American Jews

American Jews Do NOT Have Dual Loyalties

American Jews do NOT have dual loyalties.

We are Americans first, not Israelis.

As an American Jew, I do not allow Israel or its leaders to influence my own views on that nation, and its relationship with the American government, and the whole Middle East cauldron.

And we can disagree with the Israeli government leaders and policies, as much as we can disagree with the American government leaders and policies.

So Benjamin Netanyahu is not our leader in the sense of support, anymore than Donald Trump is.

We can support the survival of Israel, and the advancement of America without supporting specific government leaders in both nations.

For Donald Trump to say otherwise, as he did before the Republican Jewish Coalition last weekend, is an outrage.

Two thirds of American Jews are Democrats, and most of them do not support the right wing policies of Benjamin Netanyahu.

All that Trump does by suggesting dual loyalties is to encourage antisemitism, and to promote anti Israel sentiments.

American Jews will be in the front line of criticism of extremist right wing policies by Netanyahu, as they are of extremist right wing policies by Trump.

The Growing Danger Of Further AntiSemitic Attacks In America, Precipitated By The Right Wing White Supremacists And Religious Extremists

America is in a major crisis, now clearly the worst domestically in a half century, and the growing danger of further attacks on American Jews is alarming.

We have a President who consorts with white supremacists, and overlooks their antisemitic acts and utterances.

And there are right wing religious extremists, whose goal is to convert American Jews to their warped brand of Christianity.

The hatred that the Pittsburgh Massacre assassin possessed was encouraged by the hate filled websites on the internet, fueled further by the refusal of Donald Trump to hold many of his followers accountable for their hatred, and his actual encouragement of violence against the media, which he calls “the enemy of the people”, because they have the nerve to hold him responsible for his words and actions.

Face it, Donald Trump is a pure right wing demagogue who hates our democracy, and would love to persecute any minority and any individual which stands in his way of wanting absolute power.

There is no truce possible when a President, unlike any in American history, has declared war on our institutions and our traditions, so no one who feels Donald Trump is a menace can sit on the sidelines and just figure the future is preordained, as it most certainly is not so.

Resistance and opposition must continue for the preservation of the traditions and institutions of America to survive into the long term future.

We have not come through the trials of the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the Cold War to allow any mentally unhinged person to take away our future!

The Coming Foreign Trip Disaster Of Donald Trump

Donald Trump is about to engage in a nine day foreign trip, which is bound to be a total disaster.

He will visit Saudi Arabia, the home of the Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina, and it will be delicate to do so, after his anti Muslim rhetoric and his attempted Muslim bans.

He will visit Israel, after having revealed Israeli intelligence information to the Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Ambassador to the United States in the Oval Office, and backing away from the idea of recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and hinting that Israel must agree to concessions to the Palestinians, as he pursues “the art of the deal”. Also, he has refused to visit Masada, since he cannot have his helicopter go to the top of Masada, and is unwilling to take a cable car to the Mount. He also plans only 15 minutes at the Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem, which will alienate many Israelis and American Jews.

He will visit Vatican City and Pope Francis, and has been highly critical of the Pope, who has been dismissive of Trump’s rhetoric and his planned Mexico Wall.

He will be at the NATO summit in Belgium, having alarmed members at his on and off attitudes towards the significance of the alliance, and his pro Russian tendencies that are now being investigated, and could lead to his Presidency in flames.

He will also be be at the G-7 summit with our major economic partners–Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan, to be held in Sicily, Italy.

There will be plenty of opportunity for flubs, blunders, embarrassments, and Trump is not good at sitting through long sessions, gets bored easily, and is not willing to do the preparation, and reading, required to be knowledgeable and competent at international meetings with experienced and competent diplomats and foreign leaders.

Despite what Trump claims, he is NOT a good student, and clearly has a variation of Attention Deficit Disorder, along with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and a likely possibility of Dementia or Alzheimers.

Trump is not up to this trip, which is too long and detailed, and cannot sleep in his own bed, and he is very intense about actually being seriously tested and challenged, as his Presidency deteriorates around him.

Barack Obama made his first foreign trip to Canada, and George W. Bush to Mexico, and after what is likely to be a disastrous trip, who knows if Trump will not just hole himself up in the White House, and scream and yell at his family and his aides, as he faces the end of his Presidency, as a total disgrace to the institution of the Presidency!

September 2015–A Month Of Federal Budget Deadline, Pope Francis Visit, Iran Agreement Debate For Congress!

