Blue and energized

February 13, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | 2 Comments

(Washington Jewish Week)

For Joanna Blotner, Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary was unusual. Instead of voting for the lesser of two evils, she was excited to be choosing between “the better of two greats.”

“They’re both such good candidates, I want to vote for both,” the 22-year-old District resident said on Thursday evening of last week at a happy hour sponsored by the Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus in the District’s Woodley Park.

Blotner’s inability to choose between Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) just five days before the Potomac Primary was shared by a number of her friends and others in the 150 or so person crowd.

Continue Reading Blue and energized…


Jewish Senators Weigh in on Obama

January 22, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | Leave a comment


Seven Jewish U.S. senators wrote an open letter to the Jewish community repudiating rumors about Sen. Barack Obama’s religion.

“We find it particularly abhorrent that these attacks are apparently being sent specifically to the Jewish community,” said the letter initiated by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and also signed by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ben. Cardin (D-Md.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). “Jews, who have historically been the target of such attacks, should be the first to reject these tactics.”

The letter, made public over the weekend, echoed another by the leaders of nine Jewish groups last week addressing a spate of e-mails that falsely claim Obama, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, is a secret Muslim.

There are 13 Jews in the Senate – 10 Democrats, an Independent and two Republicans. All of the seven signing the letter have yet to endorse a presidential candidate.

‘Bad For The Jews’

January 7, 2008 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | Leave a comment

(The Nation – Opinion piece by Eric Alterman)

Today’s topic is the paradox–or one of them, anyway–of American Jewish political behavior. No, it’s not that hoary old cliché that they “earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans.” Rather, it’s that they think like enlightened liberals yet allow belligerent right-wingers and neocons who frequently demonize, distort and denounce their values to speak for them in the US political arena.

Don’t take my word for it. According to the American Jewish Committee’s 2007 survey of American Jewry, released December 11, a majority of Jews in this country oppose virtually every aspect of the Bush Administration/neocon agenda. Not only do they disapprove of the Administration’s handling of its “campaign against terrorism” (59-31 percent), they believe by a 67-to-27 margin that we should never have invaded Iraq. They are unimpressed by the “surge”–68 percent say it has either made no difference or made things worse, and by a 57-to-35 percent majority they oppose an attack on Iran, even if it was undertaken “to prevent [Iran] from developing nuclear weapons.”

Continue Reading ‘Bad For The Jews’…

Jews Poised To Play Key Role In Primaries

January 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | Leave a comment

(New York Jewish Week) On the eve of the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses this week, strategists in both major political parties now believe Jewish voters could play a critical role in wide-open nomination battles this year — and possibly in a November general election that some experts say could be another squeaker.

“Usually the Jewish vote isn’t something Republican candidates compete for in the primaries,” said a key Jewish supporter of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, one of the candidates with the most to gain from a strong Jewish tally. “But this is a very different climate, with the front-loaded primaries.

Continue Reading Jews Poised To Play Key Role In Primaries…

Who Speaks for the Jews?

January 2, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | Leave a comment

(JCPA Blog) So I was thinking this morning about what to write as my blog entry today…but Eric Alterman already wrote it.  So I decided to save myself some time and energy, and probably a hefty plagiarism lawsuit and merely suggest that you read his recent article in The Nation – not because it’s called “Bad for the Jews”, and not because it comments on the American Jewish Committee’s 2007 Survey of American Jewry, but because Alterman touches on an issue that institutional restraints – and fear — prevent those of us who work for Jewish non-profit organizations from addressing.  How in touch are our communal organizations with the people we claim to represent?  Alterman’s focus is the media – that the people the media turn to “speak for Jews and Jewish values,” such as Charles Krauthammer and David Horowitz, are not at all representative of the Jewish mainstream, based on what the AJC survey found.

Continue Reading Who Speaks for the Jews?…

Edwards Responds to YDAJC Questions

December 21, 2007 at 6:32 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | Leave a comment

The United States has a strong bilateral alliance with the state of Israel, and also has played a historic role as a leader in the peace process. This dual role raises a series of questions. How would you characterize the U.S.-Israel alliance, and what role should that friendship play in U.S. Middle East policy? What role should the United States play in the peace process? What should be the role of other international leaders in the Middle East peace process? How could other states in the region help promote peace and fight terrorism? How should the U.S. balance Israeli security in an atmosphere of increasing pressure for concessions to the Palestinians? Should the United States continue its commitment to maintaining Israel’s ability to deter and defend against foreseeable combinations of threats, and maintain its qualitative military edge? What role should the United States play if Israel comes under attack and, in a worst-case-scenario, is unable to defend itself successfully?

