Classic Story received from friend of the blog, AS.
Rabbi Meir Soloveichik opened his Shabbos Shuva drasha as follows:
I flew to Tampa, Florida a few weeks ago for the Republican National Convention. When I arrived, I was escorted into a large room where all the Convention speakers of the day gathered along with Congressman, Senators, Governors and other politicians.
A woman approached me, stared at me, and then asked “Who are you??”
I responded politely, “I am Meir Soloveichik.”.
“Are you from Florida,” she asked.
“No,” I said, “I am from NY”.
She looked puzzled and confused, which I found confusing, since I figured most people knew there were a lot of Jews who lived in NY. Anyway, she smiled and walked away. She then approached me again just a few moments later with her husband.
She said to me, “Meir Soloveichik — I’d like to introduce you to my husband, Congressman Walker.”
The Congressman and I shook hands.
Then the woman asked, “Can you please tell me what city in NY you are the Mayor (Meir) of??”‘
(After the KJ Congregation roared with laughter, Rabbi Soloveichik continued as follows…)
‘And that, Ladies and Gentleman, was the first time in my life that a person was more impressed with my first name than my last name!!!’
No doubt, it’s hard for people to give up their lifelong attachments and identity. But there are moments in history when a turning point arrives, and those with eyes to see and ears to hear recognize it. Many Jews have made political liberalism their religion and personal identity and the Democrat Party their unexamined home and comfort zone. But everything changed early September.
Rarely do modern-day political conventions startle. The Democratic National Convention, however, was earthshaking and a warning to Jews to wake up. Democrat delegates decided to stick it to Israel. We no longer care, they roared, if Israel remains a Jewish state; flood her heartland with millions of so-called Palestinians whose goal is to make the state Islamic. We will not condemn Hamas for targeting Jewish population centers with rockets. Jerusalem is not Israel’s indivisible capital but should be divided, like Berlin was. Such was the undeniable sentiment of the delegates at the Convention.
After objections from outside the Convention, the chairman reinstated support for Jerusalem. But he was resoundingly booed. The world saw how those boos far outweighed the yeas. My fellow Jews, the boos were for you; those boos were for Israel, a successful Israel that sticks in the craw of a leftist, socialist mindset that sees Israel not as the beacon of freedom and accomplishment she is, but as something outside the leftist ideological orbit. Sure, they will take your contributions and your votes, but they don’t want your Israel, and they expect you to forgo distinctly Jewish needs on the altar of leftism. We saw not liberalism, but hardcore leftism, and we saw a home where the welcome mat is quite conditional and worn out.
The prophet Daniel saw the writing on the wall. All too often throughout our history, we Jews, and especially heads of major Jewish organizations, have failed to see the writing on the wall. We are afraid to see that which is a game-changer, and so we deny events we wish were not happening. After all, who wants to change the comfort zone?
It was a convention, like the last four years of the Obama administration, reveling in class warfare. Class warfare, like Occupy Wall Street and other scapegoating calls, has never been good for the Jews. We are often the scapegoat of those envious. Knowing this, Ahmadinejad scheduled a meeting with Occupy, a movement endorsed last year by many bigwigs in the Democratic Party and even President Obama himself. Jihadists and much of Islam want to delegitimize the concept of a Jewish state by tarnishing Jews as “those rich capitalists” unworthy of a state among the community of nations.
Too often, we Jews have been beguiled into believing that Jews in positions of power have our interests at heart. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is but the latest who would have us think she is “doing what is good for the Jews” when, in fact, she is doing and will continue to do what is good for Debbie and her power base. Similarly, the heads of the major Jewish organizations have been conspicuously silent — a silence that would not prevail if a Republican were doing the things to Israel Obama is doing.
Job openings are way down; 50% of college graduates, our children, can’t find jobs; and Mr. Obama will continue to weaken national security and thus the safety of our families…and continue to make it more difficult for Israel to survive. For many, all this is secondary and expendable for their more important agenda of abortion on demand and gay marriage. How frivolous; how irresponsible!
We can determine what truly is important to a person when he is forced to choose between two values. Since when is it a Jewish value to condemn Israel to misery just so one can be assured of abortion at any time, under any circumstance? Most of your grandparents would have chosen Israel over abortion and gay marriage. As our sages tell us: “The wages of immorality are further immorality.”