When Congress gets back from its summer recess after Labor Day, it faces, along with President Barack Obama, a very challenging and significant month of major events.

The budget deadline is coming on September 30, and as usual, the Republicans in Congress are threatening yet again to shut down the government, with the issue of funding of Planned Parenthood being the major stumbling block, along with fights to cut “safety net” programs and promote yet more tax cuts for the corporations and the wealthy.

Pope Francis, certainly the best Pope in his progressive vision since Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), will be visiting the United States and speaking before a joint session of Congress. He will deliver a message that progressives will love, including concern for the poor; acceptance of change in the Catholic Church on many conservative doctrines, including an open mind on gays and lesbians and divorce; condemnation of unbridled capitalism; and advocacy of the need for action on climate change and the environment in general. The Republican controlled Congress will be uncomfortable over his message, but it will boost the Obama agenda and legacy.

Also, the bitter battle over the Iran nuclear deal is extremely divisive, with American Jews divided; Democrats divided; and Republicans in unison against the deal, and advocating military force against Iran. All that Obama needs to sustain the agreement is one third plus one of the votes in one or both houses. That seems assured now in the House of Representatives with the assistance of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but in the Senate, it will be more difficult, since future likely Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has come out against the agreement. But as long as at least one house cannot override the veto, the President will triumph.

So a month of “fireworks” is assured, and who knows what else will occur, particularly with the 2016 Presidential race in full swing, and already highly controversial!

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Anniversary Coincides With Iran Agreement Debate And Hiroshima Anniversary

It is ironic that the debate over the Iran nuclear Agreement coincides with the anniversary not only of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings in 1945, but also the 52nd anniversary of the Nuclear Best Ban Treaty, signed by the US, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France in 1963.

President Obama gave a nearly hour speech yesterday appealing for Congressional support of the Iran Agreement, which is bitterly dividing the nation.

The American Jewish community is also clearly divided, and is presenting a problem for the Jewish Democrats in Congress, who also are taking different sides.

The purpose is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and the issue of the best strategy to pursue, with Obama claiming the only answer is the international agreement, or else the alternative is war in the Middle East.

Never has the breach between the Israeli government and the US been so stark.

This is certainly the biggest foreign policy debate since the Iraq War vote in 2003, and the concern is to do what is best for the future, with no one certain of what that is.

Jimmy Carter: The Most Underrated, Unappreciated President Since World War II!

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary today, a year and a half shorter in duration then George H.W. and Barbara Bush’s marriage, the two longest in Presidential history!

Both George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have reached the magic age of 90, with Bush 91 on June 8, and Carter to be 91 on October 1.

It is a blessing that both are still with us, but it would seem as if Jimmy Carter is likely to outlive Bush, based on health conditions right now.

Bush is being, properly, appreciated in his 90s, but Carter remains the most underrated, unappreciated President since World War II.

The critics, mostly Republicans, conservatives, and right wing supporters of Israel’s often extremist government, are always on the attack, and this blogger has heard from audience members when he gives lectures, that Jimmy Carter is an anti Semite, which is farthest from the truth!

Jimmy Carter could be said to be anti Israel’s government, when it has been right wing extremist, as for instance, it is now under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But people forget how he managed to bring about the only enduring moment in the Middle East since World War II–the Camp David Accords—which brought together former warriors and enemies, Anwar Sadat of Eyypt and Menachim Begin of Israel, despite their being far apart on the issues of Middle East peace.

This is the most impressive and enduring moment of the Carter Presidency, and is not fully appreciated for what it was and is, even today! And Carter is most certainly NOT an anti Semite, and there are many Jews in America who are not pro Israel automatically when the government there is right wing extremist as it is now!

Carter also brought about the Panama Canal Treaty, an historic event; promoted Human Rights, a fundamental principle of this man of high morality, who would eventually win the Nobel Peace Prize; and worked to free the hostages in Iran peacefully, as frustrating as that was, rather than bomb Iran and see all 52 Americans killed in response, the likely result had he gone “hawkish”.

If the attempted rescue in April 1980 had worked out, it is likely that Jimmy Carter would have had a second term, and Ronald Reagan would be a footnote in history!

Carter also became the third best environmental President in American history, after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon; promoted free elections, human rights, democracy all over the world through the Carter Center; condemned violence against women and mistreatment of the poor around the world; emphasized the spreading of health care and education to the deprived parts of the world; and even condemned the most extreme right elements of his own Baptist faith.

