Jewish Journal


June 21, 2012

This week in power: Romney, Obama, Hebrew National, Alice Walker


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

Romney, Jewish?
Would it really matter if Romney were Jewish? asked Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg. “Mormons’ equanimity in the face of derision is refreshing, and speaks to the confidence they have in their religion. The Romney camp should also have confidence, and understand that not every reporter asking questions about their man’s religious practices is trying to subvert Romney’s candidacy or his church,” he wrote. It’s not that simple, said Alana Goodman at Commentary. “Unlike anti-Semitism, anti-Mormonism is still considered an acceptable — some would say fashionable — prejudice in many circles.” And maybe Goldberg and others can learn a little something from the Mormons: “At the end of the day, though, I take the same view of Mormonism as South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker: the mythology is absurd hokum but most Mormons simply take away broad lessons about the value of family, community, and common decency,” said James Joyner at Outside the Beltway.

Obama’s standing
Just about every week new polls come up proclaiming that the President is doing well with the Jews, then another says he’s sliding. The issue is over how “friendly” people think Obama is toward Israel. “President Obama is losing support from his Democratic base: blacks, Jews, Latinos, union members, and so forth. Well, at any rate, those are the reports that the Drudge Report has been giving lots of display to over the last few days. The truth is, though, that much of this supposed decay of the president’s core support is exaggerated,” said Harry J. Enten in The Guardian. Not so, countered Ron Jager at Israeli National News. “The Republican Party is currently experiencing the highest rate of Jewish support in close to a quarter of a century and that support is increasing as we approach the November elections. Obama still doesn’t get it, as he continues to slumber along, alienating not only Democratic Jewish voters, but all of America,” he said.

Hebrew National under fire
Hebrew National says that they “answer to a higher authority,” and now they’ll have to face the question of whether they have sideswiped the law with their proclamation of being kosher. A lawsuit before the Minnesota state court accuses ConAgra Foods, Inc. of lying to customers. “My love for the product has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that these hot dogs are supposed to be kosher, meaning that they have been prepared in accordance with Jewish food laws,” said Todd Rigney at WebProNews.. So who cares? A contingent of people who trusted the company and manufacturer to stand by their product. “God, however, could not be reached for comment,” mused Laine Doss in the Miami New Times.

Alice Walker’s protest
“The Color Purple” writer caused a stir this week when she refused to sign off on a Hebrew translation of her work, stating that Israel is an “apartheid state.” It’s unclear, though, whether she has the authority to do that against his publisher’s wishes. “I do hope Alice Walker wasn’t using a computer, smart phone or voice mail to carry out her boycott calls – practically every advanced computer and phone in the world is now dependent on Israeli technology. She shouldn’t be using Google or Facebook either, of course. Nor Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo, all of which have key R&D facilities in Israel,” said Tom Gross in The Commentator. Others were a bit more levelheaded. “Alice Walker is a moral giant, an American treasure, a human treasure. As a witness and scribe her wisdom inspires us and will continue to inspire generations of people leading to a more humane future for mankind, said Annie Robbins at MondoWeiss.

Jews in the NFL
Browns’ tackle Mitchell Schwartz and Vikings’ tackle Geoff Schwartz are the first Jewish brothers to hit the NFL since 1923, according to Tablet. And people are excited. “Despite my last name and general neurosis, I’ve never actually been to service at a Temple. But I know enough about the religion to know that the holy days come on the weekend. That’s not going to keep the Schwartzes off the field,” said Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com. Some fans were a bit skeptical about Mitchell at first. “That sounds like my accountant’s name,” said one Browns fan quoted in the Tablet story. But Cleveland has emerged of late as the right town to play in as a Jewish professional athlete.

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