Republicans are making an unprecedented effort to convince Jews to vote for George W. Bush this year. However many of Bush’s positions and policies are inconsistent with basic Jewish values and interests:

* While Judaism teaches that Jews are to be partners with Hashem in protecting the environment the League of Conservation Voters has given President Bush a grade of F on the environment the first time the group has ever given this grade to a president or presidential candidate. By contrast Senator Kerry has a 92 percent positive career rating from the group. Vice President Cheney has met with energy industry representatives in secret to set energy policy while leaving out environmentalists and the public.

* While Judaism stresses that wise people consider the effects of their actions on future generations President Bush has ignored global climate change with its many potential threats to humanity; has opposed increased funding for embryonic stem cell research although this technology has great potential to reduce disease; and has converted a record budget surplus into record deficits that future generations of Americans will have to pay off.

* While Judaism stresses that we should work to reduce poverty and be concerned about the stranger the orphan and the widow President Bush gave huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and cut programs that would benefit the neediest. Each year of the Bush administration there has been an increase in the number of Americans living in poverty and the number without health insurance.

* While Judaism emphasizes the dignity of labor and the benefits of gainful employmentover a million jobs have been lost during the Bush presidency the first time there has been a net loss of jobs since the Hoover presidency many replacement jobs pay far less than lost jobs and the Bush administration has removed the right to overtime pay from millions of America workers. 

* While Judaism stresses that we should diligently guard our health the Bush administration has weakened regulations designed to protect our health and safety. 

* While Judaism emphasizes the value of education Bush has repeatedly broken his promise to provide adequate Federal support for education resulting in the elimination or reduction of many educational programs.

* While Judaism stresses the pursuit of peaceful and harmonious relations among nationsPresident Bush’s foreign policies including the misleading arguments and poor planning that are having disastrous consequences in Iraq have converted almost universal support of the U.S. worldwide after 9/11 to unprecedented hatred and mistrust and have led many experts to conclude that his policies are making terrorism more likely.

John Kerry’s record is far better than Bush’s record on all of these issues and the following considerations suggest that he would be at least as good as Bush with regard to Israel:

* Kerry’s support for Israel during his 20 years in the U.S. Senate has been consistent. According to the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) Kerry has a flawless voting record on Israel.

* Bush if reelected would no longer need to be concerned with winning Jewish support. Therefore unlike Kerry if he were elected for a first term Bush might feel freer to take action that could harm Israel in order to further other U.S. strategic goals.

* Kerry and Bush have positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that are virtually identical in terms of supporting Prime Minister Sharon’s disengagement plan agreeing to the inclusion of settlement blocs in a permanent agreement and believing that there is no room for Palestinian refugees in Israel. The Democratic platform is also extremely supportive of Israel. Hence the next American administration Democrat or Republican will continue to support the policies of the government of Israel.

* Because Kerry does not have the Saudi Arabian interests and connections that Bush hashe has been far more outspoken than Bush in demanding that Saudi Arabia be answerable for its actions and its anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements. In contrast to Bush Kerry has unequivocally denounced outrageous Saudi Arabian anti-Semitic comments and properly stressed that they raise serious questions about the kingdom’s commitment to combating terrorism.

* Since Israel’s economic and social well being and that of the U.S. and much of the world depends on a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict Kerry unlike Bush is likely to be actively involved in seeking such a resolution consistent with Israel’s security and other interests. 

* While Bush supporters point to several recent statements by Kerry as not completely supportive of Israel they ignore the times that the Bush administration has been critical of Israel and put pressure on Israel with regard to the route of the separation fence and Israel’s failure to abandon some settlements. 

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleAbu Buchanan’s Fatwah On Israel
Next articleRNC Reaches Out To Jewish Voters, But Will They Listen?
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is professor emeritus, College of Staten Island, and author of "Judaism and Vegetarianism," "Judaism and Global Survival," and "athematics and Global Survival." He serves as president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA).