web analytics
July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Israel, the American Elections and the Turmoil in Our World–A Parable

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Once upon a time, in a large, gloomy palace high on a mountain, where the night wind howled outside its massive walls, there lived a king—a real one. He had a beard as long as a silver waterfall and a voice that boomed like thunder. A king needs no more.

His name was Teuton, though some called him Germania. Wherever he traveled, his citizens groveled before him in the dust; and if they failed to do so, they were beaten to the ground. So you see, dear reader, how mighty our king was.

In the course of time, King Teuton produced a son called Democratio. This prince had one remarkable feature – he possessed a hollow head. It was completely empty. There was nothing between his ears, absolutely nothing. It is hard for us to grasp this idea because our heads are so full – though, were they otherwise we would find it even harder. For a long time, even the prince himself was not aware of his peculiarity. For one thing, he could not tell that his head was empty precisely because it was empty. For another, nobody could let him know, because it was impossible to tell just by looking at him how empty his head really was. What a stroke of luck! Most of all, however, nobody dared tell him, because it is not wise to tell the king’s son the truth unless, of course, it is a pleasant truth.

But the truth will out. One day, when the prince was thirteen, he went running pell-mell up the stairs and banged his royal head against a wooden beam. It rang audibly, just like an empty champagne glass. The prince was most surprised. He tapped gingerly on the side of his skull and indeed it emitted a light, clear echo.

“Dear me!” exclaimed the astonished prince. “Could my head, this valuable head of state, really be empty?” He hurried to the royal physician. Now, this physician was a wise man. “Examine this head,” commanded the prince, and so the wise physician did. It was a tricky task indeed to tell the prince the truth about his head, especially because the physician desired to keep his own. But, as I mentioned, he was a very wise man. He took his small silver hammer and tapped gently on the important head. It made a clear, beautiful, empty sound.

“Your majesty,” the physician announced, “I congratulate you. It is quite empty.”

“Really?” said the prince, suddenly very pleased. “Is it really hollow?”

“Oh yes, Sire,” and the physician bowed low. “It is extremely rare, especially with such a magnificent sound!”

“But, when my wicked father dies,” said the king’s son, suddenly worried, “then I shall have to reign. How can I, with an empty head?” The physician tiptoed silently to the door and locked it. He bent towards the royal ear and whispered:

“Thou hast a most unique head to reign! Whenever there is a conflict of opinion in the land, do as follows: Listen first to one party and send it away.”

“All right,” said the prince.

“Then hear the other party and send it away as well.”

“Fine,” said the prince.

“That is all,” said the physician, smiling.

“But, which party is right?” asked the prince.

The physician carefully looked around, to make sure nobody would hear, and quickly replied: “The larger.”

Cruel old King Teuton died. It was a marvelous day of flag-waving and rejoicing. But amidst all the festivities, the nervous new king ascended the throne with his heart full of foreboding. But he needn’t have worried. In fact, he managed to the satisfaction of nearly everyone. His reputation as a wise king rapidly spread beyond the country’s borders, and the secret of his hollow head stayed right in that head—which shows, dear reader, how easy it is to hide nothing!

One fine day, the king made a grand dinner. I cannot begin to tell you how magnificent this feast was. It was of such stately splendor that even the British guests were impressed. It was a spectacle of incredible proportions. The tables were laden with the most expensive gold cutlery and the finest bone china. The aristocracy trod softly, and in awe, as though the messiah himself was expected to attend. There was soft music, so gentle that it could barely be heard, yet its absence would have been noticed. Few words were spoken; little was eaten. After all, the guests were too genteel to display their base inclinations. The conversations, although quite meaningless, were held in the most elegant Latin. In short, a delightful evening was had by all, even by standards of the nobility. King Democratio could hardly contain his joy. His glittering eyes disclosed great satisfaction. Such a success with an empty head!

Then, by chance, the king glanced into the reception hall. His facial expression became suddenly severe. Framed by the open palace door, an old, unkempt man stood gasping for breath.

“Hey!” called the king, waving his scepter. “What is this?”

