to decidedly-older audience members. Zach Lipstein and Noam Glanzberg-Krainin, both 13 year old students at a local Conservative Jewish day school, shyly agreed to answer a few questions from a reporter. Both quickly asserted that the panelists made “really good points.” Noam said he had not previously realized “that Iran is such a big threat.” Still, he was undecided about which candidate he favored, as “health care and the environment,” are two of his main concerns. Zach included Israel as amongst his top three priorities. He seemed confident, at least so long as his parents were watching, that he favors Romney.

Bob and Francine Lipstein, both Baby Boomers, thought the event was well worth their half hour ride from Lower Merion township, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. Francine Lipstein was not surprised by the huge turnout, and said she was particularly “impressed by the panelists’ clarity on the issues.”

In particular, she was grateful for the event, as “the American people have not all heard the information, because the mainstream media is so ‘in the tank’ for Obama.” Lipstein didn’t have to be convinced as she already planned to vote for Romney because of his “business acumen, his love for Israel and his passion for helping others.” While she was not a “Buyer’s Remorse” voter, until 2001, Francine Lipstein was a Democrat.

Bob Lipstein was more succinct. He said the event “validated the passion I felt throughout this campaign.”

When was the last time you heard about Republican Jewish passion? Maybe it’s a new trend.

 

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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62 Responses to “Ari Fleischer, Norm Coleman, Expose Obama’s Record on Israel, But Leave Too Much Hidden”

  1. Great article. The Democrats simply rely on the uninformed American public. It makes the job of promising entitlements that much easier. The liberal worldview is bankrupt. Unfortunately, so is the American bank account under Obama. Should he be re-elected Greece will probably look like a comparatively thriving economy!

  2. People who think President Obama has a negative attitude toward Israel should consider the following:

    Obama has taken many positive actions for Israel including: rejecting the Goldstone report that criticized Israeli actions in the war in Gaza; asking Congress to approve a $205 million package to help Israel build a new anti-missile defense system; successfully advocating for Israel’s admission into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; giving a speech in the heart of the Arab world, in which he told his listeners that they need to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state; stating to the UN General Assembly clearly and unequivocally that “Israel is a sovereign state and the historic homeland of the Jewish people” and “It should be clear to all that efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the US.”.

    Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have stated many times that the U.S. has been extremely cooperative in meeting Israel’s security needs.

    Another example of Obama’s strong support for Israel is his very positive response to a frantic, middle-of-the-night call from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that helped free six Israelis who were trapped in the Israeli embassy in Cairo that was under attack by militant Egyptians. After they were freed, Netanyahu said: "I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the United States, Barack Obama. I asked for his help. This was a decisive and fateful moment. He said, “I will do everything I can.” And so he did. He used every considerable means and influence of the United States to help us. We owe him a special measure of gratitude. This attests to the strong alliance between Israel and the United States."

    On September 22, 2011, Prime Minister Netanyahu heaped additional praise on President Obama for his talk at the United Nations, in which Obama expressed opposition to U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state, and indicated that he would veto a resolution supporting that recognition in the U.N. Security Council. Netanyahu indicated that Obama deserved a “badge of honor” for that talk.

    People who think Obama has a negative attitude toward Jews and that he favors Muslims should consider:

    President Obama has had a very positive relationship with Jews: his initial chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was Jewish and the son of Israelis; his present chief of staff Jack Lew is an Orthodox Jew; one of his key advisors David Axlerod, is Jewish, and he is also a key strategist for Obama’s reelection campaign; Obama nominated a Jew, Elana Kagan, as a Supreme Court Justice (even though that left the 9-member Court with three Jews and no Protestant members; he is the first president to have Passover Seders in the White House; and Obama and his cabinet members have frequently stressed their solidarity with Jews and with Israel.

  3. Additional factors that Jews should consider before voting related to mainly domestic issues:

    1. Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and other Republicans are promoting policies similar to or often worse than those that had such disastrous results during the Bush administration, including converting a three-year major surplus, which was on track to completely eliminate the total federal debt, into a major deficit, creating very few net jobs (none in the private sector), and leaving the country on the brink of a depression, with an average of 750,000 jobs being lost during its last three months. Romney and Ryan are Bush on steroids.

