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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Party’

Pro-Israel Jewish Democrats Oppose Keith Ellison’s DNC Bid

Friday, November 18th, 2016

By Rafael Medoff

A growing number of pro-Israel activists and Jewish community figures are expressing concern that Minnesota’s U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison will turn the Democratic Party away from Israel if he is elected party chairman.

The election of Ellison “would bode badly for Jews,” longtime Democratic consultant Dr. Hank Sheinkopf told JNS.org. “His positions on Israel fit the pattern, noted by recent research, of identified liberal anti-Israel bias and the movement of Democrats away from Israel.”

Defending Farrakhan

Ellison’s controversial statements and actions date back to the 1990s, when he served as a local spokesman in Minnesota for Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam movement. Ellison raised eyebrows when he publicly claimed in 1995 that Farrakhan “is not an anti-Semite.”

Since his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, Ellison has emerged as one of the most vocal congressional supporters of the Palestinian cause. He has organized letters urging more U.S. pressure on Israel, voted against funding Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, and spoken at fundraising events for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a hardline anti-Israel group. While visiting Hebron this past summer, Ellison tweeted a photograph of a placard accusing Israel of “apartheid.”

Rabbi Menachem Genack of Englewood, New Jersey, a prominent Jewish supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, said he would be “disappointed” if Ellison is chosen as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) because that would “accelerate the process” of pulling the Democratic Party away from its traditional pro-Israel positions. Genack told JNS.org that he will be speaking to his colleagues in the party to explain his “concerns about Ellison’s views on Israel.”

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat who represents a heavily Jewish district in Brooklyn, strongly criticized the decision by New York’s U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer to endorse Ellison. In an interview with JNS.org, Hikind, asked, “Does Senator Schumer actually believe that there is literally not a single other person in the Democratic Party, anywhere in the country, who would be a better choice than Ellison? Why is Schumer in such a rush to support a candidate who is so unfriendly to Israel?”

Hikind said Ellison “is the most radical candidate imaginable, someone who represents the extreme left wing of the party, which is why he’s being promoted by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and J Street—in other words, Ellison is being backed by all the wrong people if you care about Israel.” The assemblyman noted that Ellison has occasionally claimed to be a friend of Israel, “but if Israel has to depend on support from the Ellisons of the world, it would be in serious trouble.”

Possible defections

Some pro-Israel activists recall, with dismay, Ellison’s efforts to unseat a pro-Israel New Jersey congressman, Steve Rothman, in 2012. Dr. Ben Chouake, president of NORPAC, a Jewish political action committee in northern New Jersey, said it was “extremely unusual” for Ellison to target Rothman, “since Rothman was a fellow Democrat, in a district halfway across the country—what could motivate him to go to such great lengths?” Ellison spoke at mosques in New Jersey, urging Arab-Americans to vote against Rothman.

Chouake told JNS.org he fears that if Ellison is elected chair of the DNC, “one of his priorities will be to pull the party away from Israel.” Ellison represents “the fringe of the Democratic Party, not the center, and would it make even harder for the party to have broad appeal.”

The rise of Ellison could drive Jews out of the Democratic Party, according to Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a private wealth manager who worked in the administrations of New York City Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, and New York Governor George Pataki, a Republican. “There are many longtime Jewish Democrats who are on the fence about whether to stay in a party that has been tilting away from Israel—and if Ellison is elected, I believe a good percentage of them will leave the party,” Wiesenfeld told JNS.org.

Wiesenfeld criticized Schumer’s endorsement of Ellison as “a crass political calculation—he sees the party succumbing to the far left, and he wants to go with the flow so he can retain his position.” He said that “Schumer’s phone should be ringing off the hook with calls from members of the Jewish community, asking ‘What happened to your promise to be a ‘shomer’ (guardian) of Israel?”
Ellison’s office did not return a request for comment from JNS.org.

The only other declared candidate so far for the chairmanship of the DNC is former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. A date for the election has not yet been set. According to party rules, it must take place prior to March 31, 2017. To win, a candidate needs the votes of a majority of the 447 members of the DNC. About one-fourth of the members are the chairs or vice chairs, of state branches of the Democratic Party.

JNS News Service

Senator Boxer Wants to Abolish Electoral College

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca) who is retiring in January 2017 has introduced he last bill, and it’s a big one. Boxer’s legislation, submitted on Tuesday, will abolish the Electoral College, leaving the choice of a president up to the popular vote.

“In my lifetime, I have seen two elections where the winner of the general election did not win the popular vote,” Boxer said in a statement. “When all the ballots are counted, Hillary Clinton will have won the popular vote by a margin that could exceed 2 million votes, and she is on track to have received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama.”

“The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately,” Boxer insisted, stressing that “every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts.”

Boxer’s bill requires an amendment to the US Constitution (number 28), and three-fourths of the states would be needed to ratify the bill within seven years — should its pass in Congress.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Sophie (née Silvershein) and Ira Levy, Barbara Boxer has been the junior Senator from California since 1993. In October 2002, Boxer voted against the joint resolution to authorize the use of military force by the Bush Administration in Iraq. In June 2005, Senators Boxer and Russ Feingold (D-WI) cosponsored Senate Resolution 171 calling for a timeframe for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

President Elect Donald Trump is the fifth person to win the presidency while losing the popular vote. The most recent was George W. Bush in 2000. The other three times all took place in the 19th century. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 63 percent of Americans would get rid of the electoral college.

“In 2012, Donald Trump tweeted, ‘The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy,'” Boxer said in her statement. “I couldn’t agree more. One person, one vote!”

JNi.Media

Impotent Rage About Trump Directed at Steve Bannon

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

It didn’t take haters of president-elect Trump long to shift their negative energy away from Trump and instead focus it towards an easier target: former Breitbart editor-in-chief and newly named Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

Trump won the election, he isn’t going anywhere and people, especially liberal Democrats who have been lulled by eight years of validation, are angry. Also greatly peeved are the traditional establishment conservatives who refused to back the aggressively non-intellectual Donald Trump. It was not only shocking but personally insulting to many of the elites that the “loser” actually won. Much better to throw word-bombs at a liberal for four years than to have to eat crow – picking feathers out of one’s teeth is never fun.

So when the president-elect filled his first two positions and one of the two was an establishment stalwart, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus as chief of staff, heads swiveled and the keyboards pointed towards the second, the easier target, Bannon.

Bannon has been decisively labeled “an anti-Semite,”  and “alt-right,” and therefore “racist.” The anti-Semite charge has been traced back to claims made by an ex-wife during divorce proceedings. The most inflammatory thing she claimed he said is he didn’t want to send their girls to a school with “too many Jews.” But they did send their girls there. Bannon denies the charge. That’s it for evidence of anti-Semitism.  Really? Words uttered in a custody battle?

Anyone remember the claim that Hillary Clinton referred to one of her husband’s Jewish staffers as a “[expletive verb deleted] Jew [expletive noun deleted]”? Of course it was never proven that she said that – same with Bannon’s alleged anti-Semitic remarks – but it was repeated and rumors about it persisted, yet none ever rose to the level of a disqualifier for public office, let alone for an advisory role.

Since we can’t know the truth about whether Bannon uttered what was attributed to him by his ex-wife in a custody battle, what do people who know or worked with Bannon have to say about whether the man is an anti-Semite?

David Goldman, the economist and author who used to write under the pen name Spengler, wrote from personal experience that he was confident Bannon is not anti-Semitic. Writing on his Facebook wall, Goldman responded to a post on a conservative news site which blasted Bannon for promoting  “anti-Semitism,” “racism” and “white nationalism.”

Goldman did a Google search of the site.

I looked through roughly a thousand articles and found nothing but pro-Israel, pro-Jewish articles that might well have appeared in Israel Hayom. There is not a shred of evidence–not a single article–that supports [John] Podhoretz’ allegation that Bannon and Breitbart aid and abet anti-Semitic views.

Earlier in the day Goldman took the Financial Times to task for the same kind of evidence-free accusation.

“I know Steve Bannon, and have had several long discussions with him about politics. I first met him when he approached me at a conference to tell me that he liked my writing, which is unabashedly Zionist,” Goldman posted.

