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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Local Rabbi Has it in for Barack Obama

On the heels of one local Rabbi who made what can be misconstrued as an inappropriate comment regarding Barack Obama a few weeks back, another local Rabbi really went to town on the candidate in shul today. In a diatribe that, according to my unofficial polling, many congregants present found completely improper, he went off on Obama in a completely over-the-top fashion. The Rabbi criticized Obama's position Israel, and said he surrounds himself with Sonei Yisrael (haters of Jews) and Sonei Eretz Yisrael (haters of the land of Israel). The Rabbi compared Mr. Obama to Haman, to FDR (that people loved FDR too and didn't realize what a Rasha he would turn out to be), and in what should really just invoke Godwin's Law, he actually compared the man referred* to... Hitler himself (that people dismissed Hitler too as just being all talk).

Now, I don't believe at all that Obama is anti-Israel. I just don't. Aside from these compelling arguments (I, II, III), I just refuse to believe that the candidate has ulterior motives regarding Israel based solely on a whisper campaign regarding false claims about Obama being Muslim - as opposed to on his good record on Israel issues. I had a conversation with a very intelligent and well-read family member who completely believed the forwarded e-mail she received that claimed that Obama is Muslim (false), was sworn into office on a Koran (false), and she even went so far as to call me out as being "naive" for not believing those claims, and for not seeing as clearly as she does that Obama is nothing more than a Trojan horse for terrorists. It was truly painful.

But all things considered, not as painful as a religious leader making such claims from the pulpit in front of a captive shul-going audience. That's just plain wrong.

*UPDATE: Edited to concede a valued commenter's point that it was not a direct comparison between Obama and Hitler, but a reference (though clearly a reference inviting a comparison).

67 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama has said the right things but just doesn't have the record Hillary has of real support for Israel. So it would be best if she reverses his momentum Tuesday. Samurai Mac has promised Anti-Sermite Baker would have a role in the Middle East were Mac to be elected.

Best for Shul Rabbis to stay out of opolitics. Doesn't your idiot rabbi know his shul can lose its tax status for his meddling?

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But all things considered, not as painful as a religious leader making such claims from the pulpit in front of a captive shul-going audience. That's just plain wrong."

All things considered, OM, you are blowing this speech WAY out of proportion. This was not a "diatribe," the rabbi did not "go off" and there was no direct "comparison" to Hitler.

And here I thought your relative silence these past few weeks was a sign that you were reconsidering your prior blogging efforts. Pity.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes if the Rabbi said those things he was way out of line and over the top. Yes people have pointed to silly things like his name etc. as reasons he is anti-israel.

But you're just fooling yourself if you don't see enough red flags to be concerned about this guy.
1. Forget Farakhan (sp), his minister's point of view is incredibly disturbing. Say what you want, but if a white minister said those things about blacks, any politician would completely separate themselves from that person.
2. His rhetoric on Israel is extremely non-committal and there is no evidence he is pro-israel.
3. Given his foreign policy staff and those he has looked to for advice, you should be VERY concerned. There is a school of thought that Israel's interests are completely against Americas and America would be much better off if it not only didn't favor Israel, but was especially tough on it. I'm not going to debate how many people adopt this school of thought b/c they're really anti-semites and how many take it out of a sincere view of what is in America's best interest (the latter is of course legitimate), but either reason the result is a foreign policy against Israel.

I'm not saying Obama will have an anti-israel policy. I am saying there are lots of red flags that should make anyone who wants a pro-Israel America look to the other two candidates until you see something different from Obama.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"
All things considered, OM, you are blowing this speech WAY out of proportion. This was not a "diatribe," the rabbi did not "go off" and there was no direct "comparison" to Hitler."

I don;t know how you can say that. I was there and I am irate as were many of my seat mates. This was a diatribe any way you slice it. And he definitely did invoke hitler.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was terrible. I am not an Obama supporter but I thought the speech was out of line and out of place.

12:12 AM  
Blogger DAG said...

Why did this come up now? The primary is LONG over in NY?

12:56 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

Cherchez la femme. Try here

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM, once again you are mistaken. I was there and while the Rabbi did mention certain inneunedos and false truths about an unnamed candidate (he was obviously referring to Obama), he compared the times we live in to Hitler's times. He did not compare the unnamed candidate (Obama) to Hitler at any time. The Rabbi did not advocate any election position as well (can hillary be that much better?). In fact the point of his speech was that just like with FDR, Truman, etc., when the majority of Jews were full supporters of them at their times, only to find out many years later that they we "anti-semites" in many ways, so too with today's politics, we are not in control but God is. In fact, the Rabbi ended asking that everyone daven that hashem will turn "the unnamed candidate" into a true advocate for the Jewish people as we know that only god lurks and runs the world through the hearts of Kings (presidents).

