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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘minorities’

Winning the Minority Vote

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

After the 2012 Waterloo, Republican consultants retreated to some party boats and hotels, and began planning their comeback. Bereft of ideas, they took the media’s explanations for why they lost at face values. What they have delivered is a liberal’s eye diagnosis of why they lost and so they debuted a plan to win over Latinos with amnesty and to end their negative image with a new gentler look.

Mostly what they have proven is that they are even more clueless than they were a year ago.

Senator Marco Rubio seems like a nice guy, but if the Republicans are counting on him to deliver the Latino vote, they might want to take a closer look at his Senate win. While Rubio did indeed win the Cuban Latino vote, he only won 39 percent of the non-Cuban Latino vote. That’s the same Latino margin of victory as Rick Perry got. It’s the usual best score that Republicans get among Latinos.

Marco Rubio could be a guy named Mark Richardson for all the impact that he made among Latino voters. But that’s because the “Latino” vote is a ridiculous oversimplification. Latinos consist of Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, to name just a few. And they don’t necessarily align.

Mayor Bloomberg ran against a Puerto Rican candidate and won the Mexican vote. Bloomberg may speak Spanish about as well as your Aunt Sally, but that didn’t really matter because he didn’t waste a lot of time telling stories about growing up poor in the slums of San Juan. Instead he worked with Mexican community leaders who were tired of being sidelined by Puerto Ricans, and advertised heavily on their radio stations and in their papers.

Race is certainly a factor, but it’s not the only factor. Most Black voters initially supported Hillary Clinton. If Herman Cain ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Clinton would beat him by a high margin. A Zogby poll shows Rubio beating Clinton among Latino voters, but how well that poll would hold up after Latino leaders have spent enough time getting the word out is another matter. Clinton beat Obama among Latino voters on Super Tuesday. Assuming that she won’t do the same to Rubio only because of his race is a risky bet.

There are two types of minority groups in the United States. Segregated and integrated. The more integrated a group becomes, the less of a bloc vote it is. A bloc vote is not simply a consistent pattern, it is the result of a segregated community that interfaces with the rest of the country through its leaders and local media. And those two interfaces are key.

It doesn’t really matter how many Latinos speak at the Republican National Convention or how many Republican senators sign on to Amnesty. These events will, for the most part, be processed through the filter of those community leaders and their associated newspapers and radio stations. Republicans imagine that they’re addressing Latinos, but aside from Univision appearances they mostly don’t even have access to them.

The percentage of the Latino vote that is accessible to Republicans largely comes from those Latinos who have integrated and are in the Middle Class. That is why the Republicans did so much better with the Latino vote in Ohio than Virginia. Median income and English language skills remain a fairly reliable predictor of the Republican vote.

Winning the minority vote is not simply about policy or diversity. That is an elementary lesson of the urban political machine that the Republican Party has bizarrely forgotten, even though it’s a lesson that goes back a century and a half in American politics. Diversity is not about finding binders of qualified candidates, but about elevating community leaders from minority groups who can deliver a share of the vote from their community.

It’s not pretty, but it is practical politics. Lincoln understood it and applied that methodology right down to the appointment of generals. The Democrats built an entire network of votes in every state by taking their urban political machine national. But the Republicans seem to think that it’s enough to have someone out there speaking Spanish. It’s a nice touch and the urban political machines used it. Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr., the son of General MacClellan, spoke a bewildering number of the languages that his constituents did. Mayor LaGuardia also juggled languages. But those are campaign tricks. They are not how the vote is delivered.

Four Jewish Democrats in Top House Committee Slots

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) preserved his top slot on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, as did Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on the Energy Committee, after the caucus’ standing committee announced its selections on Tuesday.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) ascended to the top slot on the Appropriations Committee and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) is now the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Lowey replaced Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), who is retiring, and Engel replaced Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who was defeated in the November election.

Berman is one of two Jewish Democrats relinquishing top committee spots; Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is retiring, leaves the top slot on the House Finance Committee to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

The Democratic leadership touted the preponderance of women and minorities in top slots on 22 committees, casting it against the all-white male Republican leadership in the House.

