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November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Monitor’

Odds And Ends

Wednesday, February 5th, 2003

Tell Us Again About Liberal Patriotism – The date: Dec. 27. The setting: Neal Cavuto’s Fox News program. Liberal commentator Ellen Ratner was chatting with Brenda Buttner, who was sitting in for Cavuto. The gist of the conversation, until Ratner briefly took off her mask of civility, was that President Bush appears almost impossible to beat in 2004.

Ratner: Unless he messes up the war – I hope.

Buttner: You hope?

Ratner: Well, I don’t want him to be reelected.

We Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up, Folks (But The Times Sure Can) – From a recent “Corrections” notice in the former paper of record: “An article on Nov. 10 about animal rights referred erroneously to an island in the Indian Ocean and to events there involving goats and endangered giant sea sparrows that could possibly lead to the killing of goats by environmental groups. Wrightson Island does not exist; both the island and the events are hypothetical figments from a book (also mentioned in the article), Beginning Again, by David Ehrenfeld. No giant sea sparrow is known to be endangered by the eating habits of goats.”

Novak The Convert – Former mayor Ed Koch blasts columnist Robert Novak in an Op-Ed piece in this week’s Jewish Press. One of the questions the Monitor is asked most often is whether or not Novak is Jewish. We’ve touched on this more than once, but in anticipation of the inevitable we’ll do it one more time: Yes, the man who would rank high on anybody’s list of pundits most hostile to Israel is a Jew – at least by birth.

Novak recently told Texas Monthly magazine, “About four years ago I converted to Catholicism. I was born Jewish, but I hadn’t practiced in a while. My wife converted too. She was born a Texas Methodist but also hadn’t practiced.”

And You Doubted The British Foreign Office Is A Nest Of Anti-Semites? – The Daily Telegraph reported last week that in the immediate aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre, senior British diplomats undertook what the paper described as “a vigorous defense of the Palestinian cause.”

Gayford Woodrow (the very name just screams “effete appeaser,” does it not?), the British consul general in Jerusalem, dashed off the following dispatch to the Foreign Office a few days after the attack:

“Before we reproach the Arabs too much, perhaps we might try to put ourselves in their shoes. They are, after all, human beings with normal human failings. The Palestinians in particular have seen their land taken away from them by a group of mainly European invaders equipped with superior armed force and modern technology.

“Whatever one’s moral criticism, it must be agreed that the Munich operation was well planned and that the Arabs there carried it out to the bitter end. It is said that lives were really lost because of Israel and West German bungling incompetence.”

James Craig, the head of Woodrow’s department, added this notation to Woodrow’s letter: “Not bad, but he goes just a little too far.”

A few weeks after the Munich attack, Black September terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa jet. Here’s some of what David Gore-Booth, a first secretary at the Foreign Office, wrote at the time:

“Before we shed too many tears about the Lufthansa hijacking…it would be as well to ask ourselves what the implications are so far as the Arab/Israel dispute is concerned….What the hijacking does is to remind the international community that the Palestine problem exists: in one sense this is unwelcome to the Israelis as it shows their pretense for what it is, but in another it provides them with an excellent opportunity to enlist the aid of the international community in erasing the problem.

“Hence their apoplectic reaction to the hijacking, which….provides them with an excellent opportunity to slip into Syria, bomb a few more bases and kill a few more innocent people with impunity….”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Media Morons, Take A Bow

Wednesday, January 29th, 2003

The Media Research Center is out with its annual “Best Notable Quotables” list of what it calls “the year’s worst reporting.” Here are just a few examples of the liberal bias and stupidity that come pouring out of the mouths and word processors of media types on a daily basis. (Visit www.mrc.org for the complete list.)