Goldman responded to an email query with:”I discussed Israel with him on a couple of occasions and he is a gung-ho pro-Zionist conservative.”

Joel B. Pollak is senior editor-at-large at Breitbart News and an Orthodox Jew. He has worked with Bannon for years and in response to the brouhaha wrote a column on Monday, “Stephen K, Bannon, Friend of the Jewish People, Defender of Israel.”

Pollak elaborated on his full-throated defense of Bannon in a telephone call late Monday evening. “Steve Bannon is the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House,” Pollak said. “Under Bannon, Breitbart has expanded to open a Jerusalem bureau, and it consistently posts positive stories about Israel.”

So what about the charges of anti-Semitism? Pollak laughed. “I won’t tell you which ones, but during the [Republican] primary I had to repeatedly talk Steve off a ledge when he became irate that one or more of the contenders made comments Steve interpreted as anti-Semitic.” If anything, Pollak explained, “Steve is overly-sensitive to statements by others he thinks are anti-Semitic.”

No one claims Bannon is a pussycat. Several people who spoke out against the anti-Semitism claim willingly described Bannon as “tough” or “difficult” or “as hard-[expletive deleted]as they come,” but no one has come forward with any basis for calling Bannon anti-Semitic.

What about the claims of Bannon promoting Breitbart as a refuge for alt-right views?

Pollak explained that saying Breitbart promotes “alt-right” because Breitbart contains reporting on the alt-right is “like saying CNN promotes Black Lives Matter because CNN reports on the BLM movement.”

Indeed, there are articles about the alt-right on Breitbart. The most expansive one is co-written by the alleged icon of the alt-right, Milo Yiannopoulis, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.”

In a 5200-plus word article Yiannopoulis and his co-author Allum Bokhari debunk myths while creating a taxonomy of the alt-right movement.

Much of the alt-right, the two explain, focuses on community-building and values lifestyles. The “prankstering” or outrageous “memes” appear to be the source of much misunderstanding about the movement, which the two explain is even more hilarious to the alt-righters who practically choke on how those they aggravate “get played.”

But then there are the “1488ers,” who are just a small segment of the movement. Yiannopoulis and Bokhari explain:

1488ers are the equivalent of the Black Lives Matter supporters who call for the deaths of policemen, or feminists who unironically want to #KillAllMen. Of course, the difference is that while the media pretend the latter are either non-existent, or a tiny extremist minority, they consider 1488ers to constitute the whole of the alt-right.

Those looking for Nazis under the bed can rest assured that they do exist. On the other hand, there’s just not very many of them, no-one really likes them, and they’re unlikely to achieve anything significant in the alt-right.

Yiannopoulis also said that “he is too pro-Israel” even for non-1488er alt-rightists to include him in their movement. The same is surely true for Breitbart itself, and for Bannon.

So the scary bogey-men of the alt-right is a fringe element of a fringe element, about which Breitbart runs articles, just – to quote Pollak – as CNN runs articles about the recent attention-grabbing movement on the left, Black Lives Matter.

Similarly, of the recent anti-Trump protests many involved were just dispirited Hillary fans, while a few called for violent revolution and there was even a sign held by one protester advocating “rape Melania.”  Should all Clinton-voters be condemned? Should Hillary Clinton?

The blogger Jeff Dunetz wrote for Breitbart for several years. Although he never met Bannon, Dunetz wrote a column on his own blog on Monday, with a commonsense title: “If Steve Bannon is an anti-Semite, Why Can’t I Find Any Anti-Semitism?” Dunetz remarked on a column written by David Horowitz which ran at Breitbart. In that column Horowitz referred to longtime neocon leader Bill Kristol as a “renegade Jew” for refusing to support the Republican Party nominee, Donald Trump. But Horowitz – a Jew – wrote the column, not Bannon.

It is true that the Horowitz column ran at Breitbart, but that does not make Breitbart or Steve Bannon any more anti-Semitic than the New York Times running a column written by Mahmoud Abbas makes that paper a Holocaust-denier. And just because the Democratic Party endorsed the Black Lives Matter platform does not necessarily make it or its standard bearers anti-Israel or anti-police, although the BLM certainly is the latter and has officially charged Israel with being an Apartheid State and committing genocide.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Wikileaks: DNC Strategy Was to Push Trump to Front of Republican Line

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

It appears that pushing into the limelight an esoteric, buffoonish, self-absorbed candidate so he would win the Republican presidential nomination — was the Democrats’ strategy from the start, their surefire way of propelling Hillary Clinton to the presidency.

