Jewish Journal

This week in power: Rand Paul, Cuccinelli, Argentine soccer, Kapparot ban

by Danny Groner

September 18, 2013 | 8:22 pm

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

Paul's standing
"Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), after tentative steps to reach out to the pro-Israel community including a trip to Israel, has now infuriated Christian and Jewish leaders alike," said The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin. It triggered a fair amount of debate. "I really don't get Rand's game. If you are not going to act in terms of principle and are willing to stand as a  pro-Israel hawk to get the evangelical vote, what is the upside to pissing off the neocons and apparently even the evangelicals at times?" asked Robert Wenzel at the Economic Policy Journal blog. "Isolationism may have taken root among some Tea Partiers, but it will be a hard sell for Paul to convince Evangelicals that he can be trusted to defend the U.S. against Islamists and to maintain an alliance with Israel that he has never been that enthusiastic about," added Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary.J

Joke fallout
A joke told on Tueday afternoon by John Whitbeck, the GOP 10th Congressional District chairman, as warmed up the crowd at a Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli rally in Northern Virginia as upset many people and forced Cuccinelli to apologize. You can see or read the jokes for yourself. "It's a great piece of humor because it combines the Jews-are-cheap angle with the Jews-killed-Jesus angle in one joke," mused Jonathan Chait at New York magazine. "Oddly enough, the point of the event was for Cuccinelli to stand alongside far-right radio host Mark Levin. If anyone was going to say something outrageous and offensive, one would probably expect it to be Levin," wrote Steve Benen at MSNBC. For some, the episode had echoes of the infamous "macaca moment."

Compound blocked
Israeli troops took hold of the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Wednesday and stood in the way of Palestinian worshipers from accessing the area, according to reports. This came a day after some Muslim worshipers expelled senior Fatah official Azzam Ahmed from the Temple Mount compound. “Had he told us that he was coming, we would have provided him with security and prevented the embarrassing incident,” one activist said.

Racist chants
The Argentine Football Association’s Disciplinary Court was called over racist chants by fans of the Atlanta Football Club during a match last month. Atlanta fans called opponent Chacarita “Bolivians who belong in shantytowns, go back home. The team has a history of dealing with similar anti-semitic chants and has ties to the Jewish community. Other soccer leagues around the world face similar problems, enforcing decorum in the stands during matches.

Chickens protected
The California Department of Food and Agriculture got involved in warning groups in Los Angeles that they can't perform the ritual of swinging of chickens over their heads (Kapparot) as a way to atone for their sins. That's not the only area cracking down either. Defenders of the practice say that there's no fear of hurting the chickens. "The birds don't mind at all-- or if they do, no more than your dog minds having its paws inspected. To be blunt,  in exchange for us putting up with their chicken poop, they have to put up with our bullshit.  The key is no chickens are harmed in the marking of this teshuva, or repentence," wrote Rob Eshman at the Jewish Journal.

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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