Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Jewish Thing

The New York Times can't figure out which prejudice it is that will sink Obama with Florida's Jewish community. Is it that they don't trust him on Israel?

“The people here, liberal people, will not vote for Obama because of his attitude towards Israel,” Ms. Weitz, 83, said, lingering over brunch.

“They’re going to vote for McCain,” she said.

Or is it cultural disconnect cooked in a recipe made of Pastor Wright, Michelle and race?

Ms. Grossman, 80, agreed with her friend’s conclusion, but not her reasoning.

“They’ll pick on the minister thing, they’ll pick on the wife, but the major issue is color,” she said, quietly fingering a coffee cup. Ms. Grossman said she was thinking of voting for Mr. Obama, who is leading in the delegate count for the nomination, as was Ms. Weitz.

But Ms. Grossman does not tell the neighbors. “I keep my mouth shut,” she said.

As long as they can blame it on race, you've got to figure the Times is happy. At least the conversation has moved into the paper's comfort zone.
American Jews hold two competing views of Mr. Obama, said Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington. First, there is Obama the scholar, the social justice advocate, the defender of Israel with a close feel for Jewish concerns garnered through decades of intimate friendships. In this version, Mr. Obama’s race is an asset, Rabbi Saperstein said.
Then there's the other side of the story:
At brunch in Boynton Beach, Bob Welstein, who said he was in his 80s, said so bluntly. “Am I semi-racist? Yes,” he said.

Decades earlier, on the west side of Chicago, his mother was mugged and beaten by a black assailant, he said. It was “a beautiful Jewish neighborhood” — until black residents moved in, he said.

And they found another one!

Jack Stern, 85, sitting alone at an outdoor café in Aventura on Sunday, said he was no racist. When he was liberated from a concentration camp in 1945, black American soldiers were kinder than white ones, handing out food to the emaciated Jews, he said.

Years later, after he opened a bakery in Brooklyn, “I got disgusted, because they killed Jews,” he said, citing neighborhood crimes committed by African-Americans. “I shouldn’t say it, but it is what it is,” said Mr. Stern, who vowed not to vote for Mr. Obama.

The piece does give a nod to concerns over Israels future from people who've been paying attention:
Several interviewees said they had reservations about Mr. Obama’s stated willingness to negotiate with Iran — whose nuclear ambitions and Holocaust-denying president trigger even starker fears among Jews than intifada uprisings and suicide bombings.
This was the real power of what President Bush said last week in Israel - it reinforced this point for pro-Israel voters here.

American Jews are by no means uniformly opposed to negotiations with Iran, the leaders of several Jewish groups said, but there is no consensus, and everyone fears that the wrong choice could lead to calamity.

Israelis fear Iran “could be the first suicide nation, a nation that would destroy itself to destroy the Jewish nation,” Mr. Dershowitz said.

Some voters even see parallels between Mr. Obama’s foreign policy positions and his choice of pastor — in both cases, a tendency to venture too close to questionable characters.

Despite reassurances from democrats that the gulf will be closed once Barack finally has the nomination, the Times is not so optimistic, even after having been assured by Congressman Wexler:

“They are not going to vote for Senator John McCain,” he added.

Still, Mr. Wexler admits, he has not yet been able to persuade his in-laws to vote for Mr. Obama.

Race is a critical theme for democrats. The party is one that can't attract mainstream American voters - its voters come either from those who are 1) fed up with Republicans, or 2) were raised to vote for democrats and view voting for anyone other than a democrat as akin to going to a different church, and 3) from niches that the party panders to.

Their biggest niche is minority voters who actually believe the party helps them by giving them horrible public schools so they can never get ahead while offering government programs to keep their state of permanent dependency comfortable.

The Times, as a subsidiary of the democratic party (or perhaps it's the other way around?) and the leader of the liberal mainstream media, seeks to stoke the flames of racial divide at all turns. But the racism they describe in articles like this one are no different from concerns over Guiliani's Italianess or Romney's Mormonism or Hillary's womanhood or Gore's dorkiness or Kerry's brahminism.

Candidates have to play well - that's why Hillary talks like a black preacher sometimes in the south and why Barack talks like a California elitist when talking to a group of wealthy supporters in San Francisco.
I'm sick of the race card that liberals love so much.

Give poor folk a damn education instead of doing the business of the teachers unions, and we can make some progress on poverty in this country.

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