Showing posts with label Jewish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jewish. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

[OPINION] Obama pressed to reverse legal opinion on religious freedom

(Washington Jewish Week via JTA) — More than a dozen Jewish organizations signed on to a letter urging President Barack Obama to instruct the Justice Department to reverse a legal opinion that allows religious organizations to avoid religious nondiscrimination laws in hiring.
The Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, Hadassah and B’nai B’rith International were among the 130 signatories of the letter sent Aug. 20 by civil rights, education and secular advocacy groups.
In the letter, the groups ask the president to instruct the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to “review and reconsider” a 2007 memorandum that has been used to promote “taxpayer-funded discrimination plain and simple,” as the American Civil Liberties Union put it.
The memorandum concludes that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, religious organizations seeking federal grants could not be compelled to follow religious nondiscrimination laws pertaining to hiring.
“The OLC Memo reaches the erroneous and dangerous conclusion that the religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) provides a blanket override of a statutory non-discrimination provision,” the letter reads in its opening.
Under the RFRA, which was introduced in the House by now-Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and in the Senate by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., the government cannot “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” except when the government can demonstrate that the burden is a “furtherance of a compelling governmental interest” and “is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”
The signatories contend that the Office of Legal Counsel memo has been applied without any regard for the “government’s compelling interest in prohibiting [hiring] discrimination.”
Other Jewish groups that signed the letter are Bend the Arc, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Keshet, Jewish Women International, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Union for Reform Judaism, Women of Reform Judaism and Nehirim.
Reminding Obama that he had pledged to end federally funded hiring discrimination, the signers warned that leaving the opinion in place would tarnish his legacy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Obama Boasts: 'I Am the Closest Thing to a Jew that Has Ever Sat' in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama, wearing a traditional Jewish yarmulke, speaks at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, Friday May 22, 2015, as part of Jewish American Heritage Month. The president addressed one of the largest Jewish congregations in Washington to highlight efforts to combat anti-Semitism, a problem he says has created an intimidating environment worldwide for Jewish families. The appearance coincides with Solidarity Shabbat, devoted to showing unity by political leaders in Europe and North America against anti-Semitism. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Obama once confided to a top adviser that he believes he is “the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office.”
In an interview by an Israeli TV station, former Obama adviser David Axelrod recalled the president venting in a moment of contemplation about criticisms that he doesn’t support Israel strongly enough, reported.
“You know, I think I am the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office,” the president told Mr. Axelrod. “For people to say that I am anti-Israel, or, even worse, anti-Semitic, it hurts.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest endorsed the sentiment Tuesday, saying Mr. Obama gave a heartfelt speech at a Jewish synagogue in Washington last month that expressed “the kinds of common bonds and common values that are embodied in his administration that are [also] advocated by the Jewish community.”
“The president does feel that kind of kinship,” Mr. Earnest said.
The TV report came out in advance of an exclusive interview that Mr. Obama conducted with Channel 2’s Ilana Dayan, which will be broadcast later Tuesday.
Mr. Axelrod also was critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a frosty relationship with Mr. Obama.
“The world of politics everywhere is divided into two categories: the first and more common is the people who run for public office because they want to be somebody,” Mr. Axelrod said. “A smaller group is made of respectable people who run for public office because they want to do something – something positive. Shape the future in a positive way. I think Benjamin Netanyahucompletely falls in the first category. He is a great politician. He knows what he needs to do to get through the next election. But it seems to me that Israel has to think about what they need to do to get through the next generation.”
Martin Indyk, U.S. special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from 2013 to 2014, told Ms. Dayan that “Israelis are ungrateful to this president.”
“They never appreciated his rule whereby nothing will harm the security of Israel,” Mr. Indyk said. “Obama did not manage to get that statement out so that the Israelis can really feel it. You are an emotional nation, not a rational nation. You work from your gut and not your mind. “
He said of Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress this spring, which the White House opposed: “The prime minister really stuck his finger in President Obama’s eye, and this is a disturbing development.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Differences Between Left and Right: Part I

Most Americans hold either liberal or conservative positions on most matters. In many instances, however, they would be hard pressed to explain their position or the position they oppose.
But if you can't explain both sides, how do you know you're right?
At the very least, you need to understand both the liberal and conservative positions in order to effectively understand your own.
I grew up in a liberal world -- New York, Jewish and Ivy League graduate school. I was an 8-year-old when President Dwight Eisenhower ran for re-election against the Democratic nominee, Adlai Stevenson. I knew nothing about politics and had little interest in the subject. But I well recall knowing -- knowing, not merely believing -- that Democrats were "for the little guy" and Republicans were "for the rich guys."
I voted Democrat through Jimmy Carter's election in 1976. He was the last Democrat for which I voted.
Obviously, I underwent an intellectual change. And it wasn't easy. Becoming a Republican was emotionally and psychologically like converting to another religion.
In fact, when I first voted Republican I felt as if I had abandoned the Jewish people. To be a Jew meant being a Democrat. It was that simple. It was -- and remains -- that fundamental to many American Jews' identity.
Therefore, it took a lot of thought to undergo this conversion. I had to understand both liberalism and conservatism. Indeed, I have spent a lifetime in a quest to do so.
The fruit of that quest will appear in a series of columns explaining the differences between left and right.
I hope it will benefit conservatives in better understanding why they are conservative, and enable liberals to understand why someone who deeply cares about the "little guy" holds conservative -- or what today are labeled as conservative -- views.
Difference No. 1: Is Man Basically Good?

