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January 26, 2012

This week in power: Florida, Newt, German anti-Semitism, Kosher Jesus

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/this_week_in_power_florida_newt_german_anti-semitism_kosher_jesus_20120125/

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

Florida factors in
“How Florida Jews cast their ballots January 31 is actually serious business,” said The Jewish Daily Forward in a preview piece for next week’s primary. “After all, the Florida GOP primary will be the first opportunity to get a glimpse of the highly regarded ‘Jewish vote,’ and we will finally see some “voting patterns of this decidedly vital demographic group.” So how will it go? Steven Windmueller said in the Jewish Journal that while Jews are “primarily a moderate-liberal base of voters,” they “can be found in all sectors of the political spectrum.” But this focus and attention could all be misguided, warned Peter Beinart at the Daily Beast: “In fact, most American Jews don’t really vote as Jews at all. On many issues, in fact, they’re indistinguishable from atheists. They vote as secularists.”

Newt’s rise
According to recent polls, Newt Gingrich could be the candidate to walk away with the much-coveted Jewish vote in Florida. As he’s gained momentum, Gingrich has also run into some resistance. “The notion that Gingrich, whose campaign has been revived by large contributions from Sheldon Adelson because of the candidate’s down-the-line backing for Israel, is somehow such a covert Jew-hater is simply a smear,” said Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. “Though his faults are many, he is, if anything, a more ardent Zionist than many Jewish liberals and has never done anything that could possibly link him to hatred for Jews.”

Germany’s anti-Semitism endures
Many decades after WWII Germany is still grappling with hatred against Jews, according to a recent report. “According to the report, Iran’s anti-Semitic ideology not only manifests itself in propaganda within the country, but also influences Germany.” A 10-person committee spent two years worked on producing the first-ever report. “We commend the authorities for honestly exposing and confronting the scope of the problem,” said Elan Steinberg of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants. “The tragic legacy of the Nazi era places a special burden on Germany to confront anti-Jewish hate.”

An Obama hit?
After writing a piece speculating that Israel would think about killing President Obama, Atlanta Jewish Times owner and publisher Andrew Adler resigned and said he would write an apology to appear in the next issue of the print publication. He said he wrote the article to see what kind of reaction it would provoke among readers. “Andrew Adler did not start a debate. He focused attention on some of the worst aspects of the right wing – the virulent, baseless hatred of Democrats, the blind support Israel and the arrogant hypocrisy of a nation born out of a holocaust and centuries of oppression demanding a right to do the same to others,” said Linda Carbonell at LezGetReal. It’s time to tone down the rhetoric, said Chemi Shalev at Haaretz. “Anyone who has spent any time talking to some of the more vociferous detractors of Obama, Jewish or otherwise, has inevitably encountered those nasty nutters.”

‘Kosher Jesus’ furor
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is back with a new book titled “Kosher Jesus” and it’s already caused a storm in recent weeks. “Jesus was a Torah-committed Jew whose mission was to restore Jewish observance fully among his Jewish brethren and fight Roman persecution,” said Boteach in a Jewish Week editorial. And he has his defenders. Josh Fleet at The Huffington Post said, “In 2012, the topic of Jesus should not be a Jewish taboo. If we believe so much that our relationship with Christianity is based on deceit, tragedy and senseless hatred—that it has broken us—then we are obligated to believe it can be based on trust, opportunity and boundless love—that it can be fixed.”

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