Thursday, May 22, 2008

In Florida, Could Jewish Opposition To Obama Is About More Than Just Israel?

From the New York Times:
Some of the resistance to Mr. Obama’s candidacy seems just as rooted in anxiety about race as in anxiety about Israel. At brunch in Boynton Beach, Bob Welstein, who said he was in his 80s, said so bluntly. “Am I semi-racist? Yes,” he said.

Decades earlier, on the west side of Chicago, his mother was mugged and beaten by a black assailant, he said. It was “a beautiful Jewish neighborhood” — until black residents moved in, he said.

In speeches to Jewish groups, aides said, Mr. Obama will stress the bonds between the two groups, noting how Jewish civil rights workers were killed alongside a black one in Mississippi in 1964. But the relationship between the two outsider groups whose fortunes took different turns has also been bitter, said Hasia Diner, a professor of history at New York University.

Jews, who have long considered themselves less racially prejudiced than other Americans, have been especially wounded by black anti-Semitism, she said, which may help explain why so many Florida voters were incensed about Mr. Obama’s membership in a church whose magazine gave an award to Mr. Farrakhan.

Jack Stern, 85, sitting alone at an outdoor café in Aventura on Sunday, said he was no racist. When he was liberated from a concentration camp in 1945, black American soldiers were kinder than white ones, handing out food to the emaciated Jews, he said.

Years later, after he opened a bakery in Brooklyn, “I got disgusted, because they killed Jews,” he said, citing neighborhood crimes committed by African-Americans. “I shouldn’t say it, but it is what it is,” said Mr. Stern, who vowed not to vote for Mr. Obama. [Emphasis added]
The New York Times 'survey' of why Jews in Florida is not exactly scientific--and if it were accurate, would apply across the country and not just in Florida. There has been no indication that such is the case.

You could just as well say that the fact that the 2 men interviewed were in their 80's may point to something else.

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Anonymous said...

In 1960 I began to take an interest in politics. This was mainly because of my father, who was a lifelong Democrat, a dedicated Stevenson supporter, and distrustful of the Kennedys. He had an intense antipathy toward them because their patriarch, Joseph Kennedy, Sr., was an anti-Semite who, as U.S. Ambassador to Britain in the late 1930s’s, advocated a policy of appeasement toward Hitler. My father was convinced that John Kennedy, whose campaign was financed by his father, and who had sat at his father’s dinner table all those years, held the same views as old Joe when it came to the Jewish people. After Kennedy became president, my father softened toward him somewhat, but he could never stand Robert Kennedy, mainly because Joe, Sr. had remarked that of all his children, Bobby was the most like him.

All this said, it is worth remembering that John Kennedy was the first U.S. President to supply arms to Israel, providing them with HAWK anti-aircraft missiles to counter the arms being sold to the Arabs by the Russians, British and French. It is also worth noting that Sirhan Bishara Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy because of Kennedy’s support for Israel in the Six-Day War.

We, as Jews, should keep these historical facts in mind as we consider the candidacy of Barack Obama. When we worry over his relationship with the Rev. Wright and become uneasy over the fact that he sat in Rev. Wright’s church all those years, let’s think back to John, Robert and Ted Kennedy, who loved their father despite, not because of, his political views. Let’s judge Obama for what he says and what he has done and the potential we see in him. It would be wrong to judge him for his associations. Moreover, as Jews, it would be a deeply shameful thing were we, against our traditions, to judge him out of ignorance or prejudice.

Let’s think carefully about our votes this fall. Great leaders do not come around very often—and we have seen what can happen to the world for the lack of them.

--Walter Rimler

Daled Amos said...

"Let’s judge Obama for what he says and what he has done and the potential we see in him."

So, what has he done?

Hulkette said...

Great leaders do not come around very often

Indeed they don't. However, great bullshitters are a much more frequent commodity.

Obama has words, not deeds. Talking isn't leading.

We, as Jews, should judge him by his deeds. As Daled Amos said--what has he done?

Daled Amos said...

Remember the good old days when leaders were chosen on the basis of their proven track record of getting the job done?