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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Party’

The Speed of Progressivism

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/the-speed-of-progressivism.html

The transformation of Chick-Fil-A from a fast food place that most liberals had never even heard of into the “Enemy of the People” is a reminder of the speed at which progressivism travels forward and backward in time. A few months ago the CEO of Chick-Fil-A would have done nothing worse than echo a consensus so mainstream that it was adopted as a campaign position by the leftiest Democrat to sit in the White House. A few months later that same position is so outrageous that it leads to mass boycotts, threats of violence and mayors of dysfunctional urban centers threatening to drive the reactionary chicken franchise out of their cities.

One of the wonderful things about progressivism is that it defies the laws of physics and history. When the Democratic Party, a once notable national party that has been turned into a red shill for the sort of people who used to hang out in cafes and plot to blow things up in between free verse recitals, adopts a progressive position, that position instantly travels backward in time to alter history and create an entirely new past.

For example when the Democratic Party decided that its future lay not with racist white gerrymandered districts but racist black gerrymandered districts, its adoption of civil rights, formerly a Republican position that good Democrats had fought tooth and nail, actually traveled back in time transforming our nation’s history.

When the Democrats belatedly decided that black people were human beings, or at least a better bet for votes than Southern white men who were in danger of deciding that they didn’t have much in common with a party of corrupt Northern elites being painted by a corrupt Northern media as saints, the energy from this decision transformed Lincoln into a Democrat, segregation into an idea that Ike and Dick came up with in between dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the Trail of Tears, and turned the Community Organizers who had been busy torching black orphanages and Republican newspapers in New York City and Boston as part of an organized wartime campaign to defeat the Union, into a lost page of history.

Governor George Wallace, three-time Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States, said, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” The real quote though it turns out is, “Progressivism now, progressivism tomorrow, progressivism forever.” History works and is revised so that the past agrees with the present.

The Democratic Party has always been at war with racism, in favor of gay marriage, illegal aliens and killing everyone over 50 to save on health care costs. The latter position hasn’t been articulated yet, but when it is, it will travel backward through time and since what will take place in the future has already occurred, it has already traveled backward in time to alter our history so that we now know that the Democratic Party has always supported killing people over 50 to save on health care costs.

This however is only a projection. History is notoriously unstable. What was the progressive pose yesterday may be an unacceptably reactionary position tomorrow. The French Revolution and the Communist Revolution and the Cultural Revolution spent a lot of time purging comrades who had failed to recognize that the new progressive position had been adopted tomorrow and had become reality yesterday and was subject to a loyalty oath today. Like Chick-A-Fil, many of them ended up being enemies of the people where they were subjected to worse things than the mayors of bankrupt cities declaring that anti-gay chicken was an unacceptable addition to the parts of their fair cities that aren’t on fire.

The Democrats borrowed their interest in black civil rights from the left, which was only working with urban minorities because it was hoping to include them in its revolutionary coalition of coal miners and lettuce pickers who would help overthrow the reactionary capitalist American Dream and replace it with a bunch of people shouting slogans and shooting each other. These days the NAACP does not look like a good bet for overthrowing America and the favorite progressive minority du jour actually keeps black slaves and hangs homosexuals.

Muslims have currently trumped blacks and gays, not to mention every other group, on the crush list of the left. And the Muslim world is one of the few places that still has slaves and kills black people in large numbers, whether it’s in the Sudan or the newly liberated Muslim utopia of Libya. The day may come when the Democratic Party and its leftist hag riders decide that slavery was progressive after all and that all men should have the right to own slaves. And then this new policy position will immediately travel backward in time and loyal comrades will turn to the little red books of DailyKos, Think Progress, the Center for American Progress and ProgressProgressProgress to learn the new official position they are obligated to learn and abide by.

Troubling Signs In Zuccotti Park

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

There is an element in the Occupy Wall Street movement that should concern the Jewish community. It is not that this so-called people’s protest against alleged corporate greed and banking industry excess has become defined by several anti-Semitic signs in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park and some movement-related videos that have surfaced. It hasn’t.

Rather, the cause for concern comes from the cavalier attitude displayed by protest organizers, as well as pubic officials who have endorsed the movement, to the apparent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel impulses of at least some of the protesters.

Indeed, there has been no effort we have seen to make the point that anti-Semitism is not part of the movement’s message even as some are trying to make it so. The sad truth is that anti-Semitism has all too often been a factor in anti-capitalist movements and has led to great tragedy. We have learned that the phenomenon must always be taken seriously.

Yet prominent Democrats like President Obama and former House speaker Nancy Pelosi have publicly expressed support for Occupy Wall Street while ignoring the anti-Semitic placards and statements that have increasingly been a subject of conversation among columnists and in the blogosphere.

It was not too long ago that the newly emergent Tea Party was accused of racism by liberal pundits and Democratic Party officials – based on signs and comments that were far more vague and insubstantial than what has been seen and heard from the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

Occupy Wall Street seems to be getting a pass from the mainstream media and elected officials alike.

The New York Times’s Joseph Berger, for example, seemed to pooh-pooh fears of anti-Semitism, writing last Friday:

 

Among the hodgepodge of signs that have sprouted in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, one man in jeans and a baseball cap has been carrying placards that shout their suggestions: “Google: Jewish Billionaires” and “Google: Zionists control Wall St.”

At the same time, among the sea of tarps under which protesters have been sleeping, a sukkah, a makeshift hut, was erected to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot….

The protesters, clustered together in a kind of ad hoc Athenian democracy in the canyons of Lower Manhattan, firmly deny that their demonstrations against corporate greed and the political power of banks exhibit antagonism that singles out Jews.

