Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eric Cantor and Bigotry on the Right

This will be a short one....
From Think Progress:

Cantor Suggests Anti-Semitism Is A Problem Within The House GOP Caucus
A few weeks ago, the House GOP was up in arms over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) $25,000 donation to anti-incumbent candidate Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who ultimately defeated his opponent, incumbent Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL). But the story got a little more fraught when it turned out that Manzullo once said Cantor would not be “saved” because he is Jewish.
the article goes on to say:
Today, Cantor, the only Jewish House Republican, nearly affirmed that this was the reason he fought against Manzullo’s re-election, insinuating that anti-Semitism — and racism — are lingering problems among the House GOP generally. He speaking at a breakfast event organized by Politico
Calling it the “darker side,” Cantor responded to Politico’s Mike Allen’s question of whether there is anti-semitism in Congress by trying to avoid commenting. But eventually he let up: “I think that all of us know that in this country, we’ve not always gotten it right in terms of racial matters, religous matters, whatever. We continue to strive to provide equal treatment to everybody.”
“We’re talking about the House Republican Caucus, not America,” Allen pushed.

Just look at Cantor's reaction after Allen's last question.

He can't answer it because he knows his party is an embarrassment when it comes to cultural insensitivity and bigotry. Look at the candidacy of racist Ron Paul. Look at the support that dominionists who loved Rick Santorum have within the Republican Party.

A rightwing hack writing on a hate site made the outrageous comment that anti-Semitism wasn't a problem here in America and that only because of Muslims was it still an issue. Well... I don't see a ton of Muslims in the House Republican Caucus. Do you?

Get the word out to your friends and independents that this is a serious election and that these people are not kidding around when it comes to bigotry and hatred. Putting them in charge of the White House and Congress can only end in disaster for the American people.

Bigots attack Occupy Tampa - #OWS quickly responds

Cross posted at Daily Kos

Occupy Tampa has come under attack from Bigots trying to co-opt or make the movement look bad. Please note that here is the official Occupy Tampa webpage facebook page and here is their response to this attack that showed up on another facebook page (one with 25,000 likes) under the "Occupy Tampa" name.
Nobody from Occupy Tampa knows the origin of the anti-semitic image supposedly posted to our Facebook page. Our best guess is that it originated from a libelous agent provocateur. We have no reason to believe it came from any Occupy Tampa site. If anyone can find the alleged post, please send the link to media@occupytampa.org
This image:
Photobucket
was posted on this page  https://www.facebook.com/...

A page claiming to be a member page. Now it is important to note that this is NOT an official #OWS site.
The news of this attack did go around the world. Here is the Israeli Daily Haaretz on this incident:
Within five hours the cartoon received more than 400 comments, mostly from outraged users, including many Israelis. "Putting this on Holocaust day just makes it even more sickening than it already is," one user said.
"This is an outrage. All OWS sympathizers must be disgusted by this vile act of hatred," said another user.
As Haaretz noted... the page where the image appeared (and was pulled down) IS NOT an official #ows site. Also, as Haaretz notes:
Meanwhile on Thursday, the official Occupy Wall Street movement showed support for Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day on their Twitter page, posting a tweet that said, "We stand with our brothers & sisters who suffered in the holocaust today, & we remember those who fought back."

Finally there is this from the page that posted that image:
We apologise for the last uploaded pictures. We have some intrusion issues. The administrator was removed and banned from our page. He blocked a lot of people and we are working to recover averyone. Thanks to those who called me personally about this. For those who are offended and will still send to us harassing messages - you're free to unlike our page. Thank you.
Kind of a weak sauce apology... But not surprising when you see some of the commentary therein.
This is important... #OWS did the right thing in disavowing this. Further Occupy Tampa did the right thing in standing against this. Perhaps the other Occupy page needs to be a bit more contrite in their apology and instead of acting like a petulant three year old needs to be a bit more understanding of just what the picture was and the timing of it's release (Holocaust Rememberance Day).

These attacks are going to keep coming on the #OWS movement from people that want to peel off votes (particularly Jewish votes) from President Obama. It is really important that Occupy does not allow itself to become a vehicle for racist Paulists, LaRouchies and other batshit groups to press their agenda. Occupy Wall Street (to me) is about a movement in the U.S. for social and economic justice in the face of attacks by the ultra wealthy and priviliged in our society who want to strip rest of us of any sort social safety net just so they can pay less of their societal obligation.

