May 24, 2007
Bravo, Weinstein; Nes Gadol; The GOP and the Jews
(Page 2 - Previous Page)A paltry 11 percent of Jews voted Republican in 2006 both because the Republican Party failed to adequately address Jewish domestic concerns and because of their failure to match their rhetoric on Israel to any action.
Merely saying the right things and ignoring Israel and other issues of concern to the Jewish community are and were not enough to earn Jewish support.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Republican Congress cut military aid to Israel twice since 2001, never before has a U.S. president been so disengaged from the Middle East and Israel. The complete lack of diplomatic outreach to Israel has been most noticeable, and combined with the quagmire in Iraq caused by Bush's complete lack of planning, has made Israel less safe by turning Iraq into a haven for Al Qaeda and strengthening Iran. This may be why 77 percent of Jews oppose the Iraq War.
Sonnenshein's piece also left out the positions and statements of several other GOP presidential candidates that would support his argument that the GOP is under the control of those who advocate authoritarian ideas and narrow social beliefs, which are insensitive to Jewish values. Here are some examples:
- Even the somewhat socially conservative Orthodox Union supports stem cell research, yet most of the Republican presidential candidates do not.
- At least three of the candidates (Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and Colorado Reo. Tom Tancredo) have stated that they don't even believe in evolution.
- U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has a long record of voting against foreign aid to Israel and against resolutions supporting Israel against Hamas and Hezbollah.
- As chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) removed requirements to protect Jewish Air Force cadets from coercive proselytization by evangelical Christians from legislation and even proposed legislation that would have permitted sectarian prayer at armed forces events where attendance was mandatory.
- Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson was quoted several weeks ago telling a Jewish group that "making money is sort of part of the Jewish tradition."
The problem with [Arizona Sen. John McCain, [Rudy] Giuliani and [former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt] Romney is that we are never clear whether they support a conservative social agenda or not. One day they say they are for something and then they back off. Further, Romney and Giuliani say the right things with regard to Israel, but they have no record on which we can really judge them with regard to Israel or for that matter any other issue of concern regarding federal policy.
By contrast, all the Democratic candidates for president, except Kucinich (who is not a credible candidate, having raised less than $1 million), have strong records supporting Israel and their domestic social agenda is far more in line with the U.S. Jewish community, supporting (amongst others) the environment, stem cell research and stronger action in Darfur.
The May 4 Jewish Journal contained a piece by Tom Tugend about the L.A. Times quashing an article concerning the Armenian Genocide written by a journalist of Armenian descent ("'Genocide' Reporting Rankles Newsroom at Times," May 4).
The issue, according to Tugend, was "whether a journalist can write an objective story on an emotional topic affecting his own ethnic group." "In other words," Tugend continued, "can a Jewish reporter write a balanced article on Holocaust denial or a black reporter on racial discrimination?"
I find this statement shocking. Does this mean that David Irving, the infamous Holocaust denier, should have an equal footing or a forum in a "balanced" article? There is no debate; there is no issue about which balance is needed.
By the same reasoning, how can a white reporter write a balanced article on racial discrimination? How can a gay reporter write about homosexuality? How can a woman reporter write about sexual harassment? How can a Jewish reporter at The Jewish Journal write about anything Jewish? How can anyone write a balanced article about anything?
Tugend assumes that a reporter is naturally biased toward the group to which he or she belongs. Noting, with only a few exceptions, the failures of journalism over the last few years, maybe it's time for less objectivity and more emotion.
William L. Fischel
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