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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘campaign’

Australian Jewish Students Launch ‘Code Red’ Campaign in Support of Israel

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) has launched an online campaign to support the one million residents of southern Israel currently living under rocket fire. The campaign asks people around the world to send in photographs wearing red clothing to match the Tzeva Adom (‘Code Red’) warnings that citizens receive when a rocket is about to fall in their area. The Campaign was the joint initiative of AUJS students and Leora Golomb, The Jewish Agency for Israel National Shaliach to AUJS.

The campaign, which was launched on Tuesday, November 13, has already received strong support – with photos coming in from Australia and around the world including the US, Canada and Israel, along with thank you messages from Israelis. Jewish organizations such as the Zionist Federation of Australia have also replaced their logos on Facebookwith a red version in support.

The Jewish Agency sends young shlichim (Israel Fellows to Hillel) to work with university students on over 70 campuses across the United States. In addition, shlichim in Uruguay and Australia work with university students.

Leora Golomb, The Jewish Agency for Israel National Shaliach to AUJS said: “As a formerstudent at Ben Gurion University, who lived for three years in Beer Sheva, I explained to the students how difficult it was for the residents of the South. I felt that we needed to do something, no matter how small to show our support and solidarity The students agreed and immediately began working on the campaign.”

AUJS Campaign coordinator Dean Sherr said the sudden escalation in attacks on Israel had motivated supporters around the world to action: “AUJS’s intention for this campaign was to send a strong, unified message of support to the one million southern Israelis currently living under a barrage of rocket attacks. That message has been overwhelmingly taken up, with photos coming in from around the world – showing that people truly do care.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

The Campaign That Never Ends

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

As the dust settles and the fog lifts from this tumultuous year of political campaigning, we are left to wonder how our country will evolve. Will the economy bounce back? Will our schools make progress? And how about U.S. relations with Israel? Will they grow weaker or stronger? Will the administration support an Israeli strike on Iran?

No one truly knows. Perhaps this explains the gripping fascination we had with the just-concluded campaign. The intensity of emotions was palpable. The explosive passion for one candidate or the other inundated the streets of our country. Tens of millions were glued to the presidential debates and media coverage of the campaign drew an impressive number of viewers, listeners and readers.

The question, of course, is why? Why were the boisterous noises of this election campaign so dominating? Why were we magnetized by the daily polls, the gaffes and the statistics? Why did we so often give in to our relentless urge to report about the political news of the day on Facebook, Twitter and other social arenas?

Some observers say it was the appeal to vote and make a difference that drew our attention so fiercely. Others say we were lured by the appearance and personality of the candidates, by the characteristics they exuded and which we strongly empathized with or profoundly desired –integrity, intelligence, charisma, etc.

I suggest an alternative take on this phenomenon: It was our yearning for leadership that drew us to the candidates and their respective parties. And understandably so; after all, our generation has repeatedly suffered from leaders – in politics, in sports, in culture and in many other realms of our lives – who fell so low shortly after climbing so high.

Thus, as we followed the candidates’ every move, as we listened to their every promise, as we acted on their every call, we hoped and prayed that authentic leadership could be restored, that people of merit would once again become leaders of spirit.

But our search for this leader ought not to focus solely on the outside. For this optimal leader exists deep within the chambers of our souls. And day after day he hankers to emerge and fulfill his high calling and noble potential to live a life of divine meaning, a life empowered by our heritage and traditions, a life bolstered by deeds of goodness and kindness.

“Behold, the days are coming,” the prophet Amos proclaimed, “when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of God” (Amos 8:11).

It is the word of God, emanating from our inner quintessential leader, that we must seek out and realize.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of Great Britain, tells the story of how as a young student of philosophy at Cambridge University he traveled the world to visit great leaders. When he met with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe asked him about the condition of Jewish students at Cambridge, and what he was doing to help them.

“In the situation I currently find myself,” Rabbi Sacks began to respond, whereupon the Rebbe interrupted him and said: “No one finds themselves in a situation. You put yourself in a situation, and if you put yourself in that situation, you can put yourself in another situation!”

Obviously there are times when we find ourselves in situations that are beyond our control. But at almost every given moment we are presented with the opportunity of putting ourselves in a situation of leadership wherein we are called on to heed the voice of our inner leader and become agents of light to the world around us.

The 2012 presidential campaign is now over. Whether its outcome is good or bad for our country, time will tell.

But there exists a campaign, beyond the limits of time and space, that will never end. The candidate in this campaign may not be glamorous or flamboyant, but he is ambitious and determined to unleash his unique potential and actualize his God-given skills and talents. This candidate is campaigning for a life term. He refuses to rest or resign. He begs us, each and every day, to give him a chance, to allow him to act, to let him speak, to permit him to be. He passionately yearns for your attention, and more important, for your support.

Rabbi Pinchas Allouche

The Conservatives’ Obama Delusion

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

For most of the past two years, if not the past four, many conservatives and Republicans assumed that Barack Obama could not be reelected. A poor economy, an unpopular liberal agenda shoved down the throat of the country, and a largely uninspiring presidential leadership style combined to create a widespread belief on the right that the 2012 election would be a lay-up for them.

We now know what some of us suspected for a long time: Republicans drastically underestimated the president’s appeal as a historic figure.

The postmortem on the Republican failure to defeat the president will go on until 2016, but the finger pointing within the party will largely miss the point. The big problem was not Romney’s moderation (likely to be the right wing’s favorite theory); the influence of the Tea Party (the standard liberal interpretation); the failure to do outreach to Hispanics (though Republicans need to address this problem); Romney’s inability to run against ObamaCare; the GOP standard-bearer’s decision not to talk more about himself and letting the Democrats define him; the decision not to hammer Obama more over the Benghazi fiasco or even Hurricane Sandy.

The main obstacle to a Republican victory was that the party was seeking to defeat the first African-American president – one aided by a supportive mainstream media and buttressed by the power of incumbency and what turned out to be a tremendously efficient campaign organization.

Contrary to the delusion that Obama was a loser waiting to be knocked off, beating him was always going to be a long shot. Most conservatives were prepared to acknowledge that the majority of Americans were still pleased with the idea of righting some historic wrongs by electing an African-American in 2008. But they failed to understand that even though Obama’s administration was not widely viewed as a great success, at least half the country was not prepared to toss him out of office after only one term.

As an incumbent, Obama was able to claim credit concerning things for which he did not deserve many plaudits, like the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the response to the hurricane in the last days before the election. He also could count on the unfailing support of much of the media even when he was embarrassed by events, such as the Benghazi attack.

These were strengths that many Republicans continually discounted or disregarded entirely.

The close nature of the loss at a time when the national economy is still stagnant will naturally cause many on the right to speculate on what Romney and his campaign could have done differently. They will be right when they point out he should have fought back immediately against the slurs on his character that were the focus of much of the Obama campaign’s early efforts.

Maybe a perfect GOP effort could have gotten that extra one percent of the vote that would have turned a few close states and elected Romney. That’s something that will torment conservatives as ObamaCare is implemented and Obama continues to govern from the left.

But even his sternest critics must admit that Romney ran a creditable campaign and was able to use the debates to make the race closer and even take a lead in some polls in the last month. They must also acknowledge that the conservative assumption that the electorate in 2012 would be very different than it was in 2008 was wrong.

The good news for the GOP is that contrary to those who will claim a permanent Democratic majority, the circumstances of 2012 won’t be repeated in four years. Obama will be gone in 2016 and anyone who thinks that Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo or even Hillary Clinton will have an easy time against the deep Republican bench that is ready to run next time misunderstands the nature of American politics.

The bottom line is that Barack Obama won the 2012 election far more than the Republicans lost it. Obama may be a remarkably unsuccessful president (he’s the first to win re-election by a smaller margin) but he was never the patsy most conservatives imagined.