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Iwastheretoo said...

To the defenders of the Rav in question:

I happen to like the man but I definitely think he should stay away from politics. He not only said what OM repeated, he also said that we should be very afraid of Obama based on where he comes from. He even said that the situation is so bad that its ikvesa d'meshicha!

A Rav should be very careful before calling someone like Barack Obama an anti-semite with nothing to back him up.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, well, well. What DID the Rav actually say? Can we get a transcript?

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Rav's speech was flat out inappropriate. I imagine that Om got tipped off about this by many of her buddies as there were many annoyed people after yesterday's speech. No one should think that the Mispallelim were happy about the Rav's speech. Even staunch Mccain supporters who would never go for Obamas politics thought this was way over the line. Rabbanim should stick to concert bans and Kashrus issues in my honest opinion.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:18am: This Rabbi has invoked "ikvisa d'mishicha" in just about every speech he's given since 2000.

Gourmet Glatt was ikvisa d'mishicha. The Mitchell report was ikvisa d'mishicha (the Starr report was not). Heck, I believe the red pulpit has invoked OM's blog as being emblematic of "ikvasa d'misicha" (pornographic websites are not).

The unnamed Rabbi has a pet-peeve pasuk that states "Leiv M'lachim B'yad Hasem."
The unnamed Rabbi beleives this pasuk must be recited at least as many times as one recites "Asher Yatzar" on any given day.

The unnamed Rabbi was clearly not speaking from first-hand knowledge. Someone fed him a political newsflash (red, yellow, whatever), and he took off with it like a hot-off-the-press Lipa Shmelzer ban racing a pre-diet Shea Mendlowitz to the MSG box-office. And the crowd, for the most part, soaked it up like a community-wide grocery store boycott with a Rav Avraham Schorr shalosh seudos drasha as topping.

The unnamed Rabbi did not name or endorse (or specifically condemn) any candidate. So, for all you lawyers out there, the 501(c)(3) status is safe (for now) and, in any event, the Shul's status as a 501(c))(3) only has relevance to those who actually donate money towards its building/operational fundraising campaign (i.e., making a donation is a prerequisite to a tax benefit).

The unnamed Rabbi offered no assertion of facts whatsoever to back-up his claim. He used vague, general terms and veiled inferences to certain advisors and their positions on Jews/Israel. As one member insightfully remarked, either the Rabbi beleives his members to be incapable of understanding anything other than a black and white "ban" or "decree" without any backup details or evidence whatsoever (repeat after me: "Emunas Chachamim") or the Rabbi plainly and simply does not have any real knowledge about Obama, his advisors or their respective, collective views on the issues in question, yet siezed a great opportunity to fill his "Leiv M'Lachim B'yad Hashem" quota (too many bathroom breaks yesterday?) and his quota for bad Shul PR (too much money being raised?).

90% of what OM wrote is accurate. Personally, I would not have written about this on a blog because what the unnanmed Rabbi said is not the belief of most Jews, and is akin (on a far different scale, of course) to a Hillary aide circulating viral e-mails and costume pictures to cast a false light over statements, facts and events with respect to a particular candidate.

And statements/speeches like the one delivered on Shabbos only serve to breed and faciliate anti-semitism (I myself am not a racist but if, for example, purple people began to publicly accuse me of discriminatory behavior towards purple-people, I may begin altering my purple-people views) and blogs like these partially serve to facilitate this misconception by publicizing minority views that may be seen by the outside world as the majority view, irrespective of whether or not an anonymous blogger or her commentators state otherwise (yes, most people believe the portions of a story they want to believe and ignore the rest -- sound familiar?).

Finally, OM, you lost credibility by converying the Hitler remark at all, let alone using the words you did to describe what the unnamed Rabbi actually said and meant. Yes, the unnamed Rabbi mentioned the name Hitler in his speech. But no, to any reasonable and intelligent person (and perhaps the Rabbi should have known his audience), the comment was an attempt to suggest that Obama will implement the Final Solution, if elected.

It would actually be more reasonable to infer that the unnamed Rabbi suggested that Obama has a wierd-looking mustache than to allege that the unnanmed Rabbi suggested that Obama is capable of the annihilation, torture and slaughter of millions of Jews.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was there and while the Rabbi did mention certain inneunedos and false truths about an unnamed candidate (he was obviously referring to Obama), he compared the times we live in to Hitler's times."