    2. Republicans have obstructed efforts to get our country out of the tremendous ditch they left us in by voting no on and sometimes filibustering many Democratic proposals, some of which they previously supported and sometimes even co-sponsored. Hence, it is not surprising that a recent poll showed that 49% of Americans believe that Republican Congress members are purposely sabotaging the U.S. economy in order to defeat Obama and other Democrats, while only 40% disagree.

    3.. Republicans support continued tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations, while basic social services that middle class and poor people depend on are being cut and teachers, police officers, fire fighters, and others are losing their jobs. The Ryan budget would give further tax breaks to the wealthiest 2% of Americans, while increasing taxes for most Americans and cutting programs that most Americans depend on.

    4. Republican legislators have voted against providing funds to save jobs of teachers, police officers, and fire fighters, providing unemployment benefits to long-time unemployed people, and providing medical benefits to 9/11 responders.

    5. Republicans are generally in denial about the tremendous dangers from climate change, despite a very strong consensus in peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and statements by scientific academies all over the world that climate change is a major threat, largely caused by human activities, and despite the many wake-up calls we have been receiving in terms of severe storms, tornados, floods, heat waves, droughts, and wildfires. Anyone who thinks that climate change is a hoax promoted by liberals should visit the website of the “Republicans for Environmental Protection.” (www.rep.org). This conservative group was only able to endorse four percent of Republicans in the 2010 U.S. midterm elections because so many Republicans are in denial about climate change and other environmental threats. Paul Ryan is a climate denier and has a miserable record on the environment. Please check out.
    http://truth-out.org/news/item/10855-meet-paul-ryan-climate-denier-conspiracy-theorist-koch-acolyte

    6. The Republican Party has moved far to the right under the influence of the Tea Party. There are very few moderate Republicans in Congress today.

    7. While far more needs to be done, Democrats have enacted policies that have turned the economy away from the possible depression that the Bush administration left the U.S. on the brink of. More net private-sector jobs have been created already during the Obama administration than during the entire eight years of the Bush presidency.

    While Democratic policies have not always lived up to our hopes, largely due to Republican obstructionism, a return to Republican rule would be a nightmare. Hence, it is essential to vote Democratic in 2012.

  4. Are you aware, David, that Bush inherited a major surplus and than converted it into a major deficit, and left the US economy on the brink of a depression, with 800,000 jobs lost every month, and that recent large deficits are due to the 2 wars that Bush put on the credit card, his unprecedented tax cuts in wartime, and efforts to get the US out of the massive recession that bush left the country in? Thanks.

  5. I'm aware that Islamo-fascists had launched a war with the U.S. and Bush had responded with overwhelming force, which I gladly took part in. I'd do it again if Obama had the guts to duplicate the effort. Under Obama, however, I wouldn't have the confidence that his spineless foreign policy could ever sustain the appropriate credibility that underpins necessary military action. Some debts are worth incurring. Putting two wars "on the credit card" is a statement that uncovers which talking points you have chosen to regurgitate. Thanks for the campaign line, I'll pass on the reason behind it.

  6. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    Biden has "condemned" Israel's preparedness to defend herself; Dempsey (one of the "leaders" that watched while four Americans were murdered in Benghazi and then ordered rescuers to stand down) commented that he refuses to be "complicit" (a term denoting criminal behavior) with Israel defending herself; obama felt watching a basketball game was more important then speaking with the Israeli PM, humiliating Netanyahu by leaving him alone for two hours while he went to the TV; hillary routinely calls Netanyahu to excoriate him every time she gets a whiff that Israel refuses to commit suicide to abide by the demands of her MB. The list goes on. And many are happy to swallow the kool aid much the way they swallowed it in nazi germany.

  7. . We are at a pivotal moment in Jewish history. THE OUTCOME come of this election may very well have an impact on how this chapter will turn out. Make no mistake about it. Israel’s survival is at stake. Last week a business associate in Israel told me how much they count on us American Jews and how grateful they are for our support. I told him that the current American Jewish community is not the same American Jewish Community that I remember when I was growing up. Frankly the evangelical Christians are more of a friend to Israel than many American Jews.