Anyway, thanks to the REAL Occupy Wall Street for standing against this bullshit. It is appreciated.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom HaShoah will be observed beginning at sundown tonight. It honors and remembers the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their henchmen during the Shoah (Holocaust). Between 1939 and 1945 over two-thirds of European Jewry was murdered. Among them were countless relatives of my own. The vast majority of my family that had not already left for the United States, Canada, Southern Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) and other parts simply disappeared, murdered along with six million of our fellow Jews simply because we are Jewish.

The date, the 27th of Nisan, marks the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It was selected by the Knesset (Israeli parliament) as the remembrance day for the Shoah in 1951 and has subsequently been adopted by Jewish communities across the world as our remembrance day. Today also marks the beginning of the United States' Days of Rembrance. In our country, our days of Remembrance begin the Sunday before Yom HaShoah and conclude the following Sunday.

Words are truly insufficient to describe the Shoah. That we should be murdered simply because who we are. There is no way to summon words sufficiently describing the monstrosity of such a concept. What we can do is remember. We can listen to the stories of survivors. We can read their accounts. We can use our eyes and our ears to see and to hear. We can bear witness for those who no longer can. It is my responsibility as a Jew. It is our collective responsibility as human beings.

Today we are all mourners. During the Shoah, Jews were required to wear a yellow Star of David as a mark of identification. Today, many of us will wear a yellow star with "זכור" ("Zachor," Hebrew for "Remember") written on it on Yom HaShoah as a sign of remembrance. So, let us remember. Let us commit ourselves to ensure the words NEVER AGAIN mean just that. Let us make it known that we survived. Let us show that we are still here. Let us wear this today as our badge of honor. Let us wear it with pride.

Holocaust_Yellow_Badge

Today, the mark of our oppression becomes the symbol of our survival. It becomes the symbol of our freedom. It becomes the symbol of our strength. It becomes the symbol of all who seek to give meaning to the words NEVER AGAIN.

I choose to stand and be counted. I am a Jew. I was born a Jew. I live my life as a Jew. Many years from now, G-d wiling, I will die as a Jew. It is who I am, and I am extremely proud of that.

I conclude with a prayer of remembrance for the dead on Yom HaShoah adopted by the Conservative/Masorti Movement in Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals.

Hashem, Master, Creator
who set the round course of the world,
birth, death, and disease —

Creator, who caused veins, brains, and bones to grow,
who fashioned us air that we might breath and sing


Remember that we are incomplete
and inconsolable, our vision clouded by ashes.

Remember the chimneys, the ingenious habitations of death where part
of Israel's body drifted as smoke through the air.
Remember the mutilated music of their lives.


We lament in fields of loneliness
for six million of our number torn away. Remember them.

There are some who have no memorial.
They are perished as though they had never been.
Forget them not.


Remember the landscape of screams
engraved at entrance gates to death.
Remember the unborn dreams.

Remember the terror of children, whose tears were burned. Remember
the agony of parents, whose blessings were consumed.


Remember the prayers of the dying,
the shame and suffering of the innocent.

Remember. We have not forgotten You
though all this has befallen us.


Remember the G-d-forsaken millions in a silent world,
their loneliness was matched only by Yours.

Who is like You, Hashem, among the silent,
remaining silent through the suffering of Your children?


Are You not G-d, Hashem, that we may hope in You?
Renew the light of Your creation, which has been dimmed.

Renew in Your creatures Your image, which has been desecrated.
Restore the covenant, which Your people have maintained.


Remember the hopes of the slain
by sending redemption to Your shattered world.

In spite of everything which strangles hope,
help us to continue the sustaining song of their lives.

Allen West Calls the Founding Fathers Communists

Cross Posted at Daily Kos

A few days ago Rep Allen West (R-Crazytown) came up with a whopper that 80-81 Democratic members of Congress were "Communists". The controversy on this was widely discussed with the addition of Barney Frank's awesome response.

Today on my Facebook feed, Rachel Maddow posted how Allen West has "Gone around the bend" (an awesome turn of phrase) with his silliness regarding his commentarty that 80-81 members of Congress that he called "Communists" (hint, hint - he was really talking about "Progressives") but watch the claims he makes... that the Wilson Administration was Communist (or that it was not far and only separated by a thin line) around :28. But then he goes further, and starts talking about "Nationalizing production" (which yes is a tenet of Communism but is hardly a tenet of American Progressives)

BUT at around the 1:00 minute mark the fun really kicks in: Apparently, the concepts of fairness, and economic justice are COMMUNIST ideas. WOW... who knew? I mean who would have thought that all these years anything to left of outright fascism (a corporate state) is (cue evil music DA-DA- DUM)....COMMUNISM!