 

Mr. Berger went on to quote a Jewish protester: “You’re going to get a few wackos. You can’t help it in a population of this size.”

While it’s difficult to take issue with that statement, it hardly explains the widespread silence in the face of the anti-Semitic manifestations, however sporadic or infrequent, that have emerged – particularly when contrasted with the hullabaloo that always seems to erupt when allegations of racism or anti-Semitism are made against individuals or organizations on the right.

Mr. Berger cited an article on the website of Commentary magazine which argued that “it isn’t just a few crackpots engaging in anti-Semitism.” Mr. Berger quoted the Commentary article as saying the “main organizer behind the movement – Adbusters editor Kalle Lasn – has a history of anti-Jewish writing.”

Mr. Lasn indeed expressed great concern about the fact that many neoconservatives associated with President George W. Bush were Jewish. According to Fox News chief political correspondent Dick Brennan, Lasn asked whether “the Jewishness of the neocons influence[d] American foreign policy in the Middle East.” He also, according to Mr. Brennan, drew up a list of people he calls the 50 most influential neocons and wrote: “half of them are Jewish…and if we see maleness, whiteness, Jewishness or intellectual thuggery, then let us not look the other way.”

A Question For The Ages

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
In this week’s Jewish Press front-page essay, Uri Kaufman takes a look at the seemingly unbreakable bond between American Jewry and the Democratic Party. It’s something that’s been pondered, discussed, debated, and written about for decades, and still the question remains: Why are Jews wedded to the Democrats, years after it stopped making any economic or political sense for them to remain in the marriage?
There really is no single answer. The most commonly heard explanation, one routinely offered up in “analysis” pieces by lazy journalists and High Holiday sermons by Reform rabbis, is that the liberalism espoused by the likes of a Barack Obama or a Barbara Boxer comes straight from Jewish tradition – that if Moses were alive today, he’d be a dues-paying members of the American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way and the National Organization for Women.
Such nonsense is belied by the fact that the more Orthodox a particular Jewish neighborhood or community, the more likely it is to vote for Republican candidates. Conversely, areas with a heavy concentration of secular and assimilated Jews vote almost without exception for liberal Democrats. If the explanation cited above held any water, the opposite would be true.
Another line of reasoning one encounters is that Jews gravitated to the Democratic Party because it best served their interests. But surprising as it might seem from our vantage point, the Jews who came to the U.S. prior to the great waves of immigration from Eastern Europe tended to look askance at the Democratic Party, which was identified in the popular mind with Tammany-style political bossism, support for slavery, and an agrarian populism that often seemed indistinguishable from the rawest anti-Semitism.
That attitude changed with the arrival of the Eastern European Jews who crowded into the big cities at the turn of the century and quickly learned that their very livelihoods were dependent on the good will of those Tammany-like political machines, which were inevitably Democratic and invariably corrupt.
Although the dominance of the big city bosses was an inescapable fact of life for the new Jewish immigrants, the pressure to vote the party line was felt most keenly in local elections. When it came to presidential politics, Jews were far less wary of voting their conscience.
In 1916, for example, Republican candidate Charles Evan Hughes received 45 percent of the Jewish vote, and four years later Republican Warren Harding actually won a plurality among Jews – 43 percent as opposed to 19 percent for Democrat James Cox and 38 percent for Socialist Eugene V. Debs.
That last figure – nearly 4 in 10 Jews voting for the Socialist candidate – tells a story in itself, one not to be ignored when seeking to understand Jewish voting habits. Many of the Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe came to America with a passionate belief in one form or another of socialism, and those Jews tended to vote for third party left-wing candidates when offered the choice. Though their candidates were, with the exception of some local races in immigrant neighborhoods, roundly unsuccessful, Jewish socialists and communists left a seemingly indelible stamp on the collective political identity of American Jews.
It was in 1928 that Democratic presidential candidates first began polling big numbers among American Jews, as New York governor Al Smith, a Roman Catholic of immigrant stock, captured 72 percent of the Jewish vote. Despite his overwhelming Jewish support, and the equally strong backing of fellow Catholics, Smith carried only eight states against Republican Herbert Hoover and failed to win his home state of New York.
The nascent trend of lopsided Jewish support for Democratic presidential candidates solidified four years later when another New York governor, Franklin Roosevelt, won the votes of better than 8 in 10 American Jews. Roosevelt, whom Jews idolized more than any other politician before or since, went on to win 85 percent of the Jewish vote in 1936 and 90 percent in 1940 and 1944.
And so it has remained, with Democratic candidates routinely winning landslide support among Jewish voters in elections on all levels – municipal, state and federal. The relatively rare exceptions only prove the rule – a John Lindsay, for example, who captured the hearts and minds of liberal New York Jews because, though a Republican, he was more of a liberal than many Democrats, or a Rudy Giuliani, who drew large majorities of the Jewish vote because even New York liberals were sick and tired of the blight and crime that reached their culmination in the Dinkins years.

If anyone has a thoughtful – and preferably original – explanation for Jewish voting habits, please drop the Monitor a line.

 

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

Liberal Logic

Doesn’t the liberal view of the world seem so alien? A genocidal madman like Saddam Hussein is beaten and captured, yet liberals are calling for George Bush’s head. Huh? Islamic terrorists blow up busloads of Jewish children and liberals vilify the Israelis and sympathize with the Arabs. This obsession with moral equivalence is so perverse it cannot succeed; it’s just a fabricated reality based on illusion and denial.

Ken Ostroff
Boca Raton, FL




Spiritual Kinship

Once again, this time thanks to Sen. Sam Brownback (“Standing Steadfast With Israel,” op-ed, July 30) we see that Torah Jews have more in common with the Christian Right here in America than we do with our assimilated liberal brethren, who, according to every poll and study, are overwhelmingly in favor of gay ‘rights,’ abortion on demand, situational morality, etc.

In addition, no group in America is as irreligious as our Jewish people, who consistently rank behind every other ethnic and religious demographic in terms of attendance at religious services, belief in God, and knowledge of the Bible.

Personally, I would feel more at home with a Bible-believing Christian like Sam Brownback as my neighbor than a liberal Jew who thinks that religion is outdated and that one must follow the editorial line of The New York Times in order to be a cultured and intelligent human being.

Tova Michaels
New York, NY




Questionable Claim?

In the My Machberes column of July 30, Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum wrote that the great Yonason ben Uziel promised that whoever prayed at his tomb (at a place called Amuka in Eretz Yisroel, according to the article) for a match, would have their wish granted within a year.

It should be noted that the renowned librarian and scholar Rabbi Meir Wunder (author of Meorei Galicia encyclopedia, among other works), did a study some years ago and discovered that belief in the powers of prayer at that site was non-existent until it was concocted by a tour company circa 1953-5713 (cited by Rav Nosson Kaminetsky in Making of a Godol, volume I, book one, p. 688-9). Therefore I think people should not be overly taken with that claim.

If individuals do choose to pray there, presumably they are not committing a very overwhelming transgression. However, we should at least be careful not to get their hopes up too high by promising results within a year, when they may later be dashed, with the people possibly suffering great disappointment and letdown if their match takes somewhat longer to appear.

Also, it is known that many people have prayed there and remained single for a long time afterward. How does that make Yonason ben Uziel look? Hopefully not, chas v’sholom, like someone who is not reliable. Therefore I think that people should be careful with regard to repeating such tales. Our Torah is a Toras Emes and we should stay away from claims that have no basis in our tradition, no matter how tempting they may seem.

Boruch M. Selevan
Brooklyn, NY



More On Menachem Av

In a letter to the editor in the July 30 issue, Rabbi Marshall Gisser criticized my Expounding the Torah column of July 16 in which I wrote that Menachem Av means we console Hashem; he writes that we cannot console Hashem, nor can we ascribe any human emotions to Him. He is the Creator and we are the created, and He needs nothing from us.

Certainly, we cannot attribute any physical features and human emotions to Hashem. Yet, we find a deep, intricate and innate relationship between Jews and Hashem. As such, the service of Am Yisrael in tefilla, Torah and mitzvos is connected with Hashem. When I wrote about the meaning of Menachem Av, I said that it means we console the Av, our Father in Heaven.

Our Sages tell us (Berachos 3a) that Hashem is saddened by our exile, as He declares, “Woe unto the Father – Hashem – who exiled His children among the non-Jews.” Therefore we may – and should – console Hashem, kavyachol.

The galus haShechina – the exile of the Shechina – is a prevalent term in the Talmud and midrash. Thus the Talmud teaches (Megillah 29a), Come and see how precious Jews are before Hashem. For, wherever the Jews went into exile, the Shechina went [along], to Egypt, to Babylon, etc. As such, the exile has an effect on Hashem; Rashi notes (Devarim 30:3) that Hashem, in the Torah, wrote a redemption for Himself. Also, it is written (Vayikra 16:16), ”Who dwells with them in their impurity.”

With reference to the connection between a son and his father, the Talmud states (Shavuos 48a), ”The power of the son is better than the power of the father.” It’s better, yet the son’s power stems from the father’s power.

Every feature here evolves from its spiritual roots Above. In all Jewish souls here there is vested the Essence of Hashem, as Tanya states (Ch. 2) ”Every Jewish soul is part of Hashem from Above.” As such, Jews have the power of a son (Devarim 14:1) and we are thus able to console Hashem.

This is similar to the Talmudic story (Bava Metzia 59b) which describes Hashem as saying, “My children, you have been victorious over Me!”

The Shaloh (Ten Maamaros 29a) clarifies the Mishnah (Avos 6:11): ‘All that Hashem created in His world, He created solely for His glory.” For Hashem created the world in a way that our service is for the need of Hashem, and He gains pleasure when His will is fulfilled. Thus the Talmud cites Hashem’s words to Am Yisrael (Berachos 6a): “You have made Me a significant entity in the world.” As is written in Nach (Job 14:15), ”For the work of Your hands (i.e., the human beings) You desire.”

May we continue to serve Hashem and may He redeem us – and Himself – from galus, with the speedy advent of Moshiach.

Rabbi Abraham Stone
Brooklyn, NY




The Left’s Hate-America Obsession

Avi Davis’s July 16 op-ed article (“Liberal Smarts – Or Lack Thereof?”) perfectly captures the breathtaking combination of arrogance and ignorance that is the Politically Correct Liberalism of today, particularly on our college campuses.

Were they alive, old-style liberal patriots such as FDR, JFK, Hubert Humphrey or Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson would doubtless be appalled by the blatant anti-American venom spewed by the likes of Nicholas de Genova, the Columbia University professor who at a spring 2003 “anti-war” rally there called for “a million Mogadishus” to defeat “the U.S. war machine.”

But I think Mr. Davis errs on the side of charity when he attributes this phenomenon to merely “an inability to appreciate that the rules of war have changed” and to not yet being “capable of comprehending” the threat that Islamofascism poses to our way of life.

Yes, they are, as he said, grounded in “the dialectics of the Cold War” – and therein lies the problem. Many of these people came of age, politically, during the tumultuous Vietnam War era. They were indoctrinated by Marxist-oriented professors who taught them that America was a fundamentally evil country founded by slaveholders and made great by greedy land-grabbers, robber barons, environmental polluters and military imperialists. Brutal Soviet despots and Third World dictators and killers who defied Evil America were romanticized and presented as wise, benevolent champions of “equality” and “peace.”

