So, while we were in New York, visiting the Manhatten branch of the family for Passover, I was wandering up Broadway and I came across a kerb-side stall selling Forward (I think I'd preferred to have found an English-language Ha'aretz. but, hey, you get what you can these days), so, of course, I bought it, thinking of my duty to the readers of Simply Jews. Who knows, I thought, there might just be something they will find interesting here. And, of course, there is. On the front page is an article on the latest polling of Jewish voting intentions in the upcoming Presidential election.
The interesting part is not that US Jewish voters are for Obama 62% to 30% (identical to a June 2008 poll, which widened to 78% to 21% in November of that year), but that what motivates them the most are social issues and not Israel. Israel comes way down the list: as the report notes, "A majority of 51% pointed to the economy as the issue most important to their vote, followed by gaps between rich and poor (15%), health care (10%) and the federal deficit (7%). Only 4% of Jewish voters said Israel was the most important issue for them when deciding who should get their vote."
Of course, the report is far more nuanced than that. It goes on to argue that "The data would suggest that the Republicans’ focus on attacking both Obama’s record on Israel and his troubled relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was having little, if any, traction." I realise that this is of little comfort to those of you who don't rate Obama on Israel. However, think what it does to Mearsheimer and Walt and the likes of the thoroughly unpleasant Atzmon, and take what comfort you can from that.
As for us, we will be back in NYC on the second Tuesday of November 2012, hoping for a repeat of November 2008. Sorry about that. But Anne, of Anne's Opinions (another Israeli-based blog worth your attention), has graciously referred to me as a member of the "sane Left" - make of that what you will.
Read the whole article here. This issue of Forward also finally catches up with the UN Human Rights Council and its "probe" of the Settlement issue. We all know that's a code word for "condemning Israel in the Report - now go and write it up properly so it looks good". Old news, but at least it's there.
While I'm here (and I won't be for the next two weeks: we're off to Costa Rica, to look at the local wildlife: it's what's known as SKIing - Spending the Kids' Inheritance), there are a couple of heart-warming items from today's (10.4.12) London Evening Standard. The first concerns that supposed liberal-lefty, Ken Livingstone, who, it appears is losing ground to the supposed buffoon, Boris Johnson, in the Mayoral race to become the next mayor of London in May this year. Couldn't happen to a nicer bloke, I say (that's English irony, for those not used to the nuances of English as the British speak it). I didn't vote for Ken in 2008 and I won't be voting for him this year either. Anyone who calls himself a liberal, while (literally) embracing Abu Qaradawi, known homophobe, misogynist, Islamist and antisemite, deserves all he gets, electorally.
The other story is here. Abu Hamza, the one-handed (literally - he lost the hand in an explosion, but it's not clear quite how, despite his version, in the story) Islamist and Jihadi cleric, can be extradited to the US to stand trial on terrorism charges. The European Court of Human Rights says so. Victory for our human rights (the residents of London), I say. Roll on the plane to JFK carrying Abu Hamza, handcuffed to a couple of US Federal Marshals (Wyatt Earp did not live in vain), to appear before a US Federal Court. Unlike his victims, the most he can get is life imprisonment. They got death.
Oh, I almost forgot: this month's Atlantic has an interesting article on Rahm Emanuel, Obama's first Chief of Staff. almost hidden in there is an almost throwaway line about Emanuel trying to become America's first Jewish president. I wouldn't put it past both trying and even succeeding. Did you now that his father fought in Israel's War of Independence? Neither did I.
See you in May, folks.
By Brian Goldfarb.
By the editor: On the subject of poor Londoners having two alternatives, both unpleasant:
You have only yourself to blame for the situation, folks. But it may be not too late yet to elect this one:
Couldn't be much worse with him at the helm. At least he will install some ingenious devices in the public toilets for handicapped (hm...) persons...