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Obama Campaign Enlisting Support from Radical, Anti-Israel Rabbis

Some of the "Rabbis for Obama" group in conversation with an Ayatollah on their recent visit to Iran.

Some of the "Rabbis for Obama" group in conversation with an Ayatollah on their recent visit to Iran.
Photo Credit: Shalom Rav blog

According to Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, President Obama’s attitude towards Jewish voters is astonishing.

Speaking to The Jewish Press, Pollak said, “the Rabbis for Obama group, which includes Jews who are amongst the most hostile to Israel anywhere in America, underscores the lack of seriousness with which they take their effort to convince pro-Israel voters that this president is pro-Israel.”

Earlier this week the Obama campaign announced the formation of a Rabbis for Obama group which includes rabbis from nearly 40 states. In heralding the formation of the group, Ira Forman, the Obama campaign’s Jewish outreach director said in a  news release that these “rabbis represents a broad group of respected Jewish leaders from all parts of the country. These rabbis mirror the diversity of American Jewry.”

Not exactly.

It’s not just that the list is heavily dominated by politically liberal rabbis from non-traditional denominations, but, as many have pointed out, there is a large number of rabbis on the list who are in the forefront of organized efforts to delegitimize Israel.

For example, almost a third of the rabbinical council of the radical-left, anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace are members of Rabbis for Obama, including the JVP co-chair, Rabbi Brant Rosen.  JVP is the leading advocacy group for economic terrorism against Israel.  JVP promotes the Boycotting of Israeli goods; Divestment of stocks from Israeli companies, and Sanctions against the Jewish State (“BDS”).

Rabbi Brant Rosen, who recently toured Iran with a JVP delegation (along with BDS promoter Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb), came back convinced that all the governments involved in the dispute are wrong, but, especially, “the role of the Israel lobby in the Iran issue has been nothing short of shameful.  And at times openly, brazenly disingenuous” (posted on his Shalom Rav blog).

Rabbis for Human Rights is another organization which promotes left-wing causes in the name of Judaism, and is a frequent critic of what they call Israel’s “occupation” of the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria.  Nearly a dozen members of Rabbis for Obama are members of Rabbis for Human Rights, including three members of its executive committee.

To date, nothing has helped to better define Obama as the most anti-Israel president since Jimmy Carter.

The Republican Jewish Coalition issued a press release on Thursday, calling on the Obama campaign to remove what it called the “Obama Campaign’s Radical Rabbi.”  The RJC was referring to Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb.  In its release, the RJC said, “Rabbi Gottlieb has a long and troubling history, which includes dining with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, being the first American rabbi to visit Tehran, and serving in an organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, which the Anti-Defamation League has called one of the ‘top ten anti-Israel groups.’”

Although the RJC only singled out Gottlieb, and only mentioned her membership in JVP in its call for the Obama campaign to reject her endorsement, there are many other anti-Israel aspects to members of the list. For one thing, Gottlieb is the initiator of the “Jewish Fast for Gaza.” This  group, which includes several other members of the rabbis for Obama list, have committed to monthly daytime fasts to “give witness to the violation of Palestinian rights.”  The language of the Fast for Gaza manifesto evokes the Yom Kippur liturgy, but with an odd twist:

Fasting is a form of lament. We mourn the death and injury of tens of thousands of people caused by Israeli enforcement of the infrastructure of occupation. We call on an end to the systematic violence described in The Goldstone Report and many other first hand accounts of occupation.

The Emergency Committee for Israel sent a letter to President Obama on Thursday, pointing out the discrepancy between the campaign’s rhetoric of support for Israel, and the inclusion of rabbis in the campaign who have “demonstrated a deep hostility to the state of Israel and a deep commitment to demonizing the Jewish state and undermining the U.S.-Israel alliance.”

The ECI’s Pollak could not understand how a presidential campaign, with hundreds on staff, apparently did not bother to check into the backgrounds of the rabbis whose names are being used to prove the president’s pro-Israel bona fides.  “It’s like they are just phoning it in,” he said.

When asked whether ECI would be content with the removal of Lynn Gottlieb from the Rabbis for Obama list, Pollak said no.

“There are clear red lines here that have been crossed by so many rabbis on this list, support for the now-repudiated anti-Israel Goldstone Report, promotion of BDS, charging Israeli leaders with war crimes, there should have been some level of concern that such anti-Israel radicals are on the list,” said Pollak, “it was clear there was none.”

President Obama’s Jewish outreach director, Ira Forman, did not respond to a request from The Jewish Press for comment, but by mid-day Thursday the Obama campaign had issued an official rejection of the criticism.

“The President’s strong support of Israel and toughest-ever actions against Iran has led rabbis from across the political spectrum to express their support for the president and have committed to seeing him reelected,” a campaign official told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The President obviously does not endorse or embrace their every affiliation, action or utterance.”