BUT, at 1:07... he goes completely overboard. Apparently, (according to West) Communism is about the creation of a secular state. Our founding fathers - well, guess what, they must've been "Commies".



After that, from 1:10-1:19 West gets into the whole War on Women and how the government is forcing it's ideology on the population talking about Women's contraceptive rights.

Of course after that he says: "You tell me that this government is not about nationalizing industry, like the Auto Industry, Cap and Trade....." I mean the EPA, and the NLRB are apparently communists. Who knew?
But West says that he is "Standing by his comment" and that he is calling a "Spade a Spade" (his words).
The craziest thing about this is that West wants to have an argument focused on ideology and ideological definitions only. AND he wants to call this administration Communist. Well, perhaps before he does that he may want to learn what Communism really is and just how far fetched it is to call an administration that has led in the creation of Private Sector Jobs, an administration that has seen the Stock Markets rise close to 6,000 points, an administration that passed the ACA, which puts PRIVATE BUSINESS front and center in healthcare, communist.

Welcome to today's Republican Party. The founders in creation of a Secular State... Commies. Brilliant

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

For Those That Think This Year's Presidential Election Does Not Matter

Today is Equal Pay Day. As Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (note: proud to say she's my junior senator) explains:

Today, April 17, is Equal Pay Day, the day in the year marking how much longer women would have to work to earn what men earned in 2011. Let's pledge to make sure that this day continues to move earlier and earlier in the year until women don't have to work even one day more than men to earn the same wage.

Five years ago, the five-justice conservative majority made it nearly impossible for women to hold employers denying them equal pay for equal work accountable. A year later, then-Senator Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee at the time, stated:

The problem in these cases isn't that the woman is somehow unqualified—they're doing the same job with the same qualifications, and they're being paid differently. The problem is employers aren't treating women fairly. That needs to be changed, and I'll change it when I'm president of the United States of America.

President Obama delivered. The first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Women now have the mechanism to enforce their rights; and that is because of President Obama and the Democratic Congress he had during the first two years of his term.

Here is Lilly Ledbetter's story, in her own words, explaining why she stood up, the importance of the fight for equal pay and why she supports President Obama:


And here is President Obama's statement on National Equal Pay Day.

Remember, there is one presidential candidate that believes in equal pay for equal work and there is one presidential candidate whose spokesperson said he had to get back to reporters on whether the candidate supported it. Remember, there is one party that believes in equal pay for equal work and there is one party that not only opposes it, but is also trying to roll back equal pay provisions. Remember, there is one party that believes women are entitled to control their own bodies and there is one party that believes women should not be allowed to that most basic of liberties. Remember, that whomever wins this year's presidential election will appoint judges that decide the fate of women's most basic rights. As my friend's handle so aptly states, Its the Supreme Court Stupid.

For those that believe that this year's presidential election does not matter, you could not be further from the truth. This year's presidential election matters. I proudly stand with President Obama and my fellow Democrats. It is imperative we work to make sure he is re-elected this year and that he once again gets a Democratic Congress work with him and move our country forward. And do not forget just how much President Obama has done (PG version here).

Racist Emails and the Republican Base

Cross posted at Daily Kos

SO.... I just got another in a series of racist emails from an old friend (actually one of my best friends growing up and lost touch with -thanks Facebook). Despite my asking him to take me off his mass email list I still get these gems of Republican wisdom. I know that if I really want to screw with him I could simply hit "reply all" but, really, I don't want to do that to him - although that is getting more tempting with each email.
Anyway, I just got one of these today with the accompanying message:

OH MY GOD, THEY ARE LIKE FUCKING COCKROACHES ON A WORLD WIDE MISSION TO INVADE EVERYWHERE. OUR LEADERS ARE SO CONSUMED TRYING TO BE POLITICALLY CORRECT THAT THEY ARE INCAPABLE OF ANY ACTION TO STOP IT. GOD HELP OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN. Friends: I don't know if the stats are right on this but, I do know that a lot of gas stations and mini marts/ seven elevens are run by them in New York and the help works 16 to 20 hours a day and lives in the rear of the structure to get some sleep. Those that don't are the leaders liveing in a 2 bed room house owned by an American slum lord along with 6 or 8 other leaders and sleep in shifts. That way you they triple the size of the living space. And this is happening right in New York State.
 Most Unbelievable Thing You Will Ever Watch
 An amazing video, wake up everyone......
Think about what our children and grand children have to look forward to, and it has been done on our watch with the help of our propensity for "political correctness", and tolerance for, and adoption of, beliefs and values opposed to those our country was founded upon. Click on the demographic video.
What is this video that we must WAKE UP with? It is one called  "demographic problem". Now, I linked to it because it is an example of Nazi Like propaganda that is infecting our political discourse. Am I pulling a "Godwin"... I don't think so. A lot of the things discussed in this video including threats to European and American Culture by others as well as the rhetoric in the email, exactly mirror German propaganda during the Nazi Era.

Anyway, here is my response:
Wow… Really…. Cockroaches?
You know xxx – there were people that said this same kind of stuff in the past. They were called Nazi’s. They used to talk about the “Jewish Threat” to the world and destroying their “pure culture”.
So let me ask you… This racist little video talks about a Demographic problem. OK… so what does it suggest we do? I noticed that they don’t have any suggestions. Perhaps we should have “camps” or special areas for Muslims? By the way, how will you even be able to tell who is a Muslim? I mean, Islam is a religion. What does a “Muslim” look like?  Perhaps we need a special badge or marker for Muslims? And then once we can identify them… what do we do then?
Now then, how do we stop them from breeding like “cockroaches”? Should we enforce sterilization?
Or were you thinking perhaps we (and Europe) should simply deport our Muslim population? I mean even if they are born here (a country founded by those seeking FREEDOM of Religion) they are Muslim so I guess they can’t be American? Right? Maybe we can take away their right to vote, or own property, or use our schools?
I mean what do you hope to accomplish here with this video? Just to tell people something about Muslims? Ok, why? Just to spread info? Ok… what do you hope people do with this information?
You know… next time I want Nazi Propaganda (because that is what this is), I will just go to their websites. I don’t need to have it sent to me. Really next time, you think.. “Man, xxx would love to see some hateful nonsense”, pretty much put that thought out of your mind. Personally, I am more worried about the a-holes who voted down the Buffett Rule, the Republican war on everyone’s freedoms (well except for the poor, oppressed Rich folks), and the non-stop asshatery of a party that wants to turn our great nation into a third world shit pile where plutocrats “rape” our environment and population so that they can have even bigger houses and more yachts while the rest of the nation burns.
Here is what I don’t get. Why are you so afraid of these people? I mean personally I realize that you are not, but in a general societal sense you are, as they represent someone “different”. People from the MENA that come to America pretty much blend in with the rest of us. They came for a reason.. to escape from oppressive conditions in their home countries, or for the good old American reason of earning a buck. Both of those reasons were why the original Europeans came to America. So what if the guy next to me worships “Allah” instead “YHWH”  or  “the Holy Father” BFD. As long as he doesn’t try to create or pass legislation that affects my right to freedom of worship or my rights as a secular citizen then, why should I have a problem with him being a countryman? I don’t.
Thanks but really… no thanks,
Why do I tie this to Republicans? Because the guy who sent this to me is a major donor to the Republican Party (over $ 200,000) AND I have heard this rhetoric from hardcore Republicans before particularly in this election cycle. As one told me (and I don't know why the hell they tell me this crap unless it is because they know I am a pretty liberal guy and they just want to piss me off - but still....)
One guy told me that my party (The Democratic Party) was the party of "Losers". When I asked what he meant his comment was "You know, minorities, homo's, the 'Pro-death' crowd, Feminazis, enviro freaks...". I sad what the hell... "The party of "Losers"???? What is this High School and it's popular stereotypes vs. everyone else? Oh and the person who told me this.... Republican donor and spends time working in the field.

THIS is what we are up against this November. This is today's Republican. This is today's Conservative, THIS is today's "values voters" whose values are completely antithetical to everything our country stands for.
Next time, these assholes bring this shit up to me - I am going to press them on just how un-American their ideas actually are. I am tired of playing nice with these assholes. THIS is what creates and drives the Fox Nation. Pure, unadulterated hate and fear.

Please discuss.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

PREDICTION TIME.....