President Obama has time to meet with Muslim Brotherhood Morsi of Egypt, who has declared his intention to get rid Israel, but Mr. Obama has no time to meet with Israel’s Netanyahu, whose country is under imminent nuclear threat from Iran. Israel’s concern about a possible nuclear Holocaust is, for Mr. Obama, dismissed as mere noise, while his delegates at the U.N. on Sept. 24 are ordered to sit and listen to the vile noise of the Holocaust-denier and Iranian Jew-hater-in-chief. It is clear that Mr. Obama’s underlying sympathy is with the Muslim Brotherhood and its spread and influence around the world. He is coaxing us to accept Islamic attitudes and norms. This speaks volumes — to those willing to see the facts as they truly are.
In a new presidential campaign television advertisement which starts airing today, September 20, in parts of southern Florida, there’s only one person on screen and that one man isn’t running for president of the United States. In fact, that one man is not even an American, although he is well-known to most people in the heavily-Jewish communities of Southern Florida – it’s Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Secure America Now is the organization behind the thirty second ad which shows Netanyahu talking about what many consider to be the over-arching foreign policy issue of our time – the potential nuclear weaponization of Iran. SAN describes itself as a bipartisan foundation focused on national security issues, particularly in the Middle East.
As ominous music plays in the background, the Israeli Prime Minister stands at a podium, saying “as Iran gets closer and closer to having nuclear bombs, the world tells Israel to wait, there’s still time. I say, wait for what? Wait until when?” Netanyahu made that statement, according to the Associated Press, last week, on September 11.
While President Obama’s campaign focuses on the fact that more aid to Israel has been provided by the United States under President Obama than ever before, those who understand how the federal government works know that under the US Constitution funding decisions are made almost exclusively by congress. But the one thing over which the president has virtually exclusive control – and certainly the most important responsibility of the executive branch – is foreign policy.
And with respect to foreign policy there is a stark contrast between the two presidential candidates. The importance of a leader’s position on how to deal with a turbulent Middle East was brought into sharp focus over the last few days with anti-American demonstrations taking place in dozens of countries throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East.
The Israeli Prime Minister has been publicly pushing President Obama to set “red lines” beyond which if Iran moves, a military response will then be appropriate in the eyes of the leader of the United States. President Obama has refused to publicly articulate any such explicit position, preferring to continue engaging in diplomacy and enforcing certain sanctions.
This particular impasse is being touted by the pro-Romney advocates as an indication of weakness on the part of President Obama, and as Netanyahu’s militaristic posturing by Obama supporters.
The SAN ad video fades out and concludes with the following text: “The world needs America’s strengths, not apologies,” and directs viewers to SAN’s website, www.secureamericanow.com.
Coinciding with the release of the “Wait for What?” ad campaign, SAN released the results of polls it commissioned which show that in two key swing states, Florida and Ohio, a large majority of voters believe that if allowed to develop nuclear weapons, Iran would use them to arm terrorist groups to attack the United States. Also, “results in Florida and Ohio reveal that clear – and in Florida, overwhelming – majorities support a strong foreign policy in the Middle East, and a robust national defense. Further, they remain uneasy about the current state of national security and the direction of the country’s foreign policy strategy.”
The SAN polls were conducted by Caddell Associates, a long-time Democratic polling group, and McLaughlin and Associates, a firm that typically works for Republicans.
According to those polls, large majorities in both battleground states, but with greater strength in Florida, believe that a strike by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities would either benefit everyone in the world, or at least the US and Israel. Overwhelming majorities are convinced that neither sanctions nor diplomacy will convince Iran to abandon its nuclear program, the same polls show.
Not much is known about the players behind Secure America Now because contributions to it are not tax-deductible, which means that the names of its donors do not have to be made public. According to the press release on these polls, however, Jeri Thompson, former political consultant and the wife of former US Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN), is an SAN advisory board member.
According to Thompson, the just-released polls reveal that a big factor driving the foreign policy focus is women between the age of 30 and 55. She said that the “so-called ‘Security Moms’ have not gone away since 9/11 and must be accounted for in the current foreign-policy debate and in this election.”
According to a Republican source quoted by the news site Politico.com, $1 million will be spent on this ad campaign. The ad is scheduled to be shown in Miami, West Palm Beach and Ft. Myers, Florida.
Two states have changed in our swing states polls over the weekend, according to Real Clear Politics, the first indication of an Obama bump following the DNC convention. In two swing states, one of them Ohio—very important, Obama has picked up a point or two. A lot of these early poll differences can actually be attributed to shifts and corrections that are related to these new polls being conducted after Labor Day, when folks start to give a hoot.