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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56 Responses to “Obama Campaign Enlisting Support from Radical, Anti-Israel Rabbis”

  1. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    In Rome during the Shoah, hitler's pope bragged how the Rabbi of Rome was one of his staunchest supporters. In fact, he then converted to Catholicism to save his own skin. That was quickly followed by the nazis entering and clearing out the.
    Jewish ghetto – which by the way was in full view of hitler's pope's bedroom window – with most being massacred and the vatican staying ever so silent. After hitler was defeated, and hitler's pope showed no remorse – only continued contempt for the Jews – the former Rabbi tried to revisit the remnants of his old community. They rebuffed him – he was shocked to be treated that way – after which he committed suicide. Can the kapos of the US community be far behind putting an avowed Jew hater above the needs of the community. I look forward to the youtube videos of mass suicides following chairman barack's defeat!

  2. what a surprise……not.

  3. Yori Yanover says:

    I think they're missing out on the most essential notion of Jewish tradition and Jewish history, which is the sense of all of us being one family. We've seen things like that in the past, we're seeing Shalom Achshav investing so much talent and money into destroying settler families and homes in the name of a concept of Justice.

    At this point I believe our job as a decidedly right-wing, but not Haredi publication is to point out these things so no one has any delusion about who is in and who is out of the family.

  4. Charlie Hall says:

    No evidence that Obama himself had anything to do with this….And Israel's Defense Minister thinks that Obama is the BEST President for Israel ever:


  5. Charlie Hall says:

    That said, he should fire Forman.

  6. Stephen Tannenbaum says:

    So Obama gets a free pass because there's "no evidence" he had anything to do with this? As for Israel's Defense Minister, you are, of course, talking about Ehud Barak, whose presence in the governing coalition is the perfect illustration of what's wrong with Israel's proportional representation electoral system.

  7. The so-called rabbis for obama are trying to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, who said "the destruction of the Jews shall come from within."

  8. Yori Yanover says:

    Charlie — I voted for the guy, I'm a Democrat with papers to prove it. Even now I can't bring myself to vote Republican, and I'll probably go with Johnson, the Libertarian. Having said that, I must share with you that I've been getting from the White House such a sense of autism about who American Jews are what's on their minds, that in itself seems like the problem.

    Add to that the fact that BOTH White House COSs have been Jews, the current one even frum, and it really boggles the mind. Do they really know this little about me? About us?

    I've known and loved leftist NY Democrats — Nadler, Silver, Schumer. I may not always agree with them, but I never got from them the sense of alienation I'm getting from this Administration. That was the case with Carter and Ham Jordan and Brzezinski, and that's what I got from Sumner, back when he was in office, and from Geithner. An autism, complete disconnect from the hearts and minds of America in general and from my people in particular.

    With all that, Obama will still win, most likely, unless he does something stupid. And he normally doesn't.

  9. Yori Yanover says:

    If you're referring to Isaiah 49:17, that's only one option in translation. It's either "Your destroyers and demolishers shall come from within you," or, the more optimistic option, "Your destroyers and demolishers shall leave you." Let's hope to see them all leave and join a monotheistic tradition that better fits their needs. They already think like goyim…

  10. Paul Palnik says:

    These so called rabbis are just human crap.

  11. Leslie Green says:

    I hope with all that is above that you are wrong, we can't stand another 4 yrs with a radical socialist in power, Johnson is a good man and would it be that he could win.

  12. Charlie Hall says:


    Precisely what is wrong with Ehud Barak as Defense Minister? Every report I've seen describes him as a superhawk on Iran; is that the problem?

    Leslie, if you think Obama is a socialist you have no idea what a socialist is.

    Yori, I am stunned at how little foreign policy is mattering in this election. I just looked at redstate.com, typed "Iran" into their search engine, and found an average of ONE diary per month for the past few months, mostly with few or even zero comments. On dailykos.com, there is about one per week, mostly with the usual pacifist nonsense, but with far less interest than in the past now that all the extreme anti-Israel commenters there have been banned. The Republicans definitely seem to be avoiding these issues and Obama isn't bringing them up either. It is too bad, because foreign policy is an area where Obama is far, Far, FAR ahead of the Republican candidates, with arguably more accomplishments than any President since the first Bush.

  13. ZOMG you guys! Two rabbis out of 613 think Israel shouldn't oppress Palestinians or bomb Iran! Obama's such a Jew hater! Or, maybe the Jewish Press and its audience are just made up of extremist nutbags who have been hostile to having a shvartzer in the White House since his candidacy became viable.

    BTW-If boycotting Sodastream is economic terrorism, what do you call what Israel and the U.S. are doing to Gaza and Iran?