Cross Posted at Daily Kos

Now that the Republican Primaries are all but over, a friend of mine and I were discussing the 2012 Election. His opinion was that the President was going to crush Mitt Romney  in a landslide. He put the popular vote at 56% President Obama - 43% Romney.  Needless to say, skeptic that I am, I disagreed saying that I thought the vote would be close and that EITHER President Obama OR Romney could win but, that it would be 50.1 - 51% vs. 49.9% - 49%. 

Now why do I say that? Well, even though I live in a Blue State (Thank G-d!) and I live in the Bluest of Blue areas (Doubly Thank G-d!!!!)  - SF Bay Area, I do hear from people that also live here and that are somewhat normal people (though maybe not so much) that they would vote (and I quote) for a "potted plant" before they ever vote for President Obama. Now, if I am hearing this here, I can only imagine what I would be hearing in many areas of the country that are not so liberal or progressive. Many friends from my past (Facebook) and so forth are all looking at voting Republican as well. Hardly a reasonable place to form an opinion but hey.... it's what I have. 

I think that many people underestimate the power of Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS). It is real and there are millions and millions of Americans spurred on by the hate spread on Faux News OR on the subtle BUT  Romney supporting MSM that do blame the President for many of our woes AND ignore the damage done by a congress of "do-nothing Republicans". I also think many people underestimate the effect that the money freed up by Citizens United will have on the election. President Obama will be able to raise money (as he showed in 2008) but now he facing an opponent that can and will out raise him. Billions of dollars buys a boat load of votes and Mitt Romney will have more than a billion  dollars to play with in this election. 

ALSO, Mitt has Karl Rove, Roger Ailes with his entire TV channel (a highly rated one) in his back pocket), and much of the Main Stream Media plugging his side of the story. I think that the combination of Money, and Media Power will work strongly in Romney's favor. Oh and to add some CT in there (although this has been more than proven), don't forget various voting tricks that Republicans have traditionally played including things such as passage of successful voter suppression laws, Gerrymandering (though to be fair BOTH sides do that), and voting machine "calibration" errors.

ANYWAY - Let's have some fun with this and put ourselves on record for this election. You all see what I am saying. In November you can come back and say... "Man, what the hell were you thinking????" or you can say "Pretty darn close there pal". Either way, I am willing to put this out there. 

What do you think? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Barney Frank Destroys Allen West

There have been plenty of diaries on Allen West calling members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus "communists." Yes, this one is tangentially related to that. However, Allen West's comments won't take center stage here. Instead, the always astute and sharp Barney Frank's reply will be front and center. It's really a shame that he'll be gone from Congress at the end of the year, but hopefully the utter destruction he rains on Republicans will continue.

Frank started by first slamming West and the GOP:

"Not even Joe McCarthy would have said anything so stupid and dissociated from reality," Frank said in a call with The Huffington Post. "It's an indication of the significant deterioration of the Republican Party as a responsible entity that an ignorant, mean guy like Allen West is considered one of their stars."

He then gets considerably more serious, pointing out exactly what the intention of West, and others, is when they compare their political opponents to communists:

"It is exactly the opposite of those of us in the Congressional Progressive Caucus who are in support of freedom, in support of democracy, in support of people's basic rights and civil liberties," he said. "Communism is really a reference to some of the worst human rights abuses of our time ... It is meant to delegitimize people and allow no basis for debate. It's a very nasty label."

He added, "I very much object to being associated with Stalin or Khrushchev."

It is that second point that is most important. So many on the right want to shut down the debate because they know the outcome once that debate happens. Those atop the Republican Party see what has happened during their primary season. As they have lurched even further to the right they alienate more and more voters. The Republican establishment finally has their candidate, but only after he had to tack hard right to win the nomination. That damage is done and no amount of shaking the Etch-A-Sketch is going to change that.

Frank hit the nail on the head. The real problem is not Allen West. It is that the Republican Party has descended so far into the abyss that someone like Allen West is a leader and is mainstream within the Republican Party. That is what we must keep our eye on. Yes, Allen West is the one who made the remarks. However, he is just one of many capable of making them in the modern-day Republican Party.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Santorum OUT! Who do the Republicans have left.... A Zionist Perspective

Well, let's see. Senator "Man on Dog", better known as Rick Santorum, seeing as how he was in a close race in his own state and citing family issues, has dropped out of the race.