He became the most activist former President in American history, and has survived longer after his time in office than any President, now going on 34.5 years on July 20. And his Vice President, Walter Mondale, survives at 87.5 years of age, making them the longest lasting Presidential-Vice Presidential team ever in American history!

Jimmy Carter is not perfect, in or out of office, but he is a very decent man, well meaning, brilliant in intellect, and the author of 27 books, including his new book, released today, entitled: “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety”, a worthwhile read!

It is clear that only when he passes from the scene, like Harry Truman, will he come to be appreciated for the great man and human being he is, always trying to do his best, but humble enough to be willing to concede his shortcomings, much of which he expresses in this new book!

American Jews, Israel And Barack Obama: Why Two Thirds Of Jews Will Support Obama Over Mitt Romney

With two days to go until the election, the Republican Jewish Coalition has been actively trying to convince American Jews that Barack Obama is not supportive of Israel, and that they should support Mitt Romney for President.

Will the RJC succeed? To some extent, yes, in the sense that while 78 percent of American Jews backed Barack Obama in 2008, the number will be down to about 60-63 percent in 2012.

There are those Jews who are extremely wealthy and do not wish to pay more taxes, such as the group which met in Boca Raton, at the infamous gathering where Romney talked about the “47 percent”. Those who are corporate, Wall Street, and banking related will wish to have the government abandon any regulations, so they can go about their merry way abusing their industries, as they did in 2008. and earlier, without any care for the damage they were doing to the American economy!

Those who are highly religious will use it as a means to promote prejudice, based on the belief that Obama is a secret Muslim, and of course, being black, is not a plus to highly religious people, whether Jewish or Christian, a sad commentary on what the meaning of religion is all about!

Those who look at Israel as the number one issue will wish to allow Benjamin Netanyahu to influence American policy, even though if any other foreign leader ever attempted to interfere as Netanyahu has, they would be infuriated by such boldness of a foreign leader!

But American Jews, while caring about Israel, will not allow Netanyahu, or religiosity, or counting their money, to be the key factors in their voting. So yes, the percentage will be down, but Jews who do not allow any of the above to influence them will remember that Obama and his party are the party of the New Deal and Great Society reforms, which Romney and the Republicans wish to destroy!

They will know that it was REPUBLICAN Presidents who made life much more difficult for Israel, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, even though the RJC conveniently manipulates the truth about that

They will know that Defense Minister Ehud Barak (a former Prime Minister); Shimon Peres (Israel’s President); Haaretz (the oldest Israeli daily newspaper); Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel; and most prominent American Jewish leaders have all endorsed Obama, or said that he has been the best friend of Israel of all American Presidents.

They will know that most American Presidents either never visited Israel, or not in their first term, despite the lies of the RJC.

They will know that Obama has supplied Israel with the IRONDOME missile defense system, and more than $3.1 billion in security spending beyond that, and has defended Israel consistently in international organizations, including the United Nations.

They know that George W. Bush also talked about the 1967 borders as a beginning point for negotiations, the same thing that Barack Obama said.

They know the Jewish tradition of being activists in civil rights; of supporting women’s rights; of being big promoters of labor unions; of being involved in promoting education and the environment on a regular basis; and advocates of aid to the disabled; and of always being against the negativism of the Republican Party on domestic matters, always resisting Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and every other social, economic and political reform the Democrats have promoted over the past century.

They know that the party of the people is NOT the Republicans, but the Democrats, and they are not about to abandon the party that has done so much good, particularly when we could see the alternative of the most right wing threat in American history since Barry Goldwater in 1964!

American Jews are OVERWHELMINGLY oriented toward reform, progress, change, compassion for those who are discriminated against and less fortunate, and they are intelligent and wise enough not to vote for the party of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and right wing evangelicals who wish to take away our civil liberties and civil rights!

So close to two thirds of American Jews will repudiate the RJC, and support their President, Barack Obama!

US-Israeli Relationship Solid And Unbreakable: Obama And Netanyahu Agree!

An important meeting took place just a short time ago between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House!

Just a few months after there was an unpleasant, private meeting between the two men at the White House, after Israel announced new housing settlements in East Jerusalem while Vice President Biden was visiting Israel, the so called “rift” that developed between the two nations apparently has been healed!

Obama made it clear that he was pleased with the progress toward direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and that the US commitment to Israel’s security was historic and unbreakable!

