One reason the Democrats keep hammering the GOP over the planned Ron Paul tribute video may be because they’re concerned about the major pro-Israel presence at the Florida convention this week. Republicans have reportedly been chipping away at Obama’s Jewish support in Florida, and they took advantage of the convention location to ramp up their Jewish outreach this week.
The Republican Jewish Coalition hosted a kick-off event at the home of Ambassador Mel Sembler on Sunday, with a surprise drop-in from pro-Israel actor Jon Voight. Other attendees included Reince Priebus, Karl Rove and Connie Mack. The group will also be hosting a “Salute for Pro-Israel Elected Officials” event, headlined by Eric Cantor. Thursday the group has a briefing with the Romney campaign, with Ambassador John Bolton, Jim Talent, and pollster Neil Newhouse, moderated by Ari Fleischer.
Earlier today, I wrote about the budding controversy over the inclusion of a leader of an anti-Zionist group on the list of the “Rabbis for Obama” created by the president’s re-election campaign. But in doing so I apparently gave Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb of the so-called Jewish Voices for Peace too much honor. She is not the only member of what the Anti-Defamation League called one the top 10 anti-Israel groups in the country. She is, in fact, only one of eight members of JVP’s rabbinic council to appear on the list of Rabbis for Obama.
Some readers have reacted by saying that it is not fair to ask the Democratic group to repudiate anti-Zionists on their list. The only thing membership in the Rabbis for Obama connotes, they say, is support for the president. They point out that if they all had to vouch for each other, the whole thing would collapse, since Orthodox rabbis would not be able to affiliate with the non-Orthodox and other denominational squabbles would render any list bringing Jewish clergy together behind any cause impossible. That’s an interesting argument, but it misses the point about Rabbis for Obama and the way it is being used in the campaign.
Given that the majority of American Jews are loyal Democrats, it is neither surprising nor unusual that the Obama campaign would be able to assemble a large list of rabbis who endorsed the president’s re-election. But the Obama campaign, which has been falling over itself in the last several months to try and prove the dubious assertion that the incumbent is Israel’s best friend ever to sit in the White House, now finds itself in an embarrassing position as it turns out that a prominent member of the “Rabbis for Obama” who are being heralded by Democrats as truly representing Jewish opinion is an advocate for a well-known anti-Israel group.
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is a member of the advisory board and rabbinical council of Jewish Voices for Peace, a nice-sounding title for a far-left radical group that opposes Israeli self-defense, supports the boycott of Israel (and by this, they mean all of Israel, not just the settlements) and promotes an idea of peace in which Arab refugees may swamp Israel consistent with its indifference to the survival of it as a Jewish state. Obama’s partisan opponents at the Republican Jewish Coalition are making a meal of Gottlieb’s inclusion in the Obama list. But that leaves the rest of the rabbis for Obama with a tough question. Do they really want to include among their number someone who is opposed to Zionism and outside even the parameters of what the left-wing lobby J Street would consider “pro-Israel?”