If he mention Hitler as a comparison to someone whose views were underestimated just like he thinks Obama's are then OM is right, the Rabbi invoked Godwin's law. Look it up. When someone invokes the holocaust in a conversation that has nothign to do with it they lose credibilkity and the conversation is over. He didn't have to compare the man to Hitler. IMHO mentioning the name Hitler in a conversation about our present candidates is irresponsible enough.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


90% of what OM wrote is accurate. Personally, I would not have written about this on a blog because what the unnanmed Rabbi said is not the belief of most Jews, and is akin (on a far different scale, of course) to a Hillary aide circulating viral e-mails and costume pictures to cast a false light over statements, facts and events with respect to a particular candidate.


You're entitled to your opinion. My opinion is that if people really believe these Obama falsehoods than sunlight is the best disinfectant. If a shul full of people hear this Rabbi and believe him and take his words to heart or to the voting booth then more damage is done than by refuting his words in a public forum.

You must be one of those guys who thinks that it's never a good idea to expose molesters publicly because of the risk of Chillul Hashem.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous MyTwoCents said...

I'm no Hussain Obama fan (sorry-couldn't resist) and I have no intension to vote for him (or Hil for that matter).
That said, I am not of the belief that he is some secret muslim, anti-Israel anti-semite whatever.
HOWEVER - I think it is perfectly reasonable to view Obama as more of an "outsider" simply based on his upbringing, background and heritage.
These "details" DO count for something. They make the man (or woman) who they are - they are the fabric of a person.
Although Barak Hussain Obama may himself not be Muslim - we know his father is (was?) Muslim. We know he lived in a predominently Muslim country for a portion of his childhood.
Based on the above facts, is it unreasonable to assume that Barak will have stronger sypathies towards Muslims than, say, John McCain? Duh. Of course he will. He's human right?
So, maybe that's a good thing? Maybe his more sympathetic approach to Palistinians will make them more willing to negotiate. Maybe his sympathetic approach with the Iranians will make them more willing to give up their nuclear ambitions.
Or maybe not - perhaps it will be percieved as weakness and cause WWIII.
Hmmm. Well, I guess that's why we vote.

Just don't be naïve and pretend (in the name of "not being a racist") Obama is just like every other candidate. He's not. And that's ok - just don't be in denial about it.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:17am: Based on the analogy you made in your last sentence, it is clear that you are one of those people who hears/reads what s/he wants to hear/read.

"90% of what OM wrote is accurate" means that -- for the most part -- the unnamed Rabbi spoke those words in the manner described by OM, not that his words were in fact true and accurate. There's a huge difference.

Had the unnamed Rabbi condoned child molestation and I had a popular blog to spread messages, I would have hammered home the point that Jewish law condemns any such behavior and avoided any mention of such an absurd statemement from a Rabbi.

It's not the message I object to, it's the need to dwell in the past (yesterday) and to repeat a story that can and will be counterproductive, in an effort to spread the "real" story.

The more appropriate analogy for you to have made would have been that I am the type of person who thinks it's never a good idea to repeatedly speak about accused child molestors on blogs for sport. Everyone's time would be better served questioning Rabbi Bender and Yeshiva Darchei Torah as to why they have not yet opted into the new criminal background check law (using fingerprinting, not named-based background checks) than acting as the judge and jury offering opinions about which Kolko limbs should be severed.

And no, 11:17am, Obama does not have a wierd mustache.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's not the message I object to, it's the need to dwell in the past (yesterday) and to repeat a story that can and will be counterproductive, in an effort to spread the "real" story.


Who says it's counterproductive? The fact is that if many in the community believe the e-mails they've gotten that say Obama is Muslim and anti-Israel, and a speech by a Rabbi in the community only helps that case. The answer to this kind of misinformtion is correcting the record. I commend Orthomom for doing so and I don't think she is dwelling in the past.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:56am: I respect your opinion -- I'm in the minority on this one. I was merely clarifying my point in respense to a misunderstanding, not trying to exacerbate what was intended as a subtle criticism of OM's approach (and a completely secondary, "by the way" point overall).

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Please! The chutzpah it takes to claim Obama is pro-Israel and he is only criticized because he is accused of being a Muslim is such a fraudulent canard. Try googling Antoin Rezko, Zbiegniew Brezinski, Anthony Lake, Susan Power, Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright and the Weathermen terrorists. Obama is either friends, partners, or they are his advisors. The most anti-Israel US officials in the last three decades!!! And what has he actually DONE for Israel or Jews besides belong to a racist and anti-semitic church and serve on the Board of Directors of a Palestinian charity with Rashid Khalidi. The problem with you liberal Jews is that you base your lives on "feelings and emotions" and not FACTS AND ANALYSIS. Try doing some research on Obama's REAL record of advisors and policies!!