* “Good Morning America” co-host Charles Gibson, May 16: “This is interesting news that we get now, and it may put the president under a lot of heat today as the public learns that he knew, through his daily CIA intelligence briefings, that bin Laden had potential terror attack plans under way….It also calls into question what happened when Andy Card, Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, that morning went and whispered in the president’s ear, as the president was talking to a group of school students in Florida [on Sept. 11, 2001]. Was the president really surprised?”

* New York Times reporter Robert F. Worth, Feb. 24 “Week in Review” article: “As President Bush toured Asia last week, some world leaders worried publicly that the war on terrorism was starting to look suspiciously like the last great American campaign - against Communism….The McCarthy years in some ways were eerily similar to the present moment….Communists were often conceived as moral monsters whose deviousness and unwavering dedication to their faith made them capable of almost anything….The first victims of anti-Communist hysteria were immigrants, and hundreds of immigrants have been detained since Sept. 11, many with little apparent cause beyond the fact that they were Middle Eastern men.”

* AOL Time Warner Vice Chairman and CNN founder Ted Turner, during Feb. 11 remarks at Brown University: “The reason that the World Trade Center got hit is because there are a lot of people living in abject poverty out there who don’t have any hope for a better life….I think they [the 19 hijackers] were brave at the very least.”

* Former CBS newsreader Walter Cronkite, perhaps the most overrated man in the history of American journalism, proves that great minds think alike as he echoes Turner on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” Sept. 9: “I think very definitely that foreign policy could have caused what has happened [last Sept. 11]….It certainly should be apparent now – it should be, for goodness sakes understood now, but it is not ? that the problem is this great division between the rich and the poor in the world. We represent the rich….Most of these other nations of Africa, Asia and South America and Central America are very, very, poor….This is a revolution in effect around the world. A revolution is in place today. We are suffering from a revolution of the poor and have-nots against the rich and haves, and that’s us.”

* New York Times reporter Fox Butterfield, not stopping to think that maybe there’s a direct correlation between point A and point B, Jan. 21: “Since the early 1970′s, the number of state prisoners has increased 500 percent, growing each year in the 1990′s even as crime fell.”

* Quote of the Year from Bill Moyers, the unctuous former Democratic White House aide and PBS fixture who went and had the following conniption fit on the Nov. 8 edition of his PBS show “Now,” three days after Republicans won control of Congress in the mid-term elections:

“The entire federal government – the Congress, the executive, the courts – is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate. That agenda includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to surrender control over their own lives. It includes using the taxing power to transfer wealth from the working people to the rich. It includes giving corporations the a free hand to eviscerate the environment and control the regulatory agencies meant to hold them accountable. And it includes secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine.

“Above all, it means judges with a political agenda appointed for life. If you like the Supreme Court that put George W. Bush in the white House, you will swoon over what’s coming. And if you like G-d in government, get ready for the Rapture….So it’s a heady time in Washington, a heady time for piety, profits and military power….”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com  

Bush, Jews And Democrats (Part XIV)

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2003

Here we are fourteen weeks into our series on Jewish voting habits, and the Monitor admits to having no single satisfactory answer to why Jews are still, after all these years, in such utter thrall to the Democratic party.

We’ve touched, both in this particular series and in some prior columns that addressed the subject, on some of the historical reasons usually given for the phenomenon: Immigrants falling under the sway of big city Democrat bosses and passing the legacy down to their children and grandchildren; left-wing movements, after first enticing Jews in Europe, gaining important footholds in the early 20th-century American Jewish community; Jewish Americans moving into professional fields (civil service, education, law) where voting Democrat was socially and culturally de rigueur; non-Orthodox movements within Judaism seizing on secular liberalism and confusing it with divine revelation.

We’ve also looked at how Jews have voted in presidential contests going back more than 80 years, noting the tedious predictability of the Jewish vote since the election of 1924 and how even when the choice comes down, as it did in 1972 and 1980, to a pro-Israel Republican versus a coolly indifferent or borderline hostile Democrat, most Jews have shown themselves to be constitutionally incapable of voting for the GOP.

