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March 11, 2011

This week in power: Obama, Wisconsin, Circumcision, Arkansas

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/this_week_in_power_obama_wisconsin_circumcision_arkansas_20110311/

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

Obama: Israel is safe
The president met last week with Jewish leaders in what was described as an “extraordinary session” about how the Mideast revolts impact Israel, reported the Jerusalem Post. According to reports, Obama said that once peace is struck, “the entire region will turn against Iran,” said Rick Richman at Commentary. This administration “still thinks the solution to the problem of Iran is to solve a problem having nothing to do with it.” But, Richman pointed out, Obama’s team didn’t seem to have a handle on Libya or Egypt either. What should he be doing for Israel? Obama must “demand of the Palestinian leadership, not only that they cease incitement against Israel, but begin to prepare their people for peace and reconciliation. That is the real impediment to peace,” said Dan Gordon at American Thinker.

Can Wisconsin Jews do more?
“That empty, hollow sound you hear is the sound of the American Jewish community ignoring the big showdown in Wisconsin. Which is odd, if you think about it,” said J.J, Goldberg in The Forward. Ordinarily we have a loud voice on issues, but “Wisconsin is different” for some reason. Cary Spivak, also in The Forward, observed that “the community’s biggest and most politically influential bodies — its two federations and affiliated community relations councils — have been conspicuously silent.” With Purim around the corner, It’s time now for our leaders and people to speak up, said Marvin Olasky at TownHall.com. “Government union leaders are portraying Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as a new Haman: You want to hang us, we’ll hang you.”

The Pope clears the Jews
That should settle that. In his new book, Jesus of Nazareth, Part II, Pope Benedict XVI says that the Jews did not kill Jesus,” according to reports. Yeah, but what good is that? Think about all of those who “have suffered for centuries before,” thinking that the Jews were responsible, says Yonatan Sredni in IsraelNationalNews, “making his statement appear as nothing more than lip service in the 21st century.” Well, said a Los Angeles Times editorial, “considering the fact that anti-Semitism still exists, it’s not possible for Catholic leaders to speak out against this often enough,” even today. Consider, though, that this announcement wasn’t with Jews in mind or “to be politically correct,” said Eugene Korn at The Forward. “He wrote the book for Catholics around the world, not to win Jewish minds and hearts.” Forgiveness and change begins within.

Could circumcisions be banned in San Fran?
One Californian is leading a campaign to outlaw male circumcision in San Francisco. Lloyd Schofield said he’s more than halfway to the required number of signatures to put his plan up for popular vote on the city’s November ballot, This is a human rights issue, he said. Jewish groups are worried that the city could ban its religious practice. “This is hurtful and offensive to people in the community who consider this a coveted ritual,” said Anti-Defamation League director Daniel Sandman. Some believe that the proposition doesn’t really have much chance to turn into law. “I’m thinking common sense will rule there on the West Coast, and the proposition will be swatted down,” said Heather Chaet at The Stir.

Arkansas’ anti-Semitism scare
Arkansas politician Chuck Chatham was quoted in an e-mail as saying he chose to run for state legislature against Democrat Jerry Rephan, because he Rephan is a “pro-abortion Jewish lawyer,” according to Talking Points Memo. Chatham walked back his comments saying it was “inadvertent” that he called Rephan Jewish, and stressed that he only opposes Rephan for being a liberal. “There’s no place for anti-Semitism or any other sort of bigotry in Arkansas or anywhere else in America,” said ARDem on the Blue Arkansas blog. And this incident of “blatant anti-Semitism by Republican officials isn’t an aberration,” warned ChattahBox. Christian Bruce Cozart beat Chatham in the special election, according to reports.

Danny Groner is the Online Managing Editor for TheWeek.com and a contributor to other sites including The Jewish Journal

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