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Friday in Washington, D.C. at the Jewish American Heritage Celebration, President Barack Obama told the audience The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg once called him the “first Jewish president.”
Obama said,  “Most of all, I want to thank the entire congregation of Adas Israel for having me here today. Earlier this week, I was actually interviewed by one of your members, Jeff Goldberg. And Jeff reminded me he once called me the first Jewish president. Now, since some people still seem to be wondering about my faith, I should make clear this is an honorary title, but I was flattered. And as an honorary member of the tribe not to mention somebody who has hosted seven White House seders and has been advised  by two Jewish chiefs of staff.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jewish Support For Obama In Florida Down 7 Points From 2008

Jewish Support For Obama In Florida Down 7 Points From 2008

Support for President Barack Obama among Jews in the state of Florida is down 7 percentage points on 2008, according to an American Jewish Committee (AJC) poll released Thursday.
A total of 69% of Florida Jews said they would vote for Obama in November’s presidential elections, down from an estimated 76% in 2008, the AJC noted.
A 7 percentage-point drop in the Jewish vote likely represents over 50,000 votes in a state that the Republicans won in 2000 by fewer than 600 votes.
The 69% figure closely matches the results of a Gallup poll among Jewish voters nationwide from last weekend, which put support for Obama among US Jews at 70%.
Only 25% of Florida Jews said they would vote for Mitt Romney, according to the AJC poll.
Republicans have invested unprecedented resources — including buying billboards, print advertisements and door-to-door canvassing — to target hundreds of thousands of Jews in swing states whom the Republican Jewish Coalition has suggested may be considering turning away from their traditional Democratic affiliation.
The AJC’s telephone poll was conducted among 254 registered Jewish voters between September 7-9. The AJC expects to publish, within the coming weeks, a poll of Jewish voters in Ohio — another key battleground state — and a nationwide poll.
“In a key state, to which both parties are devoting a great deal of time and attention, and where recent history is a reminder that the margin of victory can be razor-thin, the Jewish vote takes on added importance,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
According to Republican Jewish Coalition head Matt Brooks, the new poll “reinforces what we’ve been saying all along, and that various polls in the past have indicated, which is that Barack Obama continues to have trouble with Jewish voters, and we continue to see significant erosion of Jewish support for the president.”
Democrats, however, challenged the conclusion Thursday that the new poll showed Obama slipping among Florida Jewish voters.
“It’s comparing apples and oranges to compare a 2008 exit poll and an AJC study in September of 2012,” said National Jewish Democratic Council head David Harris.
“But having said that, when you take out the undecideds from the AJC poll, you have Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 73 [percent] to 26,” he added. “This is one point away from where I see the final vote tally of the Jewish vote settled in 2008,” which the NJDC has argued came in at 74%.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Iran Tensions Loom Over Israelis on Jewish New Year

JERUSALEM — Jews around the world are observing Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In Israel, the mood is sober.

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days and is a time of reflection and prayer. Israelis ushered in the New Year with a sense of uncertainty amid tensions with Iran that have heightened fears of war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had this message for Jews in Israel and around the world.  “I want to wish you all a happy New Year, a happy New Year in your personal lives, a happy New Year for the Jewish people and the Jewish state. The Jewish state and the Jewish people are facing great challenges. Iran is racing to develop nuclear weapons. A rising tide of militancy is sweeping our region,” he said.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. But it sees Israel as a Zionist enemy.

Netanyahu says Iran could achieve nuclear weapons capability in just six or seven months, something Israel sees as a threat to its existence.

Netanyahu has accused the United States of failing to get tough on Iran; and despite strong opposition from Washington and the international community, he has threatened to launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The Obama administration says it is not yet ready to draw a red line concerning Iran and continues to pursue a deepening of international sanctions against Tehran.

One man on the street in Jerusalem says Israel may have no other choice. “It is a very dangerous situation to allow a very disturbed and unstable nation like Iran to develop weapons of mass destruction,” he stated.

Via: VOA
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Obama can be sued over insulting film: Iran official

A senior Iranian official says US President Barack Obama could face legal action in connection with the production of an anti-Islam movie by an American Jew.

“A complaint could be filed with US courts against Obama for his violation of articles 18 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) calling for respect of faiths,” Javad Mohammadi, the deputy head of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution (SCCR), said on Sunday. 

“Article 18 and 27 of the ICCPR, adopted by the United Nation, stipulate that the religion and the rights of the minorities should be respected,” Mohammadi said. 

The US government is a signatory to this covenant and has to respect it. Therefore, an individual or an NGO (non-governmental organization) can file a lawsuit against the president of the country for breach of the covenant, he added. 

Mohammadi heaped praise on the Muslims for their massive protests against the movie, noting “Protest against insults to religious sanctities should not be limited to time, place and customary reactions and we should undertake legal measures.” 
“The world’s elite know pretty well that Islam is a divine religion and Muslims have always respected divine religions and messengers and would never remain silent vis-à-vis any desecration,” the official said.

The controversial movie that has sparked outrage in the Muslim world has been produced by anti-Islam Israeli-American Sam Bacile. 

Bacile has assumed responsibility for the direction and production of the blasphemous film, which he said was made thanks to Jewish donations totaling USD 5 million.

Via: Press TV

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