“Sire, Sire…”

“What?” called the king, descending from his royal throne.

“A crisis, Sire!” he exclaimed. “A crisis has come over the land!”

“A what?” asked the king.

“A crisis, Sire…”

“Well,” said the king, “that is bad.” He did not know what a crisis was, but he understood that it was something sad, so he looked as a king should look at such a moment.

“This is a great pity,” he declared, and in his heart was a growing sense of unrest.

The next morning, when the king awoke in his stately bed, he stared up at the satin canopy and thought about the crisis. What a pity it had to come and spoil everything. It had all been going so well, despite his empty head.

“First of all,” he said to himself, “I must find out what a crisis is.” He dressed quickly and summoned all the wise men of the land. Majestically, they walked through the streets to the palace, their long beards flowing before them, sighing from the weight of their wisdom. Some of them had heads so heavy with wisdom that they nearly tumbled off their shoulders, right in front of the populace! They told the king the meaning of a crisis.

It took three days before they finished, though after barely a few minutes the king’s eyes filled with tears, since his heart was good and compassionate. He listened carefully all three days. Then the wise men fell silent.

“Are you finished?” asked the king.

“Yes, Sire.” the wise men said. “That is all.” They straightened their beards and left. And the king sat on his throne, alone. Evening came, and he sat in darkness. He thought, and thought some more, and began to cry – a small, sad figure.

Confusion and emotion seized the country. There had to be a solution!

A royal decree was issued, to write as many books as possible about the crisis; a command to anyone who could wield a pen. The books did not have to be completely true, but they did have to be fat and cheap. It was also necessary to hold many meetings, each with at least two speakers, an introductory discussion, a concluding debate, a vote of thanks and, if possible, a word of sincere tribute. Filled with courage, the citizens began their work. As far as the books were concerned, the nation split into two groups: those who wrote about the disaster and those who read about it, agreeing with the authors on how disastrous the disaster really was. Most of the time, however, was spent at meetings. Evening after evening, the citizens listened, applauded and asked intelligent questions.

The king worked even harder. He did nothing but read what was written, wading through the growing piles of literature from early morning until late at night. He spent the whole day in pajamas; there was no time to dress. He learned what money was, who owned it, who did not own it, and who should own it. He learned about laborers and how they worked. He learned the laws of supply and demand, of price and value. And an amazing thing began to happen. Slowly his head filled up. It gradually became heavier and heavier, as the crumbs of wisdom collected and combined, until it was completely filled.

“And now,” said the king, “we shall apply all that we have learned.” Laws began to spew forth from the palace. Good laws, intelligent laws, refined laws. But the unthinkable happened. The crisis remained. The misery increased, and the citizens became impatient. The king was not as wise as some had thought! When he heard of this, he laughed and proclaimed new laws, more intelligent, more refined and sophisticated. But still, the misery continued. The king grew a beard, which turned gray. Every night he lay in bed awake, tossing and turning, slowly going mad. Until one night when he suddenly sat bolt upright. Struck by a blinding flash of inspiration, he shook his head in wonder, marveling at his own wisdom. Then he lay down again and slept a pleasant sleep.

The next day, royal couriers on horses hastened to the neighboring countries. They blew on brass trumpets and sang a great song: “The king has found a solution!”

One hundred and twenty monarchs were invited to Democratio’s kingdom. One hundred and twenty mighty kings came to put everything in order in one final meeting. Flags were hoisted, and people took to the streets to see the mighty kings. There they were! They came from the north, the south, the east and the west. Only one king was not invited. His territory was too small, and one could do without him. So, all the great kings came together. After appearing on the palace balcony, receiving a rapturous welcome from the crowds, they withdrew to deliberate. Each king naturally had a vast retinue of chroniclers, scholars and private secretaries who formed themselves into upper-committees, middle-committees and lower-committees. These were divided into main-committees, then again into sub-committees, which were further divided into bodies of legal advisers, sub-advisers and sub-sub-advisers. It became an enormous crowd. At the end of this momentous day, King Democratio offered his people a few words of reassurance from the royal balcony, and the populace went to bed satisfied.

The next morning, the 120 kings rose early, ate a hasty breakfast, and carried on, creating sub-sub-sub committees. In this fashion, many days passed, until the web of committees became so complicated and intricate that further branching became impossible. In the meantime, King Democratio had become very tired. Each evening he came out to his balcony to reassure his good people of the progress being made. In fact, there were special people appointed to distribute papers throughout the land on which the reassuring words were printed.

But this terrible tale of woe gets no better. All of the king’s words and all the papers were of no avail. The crisis remained, and indeed worsened. King Democratio could no longer sleep at all. His beard went totally white. He met with the sub-committees and the sub-sub-committees. He told the authors of the papers about their responsibilities. He dined with the kings. And, most difficult of all, he continued to speak about the fantastic results of the conference, which would no doubt lead to a solution. But his eyes were sad, and his hands trembled.

The people began to grumble, slowly but surely, like tormented creatures. They expected bread but received only papers and strange statements. One evening, a crowd gathered beneath the royal balcony. Theirs were stark, silent, white faces. Soldiers came and dispersed the gathering, but the next evening they came back. The soldiers were cruel, and people were tortured. But they still came from all the directions, more and more people, forming an enormous crowd. They called out for the kings. They wanted to see the monarchs.

So the kings came out to the balcony. Thousands of fists were raised, a mighty cry arose from the crowd, and the kings stood with bowed heads. They tried to speak, but were not heard. They asked for silence, but were refused. Suddenly, one sharp voice rose above the tumult of the people:

“There was another King, who was not invited!”

King Democratio peered down over the balcony. “And who is that?” he asked mockingly.

The crowd was silent for a moment; then the same voice called out: “You kings, fools, jesters of wisdom and intellect! Who gave you crowns on your heads and ermine-trimmed robes on your shoulders?”

And the hundred and twenty kings fell silent. The lonely voice had spoken.

“We, with all our one hundred and twenty kings, are powerless if One more King is not invited.”

And, dear reader, if you will ask why some kings thousands of years ago managed so successfully, remember that they invited the other King as well.

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Ya’alon: I’m Running for PM Next Elections, to Fight Hate, Discrimination and Fear Mongering

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

At his keynote speech at the 2016 Herzliya Conference, Lt. Gen. (res.) and former Minister of Defense Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon announced his plan to run for Prime Minister of Israel in the next elections. But he did not reveal in which party.

Ya’alon began by describing the current security situation of Israel and reviewed the different threats it is facing. “Terrorist organizations have taken the place of the nation states. War against them will be costly, not an existential threat towards Israel,” he said. Ya’alon argued that following the nuclear agreement with Iran, even though it continues to be “the number one element thriving to destabilize the region and attempt to hurt Israel through terrorist organizations,” it is not an immediate threat to the existence of the state of Israel.

“Knowing the strategic situation of Israel in detail, and the IDF’s power and capabilities, I can say that today and in the foreseeable future there is no existential threat to the state of Israel,” Ya’alon insisted. “Therefore,” he continued, “it is expected of the leadership to stop scaring the citizens of Israel and giving them the sense that we are on the brink of a second holocaust. It is a cynical attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the public, because of the perception that if the public is scared, they will forget the everyday challenges they are facing.”

“Last month I resigned my positions as Israel’s minister of Defense and member of the Knesset. In my announcement I declared my plan to return to public life. My intent is to run for the leadership of Israel in the next elections. The last few months have added and clarified for me the perceived differences between the prime minister and myself.”

“What I am truly worried about are not the weapon trucks travelling from Syria to Lebanon, nor Iran’s attempts to terrorize us – Israel can handle these threats. What I am worried about are the cracks in Israeli society, and the breaking down of fundamental values. The attempts to hurt the IDF in a way that endangers its resilience. The fact that the leadership became litigious instead of building an exemplary society.”