But while each of the explanations we’ve cited may have its own degree of merit, and while taken together they may provide an interesting glimpse into the collective psyche of the American Jewish community, the Great Mystery remains just that.

The fact is, it’s 2002, seventy years after the New Deal and thirty years after the McGovernization of the Democratic party, and yet Jews – the most affluent subgroup in America - still vote as if they’re one step ahead of the bread lines and the evict notices.

This series owed its genesis to a Gallup poll taken in September which suggested that, one year after the 9/11 attacks and despite the Bush administration’s strong support for Israel, Jews were not exactly falling all over themselves in support of the president.

The results were understandably disappointing to Republicans, who were still buzzing about another Gallup poll taken earlier in the year. That survey had found support for Israel considerably stronger among Republicans than Democrats throughout the U.S., with the highest level of pro-Israel sentiment in the South, the most Republican section of the country.

Now, it happens that a careful reading of the September Gallup poll reveals that Jewish support for Bush had in fact risen considerably in the months immediately following 9/11 and was still appreciably higher than it had been pre-9/11.

In fact, Bush’s approval rating among Jews in that Gallup survey was 66 percent – lower than his numbers among Protestants (81 percent) and Catholics (82 percent), but remarkably high for a Republican who just two years ago won less than 20 percent of the Jewish vote.

And the survey also showed a growing number of Jews identifying themselves as independents - not a good sign for Democrats because, as political strategist Marshall Wittman pointed out, “Jews have been overwhelmingly Democratic in identification over the years….Any weakening of that identification has to be good for the Republicans.”

Another indication that Republican fortunes may be on the upswing in terms of increased Jewish support comes from a November survey by McLaughlin & Associates which found that in a hypothetical 2004 rematch Bush trailed Al Gore among Jews by a relatively thin 47-36 percent margin, and was actually running ahead of Gore with Jews in Florida, of all places.

Of course, that particular match up is a moot question now that Gore has chosen not to run, but the poll does indicate that Bush is poised to do considerably better with Jewish voters in 2004 than the typical Republican presidential candidate.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com  

Bush, Jews And Democrats (Part XIII)

Wednesday, January 15th, 2003

Before concluding our series on Jewish voting habits in next week’s Monitor, we devote this week’s installment to some of the more colorful responses we’ve received from die-hard Democrats. Wear your helmets.

Stuart Apfel is one of those Jews who hear the word Republican and promptly start howling at the moon: “Republicans are, with perhaps a handful of exceptions, a bunch of warmongering quasi-fascists who profit off the exploitation of the world’s underprivileged. Not that Democrats are much better, but in America there are only two parties with a realistic chance of controlling the national agenda, so they’re the lesser of evils.”

Carla Bayles shows more restraint in her dislike of Republicans, but when it comes to our benign president she entertains visions straight from Hell: “I don’t think Republicans are responsible for every problem in the world, and there have been some Republican politicians I’ve actually admired, but I can’t imagine ever voting for one. The Democrats just seem more heimish, more homey.

“But don’t get me started on George W. Bush. He reminds me of a swaggering dictator. He scares me. Saddam Hussein may or may not have weapons of mass destruction, but he’s not nearly the threat to our Constitution and our democratic way of life that Bush is, with his frightening cabal of Ashcroft, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. These are not friends of the Jews”

Arlene Roth is a lot less rabid in her partisanship, but admits that her heart leads her head on the matter of voting Democrat: “It’s a lifelong habit, instilled in me by my parents and grandparents, and now that I’m in my late seventies I can’t bring myself to change.

“Intellectually I detest many of the policies espoused by the Democrats, but I’m afraid that if I vote Republican I would somehow dishonor my parents and turn my back on their dedication to social justice and tikkun olam.”

Susan Gelfein is another liberal Jew who equates her party with her religion: “Maybe it’s a female thing, but I admire the Democrats’ devotion to the underdog, their concern for the poor and disenfranchised. When I picture a Republican I see a white male in a business suit plotting to increase his profit margin by firing as many of his underpaid employees as possible.”