In other words, it’s possible that Obama didn’t pick up anything in these two states, but that his support was not gauged accurately before. As the system revs up, the scores will start to matter more.
An arson attack at the Achla Pita Grill in Hollywood, Florida may be linked to an arson committed at the same strip mall a year ago against another Jewish business.
The Holyland Judaica store was burnt down on December 1, 2011 before dawn. The Achla Pita Grill was also destroyed prior to business hours.
The Emerald Center mall is said to be located in a heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in west Hollywood.
There were two assailants who wore concealing attire. They tried to breach an adjacent Jewish sushi restaurant, but were unable. When they entered Achla Pita Grill, they set fire to the kitchen. No money was stolen.
The owner of the grill and the sushi restaurant is Ilan Timianski, 46, a native of Israel.
Delegates to the Republican Convention have been pouring into Tampa for the last several days. The delegates have been pouring in, but thus far, despite predictions that Hurricane Isaac might bring with it heavy rain and driving winds, there has been ‘nary a cloud in the sky.
Lynne Kessler Lechter serves on the National Women’s Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Lechter told The Jewish Press that on Saturday night she attended a dinner for Republican Jewish Coalition leadership at the home of Ambassador Mel and Betty Semble. Semble, a co-chair of the Florida Finance Committee for Mitt Romney, served as US ambassador to both Italy (2001 – 05) and Australia (1989-93).
The Academy Award-winner Jon Voight was one of the speakers at Saturday night’s dinner. Lechter, who serves on the National Women’s Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition, was delighted. Voight explained to the RJC leadership that in part, his strong support for Israel was based on the fact that “his dad worked hard all his life and taught him to love and respect Jews because they have similar values.”
Marion Taxin is a delegate to the Republican Convention, representing Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, located in suburban Philadelphia. This will be Taxin’s second Republican Convention, having attended as an alternate in 2008.
The Jewish Press caught up with Taxin as she traveled by bus from the West Shore Doubletree Hotel on her way to the Convention site. Although Taxin had not yet heard the news that Rabbi Meir Soloveichik was going to be giving the Convention invocation, she already knew, she said, that “Mitt Romney was truly committed to the Jewish State.”
“Josh Romney spoke to our delegation at a breakfast this morning,” said Taxin. “He told us with such great pride that when he and his parents were recently in Israel, the response from the Israelis was incredibly enthusiastic,” she continued.
“He told us that so many people came up to him, when he was in Jerusalem, and said, ‘we need your dad, we have to have your dad win.’” Taxin said that “Romney’s son understood that his father needs to win because Israel’s future is at stake.”
Here’s Congressman Allen West with the folks of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Reminder: the Republican Convention is on in earnest as of today, having escaped the ravages of Hurricane Isaac which is on its way to New Orleans (Please, God, not again…).
Allen Bernard West (formerly battalion commander of the 2d Battalion 20th Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Division), is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 22nd congressional district.
Lieutenant Colonel West was fined and relieved of command in 2004 for the way he had handled an Iraqi suspect.
At his military hearing, near the end of his career, West was asked if he would act differently under similar circumstances in the future, and he testified, “If it’s about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I’d go through hell with a gasoline can.”
At a town hall meeting in Palm City, Florida, in April of 2012, West was asked what percentage of the American legislature are card carrying Marxists or International Socialists. West responded that he believed “there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party.” He then clarified that he was referring to the Congressional Progressive Caucus. They may not be actual Marxists, but they might as well be, is what he meant.
In July of 2011, West brawled with Democratic Representative and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, emailing her in response to comments she had directed at him in a speech on the floor of the House, calling her “the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives,” adding that she was “not a Lady,” and advising her to focus on her own congressional district.
You don’t want to get caught in the crosshairs of Lieutenant Colonel Allen West.
On the economy, West is a flat tax guy, anti abortion and anti gay marriage. He is the only Republican member of the African American Caucus.
On Israel he is a straight friend. He concluded a speech on the topic with: “There are battle lines clearly drawn, I know where I stand, and that is to support the State of Israel. The lessons of history have been learned by me and I offer one simple retort, ‘Not on my Watch.’”
We wish the RJC and the RNC a fine, exhilarating convention. The Jewish Press is getting ready to endorse the Republican ticket come November, and I, for one, can find at least one excellent reason why the Republican convention should outclass the Democratic one: No Jimmy Carter speeches!