“The state of Israel needs change. We need a leadership that will lead Israel according to its conscience and not based on polls and radical responses on social media. We deserve a leadership that does not use underhanded tactics of ‘divide and concur,’ dividing and inciting Israelis against each other to gain an additional month in government.”

“It is the role of a state leadership to connect the different parts of society, not tear them apart. We require a leadership that would not allow attacking judges and Supreme Court. We deserve a leadership that is not busy with incitement and lashing out against judges and enslaving the media for its own survival needs. The media in Israel must be free and unthreatened, and allow people of all opinions on the right and the left to express them. We deserve a leadership that will be a model of tolerance, a leadership that will vigorously fight sexual harassments and violence against women. A leadership that will not base its survival upon hatred and incitement towards leftists, rightists, settlers, Arabs, Kibbutz members, or any other group – only to get a few more votes.”

“Israel must remain a Jewish, democratic state, and part of the family of nations. It must not allow the violent and racist discourse of a radical minority that have infiltrated the mainstream and the leadership to roll us down to the abyss.”

“A change is important for the future of the state of Israel and it is our obligation to execute it for our future. Therefore, I plan to offer an alternative to the current leadership, because we have no other country,” Ya’alon concluded.

David Israel

New US-Funded PA Reality Show Teaches Candidates How to Buy Votes to Win Elections

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

And ……. we’re back! Cast your ballot for the candidate of YOUR choice for only 80 cents, voters! Who will become the NEXT.President.of.PALESTINE!’

Sound a little weird?

Well yeah, maybe, but this wildly popular reality television show, ‘The President’ has been going on for two seasons now here in the Middle East, and it’s the closest thing to real elections that Arabs in the Palestinian Authority have had in more than a decade.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has made sure of that, after having been “elected” 11 years ago. His presumed five year term hasn’t ended yet.

This show, is being broadcast on the Ma’an satellite network, funded primarily by a U.S. State Department grant to the NGO ‘Search for Common Ground.’ It was originally aired in 2013, and supported by a two-year grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The show reaches viewers in PA-controlled areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as well as elsewhere in the Arab world. And it has an impact, quietly teaching the concepts of how a democratic election really operates.

In the first season, 1,200 candidates ages 25–35 from Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and Israel auditioned to compete in an elimination-style series of trials designed to test their political skills. They were called upon to act as a PA ambassador in a foreign country, managing a large corporation for a day, answering hard-hitting questions on live TV on various political, social, and economic issues affecting Palestinians, exhibiting sufficient self-discipline to be “on-call” and “on-message” 24/7 while on the campaign trail, and keeping their cool in an intense, televised political debate.

In this second season which just culminated this past Thursday (Congratulations to Wa’ad Qannam!), 24 contestant were winnowed out from 1,200 people who sat down to take a series of exams on politics in the Palestinian Authority, international law, development and gender equality.

It’s also an unparalleled learning opportunity for the contestants: at the end of each week the competitors must face a panel of judges to explain what they learned after having shadowed a PA minister or business leader for the entire week prior — and then also tell the judges how they would improve on their “mentor’s” performance.

Both male and female candidates run in the election for leadership and hold rallies while cameras are rolling.

(The top three political platforms this season: Boycott Israel, seize half of Jerusalem for the capital of ‘Palestine’ and reconcile the two estranged ‘halves’ of the PA — Hamas-controlled Gaza with Ramallah-controlled parts of Judea and Samaria.)

The audience is drawn from viewers who can vote via text message at 80 cents per text. Votes from judges and the audience determine who make it from one round to the next – but it’s only the audience who decides in the finale.

Because there are no caps on how many times a voter can send a text, money plays a big part in how far a candidate can get.

A NY Times article pointed out exactly how much money a number of the candidates paid to buy votes to better guarantee their democratic victory. One candidate’s family complained that 24,000 votes they bought and had receipts for had disappeared.

Just like in a real third world kleptocracy.

The point of the show is to groom young citizens in the Palestinian Authority to take on leadership roles in the future, NGO co-director Suheir Rasul told the Associated Press.