Every flaw in the American system was mercilessly picked apart and every abuse in the systems of our enemies whitewashed and rationalized away. Many of that generation’s young brainwashees stayed on campus, first as grad students, then as adjunct instructors and, years later, as full faculty members; they in turn taught this “tradition” to their pupils, some of whom also became today’s teachers of Mr. Davis and his probably much less-discerning fellow students.

Having imbibed this toxic brew for decades, is it any wonder that although we now fight a very different enemy, many U.S. “academics” – and through their influence, our media and popular culture – still reflexively cast America’s leaders (particularly Republican ones) not merely as perhaps mistaken on a particular policy, but as wicked, devious conspirators and manipulators who always pursue wrong-minded, evil policies.

Just as they cheered the Communist victory in Vietnam in 1975 following our withdrawal, they nodded approvingly when Evil America was humiliated by Ayatollah Khomeini’s followers during the 444-day U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis as payback for our support for the deposed Shah. They thought it equally just when Osama bin Laden’s air pirates murdered 3,000 Americans on 9/11 as payback for our troop presence in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East, our support of Israel, and our role as the world’s un-Islamic “Great Satan.”

To these people, we have always been the bad guys – and, apparently, always will be.

Paul Deckelman
Far Rockaway, NY



The Democrats And Their Convention

Ominous Date

Anyone who grows up in the Jewish community comes to know people whose perspective on life can be distilled into the question they ask about any event or occurrence: Is it good for the Jews or is it not good for Jews?

Last week the Democratic Party opened its national convention on the night of Tisha b’Av. How can anything that starts on Tisha b’Av be good for the Jews? History is full of troubles that started for Jews on that date – the return of the spies who told Moshe that Israel was no good, the destruction of the Temples, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, the start of World War I. Might there not be a message from Hashem here?

(One also has ask the following: If there were an official day of mourning in the African American community that commemorated the historical suffering of black people, would the Democratic Party dare convene a convention on the evening of its observance?)

Still don’t get the message? What about the lack of any mention of the importance of Israel as an ally and friend of the United States by the presidential nominee, Mr. Kerry? Or the presence of Al Sharpton up front and center stage? While there are many good people within the Democratic Party who are very helpful and very good to the Jewish community, these questions and others warrant serious consideration.

Heshey Jacob
New York, NY



Not Your Father’s Democratic Party

I am an American Jew, and I am voting for George Bush, but more precisely against the Democratic Party. My reasons:

1. Bush has had the courage to repeatedly defy the United Nations and to give Ariel Sharon the leeway he needs, both tacitly and explicitly, to take whatever action Sharon deems necessary to defend Israel. As recently as last week Sharon was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that while the U.S. will press Iran to get rid of its nuclear weapons, it will not do the same to Israel, because America (read: George Bush) understands Israel’s special situation.

2. The Democratic Party is no longer my home, as it was for my parents and grandparents. The Zionist views and Jewish concerns of my family have not changed over the past 40 years; it is the Democratic Party that has undergone a stupefying transformation.

Look at the speakers who received thunderous applause at last week’s Democratic convention: Al Sharpton, Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson. Beyond the convention, look at some other very recent events that disclose much about the soul of the modern Democratic Party, if we Jews have the courage and objectivity to regard them squarely:

a. Several weeks ago, Democratic voters in a primary in Virginia renominated one of the most unabashed Israel bashers in the House of Representatives, James Moran.

b. Earlier this summer, the House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the International Court’s decision declaring Israel’s security fence illegal. Forty-five Congressmen opposed the House resolution and supported the Court’s outrageous decision. Forty of them were Democrats.

c. David Brooks, in his July 26 column in The New York Times, quotes Michael Moore - who was honored with a seat in the presidential box at the Democratic convention – as saying, in discussing the epicenters of evil in the world, “It’s all part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel, Halliburton.”

The Democratic Party’s drift away from Jewish interests didn’t begin just yesterday; harbingers of it were visible here and there years ago. Today, however, the evidence has mounted to such a high level that it’s obvious to all except those who refuse to see it.

To those American Jews who are capable of looking at the facts without blinking, it is obvious that the future of Israel and, yes, possibly American Jewry itself is safer in the trust of George Bush and Tom DeLay than in the hands of Kerry, Sharpton, Carter, and Jesse Jackson.

Bernard Braginsky
Staten Island, NY

Letters To The Editor

Friday, December 5th, 2003

Arab-Americans’ Growing Influence

It’s interesting that so many Arab-Americans, already viciously anti-Israel, now attack the Israeli security fence and excoriate Israel for being so audacious as to defend itself. And
Arabs loudly object to America’s self-defense via the Patriot Act – how dare a nation try to weed out potential perpetrators of more 9/11s? Also outrageous to Arabs is our noble operation in Iraq, cleaning out the murderous regime of a brutal dictator believed by most Western intelligence services to possess weapons of mass destruction.

Also interesting is that these Arab views find a home in the Democratic party, as Arab-Americans cut and run from the GOP as quickly as they embraced it. Democratic candidates
expressing other than hostility to Israel or American homeland defense receive surly receptions from Arab political audiences.

These views come from an ethnic group with a middle-class orientation, politically attuned and concentrated in a few states. Arab political influence will grow rapidly, and it pushes views anathema to American and Jewish interests. Jews should wake up to this very real political threat rather than waste our considerable talents promoting the “wonderful mosaic.”