12:20 PM  
Blogger Traveling Mom said...

Your readers judge Obama by the comments of his minister. Ok, so now everyone who goes to your temple is now responsible for calling Obama Hitler?
I think it is ridiculous that we can only interact with people who agree with us 100 percent of the time on 100 percent of the issues. If I am running a food bank, do I have to interogate everyone who wants to drop off some peanut butter? His church ran a prison ministry. Farrakhan provided jobs and training to excons. They thanked him for his work.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Lenin3 said...

Until Israel learns to deal with it's neighbors without the strong arm of the US, it will results as the Hezbollah war. You can kid yourselves that the person in the White House is more important than the leader of the Knesset, but the vote in the US has very little to do with the outcome in Israel. If you want to influence Israeli politics go vote there.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Sultan Knish said...

yes how dare a Rabbi stand up to try and save Jewish lives from a notedly anti-israel presidential candidate with ties to Farrakhan

he should stick to the shul bulletin

I bet you'd have the same view if it was David Duke running for President instead of a liberal anti-semite you're trying to carry water for

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Obamavet said...

"Try doing some research on Obama's REAL record of advisors and policies!!"

Apt advice, why don't you follow it for yourself. If guilt by association were the norm, there is not a candidate out there who is clean.

Obamavets.com

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not that surprised. I'm new to your blog, OM, but as a fellow frummy and critical thinker, I'm never terribly amazed when fellow frummies (Lubabs in my case) spout off with right wing radio politics. This was the case in our most recent city election where the incumbent Jew representing us (a frie Yid) was clearly not nearly as concerned for our interests as a woman who worked for the ADL but was (if I'm not mistaken) Phillipino. A whispering campaign was started that she wanted to build a mosque on every corner.

That said, I'm a big Obama supporter after 10 years of political inactivity (after becoming a BT) and have been pleasantly surprised to find pockets of support among Chassidim who are impressed with his positivity and energy. The adult son of the head Shaliach of our state is a big fan.

One important point with Obama is that his influence is largely predicated on his perceived transparency. From this perspective we have a friend and ally as his stated positions have been clearly in favor of Israel's right to defend itself from terrorism. Any claim to the contrary is fear mongering (interestingly, no one seems too concerned with Hillary's hug with Soha Arafat in 2000). On the other hand, we need to adjust ourselves to the idea that no matter who our president is, we'll have to fight the two-state solution pushed from the bully pulpit. If Bush is on that bandwagon now, this is unfortunately now the accepted American political status quo.

Lastly, I think we as a community need to examine some widely held beliefs championed by the Neo-con perspective--that all American military involvement in the Middle East is by its very nature good for Israel. The Iraq quagmire has significantly weakened Israel's long term security standing and greatly increased the risk from Iran. Of the three main candidates currently in the running, I'm most confident that Obama will see these types of situations with the most strategically critical eye.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, fraudulent canardo (aka12:20pm). As you suggested, I just did some Google research, and my liberal, emotional, non fact-based browser directed me to the following:

March 1, 2008

Obama Walks a Difficult Path as He Courts Jewish Voters

By NEELA BANERJEE

As he battles for the Democratic nomination, Senator Barack Obama is trying to strengthen his support among Jewish voters and in doing so, is navigating one of the more treacherous paths of Democratic politics.



The challenge of meeting the concerns of the Jewish electorate, a cornerstone of the Democratic base, was evident Tuesday when Mr. Obama was asked at the Democratic debate in Cleveland about Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has endorsed him.



Mr. Obama called Mr. Farrakhan an anti-Semite and denounced his support, but was pressed to go further by his rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, an experienced hand at Democratic politics who herself has been on the defensive with Jewish voters after an encounter in 2000 with Suha Arafat, the wife of the Palestinian leader.



Mr. Obama has also faced criticism over remarks he made about the suffering of Palestinians — remarks he says were incorrectly reported — and about who is advising him on foreign affairs. And he has had to beat back false tales, spread in viral e-mail messages, that he is a Muslim who attended a madrassa in Indonesia as a boy and was sworn into office on the Koran. In fact, he is a Christian who was sworn in on a Bible.



Winning the trust of Jewish Democratic voters is all the more difficult for Mr. Obama because of the tenuous relations between blacks and Jews. He addressed that very issue at the Cleveland debate when he used the answer to the Farrakhan question to call for a renewal of the ties between blacks and Jews.



But other issues he faces arise from his newness to national politics. While his positions hew to mainstream Democratic views, some critics have expressed concerns that they are not heartfelt.