SO what does that leave us with for the Republican field. You know, the guys we are supposed to support because President Obama hates Jews and Israel - heh.......

We have the following:

1.Mitt Romney - The Human Etch-a-sketch. The man has never met an idea that doesn't like (on BOTH sides). As far as anyone can tell he stands for nothing except for converting Holocaust victims to the Church of Latter Day Saints, making more money for himself and his buddies, and saying absolutely anything to get elected. OH yeah... and Romney fully endorses the Ryan budget plan, a plan which would thoroughly decimate the U.S. economy AND the social safety net created by the New Deal.

2. Newt Gingrich - a compulsive Adulterer and serial Liar who thinks of himself as the next great intellectual thinker of our times AND is famous for loving America so much that he had to cheat on his wife. Oh... and he also has famously said "Do what I say, not as I do" (paraphrased) ... Great words coming from one who want to be elected to head the most powerful nation on the planet.

3. Ron Paul - a cranky batshit insane racist that wants to eliminate NINE major federal departments such as the Departments of Interior, Energy, Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development and so forth. Paul stands against Federal Civil Rights legislation, and for States Rights (REMEMBER THE SOUTH!!!!) on everything else. Oh yeah, and he hangs out with known racists and Neo-Nazi's (like the folks who run Stormfront), but other than that....

Given the lunacy that these three represent exactly WHY... would anyone in the Jewish community (or any other group) even consider voting for one of this dysfunctional (at best) group?

I mean look at the front runner Romney... On the issue of Israel he promises the moon. He regularly criticizes and lies regarding President Obama (a true friend to Jews and Israel) blaming him for a host of things that he is not guilty off, nor has he done. Romney is full of promises to support Israel no matter what BUT, what does that mean coming from Romney. Not a whole lot. The man has reversed himself on almost every position he has ever taken.  Why in the world would anyone trust him at this point? Is he somehow going to become the magical candidate that actually stands for something?

Then we have Gingrich, who is so volatile that no one knows just what he will do next. Friend to Israel? Well certainly he has shown that he is a friend to the Israeli Right. For Israel itself? Who knows. But Gingrich, is someone who gladly traded in racist "dog whistles" throughout his campaign in the South, was found guilty of massive ethics violations as Speaker of the House (costing his party an election), and has lied, and cheated his entire way up the political ladder. He stands for the most regressive tax rate in the nation and has even come out against Child Labor Laws. Is this someone that we as Jews can trust? If one answers yes... REALLY????

Finally, we have our last Republican offering Ron Paul - better known as "The Mad Elf". Paul is simply a nut... there are no two ways about it. How in the world can anyone to left of unrepentant crazed "Sons of the Confederacy" even sort of think about supporting this lunatic. Here is a man that has hung out with and is overwhelmingly supported by the crowd over at White Power sites like Stormfront and anti-Semitic hate sites like Mondofront (Mondoweiss). His economic and governing powers are straight out of the old Articles of Confederation from the 1780's.. you know, the thing that we turned away from to create the Constitution to make for a more coherent government.

Further, Paul simply wants a complete isolationist foreign policy with only individual corporations dealing with foreign nations. He wants the U.S. to have no presence anywhere else in the world except through predatory business practices. Does that sound like someone we can get behind? Well yes, frankly it is better than having our backs to any of them.... but I digress. The real answer is... "OF COURSE NOT".

With this crew of jokers it is a wonder that ANY Jewish person would vote for such obvious examples of poor political thought. Right now the polls show that approx. 70-72% of the traditionally liberal Jewish polity would vote for President Obama (down from 78% in 2008). As the election season wears on and Mitt Romney and the Republicans continue with their nutty ways I would be surprised if that 70-72% does not rise to 80%. I just cannot imagine how 30% of the Jewish people would so vote completely against their own self interests to support a party that effectively advocates for only 1% of the American Public.

Seriously, how anyone can advocate voting for Romney (or any other clown in the GOP) or advocate against voting for President Obama (which is the same thing) boggles the freakin' mind.

Is President Obama turning his back on Zionism?

