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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘primary’

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

Herman Cain Threatening Georgia Senator Chambliss in Poll

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss is theoretically very vulnerable to a primary challenger in 2014, and his fate will depend on whether anyone is interested in taking him and take advantage of that vulnerability, Public Policy Polling reported on Tuesday.

PPP found that a mere 38% of Republican primary voters say they want Chambliss to be their nominee next year, compared to 43% who would prefer someone more conservative.

Chambliss is extremely weak with Republicans describing themselves as “very conservative” – 61% of those would like to replace him, compared to only 23% who would like to see him nominated again. He would trail Cain 68/19 with that group of voters.

By far and away the Republican who would pose the greatest threat to Chambliss in a primary, if he changed his mind about running, is Herman Cain. Cain would lead Chambliss 50-36 in a hypothetical match up. Cain has a 68/20 favorability rating with GOP primary voters, which compares favorably to Chambliss’ 45/36 approval spread.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Results in from Labor Primaries

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Results are in from the Labor party primaries held on Thursday.

On Wednesday we published Shelly Yechimovitch’s blacklist of Labor party members she didn’t want to see high up in the party.  Three of them made the top five positions.

1. Shelly Yechimovitch
2. Isaac Herzog
3. Amir Peretz
4. Eitan Cabel
5. Meirav Michaeli
6. Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer
7. Chilik Bar
8. Omar Bar Lev
9. Stav Shaffir
10. Avishai Braverman
11. Arel Margalit
12. Itzik Shmuli
13. Miki Rosental
14. Michal Biran
15. Nachman Shai
16. Moshe Mizrachi
17. Dani Atar
18. Nadia Hilo
20 Nino Absadza
21. Yossi Yona
22. Daniel Ben-Simon
23. Over Kornfeld
24 Chili Tropper

28. Yariv Oppenheimer

Jewish Press News Briefs

UPDATED: Likud Primaries Extended to Monday

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Due to computer glitches that have prevented many Likud members from voting, Likud primary elections which were originally extended until midnight on Sunday, have now been extended to 9 PM on Monday.

Only 16% of Likud members were able to vote by 4 PM on Sunday and only 40% succeeded by 9 PM. Some Likud MKs have demanded this primary election be called off and rescheduled.

Jewish Press News Briefs

AARP Throws Granny Under the Bus

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

If any single business lobby—yes, business lobby—stands as an obstacle to entitlement reform, it is the American Association of Retired People [AARP]. There is nothing wrong with being a successful business, and the AARP should be credited for being just that. But there is something unsavory, at least, about being in the business of duping the elderly. Dissimulating—even to the elderly—is not illegal, nor should it be. A government powerful enough to prevent the AARP from duping old people is a more powerful government than any of us should want. There is no evidence that the AARP is technically breaking the law. But what they are doing is exploiting the elderly for a fast buck while lobbying—consistently—for the massive expansions of the federal government.

Let’s start with this statement from the AARP’s website:

Barry Rand is chief executive officer (CEO) of AARP, the world’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to social change and helping people 50 and over to improve the quality of their lives. Mr. Rand is a dynamic leader and change agent who brings to AARP a proven track record of leading both multibillion-dollar businesses and smaller, private equity-driven businesses. He has served as chairman and chief executive officer of Avis Group Holdings, CEO of Equitant Ltd., and executive vice president, Worldwide Operations, at Xerox Corporation. He serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Howard University.

That’s a a heavy-hitting resume for the head of “a non-profit, non-partisan nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and over improve the quality of their lives,” isn’t it? It should be a clue. It is. Barry Rand is the CEO not only of a non-profit organization, but a very profitable organization that is also called the AARP.

The AARP, in principle, is a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt non-profit association. The (c)(4) designation is reserved for “Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees;” the key constraint upon its operation is that its net earnings must be devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.

What is poorly understood—particularly by the elderly—is that there are eight entities linked to the AARP label, of which five are taxable, for-profit companies: AARP Insurance, AARP Services, Inc., AARP Global Network LLC, AARP Properties LLC, and AARP Financial, Inc. The profit-making and non-profit AARP entities are not only linked by their name—there is a great deal of overlap among boards of directors.

This is not illegal, but it is clearly unethical, in so far as these companies are using AARP’s reputation as a neutral advocate for the elderly to sell stuff to the elderly. Given that only the Catholic Church has a larger American membership, the AARP’s endorsement is to the old-people market as a Papal indulgence is to sinners.

To put it crudely, the non-profit part of the AARP is a front. The non-profit arm, as advertised, “provides a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members.” If you join the AARP for a low annual membership fee, you get discounts on hotels and cruises, and lots of magazines and newsletters about graying gracefully and staying spry. You can even listen to AARP radio and watch AARP TV—in Spanish, too!

But the media organs are the loss leaders: The revenue comes from the massive mailing list and the AARP name, which it licenses to for-profit companies—health insurers, in particular. In other words, it uses advocacy for the elderly as a sales tool. And indeed, AARP does conduct useful research and provide useful services to the elderly. But this is not its primary function. Its primary function is to sell stuff to old people via AARP Services Inc., which is not only a profit-making company, but a very profitable one: supplemental health insurance, discounts on prescription drugs, entertainment and travel packages, long-term care insurance, and automobile, home and life insurance, anything old people like—that’s what AARP sells. If you want to speak to the elderly, sell anything to the elderly, or get the elderly to vote for you, the AARP is the gatekeeper. This gives AARP an almost unrivaled power to blackmail Congress—which it does.

The profit and non-profit parts of AARP combined amount to an organization that in 2009 enjoyed gross receipts of $2.2 billion. The NRA—the second-largest officially non-profit advocacy group—is only one-eighth this size, financially speaking. The highest-spending lobbyists in Washington are, in descending order, the US Chamber of Commerce, General Electric, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the AARP. They are all business lobbies, whether or not they claim non-profit status. Only the AARP, however, has managed to persuade the public that it is not.

There can be no entitlement reform unless a barrier is placed between the AARP and the legislative process, and so far, no politician has figured out how to do this without looking as if he is throwing granny under a bus. This is an immensely difficult problem: The elderly cannot be disenfranchised, nor can the AARP be deprived of its First Amendment rights.

There is only one realistic solution to this. Parents have a responsibility to protect their children. They also have a responsibility to protect their parents. Just as it is up to parents to protect their kids from exploitation by industries that are fundamentally unconcerned with their welfare, it is up to parents to protect their parents from exploitation by the AARP. It is even more difficult to persuade stubborn, aging parents to listen than it is to get through to recalcitrant teenagers. But it must be done. How? I suggest they follow the AARP’s advice. In its eldercare literature, it advises children to:

* Talk to your parents about scams that target the elderly.
* Educate yourself on current scams.
* Warn your older family members not to sign any forms or documents without reviewing the materials with another family member or attorney.
* Contact the media and the police about any fraudulent activity.
* Close any bank or credit card accounts that were involved in a scam.
* It is also important to remember not to blame your parent or older relative for falling victim to financial fraud. Be sure to explain to them what happened and the steps they can take to prevent against future scams.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

S.K. Bhattacharya

Jewish Press Endorsements

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

For the New York State Legislature in the September 13 primaries for the Democratic designation in the November general election:

Assembly:

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs
(Assembly District 42)

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, the assistant speaker of the Assembly, has fought hard for her Brooklyn community, leading successful efforts to strengthen social services. She helped establish parameters for the Community Services Block Grant program, which provides for food and nutrition programs, job training and other services. She is a member of the board of the Hillel Foundation and a member and past officer of the National Association of Jewish Legislators. A strong advocate for the Jewish community, Ms. Jacobs has also been at the forefront of issues relating to Medicaid and has authored legislation that has served as a national model for preventive health care for women and children. She has earned renomination.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz
(Assembly District 45)

We urge Democrats in the 45th Assembly District to support Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, who has represented the district since 2000. He has always been an important voice for the Jewish community. He is a staunch advocate for Jewish social service organizations that provide legal and financial services and help feed the hungry. He played a leading role in legislation, signed into law last year, requiring insurance companies to provide the same coverage for prescription fertility drugs purchased in local pharmacies as those purchased via mail order, something of great concern in the Jewish community. The son of survivors, Mr. Cymbrowitz has been a leader in educating children about the horrors of the Holocaust and he has been a great friend to other survivors and their families. He has always been a reliable ally in the fight for the rights of Jews as members of a religious minority. Ben Axelrod, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’s opponent in the primary, brings much to the table but has simply not made the case against Mr. Cymbrowitz’s long record of service.

Assemblyman Michael Miller
(Assembly District 38)

Assemblyman Miller, a lifelong community activist, has made public safety a priority during his career in public service. He has pushed legislation to crack down on drunk and distracted drivers, urging a ban on the use of electronic devices while driving. Miller is one of our state’s great advocates for the disabled, founding an organization for adults with mental disabilities and consistently leading efforts to bring more resources for the disabled. He has shown sensitivity to the importance of protecting the rights of Jews as a religious minority.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind
(Assembly District 48)

Dov Hikind is a 30-year incumbent who has been publicly identified with almost every issue of importance to the Jewish community. He has kept the issue of anti-Semitism on the public radar and has been a forceful advocate for Jewish rights generally and for Israel. In the last general election a virtual unknown named Doherty ran against Mr. Hikind on the Republican line in the mostly Jewish district and secured a remarkable 40 percent of the vote. This time he will have no Republican opponent but is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Moshe Tischler, a spirited young man of 20 who claims he would do better on the issues of importance to our community. As the incumbent, Assemblyman Hikind ordinarily would presumptively deserve community support unless compelling reasons surfaced to the contrary. To this point, this has not occurred. However, even if Mr. Tischler loses the primary election, he has secured and will run on the School Choice line in the November general election and have another, broader opportunity to make his case against Mr. Hikind.

Jerry Iannece
(Assembly District 25)

Jerry Iannece, the chairman of Queens Community Board 11, is seeking the Democratic nomination to run in the November general election for the Assembly seat being vacated by Rory Lancman. Iannece has a long record of public service and is the paradigm of the indefatigable civic activist dedicated to addressing the needs of the community. He reached out to The Jewish Press to present his positions and impressed us with his sensitivity and grasp of the Jewish community’s special concerns. He deserves the nomination.

Editorial Board

Running For Judge With An Orthodox Background And A Universal Perspective

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Just days before the entire world stands before the great Judge on Rosh Hashanah, Democrats of the 5th district of Brooklyn will be casting their votes in the primary election for civil court judge. Shlomo Mostofsky, private attorney and former president of the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), is currently campaigning to secure the post as judge.

“I always wanted to be a judge,” Mostofsky told The Jewish Press, “[and now] was the best opportunity to do so.” Mostofsky explained that there was a seat that had recently been vacated and that because there was virtually no Republican opposition, winning the primary would effectively mean winning the general election as well. Additionally, Brooklyn’s 5th District encompasses “key areas” in which he could serve the local communities, neighborhoods such as Boro Park, Kensington, Bay Ridge, and Sunset Park. Recalling his 11 years as president of NCYI, Mostofsky said that he believes his previous projects and experiences would help him in his new position.

He also said that he’s confident his countless meetings with politicians and citizens from countries around the world would provide him with a larger, more wholesome perspective on the diverse ethnic, religious, and immigrant groups that are in the district than those of the traditional attorney or judge. Additionally, Mostofsky met the chief justice and the associate justices of the South African Supreme Court and of the International Court of Justice. “These are [unique] life experiences to bring to the court that others may not have,” Mostofsky said. He also mentioned that during his tenure as president, he succeeded in “taking the [NCYI] from the red to the black.”

“Brooklyn is the melting pot of New York City,” Mostofsky said. Although many people have endorsed Mostofsky, some are hesitant to elect an Orthodox Jew to the court system. Mostofsky, however, believes that becoming judge will benefit both the Jewish community and the Brooklyn community as a whole. “I’ve worked in court for 12 years and many of my clients have been Orthodox Jews.” Although halachah allows and requires Jews to go to court under specific circumstances, Mostofsky doesn’t “believe that our community is comfortable in court.” He hopes that a “Jewish presence” in the court, although it won’t affect the court’s decision, will help Jews become less wary with the American justice system. He stressed that the civil courts, known as “the peoples’ court,” is usually a person’s “first contact” with the courts.

Additionally, Mostofsky explained that he would “have the opportunity to make a Kiddush Hashem” working as a judge. A single courtroom is filled with judges, court officers, litigants, and lawyers. He hopes that when people see a Jewish person treating every person, regardless of his or her background, fairly and equally, they will carry that image with them as they “move on to other places [in life].”

Originally, the primaries were supposed to be held on September 11, but were postponed to September 13.

Tzvi Aryeh Benoff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/politics/running-for-judge-with-an-orthodox-background-and-a-universal-perspective/2012/08/30/

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