    According to the most recent polls the majority of American Jews support President Obama. Based on the conversations I have had with my Jewish contemporaries I would agree with the projection. I am mystified. How can American Jews who support Obama also believe that they support Israel? After the shameful Jerusalem platform debacle during the Democratic convention I find myself wondering if Debbie Wassserman Shultz and Charles Schumer are today’s unwitting collaborators.

    President Obama is not a friend of Israel. I cannot fathom why so many American Jews do not see through him. It isn’t like his true feelings for Israel are below the surface. As Bob Dylan said; "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." In the early '60's I watched the newsreel films of the '48 War of Independence and life on the Kibbutzim with admiration. I recall the pride I felt watching the miraculous events of the six day war in '67 unfold on the news. As an adolescent I grasped that the freedom and security we enjoy in America is not a guarantee for eternity when viewed within the context of Jewish history. I grew up thinking Zionism was a good word. I believe that Israel’s existence is not optional. I assumed that (with the exception of Neturei Karta) this belief is shared by if not all, an overwhelming majority of Jews in America. As I try to comprehend the Jewish support for Obama I realize that I was mistaken. To those that don’t share that belief I say consider this: Without Israel “Never Again” is nothing more than a mere slogan.

    The American Jewish community historically supports the Democratic Party. However this tie pales in comparison to ties of 5773 years. Mitt Romney’s out spoken support of Israel has left no ambiguity. I believe he is genuine. While you may not agree with Mitt Romney’s positions on various issues that matter to you; in this election his support of Israel trumps everything else. He deserves our support. This is our opportunity to end up on the right side of history. Let’s not miss it. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG, FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN RABBIS FOR ROMNEY.

  8. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG 732 572 2766.

    RABBIS FOR ROMNEY.

    MISSION STATEMENT

    To communicate the concerns and interests of the Jewish community during the electoral process by providing information about the position of the candidates towards Israel’s security and the views of Jewish leaders about America’s mission in the world. The purpose is not to endorse or recommend any particular social or economic policy but rather to address the concerns of the Jewish voters concerning the State of Israel and the preservation of authentic Biblical values. We clearly deny the impression created by the Rabbis for Obama that American Jews want “daylight” between America and Israel, as Obama declared, or that the social views espoused by these Rabbis are rooted in our authentic tradition.

  9. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG 732 572 2766.

    RABBIS FOR ROMNEY.

    MISSION STATEMENT

    To communicate the concerns and interests of the Jewish community during the electoral process by providing information about the position of the candidates towards Israel’s security and the views of Jewish leaders about America’s mission in the world. The purpose is not to endorse or recommend any particular social or economic policy but rather to address the concerns of the Jewish voters concerning the State of Israel and the preservation of authentic Biblical values. We clearly deny the impression created by the Rabbis for Obama that American Jews want “daylight” between America and Israel, as Obama declared, or that the social views espoused by these Rabbis are rooted in our authentic tradition.

  10. The man behind "Rabbis for Romney."

    My conversation with Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg.

    By Michael Podwill.

    Exactly one week ago, my editorial, "About those 'Rabbis for Obama,' " appeared in The DC Post. Read it here: http://thedcpost.com/?p=19350. On Labor Day, I had the privilege of speaking with Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, a gentleman who stands determined to create "Rabbis for Romney."

    Before we spoke, I assumed that politics would be at the core of the rabbi's conviction. It certainly is regarding my own sense that Barack Obama, on the basis of his pernicious presidential performance, by no means merits re-election. For the good of America and for America's interests and allies worldwide, including Israel, I'm convinced that a Romney presidency will serve us far better.

    But Rabbi Rosenberg's principal point is something else. This spiritual leader at Edison, New Jersey's conservative Congregation Beth-El is emphatic in conveying that his interest in "Rabbis for Romney" is apolitical — at least in the conventional sense.

    "I'm not advocating here for either candidate," the rabbi affirmed. What is it then that makes "Rabbis for Romney" so vital? Simply this: The rabbi wants Jews to be represented in a real and accurate light. When our media-dependent society hears only about "Rabbis for Obama," the erroneous conclusion some might draw is that Jews unilaterally support Obama. That's incorrect. While a big majority of Jewish votes (some 64%, according to a June Gallup poll) will indeed go Democratic, the remainder will go to Mr. Romney.