  14. Pope Pius XII was always working with the OSS, the American Secret Service and with the Free French Press Underground resistance against Hitler, The Pope broadcast on French Radio against the Nazis, he made 200,000 fake baptism papers to save many Jews get out of Nazi Germany, and all these revelations that contradict all that the Jews use as propaganda against the Catholic Church were fully released by the Secret Service and published by the Jerusalem Post in aug, '10. The Jews lied and lied and lied about the Pope, Jews never mention that 50,000 Catholic Danes went to death camps for hiding the Jews and protesting the Nazi Regime. God is going to punish the Jews because they are still prolific liars and propagandist with no fear of God at all.

  15. Yori Yanover says:

    Martin Indyk said just the other day: A campaign day spent on foreign policy is a wasted day. That's always been the case in America, and now, with a sick economy it's so much more so.

    But I don't see Romney offering anything of value in this area. I honestly don't believe the country needs tax reductions at this point. The country needs massive investments in the infrastructure, to give jobs to 10 million Americans. Obama could have done it in 2009 and he dropped the ball, betraying me and millions of others who thought he was going to do it.

    It cost us something outlandish, like 75% of the GDP — check the figures — to come out of the depression in 39-41, and it took a war to get us there. We need to put money in people's pockets and fast. Romney and pockets usually works in the opposite direction.

  16. Wherein Noah Pollak's boss, Bill Kristol, proves he's a cynical, lying piece of crap who just wants to exploit Jewish fears to help the GOP give him and his wealthy donors tax breaks.

  17. Yori Yanover says:

    I wouldn't go that far. They're just not Jewish.

  18. Yori Yanover says:

    Folks, It's getting to Shabbat where I am, so I won't be visiting here until Sat. night. Play nice, don't use obscenities, treat each other with kindness. Shabbat Shalom!

  19. While the Pope saved 200,000 Jews using fake papers to escape the Nazi, the Israeli Jews would not pay $60 a child to save them in Poland to escape to Israel, and the Jews in Israel were members of the Nazi Regime, wore the Swastika and spend years covering up all their connection to Hitler's Gustapo. The real facts of how the Israeli's refused to save the Polish Jews, but Pope Pious XII saved 200,000 of them , was finally published in the Jerusalem Post two years ago, to the shame of the Jews, Not on Israeli Jew would pay $60 to one Jewish child in Poland. And Hitler also killed 5 million Polish Catholics. so Hitler was not a Catholic. For far too long we have been fed lies and propaganda about the Jewish role in helping Hitler come to power, but God is watching, and has not forgiven any one those sins.

  20. Leslie Green says:

    I know what a socialist is, and I know obama is, he would do more to fundamentally change America, as he promised, if he could.

  21. Charlie Hall says:

    It occurred to me that Democracies have often failed to appreciate foreign policy accomplishments. Clemenceau was defeated in 1920, Churchill in 1945, and Bush 41 in 1992. That bodes well for Romney.

  22. Rabbis for Obama = KAPOS FOR OBAMA.

  23. Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo just filed a fecal rights complaint against you for comparing "Rabbis" for Obama to crap. I call them kapos for Obama. They are doubtlessly willing to use their status as rabbis to put a "kosher" stamp on racist and anti-Semitic treif like Al Sharpton, with whom Obama has posed arm in arm on more than one occasion.

  24. Carmine, Jeff Rense needs you on his show very badly.

  25. Re: " what do you call what Israel and the U.S. are doing to Gaza and Iran?" Nothing so far, although it's getting to the point that they will need to do to Gaza and Iran what the U.S. and UK did to Nazi Germany. Mahmoud "Hitler in a Headscarf" Ahmadinejad, with whom one of the Kapos for Obama has met, has threatened openly to destroy not only Israel but also the U.S.

    You should know by now that, when people start to talk about exterminating Jews (as the Palestinians have done) and ruling the world (as the Palestinians and other militant "Muslims" have done), they generally tend to mean it. The last ideology that used that kind of language came with a swastika.

  26. Charlie Hall says:

    Leslie, socialists want the government to own at least the major means of production in society. Obama in fact divested government ownership of the financial industry and most of its ownership in the auto industry. He is the opposite of a socialist.

  27. Charlie Hall says:

    Leslie, socialists want the government to own at least the major means of production in society. Obama in fact divested government ownership of the financial industry and most of its ownership in the auto industry. He is the opposite of a socialist.

  28. Cassie Phillips says:

    I had no idea there was such a group. Traitors for Obama is more like it.

  29. Judah Palnik says:

    people cant figure out why I dont like this guy. These so called "Jews" shoudl be ashamed of themselves….and then severley beaten about the head with teathered branches

  30. Jeremiah Wright, and Ahmadinejad should also be invited as honorary Rabbis for Obama. After all they both believe that Israel in the Bible and Koran mean anyone but the Jews.

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