“His record is relatively sparse, so I want to look at the totality of influences that might bear on Senator Obama,” said Ed Lasky, news editor of the online magazine, American Thinker, whose criticisms of Mr. Obama for aligning himself with allegedly anti-Israel advocates have been widely circulated among Jewish voters.



Mr. Obama said on Thursday that some questions about his commitment to Israel and the Middle East are being provoked by Mrs. Clinton and her advisers, as well as other rivals.



“Those concerns have been continually stoked, whether through these e-mails that suggest that I’m a Muslim and attended madrassas and was sworn in with my hand on the Koran and scurrilous e-mails that were untrue,” Mr. Obama said. “Or whether it was an article that was in Newsweek recently indicating the degree to which Clinton supporters had questioned my positions on Israel.



“I think it’s very clear why there have been problems,” he added. “It’s been part of a series of political strategies not all necessarily, by the way, by the Clinton administration.”



Campaign advisers said they approached Jewish voters the way they did others, confident that once they knew more about Mr. Obama, they would be reassured. At the same time, they acknowledged that many Jewish voters were “vigilant” in testing candidates for president, particularly on Israel.



“The Jewish community, rightfully so, is a sensitive and anxious community and has many historical reasons for that,” said Representative Robert Wexler of Florida, a top adviser to Mr. Obama on Israel. Campaign officials said they were surprised, however, by the penetration of the viral e-mail messages, which were background static in the campaign until they began flooding the inboxes of Jewish voters right before nominating contests.



The e-mail messages have not gone unchallenged. Jewish supporters of Mr. Obama have sent thousands of their own e-mail messages, and some have started an online petition for other Jews who support his candidacy.



The campaign in recent days has moved to shore up Jewish support, with Mr. Obama speaking last Sunday to an influential group of Jewish leaders in Cleveland and addressing their questions about Israel, Mr. Farrakhan and even his church in Chicago, whose pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., has been viewed with suspicion.



“Nobody has ever been able to point to statements that I made or positions that I’ve taken that are contrary to the long-term security interests in Israel and in any way diminish the special relationship we have with that country,” Mr. Obama told reporters Thursday in Texas. “My job is just to keep on getting the information out and this is part of the political process.”



Jews make up about 1.7 percent of the adult population, but they are a stronghold of the Democratic base and important to the party’s fund-raising.



Over all, Jews made up 5 percent of the voters when more than 20 states voted on Feb. 5, and they divided their votes 54 percent for Mrs. Clinton and 44 percent for Mr. Obama, according to exit polls by Edison/Mitofsky.



But while Mrs. Clinton took the Jewish vote by 2 to 1 on her home turf, New York, and also in New Jersey — states she won — Mr. Obama captured the Jewish vote in Connecticut 61 to 38, which he won, and in Massachusetts, 52 to 48, which he lost. And he split it with Mrs. Clinton in California, where she won.



On some levels, that is hardly a surprise. Democratic Jewish voters, like any voting cohort, are hardly monolithic.



Some Jewish leaders said the anxiety over Mr. Obama might reveal more about Jews than about the candidate. By their analysis, those who heed the e-mail are generally older and have closer ties to Israel. The break is between “those who are motivated by traditional Jewish liberalism and those motivated by traditional Jewish anxiety over Israel,” said J. J. Goldberg, editorial director for The Forward, a Jewish newspaper.



On Israel, some Jews have found fault with Mr. Obama’s commitment, if not his policies. They worry about his call for direct talks with Iran over its nuclear program. Many also point to a now oft-repeated remark of his, made last year in Des Moines, that “no one has suffered more than the Palestinians.”



His supporters say his stance toward Iran does not mean capitulation. Further, Mr. Obama has repeatedly said that his remarks about the Palestinians were incomplete, and that he went on in his remarks to blame their leaders for the Palestinians’ plight.



His campaign Web site says the American commitment to Israel’s security is “incontrovertible.” As a senator, he backed Israel during its invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and supports military aid to Israel. Weeks after he was sworn in in 2005, he visited Israel.



E-mail messages circulating about Mr. Obama’s untrustworthiness assert that the former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and diplomat Robert Malley, figures loathed by many Jews, are top advisers to his campaign. Mr. Brzezinski has met with Mr. Obama, but he is not a top adviser. Mr. Malley has communicated with the campaign by e-mail but has never spoken to Mr. Obama, a campaign spokesman said.



The candidate’s Israel advisers are three former staff members to President Bill Clinton: Dennis Ross, a top Mideast adviser; Anthony Lake, national security adviser and Susan Rice, assistant secretary of state. Other advisers on Israeli and Mideast matters are Mr. Wexler; Dan Shapiro, formerly of the Clinton national security council, and Eric Lynn, a former Congressional aide. (All but Ms. Rice are Jewish.)



