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This week in power: Obama, Romney, Florida legislature, Jew Pond

by Danny Groner

March 15, 2012 | 5:06 am

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Obama post-AIPAC
“I categorically reject the idea persistently and irrationally advanced by far too may in the Jewish community that President Obama is an ‘enemy of Israel,’ or ‘anti-Israel.’ I find that attitude to be despicable and unwarranted by facts on the ground,” said Rabbi Gerald Skolnick in The Jewish Week. Others aren’t so sure. “He has officially thrown Israel under the bus; for we all know, if Obama wins a second term, during which he will no longer need the money and votes of the American people, he will turn on Israel definitively without reproach,” said Lauri B. Regan at American Thinker. And the whole debate may be bad for American Jews, argued Gil Troy in The Jerusalem Post. “Asking whether Obama is pro-Israel or anti-Israel is immature and reductionist.” Maybe we’ll have to just wait for a Jewish president...

Romney support
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have had some setbacks at primaries this week, but he’s picking up steam when it comes to the Republican Jewish vote. “Top Jewish donors account for more than 10% of the $36 million raised by Romney’s super PAC,” reported the Jewish Daily Forward. But he may have to tread carefully, warned Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post. “Certainly Romney’s strong support or Israel may strike a chord with these voters; But just as important for evangelical, pro-Israel voters is the mistreatment of their religious brethren in the Middle East,” she said. “I’m not suggesting Romney take up the cause of Middle East Christians just to get votes. But this is one where doing the right thing, smart foreign policy and good electoral strategy all coincide. And that doesn’t happen very often.” There’s also always the chance that if Romney gets the nomination, Jews might stay home form the polls.

Florida’s contriversial vote
Florida last month made a bold stand with a resolution that proclaims Israel’s “God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon the entirety of its own lands” and says that the Jewish state is not “an occupier of the lands of others,” according to JTA. Some worry that this language makes it appear that the state is advocating a one-state solution. “These Florida resolutions are good examples of what it looks like to hug a friend so tightly that you unintentionally suffocate him,” said a JStreet blogger. Others worry about larger issues at hand. “Resolutions such as those in Florida will only succeed in setting off a firestorm of criticism, inviting charges of discrimination against Palestinians, and undermining the position of Israel’s government, which supports a two-state solution. The way to support Israel and to counter the one-state campaign is embrace the two-state solution and enthusiastically advocate for it in every forum,” said Rabbi Eric H. Yoffe in The Jerusalem Post.

Jew Pond renamed
The small New Hampshire town of Mont Vernon agreed Tuesday to change the name of Jew Pond to something less controversial. The new name hasn’t been reported yet. It was originally called Spring Pond when it was dug in the 1920s but it had adopted the new name shortly thereafter. “It’s too bad it’s gotten to be such an issue when it’s never even referred to or portrayed in a negative way. It’s more like, ‘It’s the Jew’s Pond. The new man in town,’” said one resident. Others made light of the issue. “Let’s just call this thing Freedom Fry Pond and move on, New Hampshire,” joked Emma Carmichael at Gawker.

‘People of the Facebook’
During a visit to California, Israeli President Shimon Peres wanted to show off his new social media page and joked that Jews are “People of the Facebook.” “You have to speak the language of the young people,” he said. “Within the first 24 hours of the launch, Peres received the ‘Like’ thumbs-up from some 30,000 people – some of whom, in all likelihood, think they could do a better job than the politicians as partners for peace,” said Greer Fay Cashman in The Jerusalem Post. Others were a bit more cynical about the enterprise. “So basically it’s just one big advertisement for Zuckerberg and Co.—but admittedly, Facebook has become less of a brand and more a way of life. One which the Jewish state apparently embraces, with absolute sincerity!” said Simone Wilson at LA Weekly.

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