Steve Goldstein
Fort Lee, NJ


Universal Appeal

My compliments to you for your superb publication that has inspired and taught me so much over the years. Your articles and columns have a universal appeal to a wide range of Jews
and, interestingly, non-Jews as well, as evidenced by the letters of your readers.

The letter featured in Rachel Bluth’s Agunah Chronicles column this past week (Oct. 31) was particularly fascinating – not so much for its human interest (which it certainly has) as for the fact that it reflects a true desire by all people to abide by the universal laws of Hashem. The letter was written by a man from Ghana, West Africa (I take it he is not Jewish) – expressing his genuine concern for and heartwarming offer to a young woman whose husband wished to divorce her because of her pregnancy.

This brief and simple exchange, I believe, serves as a poignant reminder that the Torah is for all mankind. Jews are obligated to keep the 613 commandments and non-Jews are obligated to keep the Seven Noachide laws - all of which are the will of G-d. The fact that this letter appeared during the week of Parashas Noach is certainly no coincidence. The universal appeal of The Jewish Press is certainly due to your Torah-true hashkofos.

May Hashem bless you with continued success to teach and inspire.

Frida Schapiro
Brooklyn, NY



Broken Record

Re ‘Gray Lady’s Slip Still Showing’ (Media Monitor, Oct. 24):

The Gray Lady is still the “newspaper of record.” The problem is that it is a broken record, repeating the same false and often disparaging messages to any who fail to analyze the content.

Give me The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, and The Jewish Press any day.

Good writing; keep it up!

Kelly McGrew
Olympia, WA



Partisan Democrats? Us?

Your seemingly high-minded editorial urging a ‘no’ vote on the non-partisan election proposal in New York City (editorial, Oct. 31) makes the points that the proposal was designed to
‘break up’ the Democratic Party and was not developed through democratic processes. However, you betray your own Democratic Party bias by proceeding to endorse Democrats
almost exclusively. How objective was your recommendation?

Liz Bernstein
New York, NY

Editor’s Response: That the goal of the promoters of the non-partisan elections proposal was the neutralization of Democratic Party domination of New York City politics is hardly debatable, even though some of those promoters argue - with a straight face, yet – they really are trying to “open up” that party. Sorry, but that just does not pass the proverbial “nose test.” And the proposal was, in fact, developed by a panel appointed by Mayor Bloomberg, a Republican who is, perhaps, the staunchest supporter of the measure.

Further, although we had our opinions, we did not state a position on the various substantive issues involved - such as whether the measure would promote greater voter participation, foster greater discussion, etc. - precisely because the debate over those issues broke along party lines.

Finally, we endorsed 29 individuals for a variety of offices. Of the 12 City Council candidates we endorsed, three were not Democrats and a fourth, Simcha Felder, ran unopposed on the Democratic, Republican and Conservative lines. Of the eight Democrats we endorsed, all were incumbents with established records who were strongly supported by local Jewish organizations and leaders. Of the 14 judicial candidates we endorsed, only six ran on the Democratic line (three of the six ran on the Republican and Conservative lines as well) and some were incumbents or had served on other courts with established records. All those endorsed were recommended by local Jewish organizations and leaders.



Agudah’s ‘Second-Tier Issues’

I was astonished to peruse the program for the upcoming Agudah convention and learn that the growing menace of Jewish “interdenomina-tionalism” is not even mentioned. It is as if the Agudah is oblivious to the continuing efforts of such groups as EDAH and Lishmah to denude Judaism of all recognized halachic standards and grant legitimacy to the Reconstruction, Reform, and Conservative movements.

Instead, the Agudah program seems to consist of modern-sounding cliches about second-tier issues.

When population studies are reporting a 50 percent intermarriage rate, it would seem that the issue warrants at least one measly workshop – if only to be on record that Orthodoxy deems it a problem.

Granted that intermarriage is not a significant problem among the Orthodox, but that did not stop the Agudah of old from battling it at every opportunity.

Zev Schiffman
Brooklyn, NY


Personal Approach To Tzedakah

Prior to a recent trip to Israel, our children decided to raise money to bring with them as part of a tzedakah project to help Israeli children. Due to the overwhelming generosity of family, friends and the community, they were able to collect $1,100 in support of Israeli children who live in some of the areas hardest hit by terrorism.

Toys were purchased in Jerusalem from vendors battered by the economic fallout of the intifada. Many of the toys were distributed personally by the children in towns such as Hebron, Neve Tzuf, Kedumim, Maale Adumim, and Bat Ayin. The youngsters of Hebron were able to spend a nice day at the Jerusalem Zoo. The tzedakah was also distributed to Jewish children in the so-called Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem (better named the Kotel Quarter since the Kotel runs through it). Finally, toys were distributed in two Gaza communities.

A united Jerusalem has always been, and will always be, the soul of the Jewish people. Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the heart of Eretz Yisrael. The Jews in these parts of Israel are truly unique and special people. Just about every person we met has lost a relative or close friend to the constant barbaric Arab terrorism. But there was absolutely no thought of moving. Every person we met expressed the same response to the current crisis: Build! Build! Build!

Yes, building and expanding Jewish communities throughout all of Eretz Yisrael is the answer. Everyone can do his or her part in the building and strengthening of Eretz Yisrael. Forget your next trip to Florida, Bermuda or Europe. Take your family, including your children, to see their “family” in Israel. Demand that your trip include all of Eretz Yisrael – Judea, Samaria and Gaza. If you send your children to study and tour in Israel, insist that their leaders allow them to see the entire country.

Don’t send your tzedakah to Israel - bring your tzedakah to Israel.