Many Jews have expressed concern about Mr. Obama’s minister, Mr. Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. In an article in The Jerusalem Post that is being circulated on the Internet, Marc Zell, co-chairman of Republicans Abroad in Israel, described Mr. Wright as “well known for his virulent anti-Israel remarks.”



The Anti-Defamation League, however, has said that it has found no evidence of anti-Semitism on Mr. Wright’s part.



The concerns of Jewish skeptics, meanwhile, are shared by conservative Christians, passionately protective of Israel as the Holy Land, and by many Republicans. Criticism over Israel in the Democratic race now hints at fights Mr. Obama could face should he end up the nominee: This week, the Tennessee Republican Party issued a news release that said there was “a growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.”

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama is very likely the live candidate least sympathetic to Israel. The fact that people have bad reasons to question what he will do, does not mean that there are not good reasons.

Barak's roots are in the two parts of our country -- ivy league universities and urban african america -- most hostile to Israel. There can be no doubt, that he has been, and as president will continue to be, surrounded by more people hostile to Israel then Hillary or McCain would be.

Thats obviously a far cry from calling him Hitler, and this post is from an American Jew who feels our special relationship with Israel is bad for American Jews. But those who disagree with me, are right for fearing what Obama, as president, would do to Israel.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oy vey! I'm so tired of all the scurrilous, unsubstantiated rumors about Obama, many of them regurgitated in some of these comments.
Please read this and this to set the record straight.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the bright side, he didn't call him a Muslim or make overtly racist statements like that certain other local rabbi in the post you linked.

To echo an earlier commenter, the problem is that the rabbi in question doesn't do nuance. So FDR is a "rasha m'rusha" because he didn't bomb the tracks even though he rallied the nation into a war many bitterly opposed and brought defeat to the Nazis, which save far more Jews than bombing the tracks would have. He expresses similar sentiments for Truman, despite being the first to recognize Israel, because he was known to have made some anti-semitic remarks. To expect a man who grew up in Missouri during the early 20th century, as Truman did, to not harbor anti-semitic views demonstrates a lack of perspective, to put it kindly.

My guess is that this rabbi relies on very partisan one-sided "news" sources such as talk radio in the like. With all the bashing of FDR and Truman, I don't think I have heard a word of criticism from him about Nixon, a true anti-semite, or Bush I.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the bright side, he didn't call him a Muslim or make overtly racist statements like that certain other local rabbi in the post you linked.

To echo an earlier commenter, the problem is that the rabbi in question doesn't do nuance. So FDR is a "rasha m'rusha" because he didn't bomb the tracks even though he rallied the nation into a war many bitterly opposed and brought defeat to the Nazis, which save far more Jews than bombing the tracks would have. He expresses similar sentiments for Truman, despite being the first to recognize Israel, because he was known to have made some anti-semitic remarks. To expect a man who grew up in Missouri during the early 20th century, as Truman did, to not harbor anti-semitic views demonstrates a lack of perspective, to put it kindly.

My guess is that this rabbi relies on very partisan one-sided "news" sources such as talk radio in the like. With all the bashing of FDR and Truman, I don't think I have heard a word of criticism from him about Nixon, a true anti-semite, or Bush I.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of these days I want someone to explain to me how disagreeing with the positions the State of Israel takes its tatamount to being anti semitic. I think the State of Israel number 1 problem is the fact the hardline are the ones making the decisions. When have we ever seen a contrast in this country to decisions Moderates make, and the more hardline. You don't and when you do disagree you are labeled as bigoted. There is no crime in talking with anymore. Thats why you have diplomats to talk with your enemies. I think if some of Israel's neighbors wasn't so hardline, maybe they would see it to their benefit to engage Israel. But I would welcome a debate in America on the future of the Middle east that wasn't so one sided. When all can sit at equal tables. You won't get it because the hardline guys control the conversation.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, what happened to Rabbi's not being allowed to discuss elections and candidates as they are non profit. If the Rabbi's feel they need to sell or pan a candidate, perhaps the shul should pay taxes.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

"So FDR is a "rasha m'rusha" because he didn't bomb the tracks even though he rallied the nation into a war many bitterly opposed and brought defeat to the Nazis, which save far more Jews than bombing the tracks would have."