Craig Wertheim – who, the Monitor has verified, is not a resident of a mental health facility – has a rather unique theory about what he calls President Bush’s “obsession with bringing down Saddam Hussein no matter how many dead Iraqis it takes.”

The reason Bush wants to invade Iraq, writes Mr. Wertheim, “is so that Saddam will attack Israel with weapons of mass destruction and destroy or irreparably harm the Jewish state. Bush gets three for the price of one: He finishes the job his daddy didn’t; he gets access to all that Iraqi oil for himself and his oil buddies; and he hurts Israel without having to worry about his fingerprints on the trigger.”

Michael Turkel – a real person and not, as the Monitor first suspected, the nom de guerre of James Carville - sees equally sinister motives behind Bush’s strong support of Israel, which to Turkel is all part of a great ruse on the part of the House of Bush to keep the Jewish state on a perpetual war footing: “Bill Clinton came so close to completing the great mission of peace that Jimmy Carter embarked on 25 years ago.

“But the situation has been spiraling from bad to worse ever since Bush was installed in the White House by his father, who just happens to be a former CIA director and former president, and by five Supreme Court justices who owe their cushy positions to Republicans.

“By kowtowing to Ariel Sharon and the Israeli Right, Bush has preempted any movement toward negotiations and peace, which forces Israel to remain on an economically unfeasible war footing. As a result, the Israeli economy is shot to pieces, and fearful American Jews are tempted to switch allegiances to the Republicans who whisper sweet nothings in their ear about “Israeli security” and “the need to stand firm against the Palestinians.?”

How’s that for a sampling? Anyone who still believes the old stereotype about Jews being so smart should read the Monitor’s mail every now and then.

(Continued Next Week)

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Bush, Jews And Democrats (Part XII)

Wednesday, January 8th, 2003

Al Gore’s surprise choice in August 2000 of Joseph Lieberman as his running mate electrified American Jews, and seemed to foreclose any possibility that George W. Bush would even approach the poor numbers put up among Jewish voters by his father in 1992 (15 percent) and Bob Dole in 1996 (16 percent).

As things turned out, the Lieberman selection failed to have a net positive effect among Jews. Bush got slightly more than 19 percent of the Jewish vote, an actual gain of three points from what the Dole-Kemp team had been able to muster four years before. Surprisingly to some, the Orthodox Lieberman ended up hurting Gore among the very group – Orthodox Jews – with whom he was most closely identified.

The trouble began for Lieberman when the website JewishWorldReview.com relentlessly publicized an appearance that Lieberman had made on the Don Imus radio show during which Lieberman joked about various Jewish practices and denied that Judaism banned intermarriage.

The Jewish Press featured the story on its front page, and JewishWorldReview, in response to claims by the Gore campaign that Lieberman’s words had been taken out of context, posted a link to the audio clip of Lieberman’s remarks. Soon other questions began to be raised about Lieberman’s views, and then one day, seemingly out of the blue, the Lieberman camp released a statement informing journalists that Lieberman preferred to be referred to as an “observant” Jew as opposed to an Orthodox one.

Also troubling to many politically conservative Jews was Lieberman’s rush to disassociate himself from his long-held centrist positions. Within 48 hours of his selection by Gore, Lieberman met with various left-wing interest groups to pledge his newfound fealty and deny that he’d ever entertained so much as a moderate thought – it had all been a terrible misunderstanding, he whined to outfits like the Congressional Black Caucus.

In its editorial endorsing the Bush-Cheney ticket, The Jewish Press said of Lieberman, “Soon after he was selected as Mr. Gore’s running mate, [he] suddenly changed his stand on a whole host of matters…doubtless to bring them into line with those of the head of the ticket. Thus he became an advocate of affirmative action, gay rights and outreach to Louis Farrakhan. He no longer opposed late-term abortions and became more tolerant of Hollywood’s vulgar standards. And he became a staunch opponent of tuition vouchers.”

