Yesterday, Marc Tracy, a blogger for Tablet, posted a response to Jonathan Neumann’s COMMENTARY article, “Occupy Wall Street and the Jews.” As an aside, he posited that “dissent and heresy” constitute the “other, dialectical half” of Judaism’s obsession with “laws and authority.”
This, in its pithy way –stated as a fact so self-evident that it need not be justified – illustrates well today’s central American Jewish argument over Judaism and Jewish authenticity, revealing how far from the true facts of things a small but well-placed minority of writers, philanthropists, and activists have strayed
and how, by so doing, they have set the latest roadblock to an invigorated American Jewish future.
ABC News reports Texas Governor Rick Perry admitted he didn’t know about the Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, a case which struck down the state’s anti-sodomy law and similar laws in 13 others. The case was decided while Perry was governor, and he even wrote about it in his book Fed Up!, calling it one of the court cases in which “Texans have a different view of the world than do the nine oligarchs in robes.”
But in Iowa yesterday, Perry said, “I wish I could tell you I knew every Supreme Court case. I don’t, I’m not even going to try to go through every Supreme Court case, that would be — I’m not a lawyer.” He added, “We can sit here and you know play I gotcha questions on what about this Supreme Court case or whatever, but let me tell you, you know and I know that the problem in this country is spending in Washington, D.C., it’s not some Supreme Court case.”
Rick Santorum’s surge in Iowa can still be measured in terms of days rather than weeks, but even this late sign of life in a campaign that many had thought to be dead only a couple of weeks ago is prompting some on the right to turn on the right-to-life favorite as insufficiently conservative. In a race where it seems all are entitled to their moment only to be followed by a bitter backlash that cuts them down to size, the last minute nature of Santorum’s bubble won’t apparently deprive him of a few days of critical and somewhat nasty scrutiny. But the attack on Santorum from Red State’s Erick Erickson as an “earmarxist” and “pro-life statist” has got to be confusing for a liberal media for whom the former Pennsylvania senator is a symbol of everything they hate about conservatives.
Erickson’s posts (here and here) about Santorum the last couple of days has laid out the case that Santorum’s record in the House and the Senate as a “big government” conservative makes him a “co-conspirator” with liberals who defend the federal leviathan. For him, Santorum was, like former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, a major culprit in the K Street project in which Republicans enlisted lobbyists to further their own interests. But though I think Santorum has little chance of beating Barack Obama in a general election and agree with Erickson that no matter how well Santorum does in Iowa he can’t be nominated, the assault on this week’s flavor of the month is more than a bit unfair.
In an interview on MSNBC, Politico’s Mike Allen, in discussing the confidence in President Obama’s camp, relayed what he was told: “We still have Michael Jordan.” This echoes a comment Obama himself reportedly once made: “I’m LeBron, baby. I can play on this level. I got some game.”
Now, the references to Michael Jordan and LeBron James shouldn’t be confused with those made during the 2008 campaign, when Obama was referred to by his aides as the “black Jesus.” (Though even Jesus, it should be pointed out, didn’t promise to heal the planet, repair the world, and reverse the rise of the oceans, as Obama said he would do if elected president.)
In recent weeks, we’ve been hearing a lot about the big changes going on inside Hamas. The Islamist terrorist organization is, we are told, about to drop its commitment to “armed resistance” against Israel and adopt a policy of non-violence. There has even been speculation it will soon drop its refusal to recognize or negotiate with Israel as the unity pact it signed with its Fatah rivals allow it to become part of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority that rules the West Bank.
This flies in the face of everything we know about the terror group. But there is no need for skeptics to merely trust their instincts about Hamas. The group is itself making it clear its predilection for violence is not about to change. A spokesman for Hamas dismissed the reports about an order to cease attacks on Israel as so absurd it didn’t even merit a response. As the Jerusalem Post reports, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said claims that Hamas had abandoned the armed struggle “reflect the state of despair that the Israeli government is facing as a result of the firmness of the Palestinian resistance.”
The New York Times ran a story yesterday that is, at least to citizens of the English-speaking world, quite astonishing.
The overthrow of the Mubarak regime and the subsequent troubles have badly impacted the Egyptian economy. Not surprisingly, both foreign investment and the vital tourist industry have more or less disappeared. As a result, the Egyptian currency is under pressure, as foreign exchange reserves drain away to meet import needs. To help out (and, hopefully, to get some good publicity, which it badly needs) the Egyptian military has loaned the central bank $1 billion to shore up the Egyptian pound.
For years, Democrats have been on the defensive about the not inconsiderable portion of their party that was hostile to the State of Israel. But the attention and support being given Ron Paul in the Republican presidential race is giving them an opportunity to roast members of the GOP for refusing to treat the libertarian extremist as being beyond the pale of American politics. Thus, it was no surprise to read that the National Jewish Democratic Council condemned Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum for saying they would vote for Paul if he turned out to be the Republican nominee.
But to say this stance is hypocritical is an understatement. Did Jewish Democrats denounce their mainstream candidates for cozying up to racial hucksters and foes of Israel such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and pretending, as Romney and Santorum now do for Paul, that these persons were preferable to any Republican? Did they denounce their party for treating Jimmy Carter as a respected elder statesman? Of course not. Though it is troubling to see the other GOP candidates treat Paul as if he were a reasonable presidential choice, that is the way the game is played. Democrats are no more righteous in this respect than Republicans.
The dustup over anti-Israel comments made by writers and analysts at the Center for American Progress continued this week, after several pro-Israel organizations criticized the think tank for turning a blind eye to staffers who used terms like “Israel Firster” and accused members of Congress of having an allegiance to the Israel lobby.
The Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal spoke to anti-Semitism historian Jeffrey Herf, who saw historical, anti-Jewish connotations in the CAP writers’ comments:
Newt Gingrich has been trying to play the good guy who won’t attack his competitors–at least some of the time. But as his poll numbers head south in the last days before the Iowa caucuses, the candidate’s campaign is getting desperate and nasty. Politico reports that a statement issued by Winning Our Future, an independent group supporting the former speaker’s candidacy, launched an all-out attack on columnist Charles Krauthammer for his criticisms of Gingrich. According to the group, the distinguished conservative thinker is part of an “establishment media” campaign against Gingrich.
It is hard to know what is more bizarre: Gingrich’s attempt to cast Fox News and Krauthammer (who appears on the network) as the “media establishment” or the way this quintessential Washington insider/influence peddler is attempting to masquerade as an outsider in the capital. Gingrich, who likes to style himself the intellectual of the presidential race, is channeling Sarah Palin, who at one point attacked Krauthammer for being too elitist because he criticized her for lack of knowledge of the issues. But in this case, Gingrich’s minions are claiming that Krauthammer is “jealous” of Newt’s smarts. Especially grating for the Gingrich loyalists is the fact that Krauthammer mocked their candidate’s preposterous claim that his failure to get on the Virginia primary ballot was a disaster akin to the attack on Pearl Harbor; a statement so astonishing that Krauthammer cannot be blamed for treating it and its author as a joke.