What utter unadulterated nonsense. FDR said he didn't blame the German's for antisemitism because of Jewish dominance of the professions in Germany-read "the abandonment of the Jews for the exact quote.
The US was on the winning side , b ut did not defeat the Nazi's- the Russians did.
Because FDR let the Russians do the job, he could heave bombed the tracks , he could have gone through the Swiss and Swedes to backchannel to the Germans to stop.
Of course if his Jewish liberal supporters marched and rallied for him to do something, he might have, but they were too busy having gentile grandchildren.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linked here from the politico site...

Reading through these comments, I have to ask: where does one draw the line between critical of Israel--that is, pointing out when the modern and heavily armed state of Israel makes political and diplomatic mistakes--and being hateful of Israel, claiming that the "Jews" (instead of simply "the Israelis") are a force of destruction? How does Obama's minister somehow push him into this category?

BTW: in my opinion, the commenter who said that the Ivy League and Blacks are intrinsically hostile to Israel is as bad as any paranoid anti-semite.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous of 11:17 A.M.-Why the reference to rabbi Bender and Darchei Torah ?
unless you are one of those with a personal agenda and are trying to push it regardless of the truth.
As far as i know , Darchei Torah is one of the few schools that do a very thorough background check on all their employees.
Rabbi Bender has been one of the most eloquent and toughest fighters out there against the molesters.
if there is one Rosh Yeshiva out there who really protects his students from the animals lurking in every corner of the globe , it is our Rabbi Bender !
He is the one mechanech out there who really cares.
where do you come off making scurrilous and unsubstantiated accusations against a giant of our times ?
shame on you !

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction-last comment was to anonymous of 11:45 A.M.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, please. These reflexive positions remind me of a Jewish form of "America, Love it or Leave it." I am proud that my mother, who is a Holocaust survivor, decided to support Obama without any prompting from me. She is more open-minded than some of you. I've heard Dennis Ross speak a few times. He was President Clinton's Middle East negotiator. He takes an even-handed approach to the Middle East, and I am willing to bet he exerts much more influence on Obama than Brzezinski. A two-state solution is now official U.S. policy. It is in Israel's best interest - although monitoring and trusting such a solution is difficult at best. Still, at the end of the day, tell me how Obama (or any of these candidates) can afford to turn on Israel. I just don't see it happening.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a pragmatic basis IMHO Rabbis should keep out of politics. It is IMHO permissible for them to speak that one should consider support for Israel, support for day schools, any moral issues etc-but they should not mention nammes of candidates.
There are many Rabbonim who on a matter of principle never spoke on matters of partisan politics-it would be better ifRabbis stuck to what they know.
I am commenting solely on what I read on this blog-I have not heard the statements in question-but assuming arguendo they have been said they shouldn't have.

mycroft

9:09 PM  
Blogger CHNYOCK said...

a rabbi getting into politics can jeaprodize his shuls tax exempt status...

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:51pm: You are absolutely correct. I should not have singled-out Rabbi Bender who is only one among the sea of yeshiva leaders who are guilty here.

You say my statements are “scurrilous and unsubstantiated,” yet I offered the facts previously on this blog. No worries, though, I'll offer them again for the reading-challenged.

Darchei Torah, like the majority of yeshivos, has not opted into the new private-school fingerprinting law, effective July, 2007. Yes, Darchei Torah conducts thorough name-based background checks on all its employees. The problem is that, by definition, named-based background checks are simply not thorough (I have volumes of testimony from former FBI agents that substantiates that fingerprint-based checks are hundreds of times more accurate than name-based background checks). And no, Darchei Torah has refused to opt into this new permissive law and to conduct fingerprinting-based checks on employees.

More importantly, though, with this new law, the New York State legislature took its first baby step towards legally protecting private school students in the same manner as the law affords protection to public school children. However silly this new law may seem to you (and it's far from silly), it is still important for private schools to signal to the state legislature that they care about the protection of their students. It's called "momentum" for the next, more important child safety law to ensure that the law protect the children who attend private schools at least as much as the law protect public school students.

Is that specific enough for you?

Please ask Rabbi Bender, who I'm sure is a great man, why he cannot help continue the momentum and report back on this blog. Ask the leaders of other schools as well while you're at it. And if you disappear and do not respond (which is typical of those who pen absurd comments like yours), like you say, SHAME ON YOU. Because of cowards like you, our children’s safety is not of paramount importance. I don’t want to dwell in the past and the countless cases of sexual abuse in our yeshivos. This is about looking ahead and changing for the better.

And yes, if saving the lives of our children is a "personal agenda," I am guilty as charged.

Now get to work and prove me wrong.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you involved with this law?
are you Mr. pasik , the lawyer who authored this bill ?
don't your children attend Darchei Torah ?
isn't it unfair of you to single out darchei , the school that educates your children?
i have heard that darchei Torah under the leadeship of Rabbi Bender is in the forefront of the battle to keep these decadent people away from our children ?