Conservatives spent the two years since their 2010 midterm victory operating under a serious delusion about the president’s political strengths. That’s a terrible indictment of their political acumen, but it won’t affect their chances in four years when Obama is no longer on the ballot.

Jonathan S. Tobin

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo – for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility. And fewer people voted. At the time of this writing (election day), with almost all the votes counted, President Obama has won fewer votes than John McCain won in 2008, and more than ten million off his own 2008 total.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.

That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate. The notion of the “Reagan Democrat” is one cliché that should be permanently retired.

Ronald Reagan himself could not win an election in today’s America.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff. Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote; so too those who anticipate “free” health care, who expect the government to pay their mortgages, who look for the government to give them jobs. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

Imagine two restaurants side by side. One sells its customers fine cuisine at a reasonable price, and the other offers a free buffet, all-you-can-eat as long as supplies last. Few – including me – could resist the attraction of the free food. Now imagine that the second restaurant stays in business because the first restaurant is forced to provide it with the food for the free buffet, and we have the current economy, until, at least, the first restaurant decides to go out of business. (Then, the government takes over the provision of free food to its patrons.)

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation (by the amoral Obama team) of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which “47% of the people” start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money – “free stuff” – from the government. Almost half of the population has no skin in the game – they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese. They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense. In the end, that 47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.

It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds. People do vote their pocketbooks. In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

That suggests the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that, as Winston Churchill stated so tartly, “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Voters – a clear majority – are easily swayed by emotion and raw populism. Said another way, too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads. That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record. He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich. Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to “fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending. How could Obama get away with such rants to squealing sign-wavers? See Churchill, above.

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

Pres. Hollande: Netanyahu Came to Toulouse to Campaign for Re-election

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

“We know, Netanyahu came to France as part of his elections campaign,” French President François Hollande has quipped last week, according to a report published on Tuesday in the French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé.

Holland referred to the participation last week of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a ceremony commemorating the victims of the attack on Jewish school children and their rabbi in Toulouse.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Rep. West (R.) Demanding Hand Recount in Florida 18th

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy has already declared victory over Tea Party star Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. West trails Murphy by 2,500 votes in the official count.

But West for Congress campaign manager Tim Edson on Wednesday announced: “This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome. Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district.”

According to the West campaign, late last night Congressman West maintained a district-wide lead of nearly 2000 votes until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections “recounted” thousands of early ballots. Following that “recount” Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes.

The campaign also complained of numerous irregularities at polls across St. Lucie County. The doors to polling places were locked when the polls closed, in violation of Florida law, preventing the public from witnessing the tallying.

“The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures, and the scene at the Supervisor’s office last night could only be described as complete chaos,” said a campaign press release. “Given the hostility and demonstrated incompetence of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, we believe it is critical that a full hand recount of the ballots take place in St. Lucie County. We will continue to fight to ensure every vote is counted properly and fairly, and accordingly will pursue all legal means necessary.”

Yori Yanover

The Mourning After Obama’s Re-Election

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Wednesday morning political quarterbacks are like the Monday sports variety, only you hear from the former two days later. Similar to literary critics, the “I told you so” crowd usually stays above the fray and then comes down only to shoot the wounded.  With such caveats in mind, we assess the Romney loss and the prospects of an Obama second term.

To begin, a few words might be said about precedent or history. In our lifetime, Bill Clinton was elected twice and now Mrs. Clinton is in the cat bird’s seat for 2016. Such omens say as much about the character of the American electorate as they do about the vector of modern American political history.

But history and political memes did not beat Mitt Romney. The challenger and the Republican Party establishment lost this election. There were many mistakes, few of which could be acknowledged before and many of which will probably be rationalized now.  Nonetheless, there seem to have been four flaws in the campaign to unseat a mediocre man who should, by any measure of performance, have been beaten easily. Those flaws include, but, are not limited to; a shallow primary pool, defensive campaigning, race, and apathy.

