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Tag Archives: Jewish vote

Is Obama Speaking to Rabbis to Influence Their Sermons?

We have an election coming up in just a few weeks in which President Obama’s legacy is at stake. Jews, who tend to vote in large numbers, could help tip the balance crucial states like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.

Strangely, Obama has scheduled for late Monday morning what the White House is calling “a conference call with rabbis for Rosh Hashanah.”

Now, what could that be about? Obama is not doing much in the way of policy anymore. Relations with Israel are kind of on hold, although there is talk Obama could back a UN resolution declaring Israel an “occupier” of Palestinian lands, and it’s possible Obama wants to talk to them about that. But he would never make such a declaration before the elections, and it’s not Obama’s style to consult too much about his decisions, particularly with parties that will be adversely affected.

What makes sense is a suggestion by one of our readers, Sadie, that he will be providing them with a few talking points for their sermons. That he hopes to inject some politics into the synagogue this holiday season to ensure Jews back Hillary in November.

This could be done subtly. Since my fellow Jews are overwhelmingly Democrats, all he needs to do is ask the rabbis to talk about the civic duty of everyone to engage in the process by voting, even if they aren’t thrilled with the choices. One of Democrats’ most paralyzing fears is that their people, disgusted with the election, simply won’t show up to vote. So a pro-Democratic message from the Jewish pulpit need only be couched as a patriotic call to participate in democracy.

Obama Jewish leaders
Obama meets with Jewish leaders at the White House in 2011

The rabbis will be very receptive to this message. I’ve been a member of both Conservative — a term referring to religious, and not political practices — and Reform temples, and if I’ve ever heard a sermon that had a politically conservative theme to it, I can’t remember it. But I’ve heard plenty that sounded liberal, even if the rabbi might have just thought they were expounding on “social justice” or other themes everyone — of course! — would agree with.

Orthodox Jews tend to be less liberal, but I don’t know what Orthodox rabbis talk about.

Christians may not understand the power of the Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur sermon, but certainly, Obama’s Jewish aides do. Jews who belong to Reform and even Conservative temples tend to be pretty secular and not attend weekly Shabbat services. But on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, attendance at synagogue goes up exponentially. Everyone, it seems, feels the need to at least affirm their religion once a year.

And this year, whether they know it or not, they may be getting a message from Obama.

Obama is not above a little High Holy Day politics. In his Rosh Hashanah greeting last year, he stealthily dropped an anti-GOP message. Obama noted that we are obligated to atone for past sins, a theme of the holidays. But with Trump suddenly a threat in the GOP primaries, advocating a wall with Mexico — and his rivals also taking a hard line on illegal immigration — Obama threw in that we are required to “avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, and to love the stranger, and treat him as we would want to be treated.”

Cruz: Imagine a President Who Stands Unapologetically With Israel

Yeah, just imagine.

Ted Cruz received a standing ovation at the world’s largest Christian university today, Liberty University, when he asked the students to imagine, instead of a president who “boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu,” one who “stands unapologetically with the nation Israel.”

I say as a Jew, thank God Israel has conservative Christian allies. Because if it had to rely on the liberals most of my fellow Jews associate themselves with, Israel would be sunk.

That Israel was a massive applause line for Cruz is a sure sign Republicans will make support for the Jewish state a central theme of their primary campaigns, and of the upcoming contest with a Democratic candidate. And this may drive substantial number of Jewish voters into the Republican column for the first time since Ronald Reagan got 39 percent of the Jewish vote in 1980 defeating another Democrat whose support for Israel was suspect, Jimmy Carter.

Romney’s Chance to Rock the Jewish Vote

Or at least pick up some support.

I have a piece running on the Reuters website today, “Romney’s big chance with Jewish voters.”

Romney tonight can hit on a host of issues that are important to Jewish voters – not to mention the many conservatives who are diehard Israel supporters. These include Obama’s failure to reign in the Iranian nuclear program, his tilt toward the Palestinians, his awful relationship with Netanyahu, and even the rise of an Islamist regime in Egypt under his watch and his failure to back rebels against Israel’s nemesis, Bashar Assad.

From the piece

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the Monday foreign policy debate should play to the Jewish TV audience like he was the star of a Borscht Belt revue.

Romney has a tempting assortment of issues he can tap to frame President Barack Obama as a leader whose policies are perilous for Israel. He can use the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran, Egypt and even Syria to make a case that Obama’s policies are wrong for the Jewish state.

He is not going to win the Jewish vote. Obama overpowered Sen. John McCain in 2008 by 78 percent to 22 percent among Jews, and the most recent Gallup poll puts Obama ahead this year by 70 percent to 25 percent. But if Romney can narrow that 45 percent margin between him and Obama, he will increase his chance of becoming president.

While Jews are a small minority in the United States, they generally get to the polls in big numbers. Several swing states are home to relatively large populations of Jews, particularly Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania, but also Virginia, Ohio and Colorado.

Now that you’ve read the Politico piece that I posted earlier on Obama’s contempt for voters, I hope you have a chance to take a look at this too!

Thanks,

Keith

Obama to Host Jewish American Heritage Month Event

President Obama next Tuesday will court the Jewish vote host a celebration at the White House in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month.

Wow, I’m Jewish, and I didn’t even know we had a month until now.

Gosh, no offense to anyone, but I hope the Jews and the Hispanics don’t accidentally bump into each other on their ways in and out of the White House for all these events Obama is hosting for them.

Let’s see if we can clear out his schedule for governing a bit by canceling a few of these kinds of events. I say that at next year’s Seder, instead of bitter herbs Obama serves spicy enchiladas and kills two birds with one stone. Or how about a Klezmer band for next year’s Cinco de Mayo festival? I mean, he has work to do, right?