Ma’an general director Ra’ed Othman called the show “a message for the Palestinian leadership,” and said bluntly, “Elections are the solution. Democracy is the solution.”

However you get your votes.

Hana Levi Julian

Shaked Drops Bomb: Habayit Hayehudi Ready for New Elections

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), who is also a member of the Netanyahu security cabinet, on Sunday morning delivered a punch to complement her party’s chairman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s confrontational stance regarding the need to revamp the communications between the security ministers and the IDF. Shaked told Army radio that Habayit Hayehudi is prepared to vote against the appointment of MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) as defense minister, thus blocking the entrance of his faction to the coalition, as long as Netanyahu refuses to appoint a military attaché to every security cabinet minister.

Shaked said this demand is not new, but has in fact been posed to Netanyahu by Bennett several times this year, and received no response from the PM. “Sooner or later, as cabinet members, we are given the responsibility in times of war, which is why we need to receive all the relevant information and be able to see the entire picture.”

Shaked revealed that Bennett had raised the issue at the coalition negotiations a year ago, and Netanyahu said this was not a matter for the coalition agreement, promising he would take it up with Bennett later. But, as is often the case with Netanyahu’s promises, later never came.

“This is not a party issue or a portfolio issue,” Shaked insisted, making clear that “we will vote against Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu entering should this issue not be resolved.” She explained that the issue is not very complicated: decision makers in war-time should be updated on the facts on the ground in order to make good decisions. “We just want to make sure the issue has been resolved,” she reiterated.

Naftali Bennett on Sunday morning has issued his most combative press release to date, stating, “I left hi-tech and entered politics after seeing, as a commander during the second Lebanon war (2006), what happens when the state leaders send soldiers into battle without knowing what they’re doing.”

I didn’t need a job or the money,” Bennett noted, “I swore to myself that I would not allow what I had seen to happen again. Our demand is as simple as it is dramatic: we want that the commander of the chief of staff and of the IDF, meaning the security cabinet, the body that makes life and death decisions, will stop being blind.”

Bennett insisted that “Right now it is blind by choice.”

Citing his fight with the IDF chief of staff and the defense minister during the 2014 Gaza War over the threat of Hamas terror tunnels that led into Israeli territory, Bennett accused the security apparatus and the prime minister of intentionally keeping the security cabinet in the dark, and, in fact, discouraging IDF commanders from sharing relevant information that might contradict the official military line. He blamed the fact that the war began too late and without consideration of the tunnels’ threat for the fact that the war lasted way too long — 51 days — and cost so many lives (63 IDF soldiers).

“I am not able to give in any longer,” Bennett declared.

Shaked rejected the announcement by Netanyahu’s office that yet another committee would be appointed to examine the Habayit Hayehudi demands. “There have been many committees,” she noted, pointing out that their recommendations have never been applied.

Finally, a coalition member party who votes against the PM’s legislation, in this case the expansion of his coalition, is subject to a swift dismissal of its ministers from the cabinet. When asked, Shaked said she was not worried. “We don’t believe this should lead to new elections,” she told Army Radio, “but if it does, we’re ready to run.”

JNi.Media

Beware the Echo Chamber, Fear the Media Savvy Left, Stick to the Truth

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

I’m not sure which is more worrisome: the ease with which the media, politicians and public opinion were manipulated by the White House and by Ben Rhodes and his associates, or the fact that Ben Rhodes and his associates not only do not care care that their methods have been exposed, they are openly proud of how they did it and are apparently just waiting for the next opportunity and client, so they can do it again.

The Ploughshares Fund was one of the most egregious abusers of the public’s right to receive good, unbiased information, when, during the critical period leading up to the Senate vote on the Iran nuclear deal, suddenly new organizations and experts began popping up out of nowhere, filling up the internet and social media with their distorted information.

Ploughshares used their money to network and amplify the voices of 86 organizations and 200 individuals during the Iran Debate, creating, what Ben Rhodes described as an “echo chamber” effect, where it looked and sounded like the voices on their side of the public debate were the overwhelming majority, always making a point to be there to oppose any conflicting opinion.

But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this technique being used.

Remember V15 in Israel? A previously unknown group which popped out of nowhere during the 2015 elections and tried to oust PM Netanyahu, claiming to be a “grassroots” organization, yet flush with suspiciously copious funds, enough to make a lot of noise. Now we know V15 was connected to OneVoice, which had received a $233,500 grant from the US State Department in 2013, according to NGO-Monitor, and, by their own admission, other money from overseas Jews, including S. Daniel Abraham (Founder of Center for Middle East Peace) and Daniel Lubetzky (Founder of PeaceWorks, which created OneVoice Movement). They also hired Jeremy Bird, President Obama’s 2012 campaign director, to help in their anti-Bibi campaign.

Then there’s that multi-headed hydra, The New Israel Fund, with the multiple NGOs they fund.

The Left’s war for the public’s votes and opinions isn’t being fought based on issues or values. Its operation is based on confusing the message and tricking the public, overwhelming them with variations of the same message over and over, simultaneously hitting them from different sources from every direction, having them think that support for one side of the debate is overwhelming larger than it is, trying to give credibility to radical ideas simply through constant repetition — when in fact those who support it may be minuscule in numbers and in some cases dangerously on the fringe.

I expect that the reporters who thought they were actually in tight with President Obama and then discovered they were being proactively manipulated will let it happen to them again, despite whatever anger and embarrassment they feel right now. And who in the public is going to remember Ploughshares, V15 and NIF’s manipulations come the next event or policy they want to manipulate?

The question is, how do we fight it?

Do we immitate them and duplicate their media manipulations — fighting fire with fire, to the point where no one has credibility any more, and it comes down to who can slam you harder and more often with his message?

Or do we stick to the truth and hope that by pointing out how easily they were fooled last time, this time they won’t let it happen — praying that even that message doesn’t get overwhelmed by the next Ben Rhodes’ “hammer and ploughshare” campaign?

I don’t have the answer. I don’t believe that those on our side of the political spectrum even comprehend the scale and deviousness of the media and public opinion manipulations of the Left.

But if we don’t learn, if we don’t try and if the financial backers on our side ignore these lessons, whatever the solution, then our message, our truth, our way of life will simply be drowned in the Left-generated echo chambers of social media and lies.

JoeSettler

Will Israel be ‘Trumped’ by the US Presidential Elections?

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

There is a great deal at stake for Americans voting in this year’s U.S. presidential elections — but at least as much is riding on the results for the State of Israel.

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has been one of the few candidates in the race to insist he would maintain neutrality when dealing with Israel and the Palestinian Authority from the White House.

Israeli Jews surveyed so far have nevertheless expressed more faith in his ability to deal fairly with Israel than any of the other candidates.

This may be due to Trump’s blunt, “in your face” style – the very characteristic that so alienates some of his American audiences – but which is similar to a large percentage of Israelis in the Jewish State.

It is far easier to deal with a person who is “up front” about their intentions, one might say, than a smiling politician who hides the weapon. Moreover, Trump pulls no punches about dealing with tough situations in a like manner – a necessary Middle Eastern attitude.

But probably the biggest factor in his popularity has to do with his willingness to simply say he will be neutral in dealing with both sides.

At an MSNBC town hall meeting in South Carolina on Feb. 17, Trump described a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as “probably the toughest deal in the world right now to make.” What he did promise was that if he were elected president, he would “give it one hell of a shot.” This was a deal in which he would act as “sort of a neutral guy,” he said. Wisely, when asked whose fault it was that no agreement had been reached so far, he deflected the question – and did not blame either side.

That is the mark of a real negotiator, one who has the seasoned skills of someone who has been at the table for a very long time. It gives the lie to those who claim Trump lacks foreign policy experience; they forget that Trump has been dealing with political leaders around the world for years while cutting deals in nations on different continents for his various business interests.

Israelis have too often heard American politicians claim their undying support of Israel only to throw the Jewish State under the bus as they try to “bring peace” to the Middle East.