    The rabbi explained his position: "I want America and the world to know that it's not just rabbis for one candidate only." Again, he isn't speaking as a political pollster. In a world of hardball, where "fairness" is just a politician's hollow promise, the rabbi sees great danger in Democrats taking the Jewish vote for granted — and Republicans mistakenly assuming that Jewish support is beyond the pale.

    In short, Rabbi Rosenberg is determined to maximize the value of the Jewish vote to both sides. Let Democrats and Republicans alike earn Jewish support — through their words and deeds. That support should not be assumed by anyone — or any party. Be assured, the value of Jewish votes is indeed real. Though few in number, Jews are concentrated in critical states like New York, California and, of utmost importance this year, Florida. Then there's this: The percentage of Jewish voters is enormous; eligible Jewish voters vote.

    The rabbi's realpolitik approach is undoubtedly based upon personal history. His Polish-born parents endured the horrors of Buchenwald and Auschwitz. Somehow they survived, but their own parents and their children were massacred by Hitler's Nazis. After the war, the couple were sent to a displaced persons camp in Regensburg, Germany where, 64 years ago, their son Bernhard was born. Four years later, this family, these survivors, made their way to a new life in America.

    Today, Rabbi Rosenberg is a Holocaust scholar and his books include two acknowledged classics: "Theological and Halakhic References on the Holocaust" and "Contemplating the Holocaust." Having suffered first hand from the darkest ravages of anti-Semitism, the rabbi is determined to do all he can to ensure another Holocaust won't happen.

    "I don't want Jews pegged as being on one side or another," the rabbi said, "because as history so often teaches us, that ultimately leads to anti-Semitism." Today, we have to be more vigilant than ever — because anti-Semitism is on the rise again — in America and worldwide. And yes, despite the timeless admonition of "Never again," another Holocaust can happen for sure.

    As I wrote last week, it's my belief that "Rabbis for Obama" is, more than anything, a well-funded political/PR phenomenon. Any way you look at it, Rabbi Rosenberg's "Rabbis for Romney" is surely going against the popular grain, and against a media monolith. You might call him David against an organizational Goliath. But the rabbi bears an important message. And you can be sure that his message will be heard.

  11. Rabbi Rosenberg From “Rabbi’s 4 Romney” Writes An Urgent Plea To The “613 Rabbi’s ‘For’ Obama”.

  12. A letter to America's rabbis —

    from Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

    The DC Post (www.thedcpost.com) is proud to convey a letter from Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg (Congregation Beth-El, Edison, New Jersey) to his fellow rabbis nationwide. We agree with Rabbi Rosenberg wholeheartedly and we support his "Rabbis for Romney" in every way. The rabbi's letter, as sent to more than a thousand colleagues, follows. But first, a prologue from The DC Post's Michael Podwill:

    Americans can no longer pretend that all is fine with our leadership…with America's place in a world that's growing more and more tenuous. We must all take note. And America's Jews must take special note — because everything is at stake.

    The horrific attacks last week, the murderous display at the US consulate in Benghazi and the disgraceful scenes in Cairo and Tunis, speak volumes. So do the Obama administration's ongoing apologies and appeasements to Islam. Then there's that most revealing brouhaha regarding the Democrats and their "conflict" over God, and over Jerusalem's true status as Israel's capital.

    We cannot forget this president's continuous insults — in policy, in behavior — to Israel. The latest, Obama's apparent refusal to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, is glaring. Especially now, when the Arab world is exploding. When the threat of a nuclear Iran grows more palpable daily. And when the mullahs' sickening calls for the obliteration of Israel are met with worldwide silence.

    Prime Minister Netanyahu is correct in expressing consternation at an American president who spends far more time trying to rein in Israel than trying to preclude Iran from going nuclear.

    With greatest respect, we present this letter from Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg:

    To my fellow rabbis:

    I write to you at this time of dire trouble for our country and for Israel.

    Last week America was under attack. Our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were slaughtered by Muslim extremists. This was not a spontaneous "protest" against an admittedly stupid video. This was an organized military assault, coordinated expressly for execution on September 11.

    Likewise, the "protests" in Cairo at the American embassy. Where our flag was shredded, and the black Islamist flag of al-Qaeda was raised in its place. Reliable sources say the US was forewarned of both attacks — probably by Israel. But America's State Department ignored those warnings. Why?

    The Obama administration's reactions to these outrages is sadly typical. The next day, Mr. Obama flew off to Las Vegas to raise funds. And our government still apologizes for that inane video — made by an Egyptian Coptic.

    Where is the leadership here? What has such ongoing appeasement gotten us? Mr. Obama once promised a "reset" of America's relationship with Muslim nations. But the reality is far different. The Islamic world holds us in greater contempt than ever, seeing Obama's America as weak and incapable, or unwilling, to defend our interests and our friends.

    On that note, Obama's policy toward Israel has been a disgrace from the start. It's as if his goal is to disenfranchise himself — and America — from the Jewish state. To make clear to the world that Israel, should they dare to defend their very existence, will go it alone. Such signals serve only to embolden Israel's enemies — who are also our enemies.

    The same signal comes from Obama's latest snub of Bibi Netanyahu — who was told that Obama will not have time to meet with him when the Israeli Prime Minister arrives in America this week. Meanwhile, Obama can regale on the David Letterman. And extend an open invitation to Egypt's President Morsi.

    Such actions say a lot to the world. Can we stand silent any longer?

    To the 613 "Rabbis for Obama," in light of the president's most recent actions, I ask you: What have you got to say now? What are your excuses for President Obama now?

    I say this with all my heart. I cannot keep silent any longer. The voices of my father and my mother, survivors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, compel me to speak out — with zeal.

    I urge you to consider the following:

    - Silence did not work in the 1930s, when the looming evils of Nazism could have been stopped in their tracks. Nor will it work today when Islamists, who deny the Holocaust, threaten another one in Israel.

    - Why does the United States say nothing about the daily denigration of Jews and Christians by imams worldwide?

    - Why do we tolerate an American media that continues to play dumb when our real interests, and our very lives, are at stake?

    - Why does America continue to send money (and excuse outstanding loans) to Morsi's Egypt?

    - Why doesn't America compel Morsi to uphold the peace treaty with Israel? To rein in Hamas? To act like a responsible, civil government?

    - And of utmost importance, why don't we rabbis come together and insist that the Obama administration express — in words and in deeds — their unequivocal support for Israel during this most challenging of times?

    I started "Rabbis for Romney" as a counterweight to "Rabbis for Obama." My message at first was not political. But the situation has evolved — or devolved — into one where the danger to Israel is more paramount than ever. Don't kid yourselves. We are nearing the 11th hour.

    Please join me in my quest to see that America and Israel stay safe from the growing danger that's all around us.

    We can no longer afford to stay silent. Let us make sure that "Never again" means "NEVER again."

    Respectfully,

    Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg.

    Note: To join “Rabbis for Romney,” please contact Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg at chaimdov@aol.com.

  13. Gil Gilman says:

    Mazel tov. This is because the United States looks unofficially at Israel as a Domestic Dependent Nation, a term that was used to label the Indian Reservation System in the United States after the tribes were subjugated. In a similar way the U.S. is saying something like, "Look we give you all this money, now dance to our tune!" The tune various depending on the theme song of each administration.

  14. Gil Gilman says:

    The outlook is bleak economically, worldwide, and locally it will not matter a tithe which party is in the White House. It's like this. The bus is sliding down the ice covered streets of Duluth, Minnesota, and you have a 90 pound weakling at the bottom, by Lake Superior, prepared to stop it with his TV remote, but at the last second, Mr. Universe steps in with his cavern of a mouth spewing worthless promises. They are both flattened by the bus, but not before Mr. Universe actually slows the bus down from 80mph to 79.9999mph.

    As far as entitlements go, there are generous entitlements given to CEOs and the like, whose only qualifications often are only a piece of paper and the acumen to run a company into the ground. All this talk of entitlements is the handiwork of lawyers, money managers who get rich on the labor of others, and Republocrats who want to rule the uninformed American public. Is it any wonder that the informed American public is sick to death with all the caterwauling from both ends of the political spectrum?

  15. President Obama is not worth for a comment.

  16. I could not have described president Obama qualification any better.

  17. Anonymous says:

    There is so much more to add too about Obama's miserable record on Israel. "QME" or qualitative military edge is required by a law passed in 2008 – prior to Obama's election. Moreover, emails obtained by the Guardian in 2010 reveal that Israeli officials raised grave concerns with the Obama administration about the erosion of Israel's QME. The Obama administration has provided unprecedented levels of funding to Israel's enemies – the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Egypt, Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon and the Palestinians. Plus the Obama administration's demand that Israel retreat to suicide "Auschwitz" borders makes any funding or QME useless. As member of Knesset Aryeh Eldad said, Israel's very existence is threatened by another Obama term.

  18. Gil Gilman says:

    lmao…

  19. Gil Gilman says:

    Mazel tov. This is because the United States looks unofficially at Israel as a Domestic Dependent Nation, a term that was used to label the Indian Reservation System in the United States after the tribes were subjugated. In a similar way the U.S. is saying something like, "Look we give you all this money, now dance to our tune!" The tune varies depending on the theme song of each administration.

  20. Gil Gilman says:

    thank you much for your kind words

  21. A great event! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I stand with Israel.

  22. Chaiya Eitan says:

    It has been so easy for the Democrats to fool the public, especially the Jewish public when it comes to Israel.

  23. Chaiya Eitan says:

    But at least as importantly, in this year, when President Obama and the Democrats have crowed so loudly about the enormous funding for Israel’s Arrow systems — two medium- and long-range anti-ballistic missile systems — and David’s Sling, a short-range anti-missile system, President Obama’s proposed budget actually decreased funding for that line item. /OBAMA'S PROPOSED BUDGET DECREASED FUNDING!!!

  24. Chaiya Eitan says:

    IT IS CONGRESS WHICH INCREASED THE FUNDING!! NOT THE PRESIDENT!!

  25. Chaiya Eitan says:

    ISRAEL’S IRON DOME SYSTEM – AID AGREEMENT BEGAN IN 2007

    At least one other point that bears discussion is the funding for Israel’s Iron Dome mobile defense system. This system, which uses an interceptor to detonate incoming rockets and artillery shells, is largely credited with protecting much of southern Israel from its’ neighbors’ escalating aggression. It is a project developed in and produced in Israel, but financed, in large part, by the U.S. The financial agreement was part of a $30 billion 10-year military-aid agreement signed by the Bush administration back in 2007.

    President Obama has not attempted to derail the Iron Dome aid project, but as a binding 10-year agreement, it is not clear that he even has the power to do so. But the project was neither developed during the Obama administration, nor did financial support for it originate with President Obama. .

  26. Sharon Cohen says:

    They don't fool this JEW!!!

  27. Those of us who oppose Obama’s policies will continue to oppose them actively and vociferously. In this effort, we will have members of the House of Representatives and, to some extent, the Senate, all of whom, as opposed to Obama, will have to face re-election and, thus, cannot afford to dismiss us.

    Hibernation? Not when the existence of the security of the United States and Israel is at stake. BEN ROSENBERG

  28. obama nacht

    RABBI BERNHARD ROSENBERG, nov 9 2012.

    Contrary to what we are told, the passage of time does not ease our pain, nor does it diminish the scope of the horror that was the Holocaust. Oh yes, there are those, few in number, who feel that it is psychologically healthier to avoid reminders that keep painful and unpleasant events alive. Why subject our young to the brutal story of Nazi bestiality toward the Jewish people? What purpose will it serve? It would be wiser not to talk about it so that it can disappear. Never! We must never stop telling this story. Tell it we must, in every gory detail! We must do this because it is our sacred duty to alert them to the evils of men, so that they will never be lulled into a false sense of safety and security. We must alert them so that our children will be vigilant and will never be caught unaware as were the Jews who perished in the Holocaust. This is the message I emphasize to my beloved children, Ilana, Ayelet, Yaakov and Ari. Although we are cognizant that our children will be adversely affected, that they will feel great pain upon learning the true facts of the Holocaust, we know that this is something we must do. I urgently beg of you, my fellow children of Holocaust survivors, keep alive the memory of the courage and will to live possessed by your parents. Time is growing short. Soon, like my parents of blessed memory, they will have left this world. Speak with them now. Learn all you can about their Holocaust experiences and about your grandparents and great-grandparents. Communicate with them before it is too late! This is our mission. This we must vow to do. Join me, my fellow Holocaust brothers and sisters, in this holy mission. Let us join hands and loudly acclaim, “We will keep the memory of the Holocaust alive”. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

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