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September 20, 2012

This week in power: Netanyahu comments, Romney blunder, France grenade, Dowd column

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/this_week_in_power/

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

Netanyahu speaks out
Benjamin Netanyahu hasn't hidden his opposition for Obama leading up to this election cycle, which has prompted many to wonder how far the Israeli prime minister is willing to go to attract attention for Romney. "For my part, I think Obama should indeed set a red line — warning Netanyahu to stop interfering in American elections," said Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. But some say that Romney is the better option in the first place. Still, this really is not be his place to intervene, said Randy Schultz in The Palm Beach Post. "Some theorize that Mr. Netanyahu is playing badder cop to Mr. Obama’s bad cop in a supporting role to the sanctions effort. If so, he’s overacting. Neither President Obama nor Mr. Romney must let a foreign head of state dictate American policy."

Can Romney recover?
Embarrassing statements from leaked Mitt Romney fundraiser videos has the candidate backtracking and explaining and struggling to stay alive in the upcoming election, political experts say. "I have a very good team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants, a couple of people in particular who have done races around the world," Romney says. "I didn't realize it. These guys in the US — the Karl Rove equivalents — they do races all over the world: in Armenia, in Africa, in Israel. I mean, they worked for Bibi Netanyahu in his race. So they do these races and they see which ads work, and which processes work best, and we have ideas about what we do over the course of the campaign. I'd tell them to you, but I'd have to shoot you." What's it all mean? "Some of this might be politics as usual, but the depth of Romney’s exceptional ignorance and naïveté is unusual, so Romney will have a major problem in winning any respect for his understanding of the world, which is a serious handicap to his presidential ambitions," said a Gulf News editorial.

French Jews attacked
A kosher grocery store near Paris was hit by a grenade that damaged the store and injured one person, according to reports. The attack took place in Sarcelles as Jewish shoppers were preparing for the upcoming holidays. "I have no reason to doubt the anti-Semitic character of this action," said one local leader. Sarcelles is known as "Little Jerusalem," and is home to a large Jewish population in the area. Earlier this summer, three Jewish children and their teacher were attacked in Toulouse; the month before three Jewish men were attacked while walking near Lyon.

Dowd riles some up
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd angered some ahead of the Jewish New Year by calling Dan Senor, a Jewish foreign policy adviser, a “neocon puppet master.” Some believed that it was anti-Semitic imagery. "In 2000, George W. Bush was a one-and-a-half term governor with no foreign policy experience. He put his advisers out front of the campaign, promising that they would run a smart FP shop. Romney's doing the same thing. How to stop people from pointing it out? Accuse them of being anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists," said Dave Weigel at Slate. "It is not good for anyone to label such arguments as 'anti-Semitic' without much stronger reason and evidence," said James Fallows at The Atlantic. "I'm not Jewish and therefore not properly sensitized and aware of the history perhaps, but it just seems to me this is more of a fuss than that adjective deserves," said Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast.

Rosh Hashana resolutions
The Jewish New Year has now come and gone. So what did we learn this year? "I’d be happy to also have more time to focus on issues that aren’t pure politics, and be able to write about issues without constantly having to consider a political angle," said Shmuel Rosner in the Jewish Journal. Others like the politics of the day. "Rosh Hashanah is precisely the right time to picket the banks and investment companies and Wall Street and their exploitative lending policies and incredible greed, and to envision a world that will catch up with this element of wisdom in our ancient Torah," said Rabbi Michael Lerner at The Huffington Post. "Whether they were thinking about work, family, or friends, everything is forgotten as we become engulfed by the cry from the shofar. Beautiful and raw, we have a moment of bliss without cell phones, computers or distractions in life," said Aaron Wolff in the Washington Jewish Week.

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