On the Guardian’s Opinion Section: Hamas Propoganda

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

IDF strikes on Nov. 18 knocked out the Hamas television stations Al Aqsa and Al Quds in Gaza, but Hamas leaders were likely not too concerned, and knew they could always count on Plan B: Propagandizing at the Guardian.

In fact, later that same day, Nov. 18, a ‘Comment is Free’ essay by the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, Musa Abumarzuq, was published – one out of several members of the Islamist terror group who has been published by the paper which aspires to be the ‘world’s leading liberal voice.’

Other than Abumarzuq, who published a previous essay at CiF in 2011, the list includes Hamas ‘Prime Minister’ Ismail Haniyeh, their head of international relations Osama Hamdan, and their ‘advisor‘, Azzam Tamimi.

Abumarzuq’s piece, ‘We in the Gaza Strip will not die in silence,’ is full of unserious, vitriolic claims befitting a group whose founding charter cites the antisemitic forgery ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ as “proof” that Jews indeed are trying to take over the world.

However, Abumarzuq also advances a narrative of Israeli villainy which had already found fertile ground within the Guardian coven of “journalists” and commentators.  Echoing the “analysis” of  Harriet SherwoodSimon TisdallAhdaf Soueif, and Jonathan Freedland, on the “real reasons” for Israeli operation ‘Pillar of Defense,’ the Hamas apparatchik writes the following:

“With the approach of the Israeli elections, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, wanted to trade with the blood of the Palestinians, especially after his alliance with the ultra-extremist Avigdor Lieberman failed to boost his popularity in the polls as he’d expected. This is not the first time the Israelis have launched a war for electoral gain. Shimon Peres did it to Lebanon in 1996 and the Olmert-Livni-Barak alliance did it to Gaza in 2008.”

Interestingly,  Abumarzuq’s rhetoric is restrained compared to Ahdaf Soueif (a frequent CiF contributor) who, in her piece, literally accused Israeli leaders of murdering Palestinian children for political gain.

Turning to the issue of supreme concern to the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, “human rights”, Abumarzuq complains thus:

“The human rights that Europe claims to defend all over the world are denied to the Palestinian people.”

Which freedoms are cruelly denied to Palestinians, per Abumarzuq?

“The right of people to resist occupation and confront aggression is guaranteed to all peoples; but if Palestinians seek to exercise this right it immediately becomes terrorism and for this they must be persecuted.”

Yes, of course. The Palestinians’ ‘universal’ right of “resistance”, murdering civilians with impunity, is stymied by their cruel Jewish oppressors.

Abumarzuq then adds the following:

“The Israeli military attacks on Gaza did not stop after the last Gaza war. Since 2009, 271 Palestinians have been killed, compared to three Israeli deaths.”

The numbers he cites about Israeli deaths are incorrect.

There have been 3 Israeli deaths since Nov. 14, when operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ began, but the Israeli death toll from Gaza terror attacks since 2009 is 13, not 3.

While you can contact the Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, at readers@guardian.co.uk, to request that Abumarzuq’s lie be corrected, perhaps you should consider asking Mr. Elliott a more pertinent question:

How does he reconcile the ‘progressive’ politics he and the paper he works for evidently aspire to with their decision to continue providing a platform to violent religious extremists who represent ultra right-wing values on issues such as democracy, freedom of the press, the rights of women, gays, and religious minorities?

Though I don’t expect anything resembling an honest answer from Elliott, he and his colleagues need to be confronted with the mounting evidence of their supreme moral hypocrisy.

Visit CifWatch.com.

Minority Births in US Over 50%

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

It’s official – over half of babies are being born to racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, according to a report in the Associated Press.

Minorities increased 1.9% to 114.1 million in 2010, or about 36.6% of Americans.  They made up approximately 2.02 million births in the 12 months between July 2010 and July 2011, or 50.4% of US births, compared to 37% in 1990.

The annual growth rates for Latinos and Asians fell sharply last year to just over 2%, roughly half the rates in 2000 and the lowest in more than a decade. The growth rate for black Americans stayed flat at 1%.

The census report also showed that Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas, and the District of Columbia have minority populations exceeding 50%.

Mazal Tov! The Weddings In Israel

Friday, April 27th, 2012

For Israel’s Anglo olim (immigrants), the name Givat Shmuel conjures up a marriage scene to rival that of New York’s Stern College for Women. Home to hundreds of young English-speakers studying at the adjacent Bar-Ilan University, Givat Shmuel has produced a vibrant, growing community of overseas students – and a reputation for their enthusiastic coupling. Each year, the community watches as many new couples are formed, engagements are announced and weddings are celebrated.

While the events vary according to the couple’s religious, financial and other needs, the one common denominator among most Givat Shmuel weddings is that they were planned by students without immediate family in the country.

“You get so overwhelmed planning a wedding all by yourself, while simultaneously studying for a degree and trying to have a life,” explained newlywed Elizabeth G, 21. “You end up obsessing over every detail, from invitations to centerpieces, and then suddenly realize – Oh, no! We forgot to order food for the wedding!”

Elizabeth, who moved to Israel three years ago from Detroit and is currently pursuing a degree at Bar-Ilan, recounted the hardships of tackling the preparations process alone. “If your family is living in another country, planning a wedding will actually start before you’re even engaged,” she explained. “Because your family and in-laws-to-be will need time to buy plane tickets and make other accommodations, you’ll need to coordinate everything with them, starting with when is the best time to get engaged.

“The hardest part is definitely communicating and trying to coordinate everyone’s wishes,” she continued. “Suddenly you have two sets of parents and all of their opinions need to be taken into account.”

Even with modern innovations like e-mail and Skype, Elizabeth confided, the distance and time zone can make even small details hard to communicate. “Something that seems trivial to you – like what songs will be playing under the chupah – can mean the world to your mother, but because you can’t be in constant contact it might just fall through the cracks.”

For Givat Shmuel’s olim, planning a wedding becomes a community project. If the young couple is without a car they’ll need to depend on friends and extended family for rides, especially when hunting for a wedding hall. Anglos with less-than-perfect Hebrew will need help understanding, and negotiating, prices for everything from photographers and floral arrangements to filing for a marriage license. And while parents may try to be as helpful as possible from abroad, they are just as unfamiliar with the system here as their children may be.

“Planning a wedding in Israel is much different than planning one in the States,” says veteran wedding planner Ann Roseman. “Here, everything is up for negotiation. A lot of times a vendor will tell an Anglo family that their requests can’t be met. But in Israel, just because someone says no that doesn’t it can’t be done.”

Roseman, a native of Toronto with fifteen years of experience in the business, sees herself as a bridge between her North American customers and the Israeli market. From organizing travel arrangements to personally translating all Hebrew contracts into English for the families so that they fully understand what they are paying for, Roseman helps young couples cut through the jungle of paperwork and negotiations.

“I act as the families’ eyes and ears and ensure constant interaction between all parties. It’s tremendous zechus(honor) for me to help these couples marry in Israel and I tend to every part of the organizing,” Roseman explained. “Well, almost every part – I don’t shlep the liqueur bottles.”

From the wedding of Chava Forman-Horovitz

Even with the best of planning, olim weddings can remain complicated. For Chava Forman-Horovitz, 25, it wasn’t the organization that was difficult. Lucky enough to get her hands on a comprehensive list of vendors put together by a friend, the Philadelphia native developed it into a spreadsheet, adding in additional vendors recommended by others. Married for seven months now, Horovitz eagerly shares her mini database with engaged friends in need.

“I’ve attended enough Anglo-Israeli weddings to not stress out about the planning process,” she confessed. “What was really difficult was not having my grandmothers at my wedding. Not being part of the whole experience was difficult for them too.” Her family kept a live feed going throughout the event so that her grandmothers, who were unable to travel to Israel for the wedding due to health considerations, could take part in the celebration.

Elizabeth agrees, recalling how she asked her seamstress to snap pictures of her wearing her wedding dress every time an alteration, no matter how minor, was made. “I’d send them to my mother. It was my way of having her there with me the whole time.”

Part V: The World Of Diversity

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Although I was very aware that who I was and how I acted would seem out of place to the diverse student population at NEIU, I never really thought about how unusual their cultures would be for me.

NEIU is located in an extremely heterogeneous neighborhood in Chicago, and its student population reflected that diversity well (and diversity did not refer to the color of hat or the style of yarmulke a person wore). There were students from every conceivable culture and faith. The local public school, about 2 blocks from NEIU, was the most diverse in the nation in the 1970′s and still remained the most diverse in the Midwest the last time that I checked.