Lieberman was far from the only problem The Jewish Press had with the Democrats; the newspaper had for years been sounding the alarm over the direction of the Clinton administration’s Middle East policy, and now the concern shifted to what the ramifications would be of a Gore presidency.

“The stark reality is that the Clinton policy of unswerving support for the Oslo process – despite the clear absence of reciprocity on the part of the Palestinians – has brought the Middle East to the brink of war,” The Jewish Press warned.

“Seven years of winking at and overlooking the failure of the Palestinian side to meet its obligations, while at the same time insisting that Israel deliver on what it promised, has led to dangerously unreasonable Palestinian expectations and the notion that at the end of the game the Palestinians will achieve their goals through unilateral Israeli concessions.”

In endorsing Bush, The Jewish Press stated its “fear that a Gore presidency would mean more of the same slavish obeisance to Oslo….This is not to suggest that Mr. Gore is anti-Israel, only that he seems ready to continue policies that have proven so disastrous.”

The editorial also noted that “Mr. Gore told The Jewish Press that President Clinton “is the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.” Questioned about whether he would continue the policy of pressuring Israel, he responded: “What pressure?” ”

(Continued Next Week)

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Bush, Jews And Democrats (Part XI)

Wednesday, January 1st, 2003

There is every reason to believe that had Bill Clinton been on the ballot in the 2000 presidential election, American Jews would have voted in overwhelming numbers to return him to office for a third term.

With the possible exception of Orthodox voters, who exhibited, as the Clinton era drew to its merciful close, an increasing dislike and distrust of the administration’s Middle East policies, Jews were supportive of Clinton in a way they hadn’t been of any American president since they paid collective and shameful obeisance to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the thirties and forties.

To be sure, Clinton had his share of Orthodox supporters right through the end – including one prominent rabbi who appeared on the cover of The Jerusalem Report kvelling like a bar mitzvah boy in Clinton’s embrace and who, even after Clinton left office in disgrace over his pardons of Marc Rich and other persons of dubious repute, continued to try to kasher him in such very public venues as the Letters page of The New York Times.

But it was precisely because Orthodox Jews are generally more hawkish on Israel than the American Jewish community as a whole – indeed, the aforementioned Orthodox rabbi who enjoyed such a close union with Clinton was described by The Jerusalem Report as a “Democratic party activist” and “more dovish on Israeli politics than many Orthodox Jews” – that they were far more likely to sour on Clinton than other Jews.

For most American Jews, however, the Clinton approach to the Middle East was just fine by them. In fact, well before the Oslo accords and the Rabin-Arafat handshake on the White House lawn that was supposed to herald a new age of peace between Arabs and Israelis, public opinion surveys had consistently shown a large majority of American Jews supporting negotiations with the PLO and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Given that reality, the Democratic candidate for president in 2000, Clinton’s faithful vice president Al Gore, was certain to win the Jewish vote by the overwhelming margin to which Democrats had long become accustomed.

Even if Gore felt any misgivings about the way events were transpiring in the Middle East – and there is not the slightest indication that he did – he and his advisers were well aware that there was no political gain to be had from separating himself from the Clinton administration’s Middle East policy. Not when he was certain to receive at least two-thirds and probably more of the Jewish vote no matter what.

Sure enough, candidate Gore gave every indication that he intended to follow the Clinton approach of making nice to Yasir Arafat while ignoring the Palestinian Authority’s failure to abide by virtually every promise it had made at Oslo and afterward.

And since the 2000 campaign was conducted for the most part before the scales began falling off even the most liberal of eyes (Arafat launched Intifada II in late September of that year, just weeks before the election), the policy pursued by Clinton and endorsed by Gore was still viewed by the nation’s chattering class – whose opinions most Jews faithfully echo – as the enlightened way to go.