According to Akiva Eldar writing at Haaretz, the answer is that indeed he is. However, Eldar’s column is not the standard fare one would see from Republican Hate Sites, or the Emergency Committee on Israel, or those sites promoting Obama Derangement Syndrome. In fact, it’s a column that makes a certain amount of sense and whether one agrees with the Eldar’s premise his argument is compelling.
That’s what an American administration does when it wants to do the best for Israel. Really? Does President Barack Obama not know that a two-state solution and expanding the settlements in the heart of the occupied territories are, as they say over there, an oxymoron? Does he not understand that Har Homa’s constant encroachment upon Bethlehem and the penetration by right-wing extremists into Sheikh Jarrah are designed to wipe out the last chance for a reasonable arrangement in Jerusalem?
Does he believe there is a Palestinian leader who is willing to hold negotiations with Israel at a time when Jewish thugs, if they aren’t busy chasing Palestinians off their lands, are setting fire to mosques or chopping down olive trees? Is the leader of the free world blind to the fact that when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks about two states, he is referring to a Palestine without the Jordan Valley, Gush Etzion, Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim and, of course, without one grain of sand from the eternally holy soil of [the East Jerusalem neighborhood of] Shuafat?
Obama is not blind, and nor is he deaf or dumb. He is just another politician who has turned his back on the values with which he grew up and the people who believed in him, in order to remain in office.
Now Akiva Eldar is no anti-Zionist, nor is he an anti-Israel zealot. He is a Center-Left columnist at Haaretz and biographer of Israeli President Shimon Peres. He is a man that Bradley Burston (one of my favorite columnists) says is knowledgeable all things Israel. He is also known as being very much against the Occupation but I don’t think there is anyone that can accuse him of being against Israel or the vision of Zionism as espoused by Ben-Gurion and the original Yishuv.

Now no one with an ounce of sanity doubts that President Obama is a friend to Israel.  I mean, since the President is in office there have been multiple attempts to revive the Peace Process, security cooperation is at an all time high between America and Israel. The Americans have fully funded Israeli anti-Missile defense systems (the now proven) Iron Dome, and Magic Wand. Funding for Israel has increased, and the two countries have been working together to stop Iran’s blatant attempts at establishing  a presence in the Near East. Not too mention the Presidents support in the United Nations against unilateral Palestinian attempts at Statehood.

So with that in mind, how can one honestly say that the President has abandoned Zionism? Well, first of all, in Eldar’s mind (according to his article) he claims the Israeli Right and those supportive of the Prime Minister’s plan for a quasi independent Palestinian State, have abandoned the original tenets of Zionism and have embraced the ideals of “Post Zionism” and a One State solution. In this column (which is a spirited defense of Peter Beinart’s book “The Crises in Zionism“, Eldar takes on the right wing establishment.
Here is the crux of the argument;

At best the Prime Minister and his Rightist allies propose a solution where in the Occupied West Bank is divided into Security Zones (the entire Jordan Valley), Israeli Settlements (and including ALL of East Jerusalem) and about 50% of the land with no reliable water source for the Palestinians. At worst, the Prime Minister believes in a Two State solution with Jordan being recognized as a Palestinian State. Either way… this involves serious messing with the original Zionist dream which was to create a Jewish Democracy within the boundaries of the traditional lands of the Jewish People.  How does it do this?
  1. Annexation of the West Bank and full granting of citizenship to the people there (Arabs) would immediate shift the demographics of Israel to a 58%-42% majority of Jews to Arabs in the state.  Given birthrates between both peoples (including the Haredi), it is estimated that by 2030 Israel would cease to have a Jewish majority.
  2. If one includes the Gaza Strip (which is not seriously being discussed but would be an issue should militants continue along their merry path of rocket attacks and terror the demographics immediately change to 50%-50% Jews and Arabs.
Both of those options force Israel into a bind which would cause it to have to (at the very best) dismantle it’s democracy OR down the line, cease to be a Jewish State. It really is that simple.

Now let’s say that the Israelis follow the Prime Ministers plan which has been laid out for years. That is keeping the entire Jordan Valley as a Security Zone, Keeping the Settlement blocs that are already in place AND never dividing East Jerusalem. Well, that would set up a situation where no peace plan would be possible. And would cause the International community to look at Israel as they did like South Africa with Bantustans, nor would they be far off. Were the Palestinians ever to get serious about Peace (and I think it is safe to say that they are in no way serious about it now), their appeals to both the United States and future international powers would most likely NOT go unanswered.

Consider a Palestinian Polity that actually sat down and said… “Ok, give us parts of East Jerusalem and 96% of the territory that consists of the West Bank (along with Gaza) and in return we will recognize Israel as the National Homeland and State of the Jewish people AND we will sign a permanent peace treaty”. There would be no country in the world that would not support that. The Palestinians were close once but if they really wanted a State that is what they would do. Then what would Israel be faced with. Even the U.S. could not support Israeli intransigence at that point in time.