Chicago features a rather large Orthodox community; NEIU, on the other hand enrolled very few Orthodox students (at least in the 1990’s). Most of my peers had either exiled themselves to New York (at the time I believed I would NEVER live there) or attended Loyola University, a Jesuit Institution that was much more willing to accept yeshiva credits.

When you live in an Orthodox cocoon, in which the focus of almost everything around you is the importance and primacy of Orthodox Judaism, it is difficult to step beyond that and develop a framework by which to understand the way other people make sense of the world. For the most part, I never thought I would have a need to understand anybody beyond the parameters of my little world. If anything, they were the ones who needed to try to understand me.

I was never aware of how small the Orthodox world was comparatively. In my world, I was part of the vast majority. The way I thought and acted made perfect sense to those around me, even if I tried to push the envelope a little bit. While I was aware that there were plenty of other folks out there who didn’t think like I did, that was their misfortune, and not at all relevant to me.

People tend to define their concept of normal based on their culture, that is, how people they are familiar with tend to think and act. Suddenly all those things that seemed so normal and mundane to me were uncomfortable and even strange to the people around me. I used to get a ton of weird glares when I stepped into a corner on the short winter days to daven Mincha, and most folks couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that kosher food wasn’t kosher because it was blessed by a rabbi (although most understood there were some things, like the pork rinds in the snack machine, that a rabbi just couldn’t bless).

What’s worse, all of the “weird” things the people around me were doing were seen as the truly normal. I did make the mistake of pointing out some “dirt” on a student’s forehead on Ash Wednesday, and I often wondered if what the people around me were wearing could even qualify as clothes, even in the dead of the Chicago winter.

If you asked me at the time, I would have told you that I did, in fact, have experience with diversity, as many of the workers I encountered in yeshiva, in restaurants, and other locations were from different cultures. While that was true enough, it really wasn’t particularly helpful because those were almost by definition inequitable relationships. I didn’t have any experience with minorities as peers or, even more importantly, authority figures.

I really didn’t have any negative views of minorities; they just seemed rather foreign to me. I didn’t really know what to think about them. I have often said that I am very fortunate that I met a wide range of minority students at NEIU. In my assessment, some were incredible human beings, a few others were quite nasty, with the vast majority falling somewhere in between. It seems rather petty and simplistic, and at this point of my life rather obvious, but my experience led me to the belief that minorities were pretty much like the rest of us.

In retrospect, that was a very dangerous time. Although I shudder to consider it now, had my initial interactions with minorities not covered the spectrum of human behavior, but rather been solely with those minorities whose behavior was unsavory, I could be a vastly different person than I am today.

Like it or not, I was on campus to stay. The 1990’s were the heyday for moral relativism and political correctness. In a nutshell: Every culture and cultural practice is of equal significance, and the worst offense imaginable is making anyone feel uncomfortable because of his or her beliefs (although, I would learn that those principles did not apply to Orthodox Judaism). Not only did I have no way of understanding what I was seeing (I never quite got used to a classmate who dressed in a Scottish Kilt), I had no way to request clarification, lest I upset the ever charged politically correct environment.

It’s hard not to stand out when you wear a yarmulke in a secular college environment. People will notice you, and I was very cognizant of that. Chicago is not New York. Orthodox Judaism was not part of the day-to-day life of the average Chicagoan in most parts of the city. Even as an Orthodox Jew, I must admit to feeling a sense of novelty seeing chassidic Jews dressed in full garb when I visited New York for the first time as an adult.

Many New Yorker’s find this shocking when I tell them, but outside of transportation to and from Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, I could probably count on one hand the number of Orthodox Jews I encountered, even when I was taking the train on a daily basis (interestingly my yarmulke led many of the indigenous subway dwellers to assume I was a rabbi to whom they could unload all of their problems).

One stark example, Telshe Yeshiva in Chicago, is across the street from the far south end of the campus. I clearly recall students after the Yom Tov season, both in and out of class, wondering (respectfully of course) who those people with the “hats, black suits and beards” they had seen walking about were (that once even became a topic of discussion in a history class focusing on early Christianity, but then again, so did some cult someone saw on Oprah).

