Jewish Journal

This week in power: U.N. aftermath, Obama voters, Rosh Hashana message, Perry dancing

by Danny Groner

September 29, 2011 | 7:21 am

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

U.N, showdown
Leaders from both Israel and for the Palestinians made their cases before the U.N, last week. So who made out the best? “Although the Palestinian state was not created at the UN over the weekend – and will probably not be created in the foreseeable future – this was without a doubt a historic event,” said Barak Ravid at Haaretz. “The cold welcome Netanyahu received stood in stark contrast with the massive support Abbas received from the international community. If anyone still had any doubts – this what a political tsunami looks like, and this is what international isolation feels like.” The climate has changed a bit, but “Mr. Netanyahu is ready to negotiate today—if only Mr. Abbas is willing,” said Michael Oren in The Wall Street Journal. You call this progress? wondered Thomas Friedman in The New York Times. “We really are back at the beginning of this conflict. Until each side reassures the other that both of them really do want two states for two people — not just for one — nothing good is going to happen out there, but something really bad might.”

Obama struggling
Another week, another worry for Obama as he courts the Jewish vote. An American Jewish Committee poll indicated that only 45 percent of American Jews approve of “the way President Barack Obama has handled his job as President,” and 48 percent disapprove. It’s not time to panic just yet, warned Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. “The dichotomy between what Jewish voters think of Obama’s performance and how they will vote remains. Jews may be moving away from their reflexive attachment to the Democratic Party, but they have hardly renounced it.” It might just be too early to tell.

Rosh Hashana message
A Jewish group is pushing a “Year of Civility” message this new year, hoping to change the culture in Washington. Furthermore, said Tevi Troy in The Wall Street Journal, Jewish leaders should fight the impulse to get political at the pulpit over the High Holidays. “Political sermonizing is a mistake for many reasons. First, the Holy Days are supposed to bring forth a universal message about the unity of the Jewish people, the importance of our shared religious tradition, and the need to rededicate ourselves to observance of the Torah in the year to come.” But, JTA’s Ron Kampeas asked, “If sermons are not timely, who’s going to listen?” While that’s all well and good, “the bottom line is that we are spiritual leaders and not political pundits,” said Rabbi Jason Miller at The Huffington Post. Let’s leave it to the professionals.

Rick Perry’s simcha dancing
Politico’s Maggie Haberman uncovered some embarrassing video of Rick Perry dancing with some rabbis at a Chanukah celebration last year. “Every politician has to do embarrassing things to get votes. This is one of them,” said one blogger. Much ado about nothing, right? Wrong. “Politics aside. As a Christian, I’m much less concerned with the dancing than I am with the praying and the ‘Thank, you brother’ that Perry adds at the end. There has to be a better way for a Christian politician to serve and to be respectful of all of one’s constituents without falling into syncretistic play-acting,” said another blogger.

“Jewish men lie”
After offending the gay community with unkind words, “Millionaire Matchmaker” took aim at Jews saying “Jewish men lie” during an appearance on a Bravo talk show on Sunday. “There is nothing appealing or charming about this woman. She is an embarrassment to women, and has all the horrible stereotypes that Jewish women are labeled with,” said Ilana Angel at the Jewish Journal. I was offended, too, for a second, said Maressa Brown at The Stir, before I accepted that “It’s freakin’ Patti! If you watch Matchmaker for 5 minutes, you know she’s crazy and at times irrationally opinionated (usually on things that seem super-trivial like hair color or teeth). She also got burned by her Jewish ex. In other words, she lets her own life totally color most of the insanity that comes out of her mouth, and hey, don’t we all to some extent?” After outrage erupted, Stanger apologized. “Lesson here: don’t make massive generalizations about minority groups on live television,” said Jon Bershad at Mediaite. “And when you’re given a chance to apologize, you smile and point out that you only meant some of that group. Because nothing describes the entirety of a group.”

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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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