Ken Abrams
Margate, NJ


Wilkie Update

Your readers may recall an article of mine that appeared in the August 15 issue of The Jewish Press entitled “Academics Against Israel.” Part of the article dealt with Andrew Wilkie, a professor at Oxford University in England, who rejected the application to attend Oxford of an Israeli simply because he was an Israeli. At the time the article appeared Wilkie’s case had been referred to a panel that was to make recommendations about how to deal with him. The
panel has now completed its deliberations, and on October 27 Oxford issued the following statement:

“The Vice-Chancellor has accepted the recommendation of the Visitatorial Board that Professor Wilkie should be suspended from his academic duties within the University, without pay, for two months. Suspension is the most serious penalty that the University can impose, short of dismissal or removal from office. The decision follows an investigation by the Board of matters surrounding an e-mail which Professor Wilkie sent in response to an enquiry from an
Israeli student regarding the possibility of graduate study in his research group. The Board has made other recommendations, including that Professor Wilkie is required to undergo further equal opportunities training.

“This ruling reflects that there can be no place for any form of discrimination within the University of Oxford other than on the grounds of merit. Professor Wilkie fully accepts the gravity of the situation and is determined to make full use of training to ensure that his actions and those of his staff reflect best practice in future. He particularly wishes to make it clear that he greatly values the diverse backgrounds of the staff and students with whom he works and looks forward to applications from able candidates, whatever their background.”

However, this is not the only thing that has happened to Professor Wilkie as a result of his discriminatory actions against Israelis. In response to Oxford’s official statement, the Oxford University Student Union released its own statement arguing that the sanctions imposed on Mr. Wilkie were insufficient. Furthermore, Oxford’s Pembroke College issued the following statement on October 27:

“Pembroke College announces that, in the light of the ruling by the University of Oxford announced today, Professor Wilkie offered his resignation as a Fellow of the College and as a member of its Governing Body. This has been accepted by the Governing Body of the College. Professor Wilkie’s resignation takes immediate effect.”

Thus it seems that Professor Wilkie has now been “rewarded,” at least to some extent, for his discrimination against Israelis. Let us hope that this incident and what has happened to Professor Wilkie will serve as a warning to others of a similar ilk.

(Prof.) Yitzchok Levine
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Stevens Institute of Technology
Hoboken, NJ



Jewish Establishment’s Tried-And-Tired ‘Solutions’

Jewish publications print numerous articles and reports dealing with the survival crisis faced
by Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora. Noted social scientists armed with substantial
documentation and computerized statistical projections express alarm at the results of their
inquiry.

Ignoring these facts, our Jewish leadership, through its spokespersons and paid communal
professionals, continues with essentially the same planning and programming despite the mounting evidence of failure. We are told by those who have assumed the responsibility for our future that current trends – zero population growth, intermarriage, assimilation, etc. - regardless of how threatening, will ultimately be corrected. They have also suggested that our adversities only strengthen our ability to adjust to change, and that we as a people have always endured in spire of great peril.

Without dignifying these assurances, I would like them to know that their confidence in our
survival offers no comfort to the perished millions, nor to the many who have become accessible Jews to the missionaries, nor to the parents and grandparents of thousands upon thousands of apathetic Jewish youth, who, lacking in pride and self-respect, are in the process of phasing out their Jewishness completely.

I, for one, have lost faith in the ability of our ”planners” whose efforts on behalf of their
communities are too often predicated on not offending non-Jews. Nor am I personally interested in their yet unrevealed plans based on the studies of their ”experts” and committee findings.

In light of the dismal performance of Jewish leadership, what is needed is an open forum that
democratically permits and encourages all positions full expression in the Jewish community.
The moderates, the liberals and even the left have access to community facilities and media; the conservative right, never having had a significant voice of influence (your newspaper is the notable exception) and consequently not responsible for the problems that confront us, is frequently maligned and discredited without being heard.

What would be heard if this excluded faction were permitted free access?

In contrast to the standard position of accommodation and conciliation offered by those
who represent the Jewish community, we would vigorously hear that we, the Jewish people, have earned the right to an expectation of the non-Jewish world; that gentiles too must demonstrate their worthiness for our acceptance, as Jews have historically have been required to do for them.

To expect anything less, in light of our extraordinary accomplishments and contributions
to mankind, makes a mockery of our magnificent Jewish heritage, suggesting a thinly disguised self-hatred that encourages only contempt, instead of respect.

Therefore, if the professed Jewish liberal tradition truly exists, and solutions are to be determined, the full spectrum of alternatives must be examined and fully considered. If Jewish
leadership is unwilling to do this (and divest themselves of their special interests in order to plan for the common good), they must forfeit the authority and privilege of leadership they have abrogated for themselves and imposed upon us.

Bernard Arshenovitz
University Heights, OH



Paging Dr. Stern: Your Critics Are Here


Still Missing The Point

Dr. Yaakov Stern still misses the point entirely (Letters, Oct. 31). As an Orthodox/yeshivish single I only get to meet the girls whom a shadchan or other outsiders have deemed worthy by virtue of their understanding of who I am and what I need. If I do not fit into a preconceived mold that they can easily comprehend, they resort to wild guesswork that rarely comes anywhere near the target.

Weekends? Shabbatons? Mixers? In the yeshivish community these things don’t exist (and
there are some very legitimate reasons for that). Shidduch committees may be well meaning, but they tend to be worse than shadchanim as members usually have no clue how to match people up. Shul introductions? I daven in a small shul that I am very fond of but there are very few if any eligible singles to be met there. Workplace meetings? Not everyone works in a big Jewish company where there are all these singles just waiting to be introduced to one another.