“We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously,” states an April 7, 2015 email memo from the Democratic National Committee, exposed by Wikileaks. At the time, the “pied pipers” were Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson.

If you were wondering how come Donald Trump received so much free media exposure for months and months, why every comic in North America used him for fodder, and why he was consequently able to knock off his rivals so effectively — part of it, of course, had to do with his bombast personality and on-screen shenanigans, but part of it was supported by the opposition.

Under the heading “Our Goals and Strategy,” the memo stresses that “the goal of a potential HRC campaign and the DNC would be one-in-the-same: to make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to a majority of the electorate.”

“We don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party,” the memo recommends.

The memo outlines three strategies to make this happen: “1) Force all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election; 2) Undermine any credibility/trust Republican presidential candidates have to make inroads to our coalition or independents; 3) Muddy the waters on any potential attack lodged against HRC.”

It was a sound strategy, which most of us believed had worked as we all entered election day 11/9. “Most of the more-established candidates will want to focus on building a winning general election coalition,” says the strategy memo, suggesting that “more will need to be done on certain candidates to undermine their credibility among our coalition (communities of color, millennials, women) and independent voters.”

But while pointing out just how “outrageous” Trump, Cruz and Carson are as choices for the presidency, they also had to be mainstreamed, to help them gain the GOP primary votes. “In this regard,” says the memo, “the goal here would be to show that they are just the same as every other GOP candidate: extremely conservative on these issues.”

The DNC’s purpose in pushing up the most extreme, outrageous GOP candidate had to do with the party’s fears regarding Hillary Clinton’s own shortcomings. An email from Mandy Grunwald, a media advisor for the Democratic Party, that was forwarded to John Podesta, sums up the results of a focus group and lists Clinton’s vulnerabilities. Here’s the abridged version:

“Out of Touch – Should we add that HRC hasn’t driven a car in thirty-five years?

“Cronyism, foreign governments, I would name some of the countries, particularly those in the Middle East.

“Wall Street. ‘When HRC recently spoke to bankers at Goldman Sachs, instead of holding them accountable for their activities that crashed the economy, she told them that banker bashing was foolish and had to stop.’

“Obama’s Third Term. I would add ‘We need a new direction.’

“Ineffective. ‘Clinton flew all over the world, but she can’t name a single major accomplishment she made as Secretary of State.'”

To be able to win with so many strikes against her, Clinton’s people felt she had to go up against a rival who would make a fool of himself and become the brunt of a million jokes. The strategy worked, winning Clinton the popular vote in 2016 – but not the election.

David Israel

Clinton Mulling Biden for Secretary of State

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s short list for her old job of Secretary of State starts with Vice President Joe Biden, according to Politico, citing a source close to the campaign. Apparently, the campaign has not yet approached Biden with the proposal.

A six-term senator, Biden chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before joining the Obama Ticket, and is considered an expert on the Middle East and on eastern Europe. He has been used by President Obama as his envoy to both regions. It has been noted that Clinton and Biden do not often agree on policy, Clinton being more inclined to intervene militarily, while Biden advocates a more reserved policy.

Biden would probably be the best Democratic selection from the point of view of Israel, and especially the Netanyahu Administration. He has had a rough and tumble relationship with AIPAC on occasion, but in 2008 described his relationship with the pro-Israel lobby: “I’ve never disagreed with AIPAC on the objective. Whenever I’ve had disagreement with AIPAC it has always been a tactical disagreement, not a substantive disagreement.” Following that statement, an AIPAC spokesman praised Biden’s leadership and stated: “We look forward to continuing to work with him in the Senate or in the White House.”

Like the bulk of the Democratic party, Biden supports a two-state solution. In 2009, he told an AIPAC conference that Israel “has to work towards a two-state solution” and “dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement.” He also called on the Palestinians to “combat terror and incitement against Israel.”