That made me all the more self-conscious. I felt like I was living under a microscope, with every action, every move scrutinized as an example of life in that rather unfamiliar Orthodox Jewish world (and the question I heard dozens of times, “you’re Orthodox…why don’t you dress like that)?

I’ve often wondered why I became so engaged in the college community. Most of the other yeshiva boys I knew went to college (because they had to) but did not involve themselves in the day to day activities on campus (the subject of my first graduate-level ethnographic study). They went to class and came home.

I didn’t drive when I was in college, however, and I believe that a large part of my decision to become more involved was because I was, for all practical purposes, stuck on campus most of the day without the ability to drive away for the long breaks between classes. I wish I had a better explanation for my initial college engagement than boredom, but I really don’t.

While I clearly knew that I didn’t fit in socially on the college campus, I knew that I just had to be a better student than all those other folks, having spent so much of my time learning Gemara. That façade, however, would crumble very quickly.

Remembering Babe Ruth’s Concern For Jews During The Holocaust

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

The New York Yankees and their fans observe April 27 as Babe Ruth Day to remember the home run slugger’s exploits on the baseball diamond. Jewish New Yorkers, however, this year marked the day by remembering another side of Ruth – his little-known efforts to aid African-Americans and other minorities, including Jews in Europe during the Holocaust.

In a program at Temple Israel in Manhattan, Ruth’s granddaughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti, joined with Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, to describe their research on Ruth’s social activism. Rabbi William Gelfand, sporting a baseball cap with “Yankees” embroidered on it in Hebrew, emceed the event.

Tosetti shared with the standing-room-only audience a number of family stories illustrating her grandfather’s concern for the less fortunate. She also showed an excerpt from her forthcoming documentary film, “Universal Babe,” concerning Ruth’s efforts on behalf of minorities.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Ruth courted controversy in the off-season by barnstorming with players from the Negro Baseball League. At a time when racial segregation was rampant in the United States, Ruth defied convention and took part in exhibition games with African-American players.

“My grandfather made a powerful statement against racism,” Tosetti said. “Many people resented his actions – but they couldn’t lynch Babe Ruth. He was an American icon. And he used his status to demand equality for blacks.”
 
 

Ruth also actively assisted the Women’s Baseball League, which was later immortalized in the Tom Hanks film “A League of Their Own.”

Dr. Medoff spoke of Ruth’s key role in a full-page advertisement in the New York Times in December 1942, in which he and other German-Americans denounced the Nazis’ persecution of European Jewry.

“At a time when most Americans still doubted the truth about reports about the Holocaust, and few were interested in helping Jewish refugees, Ruth spoke out and tried to shatter the silence,” he said.

The ad, headlined “A Christmas Declaration by Men and Women of German Ancestry,” declared, in part: “[W]e Americans of German descent raise our voices in denunciation of the Hitler policy of cold-blooded extermination of the Jews of Europe and against the barbarities committed by the Nazis against all other innocent peoples under their sway,” the declaration began.

“These horrors … are, in particular, a challenge to those who, like ourselves, are descendants of the Germany that once stood in the foremost ranks of civilization.”

The ad went on to “utterly repudiate every thought and deed of Hitler and his Nazis,” and urged the people of Germany “to overthrow” the Nazi regime.

Medoff, who has written extensively about the involvement of athletes in political and social policy controversies, said Ruth’s willingness to participate in a protest against the persecution of European Jewry was “a welcome contrast with today’s athletes, whose off-field activities are too often sources of scandal and embarrassment.”

Widely regarded as the greatest baseball player in history, Ruth in his time held the records for most home runs in a season (60) and most home runs in a career (714) as well as other records – including the pitching record for the most shutouts in a season by a left-hander. The Sultan of Swat, as he was known, was one of the first players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The audience at Temple Israel also had a few standard questions for the baseball legend’s granddaughter. One attendee asked if there was any truth to the story that on one occasion Ruth gestured with his bat toward the center field fence, and then hit a home run in exactly in that place.

“Absolutely true,” said Tosetti.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/news-magazine/remembering-babe-ruths-concern-for-jews-during-the-holocaust/2011/06/01/

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