Here is where Eldar and Beinart (since Eldar’s column is a defense of Beinart) are right. The policies of the current administration in Israel can only promote permanent conflict or the destruction of Jewish Democracy (and possibly Israel itself). So.. in that sense their arguments are completely on target.

HOWEVER, I don’t think that one could make this argument and apply it to President Obama turning his back on the Zionist dream. Remember the Zionist dream is also about a sustainable state in the Near East. Security-wise given Palestinian maximalist demands and political instability, Israel cannot simply return to the 1967 borders, it just doesn’t make sense. Further, the task of displacing 350,000+ settlers is now almost impossible without touching off an Israeli civil war. The President seems to be,  in many ways, thinking solely along these lines. It seems he realizes what is at stake, but does not feel comfortable cracking down on the Israelis seeing as how there really seems to be no one on the Palestinian side that will forego their ultimate demands to reach a compromise.

In this sense I think one can argue with Eldar and say that while President Obama is possibly assisting in the demise of Israel as a Western democracy he has not turned his back on Israel as a nation. And thus, I think one can say that he has not turned his back on the Zionist dream of Israel as a Jewish State. I think Eldar’s (and Beinarts) claim in this is far too simplistic. It has far MORE credibility than the Rightists version of the same thing but it is in my mind simply not correct.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Passover — Happy Easter — Just Have A Good Weekend (Plus Recipe and Video)

The delicious smell of chicken soup is wafting through my apartment, so I know holiday must be near. Passover starts tomorrow night at sundown, when I, and many of my fellow Jews will be sitting down for the first seder. Easter is on Sunday for those that belong to western churches (a week later for the Eastern Orthodox). With all the cooking I'm going to be doing tomorrow afternoon, I don't know how much I'll be around here. When I'm not busy cooking I imagine I'll just want to be resting and relaxing.

Since I will be off the computer from tomorrow night until Sunday night because of the holiday, let me wish my fellow Jews here Chag Pesach Kasher v'Sameach (A Kosher and Happy Passover), or a Zissen Pesach, if you prefer. Let me wish my Christian friends a Happy Easter. And for those of you not celebrating, just enjoy a relaxing weekend without any holidays. Follow me below for the President's Passover greeting and for a matzah farfel stuffing recipe (note: I'm trying this recipe for the first time tomorrow night, so I cannot yet vouch for how it will come out).


Now on to my matzah farfel stuffing!

Matzah Farfel Stuffing

Ingredients:

1 14-oz. to 16-oz. bottle or box of matzah farfel (nothing more than crushed up matzah — you can buy a box of matzah and crush by hand into small pieces if you'd like)
1 8-oz. container of sliced mushrooms
1 large onion
4 extra large eggs
2-3 cups chicken broth
(depending upon how moist you would like it — remember that you need more moisture than usual because matzah will dry out more)
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Basil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°

Chop onions and mushrooms. Pieces should be roughly the size of 1/4 of the sliced mushroom pre-chopping. Sauté onions and mushrooms in margarine. Heat chicken broth.

Beat eggs. Add eggs and farfel in mixing bowl and mix. Add in sautéed onions and mushrooms. Add in chicken broth. For additional moistness, add water. Mix the stuffing together. Season according to taste and mix again.

Pour stuffing into pan or tin. Gently bang against counter to even the mixture out. Add additional broth or water on top to provide necessary moisture. This should be a thin, but noticeable, layer of water or broth. Cover with aluminum foil. Cook for one hour.


I guess I'll let people know how the farfel stuffing came out when I get back on Sunday night. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the delicious smell of chicken soup wafting through my apartment. It's a delicious smell to begin with, and with it reminding me that holiday is near, it also reminds me that it's a time for me to sit down, enjoy myself and spend time with family. Of course, it's also a bit painful, as today is the Fast of the Firstborn, I'm a first born, and I got up too late to go to the even that would get me out of fasting, which means I have about another four hours until I can eat.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great weekend. For those that are celebrating with me tomorrow night, a Happy, Kosher and Meaningful Passover. For those celebrating Easter, a Happy Easter. For those celebrating anything else, a Happy Anything Else. For those not celebrating anything, just enjoy the weekend.