However, at a Republican debate held on CNN, Trump did comment at one point: “It doesn’t help if I start saying, ‘I am very pro-Israel, very pro, more than anybody on this stage… With that being said, I am totally pro-Israel.” But he was unwilling to go farther, and made no promises whatsoever. Certainly no promise to ‘bring peace to the Middle East.’

Nearly every single U.S. presidential candidate has vowed to move the American embassy to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem – and not one has done it once taking office.

Every American president swears up and down about the “unbreakable bond” between the two countries – but that didn’t stop President Barack Obama from freezing the supply of basic military equipment and ordnance in the middle of Israel’s defensive counter terrorist war with Hamas in the summer of 2014.

Promises are one thing and action is quite another, and if Israelis have learned anything, it is to know not to depend on fancy promises. So when a guy like Trump says he will be neutral, after flowery vows of endless support – that gets the attention of Israelis who are really sick of making that run for the bomb shelters.

Trump’s style and substance is straightforward, simple and different. He’s making no promises and no pretensions to expertise. He is an executive who says he’ll run the country pretty much the same way – by hiring top experts to do what they do best, in the areas of their specialization.

Hana Levi Julian

Sanders Keeps His Judaism Silent, Israel at a Distance

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

As residents head to the polls for Super Tuesday 2016 to choose a nominee for president in 12 states, Democratic U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is fighting to stay in the race against former Secy of State Hillary Clinton.

Folks in Vermont know their U.S. Senator likes to keep his Jewish faith on the “q.t.” and they have accepted it with equanimity.

But not so the American Jewish community at large – and that fact may now be creating a backlash at the polls, when Bernie Sanders most needs the support of The Tribe.

After his February 9 win in New Hampshire – the first Jewish candidate to win a major party presidential primary – Jews outside the country have been watching his progress closely. It was more sluggish than one might expect, given the swashbuckling performance he turned in last month.

Part of the problem is while most candidates are wide open about their personal backgrounds – they have to be for transparency’s sake – Bernie Sanders has been dismissive, almost brusque, about his own Jewish faith.

And in America, faith is very much an issue. There is still plenty of anti-Semitism, which Sanders is obviously trying to avoid, but most voters prefer some belief in the One Above. Complete secularism is not popular in the United States at election time.

After all, even on the U.S. dollar it says, “In God We Trust.”

Yet Sanders works hard to evade the issue. He does not identify himself as a Jew publicly even in the “cultural” sense. In fact, in 30 years as a politician he has totally avoided the issue, colleagues say.

He was heckled in Vermont during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and was among the few senators who did not co-sponsor the Senate resolution supporting Israel in the war. It passed with a voice vote.

As a presidential candidate, Sanders said he consulted the far-left ‘J Street’ lobby and the Arab American Institute founded by Jim Zogby on Mideast Policy. Last year he was one of the first who announced they were skipping the historic address to Congress on Iran by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Even Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is skeptical about Sanders as a candidate. “He’s never really been that identified that strongly with pro-Israel advocacy,” Hoenlein said.

Coming from Hoenlein, who is more of a centrist himself, that is a whopping red flag.

Perhaps all this is not as surprising as one might think, however, given his family background and the fact that his second wife, Jane, was raised a Roman Catholic. Sanders grew up in Brooklyn as the son of immigrants; much of his father’s family was wiped out in the Holocaust. In fact, he once told still remembers the call his father received in the middle of the night, telling him a relative had arrived at a DP (displaced person’s) camp.

From that, he told Margaret Talbot at New Yorker magazine, he learned that a 1932 election had led to the murders of 50 million people. From that, perhaps he left unsaid, he also learned early on that Jews could die when identified as Jews.

His brother Larry was quoted by PBS in an interview in England where he lives, as saying that being Jewish is “very important to us. There was no problem of debate, it was just a given in our lives, just as being Americans was a given in our lives. But Bernard is not particularly religious. He doesn’t go to synagogue often. I think he probably goes to synagogue only for weddings and funerals, rather than to pray.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sanders-keeps-his-judaism-silent-israel-at-a-distance/2016/03/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: