Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is Barack Obama Good for the Jews?

For most Presidential elections of the past 100 years, Jews have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, with the exception of the 1920 election when many Jewish women, overwhelmed by Warren Harding's goyische good looks, pulled the lever for the Republicans. But this year many Jews are asking themselves, Is Barack Obama is good for the Jews?

The most prominent Jewish politician in the country, Joseph Lieberman, has endorsed John McCain, even though Obama backed him in his Democrat primary race for Senate in Connecticut. But that doesn't necessarily mean that other Jews will follow suit. In the 2000 Presidential election many elderly Florida Jews surprised pundits by voting for Pat Buchanan rather than Al Gore, despite the fact that his running mate was Lieberman, apparently because they felt that Lieberman was "too Jewish." (They didn't vote for Bush because they were angry at his father who they suspected of anti-Semitism for trying to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians.)

Lieberman has always been a bit embarrassing to many Jews because he seems to confirm the worst stereotypes people have of Jews. He's like the whiny kid in Hebrew class you didn't want to walk home with because it would be like walking with a magnet for anti-Semitic bullies. And his disloyalty to the Democrats and Obama (after begging Obama to help him) and his lack of subtlety about appearing to put Israel ahead of American interests embarrasses many Jews who have worked so hard at appearing to be loyal trustworthy Americans.

Lieberman's disdain for Obama seems puzzling. But I have two three four five sources who claim that there is a damaging videotape of Michelle Obama that explains the rift. Apparently, when Obama first came to the Senate, there was a luncheon of Senate wives, which someone videotaped. According to my friends who have not actually seen the tape but have friends who have friends who have seen it, Mrs. Lieberman asked Mrs. Obama if she had ordered the pastrami on rye and Mrs. Obama can distinctly be heard saying, "No, Jew." Obama's staff later claimed that his wife was actually saying, "No, did you?" but the damage was already done. I think this may actually be the mysterious videotape that Larry Johnson's friends' friends claim they have seen.

But most Jews will not be so easy for the Republicans to woo as Lieberman was. Many Jews are suspicious of conservatives, especially evangelicals. They, of course, appreciate the Christian Right's staunch support of Israel but suspect an ulterior motive. Evangelicals seem to love Israel just a little too much, perhaps because they believe that Israel's existence is necessary for the Rapture. They believe that when the Rapture comes many Jews will convert to Christianity, which they don't think will be such a big deal because they think of Christianity as Judaism Plus. Though I did eventually see the light and converted from Judaism to Christianity after seeing The Chronicles of Narnia, many Jews are a bit more stubborn about the conversion thing, even when weighed against the prospect of eternal damnation, and I suspect that when the Rapture does come many evangelicals will be disappointed.

Jews are also nervous about many conservatives' anti-immigration activism. It's not that Jews like Mexicans any more than conservatives do (and their food certainly gives many Jews heartburn) but some of the rhetoric about immigrants sounds oddly familiar. A recent post that appeared on a number of conservative blogs illustrates why many Jews are troubled. Writing about a federal immigration raid on a kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa, Nancy Matthis described the situation as "a Protestant (mostly Lutheran) small town co-opted by Jewish business interests, Jewish businessmen skirting the law to turn an extra buck." Just in case the anti-Semitic overtones of greedy Jews taking over a small Christian town was not clear enough, one blog even tagged the post "Den of Thieves," a phrase that sets off anti-Semitic alarm bells, though I'm sure this blogger, who is from the south and probably hasn't met many real Jews, didn't realize that. If conservatives actually do want to win over Jews in the Fall, they really must be careful not to put the words "Jewish business interests" and "turn an extra buck" in the same sentence.

Of course, McCain, loves immigrants and hopes to give them all amnesty, which is why he is having trouble winning over many conservatives. And when one of his supporters, the Rev. John Hagee, was discovered making anti-Semitic remarks, he immediately denounced him, though he didn't seem to care so much when this man made anti-Catholic remarks.

Obama, however, is going to have to do a lot more denouncing to overcome Jewish concerns. No matter how many times Obama denounces people like Farrakhan and Rev. Wright and Hamas, there always seems to be another anti-Semitic supporter to repudiate, like the one who posted something on Obama's public blog, which was immediately removed but not before many claimed that it proved that Obama was anti-Semitic because anti-Semitic people like him, while McCain doesn't have any distasteful supporters at all. And Obama is going to have to work overtime to deny rumors that he is a Muslim who wants to wipe Israel off the map and that he has a secret plan to round up all the Jews and put them in ghettos where black people now live. If Obama would just say, "I do not have any secret plans at the current time to make peace with Iran by driving the Jews out of Israel into the sea or move black people into the homes of Jewish people and move all the Jewish people to Harlem," I think many Jews would be relieved. But so far Obama has not forcefully denied these rumors. And how hard would it be for Obama to release his birth certificate so that we can be certain his middle name is not really Muhammad instead of Hussein, which would make a lot of difference as to whether Jews could support him (though I must say I'm not quite sure why Muhammad is worse than Hussein)? Not very. So why hasn't he done it?

Although Obama said all the right things about Israel in his speech to AIPAC (and, in fact, he may have gone overboard, which also makes Jews suspicious), he is going to have to do more (but not too much more). Every day, it seems, I get emails making yet another anti-Semitic charge against Obama. I can't imagine who is sending out all these emails but I'm sure they have Jewish voters' best interests at heart. Some of them do seem a bit outlandish. Now, I don't personally believe that Obama uses the blood of Jewish babies in ritual sacrifices to help him maintain his youthful appearance, but until Obama states unequivocally that he does not, many Jews will be reluctant to vote for him. That doesn't mean that they will vote for McCain, but they just might write in Pat Buchanan's name instead.

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Unknown said...

My advice is for "The Saint" to start working a few of the better translated bits from the poet Rumi into his speeches.
According to Elan magazine, when the mystic, Persian/Afghanistani poet died in the 13th century, Christians, Jews, and Muslims all vied to carry his coffin through Turkish streets.
That said, I realize my penchant for a medieval, mystic poet is but one detail catapulting me from any mainstream.

Anonymous said...

Obama is good for the Norwegians. Who needs Jews? Besides Jews will vote for the Democratic nominee no matter what. - Oh, wait a minute, that's Blacks who do that. Well, Harlem is much nicer than it used to be since Bill Clinton moved in, so Jews will probably like living there, yea, that's the ticket.

Inconstant Reader said...

Barry Hussein Muhammad Obama X can daven from now till Yom Kippur, but he will never fool Patriotic Flag-Loving American Jews like Jonah Goldberg and Joe Lieberman and me who know he's just waiting for the word from his foreign Muslim masters to round us all up and ship us to Tehran. That fine old man John McCain has promised to bomb the Iranians back to the Stone Age if they threaten our ally Israel, and that's all any True American needs to know.

Anonymous said...

So many people in this country are utterly confused about so many things.

Most Americans don't even know that presidential Barack Obama carries a small idol of the Hindu God "Hanuman" with him for good luck. A picture of Obama displaying this idol and his other good luck charms has been found.

Here is the link to this incredible photo:

Batocchio said...

According to my friends who have not actually seen the tape but have friends who have friends who have seen it…

Though I did eventually see the light and converted from Judaism to Christianity after seeing The Chronicles of Narnia, many Jews are a bit more stubborn about the conversion thing…

Those are my favorite lines, along with the If Obama would just say, "I do not have any secret plans… and Now, I don't personally believe that Obama uses the blood of Jewish babies… bits, of course.

Bukko Boomeranger said...

I think the reason Obama himself has started all the rumours that he is a secret Muslim is to cover the fact that he is really a secret Jew. He has to throw everyone off by creating false trails until he becomes President, at which time he and his evil wife (who's a shape-shifting lizard person from another planet) can unleash their plan for world domination by Council on Foreign Relations or the Bilderbergers, or the Illuminati, or whatever shadowy group of men it is which runs the world. Why they have to have conspiracies to run the world when they already run the world, I don't know, but us little people aren't supposed to understand the methods of the masters.

Stella by Starlight said...

Lieberman has always been a bit embarrassing to many Jews because he seems to confirm the worst stereotypes people have of Jews.

Actually, that's not satire, Jon. I was brought up Jewish, and that's how I feel about the Lieb. Not to make you meschuga clark, but Nixon was a genuine, hate-filled anti-semite:

"The Jews are all over the government," Nixon complained to his chief of staff, H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, in an Oval Office meeting recorded on one of a set of White House tapes released yesterday at the National Archives. Nixon said the Jews needed to be brought under control by putting someone "in charge who is not Jewish" in key agencies.

Washington "is full of Jews," the president asserted. "Most Jews are disloyal." He made exceptions for some of his top aides, such as national security adviser Henry Kissinger, his White House counsel, Leonard Garment, and one of his speechwriters, William Safire, and then added:

"But, Bob, generally speaking, you can't trust the bastards. They turn on you. Am I wrong or right?"

Haldeman agreed wholeheartedly. "Their whole orientation is against you. In this administration, anyway. And they are smart. They have the ability to do what they want to do--which is to hurt us."

This is some mighty subtle satire. Or is it? Hope you're doing well, Jon. Another great post.

Comrade Kevin said...

Jews and Blacks have a historical alliance that goes well beyond the Civil Rights Movement, but the pandering by both candidates is, as you point out, probably an overcompensation.

The other side of it is the hate-fueled militant black rhetoric advanced by the Nation of Islam.

Malcolm X said a variety of unflattering things about Jews, namely labeling them as supreme hypocrites and lambasting them as "the most sensitive white people in the world, always wanting you to cry tears for them for what happened to them at the hands of the Nazis.

You don't have time to cry no tears for no Jews! Cry tears for yourself. After all, Hitler only killed six million Jews. Uncle Sam killed 100 miles black people."