However, in 2007 he stated, when asked about the failure to achieve peace between Israel and the PA: “Israel’s a democracy and they make mistakes. But the notion that somehow if Israel just did the right thing, [the peace process] would work … give me a break.” He also stated that “The responsibility rests on those who will not acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, will not play fair, will not deal, will not renounce terror.”

The 2007 Biden-Brownback Resolution on Iraq, passed by the Senate with a 75-23 majority, including 26 Republicans, called for federalizing Iraq with separate regions for Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis. Iraq’s political leadership and the GW Bush Administration united in denouncing the resolution. In retrospect it appears that following it might have prevented the violent emergence of ISIS.

In 2008, Israel Army Radio cited an unnamed source that said Biden had told Israeli officials privately that Israel “will have to reconcile itself with the nuclearization of Iran.” A Biden spokesman stated that “this is a lie peddled by partisan opponents of Senators Obama and Biden and we will not tolerate anyone questioning Senator Biden’s 35-year record of standing up for the security of Israel. … [Biden views a nuclear Iran as a] grave threat to Israel and the United States.” Israeli officials said at the time that the story was “dubious.”

Finally, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Biden called for “hard-headed diplomacy” with Iran. He also has called for the implementation of “coordinated international sanctions” on Iran, but called to ” complement this pressure by presenting a detailed, positive vision for U.S.-Iran relations if Iran does the right thing.” In that context, in 2007, Biden voted against declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, because “war with Iran is not just a bad option. It would be a disaster.”

JNi.Media

NY Senator Chuck Schumer Slams BDS as ‘Modern Anti-Semitism’

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

New York Senator Chuck Schumer slammed the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement this week as a “modern form of anti-Semitism.”

Schumer said in an address to the Israeli American Council’s 2016 National Israeli American Conference that ultimately, BDS organizers don’t “believe there should be a Jewish State in the Middle East, and are guilty of the same anti-Semitism. We need to make that argument loudly and strongly and go against the BBDS movement and call it for what it is,” he said,” an anti-Semitic and not just anti-Israel movement.”

The senator added that he applauds the governors of New York and California for passing anti-BDS legislation.

But although anti-Semitism is clearly rising on the campuses of American colleges and universities, Schumer noted that the problem is even worse in Europe.

“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism seems to be in far too many European homes,” he said, pointing to the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party as one example.

“Europe has shown how anti-Israel and anti-Semitic the BDS movement really is. Far-right parties are experiencing a rebirth, and far-left parties … like the Labour Party under Corbyn, are increasingly anti-Israel.”

Corbyn has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the anti-Semitism of veteran members of the party, prompting the recent resignation of a prominent Jewish Labourite, Lord Parry Mitchell. Corbyn in the past also has expressed his “friendship” for the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.

“Terrorism and violence against Jews is on the rise, from vandalizing synagogues to the horrible attack on a Jewish grocery in Paris,” Schumer pointed out.

“It is no wonder that last year France, home to the largest Jewish population in Europe, set a record for the migration of Jews to Israel,” he said.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu to Meet Trump and Clinton in NYC

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet with the presidential candidates from both political parties in the United States on Sunday, following his meeting last Wednesday with U.S. President Barack Obama.

He’ll meet first with GOP candidate Donald Trump, and then with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a source in the prime minister’s office (PMO).

“The meeting was first agreed to with the Trump people, and then we immediately reached out to the Clinton camp for balance,” said a PMO source.

Netanyahu has said he has no intention to get in the middle of the electoral campaign in any way. Four years ago, he was severely criticized for what appeared to be his perceived support of GOP candidate Mitt Romney, an old friend who visited Jerusalem during the campaign and discussed Obama’s foreign policies.

Not so the New York Times, whose editorial board on Saturday endorsed Clinton for president in a pointed article in which the paper’s management said bluntly, “In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year.”

The Times went on to list what it considers her finest moments and achievements, among them, “efforts to strengthen sanctions against Iran, which eventually pushed it to the table for talks over its nuclear program, and in 2012, she helped negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-to-meet-trump-and-clinton-in-nyc/2016/09/24/

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