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:57pm: No I am not Elliot Pasik, but how and why is that relevant?

And there you go again with the robotic statements about "forefront of battle." Instead of making general statements similar to the sweeping factually incorrect Obama bashing, why don't you respond to the direct, specific question posed about the new law?

Why doesn't everyone approach the school leaders and ask why the schools are fearful that -- G-d forbid -- further laws protecting our children will be enacted?

I'm just dumbfounded by the lack of passion about this issue. I don't believe for a second that any of us do not care about our children and their safety and, if that's the case, we just don't take this issue seriously enough.

The people who support this law and the parents who should stand firmly behind this and further legislation are not the “witch-hunting" UOJ-type parents who are Rabbi-hunting. No one involved here has any interest in hurling allegations and unnecessarily ruining lives. We care about creating a safer environment for our children.

As yeshivos and rabbonim continue to stonewall those trying to protect children, future UOJs are stewing in an effort to make parents and schools aware that these are real problems that need to be addressed through legislation. Why do we need to wait for a wake up call from some creepy Rabbi-bashing blogger to trigger a reaction???

Is the only way to cause people to open their eyes to have another Mondrowitz or Kolko on the 11pm news? Everyone agrees child molesters should be punished -- but it's absurd that people are lurking and witch-hunting solely for the purpose of hammering home the point that this issue is important. Educated adults should be more aware of this problem without the need for people to resort to nasty and obnoxious tactics.

If this community would stand up and ask the leadership about these laws, hopefully we can move in a positive direction and prevent those who feel the need to inform you of this real issue by ruining the lives and reputations of innocent rabbis.

So, for the sake of preserving the integrity of Rabbonim -- and most have tremendous integrity and are not "afraid" of new laws, take advantage of what the New York State legislature has handed to us on a silver platter.

I've heard that it's "disrespectful" to Rabbonim to subject them to fingerprinting. To the contrary, it's disrespectful to Rabbonim to suggest that an innocent Rabbi cannot subject himself to a fingerprint-based background check in an effort to take the first baby step towards protecting even one child from the hands of one act of molestation. It’s a small sacrifice and it should be an honor for a Rebbe to step forward and say “fingerprint me!” and “subject our school to guidelines, policies and the like similar to public schools – we have nothing to hide and, in fact, it would improve our reputations in the event these laws might root out the “one in a thousand” bad apple that can potentially ruin the life of one of our beautiful little children.
Please take this seriously.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eliot Pasik is a selfless individual who has spent hundreds (if not thousands) of pro bono hours to protect your children. Any implication that he is anything other than a hero is wrong. The comment above at 1057 seems to have "accused" the author of the prior comment of being Mr. Pasik himself. If only more people would be "accused" of such identity, this world would be a wonderful place. Shame, shame, shame on you and anyone else who wants to make any negative implication about this community attorney who has dedicated his life to the safety of children. Mr.Pasik should be recognized and honored by every member of this community and every person world-wide who has a child who attends a school for his years of dedicated service and accomplishments.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a very valid point - one that i disagree with but i concede to be valid.

however, the issue arises as to how this ban was issued and why was it issued so late in the game. On top of that, this concert was a tzedaka concert, there was going to be separate seating and entrances, and lipa was only going to sing songs with chassideshe niggunim.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

Samantha Power, a senior Obama foreign policy advisor, is very hostile to Israel and has advocated the imposition by the United States of a two-state solution against the will of the parties, employing U.S. troops to do so. Google the interview that she gave on UC Berkeley's website and you'll see what I am referring to.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM, did you know about Samantha Power before you opined on BO?

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary, the Mrs. Arafat-smoocher, cordially welcomed Arafat to the Whitehouse more than any other foreign "leader". Support for Israel? Save us from such supporters!

Billary sent James Carville and Bob Shrum to Israel to tamper with Israeli elections to make them more compliant with the US-led "piece process". Look at the vast Arab wealth Bill has gotten from Wahhabist regimes for his library. Make Hillary show us her joint tax returns before you EVER consider her a friend of Israel!

I've started to think that we need to get state primaries to require releasing tax returns as a prerequisite to appear on primary ballots. It would clear things up EARLY in the election season and would deny stonewallers.

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Moshe Rabinowitz is back. Hang on to your keepahs and get ready for his take on the anti-semite, Obama and his self hating Jewiash cronies, Axelrod and Emanuel. Like the Jews who helped finance Hitler, we have set ourselves up for another holocaust. When did Jews stop being smart?

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