If there had been even the slimmest of chances that Gore’s Republican opponent, Texas Governor George W. Bush, could somehow capture more than a sliver of the Jewish vote, it was dashed to pieces when Gore, on the eve of the Democratic convention, chose Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, as his running mate.

The excitement of seeing a Jew on a major party’s presidential ticket – of seeing a Jew with a realistic chance of being a heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States – swept through the Jewish community, causing even Jewish Republicans to reconsider their intentions.

(Continued Next Week)

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Bush, Jews And Democrats (Part X)

Wednesday, December 25th, 2002
Jewish voters gave Bill Clinton 78 percent of their votes in 1992 and again in 1996 – at the time the best showing by a presidential candidate among Jews since Hubert Humphrey won 81 percent of the Jewish vote in 1968 - and their love for Clinton never dimmed during the course of his tumultuous presidency.It helped, of course, that the two Republicans against whom it was Clinton’s great fortune to run – President Bush Senior in 1992 and Bob Dole in 1996 – were, in addition to being miserable campaigners, not viewed by Jews in a particularly sympathetic light.

But Clinton would have defeated Bush and Dole even if each had sworn to immediately move the White House to Jerusalem, for the simple reason that, as we’ve seen in the course of this series, concern about Israel has never been the determining factor in how most Jews vote.

If it were the determining factor, Nixon in 1972 and Reagan in 1980 and 1984 would have received a far greater share of the Jewish vote than they did, and Clinton’s approval numbers among Jews at the end of his second term would have been appreciably lower than they were.

What made Clinton unique was that he did well, both in 1992 and 1996, with Orthodox Jewish voters, who in recent presidential elections had shown a proclivity for voting Republican due to their social conservatism and tendency to place the well-being of Israel at or near the top of their political agenda.

No doubt at least some of that Orthodox support was attributable to the above-mentioned lack of Jewish affinity for Bush and Dole. But the truth is that a not inconsiderable number of Orthodox Jews found themselves to be just as susceptible as their secular brethren to the fatal Clinton Mystique.

They were impressed when Clinton pledged, at an appearance in Brooklyn during the 1992 campaign, that if elected he would install a glatt kosher kitchen in the White House as soon as he moved in. (Needless to say, when Clinton left Washington eight years later the White House still had no kosher kitchen, glatt or otherwise.)

They chuckled when Clinton, also during that 1992 campaign, sought to simultaneously ingratiate himself with New Yorkers and puncture their cultural prejudices by telling radio host Don Imus that the nickname “Bubba” was simply Southern for mensch.

They liked the fact that he seemed to enjoy the company of Jews and appointed an unprecedented number of Jews to Cabinet and key administrative positions.

To their credit, though, large numbers of Orthodox Jews had begun to sour on Clinton by the middle of his second term, by which time it was no longer possible to pretend that his Mideast policies were not placing Israel in an increasingly untenable position.

Clinton’s apologists loved to bill him as “The Best Friend Israel Ever Had In The White House,” but it was Clinton who befriended Yasir Arafat like no previous American president, having him over to the White House more than any other foreign leader. It was Clinton who crassly intervened in Israeli elections, not once but twice – unsuccessfully in 1996 when he tried to help Shimon Peres defeat Benjamin Netanyahu, and then with better luck three years later when he actually dispatched political operatives to help engineer Ehud Barak’s victory over Netanyahu.

Throughout his presidency Clinton relentlessly pushed Israel to make concessions for the sake of the “peace process,” even as it became increasingly obvious that there was no real reciprocity on the other side.

And in perhaps the most disgusting display of moral equivalence ever attempted by an American president, Clinton, while on a visit to the West Bank, spoke in the same breath and sorrowful cadence of Israeli children orphaned by Palestinian terrorism – and Palestinian children whose terrorist fathers were either dead or in Israeli jails.

(Continued Next Week)Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

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