Netanyahu said the reports of a split between Israel and the United States was inaccurate, and that he was assured of the continued, long term commitment of the United States to Israeli safety and security! He also said that within families, there can be short term differences, but that the emotional commitment is still there, and that internal disputes on a temporary basis should not be exaggerated! The media are responsible for that, in order to make news, in his view!

This meeting was important for both Obama and Netanyahu! After the cool reception the Israeli Prime Minister received in the spring, it caused a lot of criticism in Israel, but also started to affect the Obama image among American Jews! So a session to warm up relations and resolve differences between the two nations was a necessary move!

Did it succeed in calming all the naysayers and critics? Probably not, but hopefully the Israelis and the Americans are on the same page now, as that is to the advantage of both nations!

Obama, American Jews, And Israel: Changing Dynamics!

One of the most controversial areas of the foreign policy of President Obama is the relationship with America’s traditional ally, Israel.

Obama’s decision to openly criticize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in March for approving the construction of new Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, an area that Palestinians hope will be the location of their future government capital, outraged the general Israeli public, and leading American Jewish groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the World Jewish Congress. It also greatly upset Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate who this week had a luncheon at the White House, as President Obama attempted to repair damage done by his strong stand against Israeli interests.

While Wiesel said he had been reassured, the major Jewish organizations remain opposed, and there is great suspicion among a majority of Israelis toward Obama Administration policy.

The fact that Obama used Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to deliver his message of opposition to the new settlements, along with his snub of Netanyahu when he visited Washington last month, and the resulting refusal of the Israeli Prime Minister to show up at the recent Nuclear summit that 47 nations attended, only added to the crisis atmosphere.

This led administration officials to speak before the Anti Defamation League National Leadership Conference this week to try to restore good relations, and convinced Obama to communicate with Netanyahu over the phone on the issue.

Many observers think Obama can only mend fences by a direct trip to Israel and promoting a so called “charm offensive”. But that is unlikely to work, because this issue of the settlements in East Jerusalem is very emotional and personal to most Israelis and many American Jewish groups.

But at the same time, it is a fact that a breach has developed between major American Jewish organizations and many American Jews, who do not like what they see as the overwhelming power and influence of traditional Jewish organizations who tend to support Israel with undivided loyalty.

Many Jews in America are pro Israel, but don’t feel the need to support every viewpoint and policy of the Israeli government, particularly a right wing one as headed by a hard liner such as Netanyahu.

So it is not at all surprising that younger Jews, and those without political and pressure group connections, are more critical of Israel and its policies on Middle East peace. 78 percent of Jews voted for Obama, and many agree with his domestic initiatives. A new poll suggests that 55 percent support his policies on Israel, a totally different perspective than that coming from the traditional Jewish leadership.

The real issue seems to be that most American Jews are liberal leaning and secular, while the Israeli government is now controlled by right wing nationalists and ultra religious elements that many American Jews do not approve of.

The long range concern is that the chasm developing between many American Jews and the Israeli policies will continue, and that loyalty and emotional commitment between Jews and Israelis will decline over the next few generations. Many Jews intermarrying only adds to the long range crisis.

The ability of the Obama Administration to bridge the gap between Israel and the United States is under great scrutiny, and there is no way to tell now whether the old relationship has been changed forever, to the detriment of both nations and to the American Jewish community itself!

Jimmy Carter, Israel, And The American Jewish Community

Jimmy Carter, on the eve of Christmas and the New Year, has issued an apology to American Jews for any past statements or actions that angered and caused a breach between them and the former President.

In a surprise move, Carter expressed his apologies and request for forgiveness. He upset the Jewish community with his comparison three years ago of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the South Africa apartheid system that lasted until the mid 1990s. Also, his visit this past year to Gaza to meet with Hamas, the terrorist group that runs that territory, angered the United States, the European Union, and Israel.

The head of the Anti Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, accepted the apology for the Jewish community in a spirit of foregiveness, with the understanding that Carter’s future actions and words will be crucial to full acceptance of his apology.

Carter has expressed his hope that bloodshed and hatred would over time be replaced by mutual respect and understanding between Israel and its Arab neighbors, as it is his greatest wish to see peace in the area in his lifetime.

My feeling is the same as Abraham Foxman, and I think most Jews will accept the apology and hope for better relations between President Carter and the Jewish community, as there is a lot of Carter’s record during and after his Presidency to admire and praise!