Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Rick Perry and the Jewish vote

August 25, 2011

I do not yet have an opinion about Rick Perry, GOP candidate for President. On the minus side, his recent prayer rally included some Jews for Jesus types whose goal is to convert Jews to Christianity. On the plus side, he is a longtime and staunch friend of Israel, and some of his policies in Texas (like tort reform) have clearly contributed to the strong Texas economy.

But he has other things that commend him to Jewish voters. Kinky Friedman (of the band Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys) likes him. And Perry recently signed a law that requires condominiums to permit owners to attach religious objects up to 25 inches long on their doors. While it applies to mezuzahs, I imagine it also applies to Christmas wreaths, as well.

In recognition of signing that law, Mezuzahstore.com is selling a one-of-a-kind mezuzah that is 26 inches long, just beyond the limit of the law. It is called “The Rick Perry” mezuzah. I guess everything really is bigger in Texas !

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You can’t make this stuff up

August 5, 2011

Yesterday, the White House issued the following:

President Obama Directs New Steps to Prevent Mass Atrocities and Impose Consequences on Serious Human Rights Violators

Today, President Obama is directing a comprehensive review to strengthen the United States’ ability to prevent mass atrocities.  The President’s directive creates an important new tool in this effort, establishing a standing interagency Atrocities Prevention Board with the authority to develop prevention strategies and to ensure that concerns are elevated for senior decision-making so that we are better able to work with our allies and partners to be responsive to early warning signs and prevent potential atrocities.  Today he is also issuing a proclamation that, for the first time, explicitly bars entry into the United States of persons who organize or participate in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of human rights.

I, for one, will sleep MUCH better knowing that a standing interagency Atrocities Prevention Board is in place. How did we ever cope with mass atrocities without one? And that proclamation – serious mojo:

This proclamation fills this gap by expanding the grounds for denial of entry into the United States to cover a broader array of recognized violations of international humanitarian law and international criminal law, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity. …

The President’s proclamation empowers the United States to warn groups that have carried out, or may be about to carry out, serious human rights violations or grave atrocities that their conduct falls within explicit standing bans on admission to the United States.

I am SURE that will deter most folks contemplating committing mass atrocities. And I am NOT WORRIED that innocent victims, like Israeli politicians or soldiers who are falsely accused of war crimes, will ever have to worry about getting a visa. After all, isn’t the country (and the world!) in the very best of hands !

Hat tip James Taranto.

Jewish voters coming to their senses ! [UPDATED]

July 12, 2011

The latest poll shows American Jews are finally realizing that Obama’s policies towards Israel do not line up with their views (hat tip Tevi Troy). A poll byMcLaughlin & Associates and Pat Caddell commissioned by Secure America Now found that Jewish support for Obama’s reelection is underwater:

65% claim they voted for President Obama in 2008, 64% have a favorable opinion of the President and 63% approve of the job he is doing as President; however, only two in five (43%) would vote to re-elect President Obama. The plurality (48%) would consider someone else and 9% are undecided.

This is a fascinating poll with lots more information than can be summarized in a blog post. You can read the whole thing here. The sample may be skewed a little since  77% of Jews voted for Obama in 2008, not the 65% claimed by those sampled. Whether that is sample bias or selective memory among the respondents is unclear. Nor are all of the trends consistent:

About two-thirds (64% to 31%) have a favorable opinion of President Obama.

Nearly two-thirds (65% to 30%) approve of the job President Obama is doing regarding America’s defense and security.

By a 2 to 1 ratio (56% to 25%), the majority believes things in the U.S. are headed off on the wrong track.

Generally speaking, when deciding their vote for President, the most important issue category is economic (44%) followed by social (31%), foreign affairs (14%), moral (4%) and other local issues (1%).

So despite having a favorable opinion of Obama, American Jews believe the US is on the wrong track, probably for economic reasons. Here are some more tidbits.

In April of last year, President Obama had a +11 job approval rating on handling America’s relations with Israel (50% to 39%). Now his job rating is … upside down (43% to 50%).

Considering that President Obama has proposed a return to the 1967 borders, dividing Jerusalem, and allowing the right of return for Palestinian Arabs to Israel, two-thirds (67% to 24%) are concerned about President Obama’s policies towards Israel if he were re-elected.

Four in five (81%) are against Israel being forced to return to its pre-1967 borders, which were susceptible to attack.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) believe Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel. Only 8% thinks the United States should force Israel to give parts of Jerusalem, including Christian and Jewish holy sites, to the Palestinian Authority.

An overwhelming majority (88% to 5) agrees with the position that before the Palestinian Authority is given their own country, they must first recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Fox News (20%) and CNN (18%) are the most trusted news organizations to report international news and Israel fairly.

Regarding the Palestinian-Israel conflict, 43% is unsure who President Obama favors. Among those with an opinion, more Jewish voters think he favors the Palestinians (31% to 26%).

The sample views Prime Minister Netanyahu more favorably than Obama, kind of like their most recent speeches to Congress:
American Jewish voters are strongly favorable to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (65% favorable to 20% unfavorable).
All in all, I find this poll reassuring that Jewish voters are getting over their reflexive support for Democrats regardless of their policies.

UPDATE: According to Greg Sargent and Adam Serwer, this is a “laughably bogus poll” because in addition to the (possible) sample skew I noted, the “questions in the poll are phrased in as leading a manner as possible” (hat tip William Jacobson). And as a commenter pointed out, saying you would consider another candidate is not the same as saying you would vote for Obama.

I disagree that the poll is bogus, though some findings show some bias. Most of the questions were straightforward and not leading:

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing regarding America’s defense and security?

Regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would you say that President Obama favors Israel, or favors the Palestinians?

The good news is, you can read the pollster’s detailed findings and decide for yourself if it is believable.

Ray of hope

November 4, 2010

I have previously pointed out the ongoing trend of the Democratic Party – its politicians and supporters – becoming more anti-Israel while the GOP remains strongly pro-Israel. It has been a great source of frustration that many of my pro-Israel Democratic friends have seemed blind to this.

But I just saw some news that offers a ray of hope. According to a poll done by J Street, Jews backed Democrats over Republicans by a 66-31 margin in yesterday’s election.

66% of Jews voting for Democrats is a decrease from the typical 76% Jewish support in a mid-term election! It is still much more than the 43% overall support Democrats enjoyed, yesterday, and the decrease may reflect the overall Republican wave.

I prefer to look on the bright side and hope this marks a trend of pro-Israel Jewish voters moving away from the Democratic party.