So there is some not totally unfounded edginess between both groups, but much of it has subsided over the years and isn't nearly as pronounced as it once was.

liquiddaddy said...

Mr. Swift,

Osama does not drink the blood of Christian babies as far as we know.

His wife Michelle probably doesn't torture the blessed little ones first, before ritually slaughtering them in the basement of their church with the help of Rev. Wright since we have no proof of this, which I think every Jewish voter should know.

Thanks for making it clear that there is no solid evidence, but merely the weight of growing circumstantial evidence, and the speculation of several experts in the occult. The Osama's would likely never be convicted of this, if tried by a southside Chicago jury of crackheads and bagwomen, and casting a vote without knowing this would be wrong.

Anonymous said...

It's probably a good thing I don't speak Yiddish or I might have to get angry with Stella. Why tell me about Nixon? Just because I voted for him in '72? Why bring that up mow? I'm never voting for the farbrecher again.

Anonymous said...

You know, Mrs. Swift maybe had the right idea:

Get a day job.

It just isn't funny. The Obamas suck up to the Farakhans. That is fact, so the video is irrelevant.

And you left out Odinga.

Making fun of the "myth" that Obama is "Muslim" completely misses the point, plus is playing the tool.

Get a clue, Jon.

Or, just jump on the tired talking point and remain unfunny. Your funeral.

liquiddaddy said...

Mr. zee,

When is Mr. Swift's funeral? You seem to have special insight into the state of his health. Pray, tell us more, for those who are interested.


ThePoliticalCat said...

Simply brilliant, as always. You are the master of satirical wit.

One little problem: Your Digg link is an invitation to submit, not a Digg rating. Since I've never been able to successfully add an SEO script for Digg, I don't really know how to fix it, but you should. Your wit should not be left to languish in the dark halls of your site, it should be out there needling the entire damned Digg community!

Distributorcap said...

besides i could never vote for someone who's wife is named for a kaffee klatch of jewish ladies -- Hadassah Lieberman

Carl said...

Barack not good for the Jews?

Ehud Barak was PM of Israel! How can a guy named after a PM of Israel not be good for Jews?

We should play this up for the election, that will get all the Rapturists to vote Democratic!

The Truffle said...

Maybe Obama should change his middle name from Hussein to...say, can anyone thing of Biblical characters whose names begin with "H"? Herod is no go. How about, uh, uh...maybe Obama could change his first name to Baruch. It's similar to Barack, yes?

Anonymous said...

lways cry at funerals, especially when they are not funny.

Anonymous said...

Jon Swift writes:

" Lieberman has always been a bit embarrassing to many Jews ... He's like the whiny kid in Hebrew class you didn't want to walk home with ... "

Like the whiny kid we all knew in Hebrew class?

Keep picking at your old wounds, Jon, and they will never heal.

Anonymous said...

i think barack is good. he is a good man

James Higham said...

Interesting that we haven't heard of him over our way. Must be great.

By the way, Interested in being a Panellist, Jon?

Anonymous said...

The Jews may get to see if Obama is good for them and Israel. People are hypnotized with Obamamania and his Obammunism. Good fodder for Obama posters here. Posters about him reflect this puppy dogs, doves and rainbows feeling. The Obama Utopia.

If Obama can stay pretty clean, do some good things as Senator, and then become Governor of IL, he could be unstoppable in 2012 or 2016. Scary stuff.

I would dearly love to see a Jewish, African-American woman as POTUS. It's not race or gender that makes it for me though. It's political beliefs that matter, and socialism is bad for everybody, (accept those high in government or high-level academia) especially poor people, of all races. Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist, no thanks.

His 'Change', 'Hope' and 'Progress' mantras are actually somewhat self-mocking. Making your own Obama posters is totally addicting.
I laughed so hard I almost had a breakdown. LOL!

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
pretend to be moderate

move towards the center fast
enrage your Left wing early

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
befriend a bomber

pushing for change at all costs
sacrifices must be made

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
only feel and hope

please force people to change
change can only be good

All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. If there is no freedom of speech, then there can be no real freedom.
Make Some Obama Posters NOW!
Che Makes Money for Capitalists
Help Halt Terrorism Now!


Anonymous said...

Whether or not Senator Barack Obama of Illinois wins the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in light of his sweeping victory in South Carolina this weekend, he will be remembered favorably by the Jewish community. Prominent Jewish activists in New York want to believe that even if this wasn't his intention, as the first black politician who is looking like a serious contender for the presidency of the United States, Obama has brought a fresh spirit to relations between Jews and blacks. They are saying that in recent months there have been clear signs of improvement in the channels of communication between influential spokesmen of both sectors.

Anonymous said...

The jews ought to ask the question whether obama is good for the USA and not good for them and Israel. He's supposed to be the president of every single American citizen, regardless to his religion, color of skin and sexuality.

credit counseling said...

Hussein Obama is good for the militant muslims who HATE western democracies


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