Romney may not have been a good choice to begin with, but, he did win a primary fight if not hearts. Alas, a significant constituency on the Right still had reservations. Prior to the primaries, Mitt Romney was known as a successful father, husband, businessman, and governor. He was also pegged as a moderate.

And it was moderation, the need to be seen as a nice guy that may explain a defensive campaign where the incumbent managed to define the challenger. Obama made the menace of Romney the grand issue of 2012 – and it worked.

Obama successfully defined Romney as a selfish, avaricious Capitalist. True or not, the mud stuck. The Romney response to insult was defense and the answer on issues, especially foreign policy, was often “me too.” Unless you play like Notre Dame has this year, defense does not win the big games.

Take the economic malaise as an example. Barack cast Mitt as a job eliminator at home and a job exporter abroad. Romney was, in short, the Grinch who would throw American workers to the wolves; in contrast, Obama ran as the hero who saved 200,000 American jobs. The Republican response was lame and incoherent blather about the Chinese, “fairness,” or playing by the rules. A fact attack would have been more helpful.

The GM chairman has been touting China since the automotive bailout; bragging about what Detroit has done for China, the Chinese worker, and Chinese jobs. Indeed, since the bailout, GM has created five to ten times more jobs in China than may have been saved in the US.  None of this factual ammunition was used by Romney, nor were the available video clips of Dan Akerson celebrating the move of GM operations, including advanced research, from America to China.

At the eleventh hour Mister Romney’s domestic message was undone also by weather and, again, passivity. Katrina was famously politicized by Democrats and Media allies and used to beat George Bush to a pulp. Now comes hurricane Sandy and an erstwhile “ally,” Republican Governor Christy, embraces, literally hugs Obama as looters roam neighborhoods still without power or heat on a frosty  voting day. Mr. Christy’s timing and rapture were more than unfortunate. With friends such as those in New Jersey, Romney didn’t need many enemies. Politics is a game of flinches.

Race has always been the invisible elephant of Obama politics. Starting with his first campaign for president, Barack has played the race card like a violin. In front of white audiences, he’s the proud grandson of a white WWII veteran. Yet his demeanor with blacks is something else.

For twenty years or more, he sat in church and listened to the demagoguery of Jeremiah Wright, colleague to Louis Farrakhan, a virulent black racist. If Wright was right for so long, why is he persona non grata at the White house?

Obama has chosen to define himself as a black man, yet has done little to address, no less bridge, the racial divide that he personifies. Black voting statistics reinforce the hold that race has on the black community and other minorities. For Romney, race was an opportunity missed; an opportunity to expose the hypocrisy of American racial attitudes and exhibit courage on a sensitive issue. If Obama chose to define himself as white, given his record to date, he would be “one and done” today.

The reticence of politicians to be candid, about sensitive issues like race, speaks to the most powerful force in American politics; apathy. The challenger’s moderation may be a subtle variant of apathy. In private moments, Romney often exhibits moral courage. His commentary on growing American dependency is an example. Truth, as Harry Truman insisted, is often the best public argument too.

When politicians walk back a fact, however; voters get queasy. “Business as usual” is a message that Romney reinforced by not separating himself clearly from statist folly and the entitlements movement.

In sum, Mitt Romney may not be mean enough for the big leagues. American politics is a contact sport. In many ways, Obama and Romney are similar; each look the part, congenial family men; yet, both are in over their heads. One has a job beyond his abilities and the other is unable to get the job he wants.

There’s not much left to say except congratulations to Barack Obama for pulling another rabbit out of one of his many hats. Alas, the American political horizon is still obscured by smoke. The burn rather than turn crowd gets another four years; and America, like Europe, will continue to dance between inertia and fiscal Armageddon.

And good luck to Mister Romney in his next endeavor. He may want amend that Roman adage: “Moderation in all things.” Mitt might now say; moderation in all things – especially moderation.

Originally published at the American Thinker.

G. Murphy Donovan

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