In short, some of us have small circles and are left with very few options outside of shadchanim. When the shadchanim fail us, are we to blame?

By contrast, reader Robert Ness made some very valid suggestions in his letter. While I don’t
think it could work exactly as he writes it, I think it is a great starting point if anyone will actually take it seriously. What we need are more solutions like those offered by Mr. Ness and less finger pointing and insults like those favored by Dr. Stern.

Judah Stein
(Via E-Mail)


Thoughtless, Prejudiced Assertions

Re the response to my letter to the editor in the Oct. 24 issue:

If Dr. Stern thinks that my quoting the well-known Midrash Bereishis (which clearly states
that since finishing the creation of the world Hashem has busied Himself with shidduchim) is a
way for me to blame Hashem for the current ‘plight of singles,’ then I submit to all reasonable
people that Dr. Stern has more problems than merely an unreasonable prejudice against singles who complain about their situation.

While complaining is a negative thing, it doesn’t follow that the reason behind the complaint
is unwarranted. I was responding to Dr. Stern’s fallacious ideas; namely, that the complaints about unscrupulous shadchanim and uncaring acquaintances are “all a bunch of hooey,” and that since there are so many resources available, anyone who is still single must be that way
because that is what he or she wants.

Frankly, I am offended by such an attitude and Dr. Stern needs to realize that just because he
may be well intentioned, that doesn’t justify his hurtful comments - not in terms of intellectual
honesty, and not in terms of halacha. Saying things that are hurtful to others, even if they are
‘just’ thoughtless comments, is onaas d’varim (see Rabbi Pliskin’s book based on the Chafetz Chaim), which is assur d’oraysa.

I happen to know first-hand that many of these complaints are all too true. Dr. Stern doesn’t
know me, or my dating history, so I challenge him to be realistic and try to come to any intellectually honest conclusion(s) about me or my case.

Simply because there are many resources out there doesn’t mean that they will necessarily make the difference for any given (still) single person – or provide a new set of candidates for those singles who do put in their hishtadlus. There are many in the religious community who don’t and won’t use the Internet. So again, Dr. Stern, be realistic. Just because you can quote verbatim one uniquely toxic (male) single, who is thankfully different from any of my friends, it doesn’t mean that all are like that.

In my previous letter I clearly pointed out many different emunah concepts to show that there
are many plausible reasons why good, deserving people are still single. Please re-read what I wrote and you will see that timing and the means of any (still) single person’s shidduch is up to Hashem and is not a preposterous assertion on my part.

In a program that was presented in recent years on Tisha b’Av, Rav Matisiyahu Salomon,
shlita, stated that the singles problem is a nisayon of this generation and singles should not be blamed for it. Dr. Stern seems to have ignored the quote that I finished off with from Rabbi Pesach Krohn about the importance making shidduchim that make sense. Why didn’t he respond to that?

The fact that Dr. Stern seems to like to quote unique cases to back up his thoughtless assertions should tell thinking people that at best he is unreasonable and intellectually dishonest, and at worst a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution.

If Dr. Stern can’t realize that his blanket statements, based on extreme examples, are hurtful to those who have suffered in the parasha of shidduchim, then I have better things to do than
lend credence to his prejudices with any further responses.

Eliezer A. Weitz
(Via E-Mail)



Disgusted By Lack Of Derech Eretz

During Chol Hamoed Sukkot I had the pleasure and displeasure of attending a concert at
Brooklyn College starring Dedi, Yaakov Shwecky and Avraham Fried. I took my 10-year-old son to the concert as a reward for his doing so well in school in the subject of midot. I myself wanted to be there because I enjoy the music of all the performers and it was so special to have them appear together in one concert.

Well, my son sure was taught a lesson in midot that night - one that I wish he never learned. The concert was called for 7:30 p.m. It started at 7:40. My son looked around the auditorium and asked me why it was so empty. I told him I didn’t know. It wasn’t very long before we had our answer: From 7:45 until 9:00 people were streaming into the auditorium. They talked
loudly among themselves, and if they happened to spot a friend in the audience they would not hesitate to stop, schmooze, and block the view of the people sitting in their seats.

A mother with five children - two of whom were too young to be at this concert – had the
seats directly in front of me. It took her at least ten minutes of very loud persuading to finally get her children to stay seated. Then she sat down – and promptly started speaking on her cell phone. Does the word chutzpah come to mind? When I asked her to please stop talking on her phone, she had the nerve to give me a dirty look.

There was precious little derech eretz on display that evening. People kept arriving late and
blocking the view. Cell phones were ringing constantly, as were walkie talkie phones. My son at one point turned to me and asked, “Mommy, what happened to all these people’s midot?” What was I supposed to say to him? He learns in yeshiva about respecting others and then he sees his fellow frum Jews acting so disrespectfully to each other.

Do these people ever think about anyone but themselves? Probably not, since this was not the
first (nor, I am sure, will it be the last) time I’ve witnessed such ugly behavior.

Why is it that when I attend a public event that draws mostly non-Jews, there is nowhere near
the level of selfish and unpleasant behavior one encounters at frum events? Why have we reached the point that whenever my friends and I – all frum ourselves – plan an evening out or an excursion somewhere with our children, the first thing we say is, “Let’s go where there aren’t too many frum Jews?”

And if that’s how we feel, imagine what non-Jews and non-religious Jews think when they
behold the anti-social behavior so increasingly prevalent among Orthodox Jews.

Aren’t these people embarrassed to act in this manner? I know I’m embarrassed by – and for - them. With their kippot, black hats, sheitlach, snoods and tzitzit, they represent every religious
Jew to the rest of the world. For my and my children’s sake, I wish they’d make a better
impression.

In the future I’ll think twice before taking my son, who is at such an impressionable age, to a
concert or other function where there may be this kind of behavior.

Beth Schindelman
(Via E-Mail)

You Just Might Be An Assimilated Jewish Liberal…

Friday, June 27th, 2003

Those who watch the Tennessee Country Music Network or Comedy Central have come across comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Foxworthy’s shtick, based on an exaggerated hillbilly accent and mannerisms, revolves around his making pointed observations followed by his standard joke line, “then you just might be a redneck.” (Example: “If you have eight motor vehicles in your yard and none work…then you just might be a redneck.”)

If Foxworthy were Jewish, he could do a similar shtick based on the refrain (all together now) “then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.” It would go something like this:

1. If you spend more time worrying about whales and dolphins than about Jews, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

2. If you think that the essence of Jewish ethics is supporting the political agenda of the left wing of the Democratic Party, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

3. If you think Michael Lerner and Arthur Woodstock of Tikkun magazine are really sensitive or deep thinkers, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

4. If you think the highest priority for your ‘Temple’ is to have a good recycling program, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

5. If you think Clinton was the most pro-Israel president ever, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

6. If you think that American pressure on Israel to make peace is necessary and valuable, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

7. If you think Jews should support affirmative action programs, even though they discriminate against Jews, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

8. If you disapprove of the Rev. Al Sharpton but think he has a good point about Jews being racists, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

9. If you oppose voucher programs for schools and school choice, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

10. If you think Anthony Lewis and Leonard Fein make a lot of good points, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

11. If you approve of the Religious Action Center of the Reform synagogue movement, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

12. If you do not understand why America still needs a strong military, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

13. If you still believe the US should have just let sanctions work in Iraq, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

14. If you still think Nelson Mandela is a hero, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

15. If there?s even the slightest possibility you might vote for Jesse Jackson for any public office, you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

16. If you like to complain about how tough people have it in America, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

17. If you send your kids to a Quaker day school, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

18. If you think all that talk about political correctness suppressing free expression is a myth, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

19. If you seriously doubt that the media are dominated by liberals, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

20. If you donate to the New Israel Fund, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

21. If you think the courts and police are riddled with institutional racism, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

22. If you think Jews should practice zero-population growth because the world is so crowded, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

23. If you think the Israeli settlements are the main obstacle to peace, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

24. If you think that Oslo was basically a sound idea that was applied incorrectly, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

25. If you think Shimon Peres is basically a decent guy with the right agenda, then you just might be an assimilated Jewish liberal.

Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available on Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steven_plaut@yahoo.com

Joe Lieberman: A Plug For Religious Accommodation

Friday, June 13th, 2003

We were sharply critical of 2000 Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman over a variety of issues. And we expect that we will have a lot to say about him in the coming months as he pursues the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. Hopefully, he will draw more positive comment from us this time around as he runs on his own and not as second banana.

In this connection, we are happy to note the positive note he struck last week for religious toleration when the celebrated debate amongst the various declared Democratic presidential contenders was convened at a time after the close of the Jewish Sabbath in order to accommodate his Sabbath observance.

Senator Lieberman’s request for that accommodation, even in the midst of seeking the highest elective office in the land, profoundly underscores the seriousness observant Jews attach to abstention from work on the Sabbath, and cannot but foster greater acceptance of the principle of religious observance accommodation on the job.

Mr. Lieberman, ABC News which televised the debate, the Democratic Party and the other aspirants are to be applauded for this salutary gesture. Further, as reported in The New Republic, the next day, in a political appearance at an evangelical church, Mr. Lieberman pointedly rejected the repeated importunings of the minister to participate in the religious fervor and expression taking place, even to the point of awkwardness. We applaud this instance of Lieberman’s integrity as well.

The Silence Of The Dems

Friday, October 12th, 2001

In many respects, the Durban Conference on Racism presented Israel with one of its most critical challenges in its 53 year history. Had Arafat and other Arab leaders succeeded in hijacking the conference and having Israel branded internationally as an outlaw state, members of its government, diplomatic corps and military would be subject to arrest and trial around the world as war criminals. Moreover, had Zionism been equated with racism, the very basis of the Jewish state would have been delegitimized and it would have assumed the role of international pariah. So the statements and actions of President Bush and Secretary of State Powell in dramatically disassociating the United States from the parley and thereby blunting its anti-Israel mission, were the latest evidence that President Bush's election last November was providential. Indeed, the contrast with the reaction to events in Durban by the Democratic Party leadership is striking.

One has yet to hear from former President Bill Clinton whom his Vice President, Al Gore, once described in an interview with The Jewish Press as “the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.” This is the same Bill Clinton, now the honorary head of the national Democratic Party, who gave respectability to Yasir Arafat and dismissed having had to persuade this terrorist thug to put his gun out of camera range just before shaking his hand on the White House lawn when Oslo was announced.

Similarly, Mr. Gore, now the titular head of the Democrats, has yet to be heard from on the Durban issue. How could a man who so recently appealed so strongly for Jewish support simply fail to be heard on this great peril to Israel?

And as far as Senator Joe Lieberman, the man who sought Jewish support in his Vice Presidential run as one of our own, where in Heaven's name has he been?

Messers. Gore and Lieberman, harboring notions of reruns in 2004 as they do, may be loathe to anger the Jesse Jackson crowd by supporting the Bush Administration's thumbing its nose at its pet project. But for us, at a time of such consequence, for us it is Im Lo Achschav, Eimosai?

The Jewish community has traditionally given overwhelming support to national Democratic candidates. Come 2004, we should rethink this strategy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-silence-of-the-dems/2001/10/12/

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