The peace process today stands on the brink of either great promise or great peril. Israel and the Palestinian Authority could achieve more in the coming years than they ever have before, but they could also slide back to the past. Nobody can play a greater role in this process than the United States, and we must stand by Israel and prevent the backsliding by the Palestinian Authority that has prevented progress in the past. Progress will require a steady and firm hand in putting the region back on the roadmap to peace authored by the U.S., the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. Time and time again, the Israelis have demonstrated their desire for peace and a future where two states can live side-by-side in peace. The U.S. must work with moderate Palestinians who renounce violence, recognize Israel, and are committed to past agreements like the Roadmap.

As president, I will see to it that the United States is engaged in the Middle East. The U.S. must do everything it can, through diplomatic, economic, and military aid, to maintain Israel’s qualitative edge and keep Israel strong and safe in a dangerous region so that there is no “worst case” scenario. America must stand by Israel—our ally and partner—to ensure its security, while doing everything in our power to achieve peace and stability in this vital part of the world.

Continue Reading Edwards Responds to YDAJC Questions…

Richardson Responds to YDAJC Questions

December 20, 2007 at 6:26 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | Leave a comment

What conditions do you see as necessary for fostering peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

At its most basic level, the conditions necessary for fostering peace between the Israelis and Palestinians will require Israelis to feel safe, secure, and welcome in the region, and for the Palestinians to have a coherent homeland where they can build a strong economy.

Continue Reading Richardson Responds to YDAJC Questions…

Jewish rookie making waves in Congress

December 19, 2007 at 6:21 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | Leave a comment

(JTA) A leading political newspaper chose a Jewish Democrat as its congressional rookie of the year.

The Politico named Ron Klein of Florida for his policy ideas, knowledge of how to wield political power and fund-raising ability.

Klein had also notably broken with his Democratic colleagues to push a joint resolution with Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) condemning the threat that Iran poses in Latin America.

Klein, a self-described pro-business Democrat, represents a district that includes wealthy neighborhoods in Palm Beach and the working-class factories of Fort Lauderdale.

He introduced legislation to help stabilize insurance for homeowners in hurricane-prone districts.

“There is a solution for every single problem,” Klein told The Politico. “We sat down with various groups, talked about the insurance crisis and said, ‘We’re going to find an answer.’ ”

Klein’s colleagues on Capitol Hill described the 14-year veteran of the Florida Legislature as energetic and knowledgeable.

Klein, who has been known to spend hours making fund-raising calls, has in excess of $1.4 million in campaign funds on hand, according to Federal Election Commission records.

YDAJC questions candidates on issues

December 16, 2007 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | Leave a comment

The Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus sent a questionnaire to each of the Democratic Presidential candidates to get their views on a series of issues of particular concern to the Jewish community.  As they answer, their responses will be posted in their entirety.  The nine questions posed to each candidate are as follows:

1. What conditions do you see as necessary for fostering peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

2. What role should the United States play in building Israeli- Palestinian peace?

3. In your view, what kind of a threat does Iran pose to the United States and to our allies?  What should we be doing about it?

4. What would your administration do about the situation in Darfur?

5. On what basis should the United States formulate its immigration policy (i.e. who should be let in for what reasons)?  What do you plan to do with those who have migrated to this country illegally?

6. What role should the government play in addressing poverty and hunger?  Should social welfare programs targeting the poor be expanded, kept about the same, or shifted to private forms of assistance?

7. What restrictions, if any, should be placed on the ability to have an abortion?  Should laws be put in place requiring parental notification when minors request an abortion?

8. How would you characterize the role of the Faith-Based Initiatives program?  How would it change, if at all, in your administration?

9. Are you in favor of or opposed to a voucher program that would subsidize public school students to attend private and/or parochial schools?  In what circumstances would this be acceptable/unacceptable?

Jewish groups laud Senate on Darfur

December 14, 2007 at 6:19 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events | Leave a comment

(JTA) Jewish groups praised the passage in the U.S. Senate of the Sudan Divestment Act.

The bill passed unanimously late Wednesday prohibits federal dealings with companies that deal with Sudan’s oil, mineral and arms industries and provides legal protections to U.S. states considering similar measures. A similar bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives in the spring.

Jewish groups have led the drive to isolate Sudan’s government until it allows peacekeepers into the Darfur region to keep government-allied militias from massacring civilians. So far, the militias – part of the government’s effort to quell separatist aspirations – have killed as many as 400,000 civilians.

“Once signed by President Bush, the Sudan Divestment and Accountability Act will force companies invested in Sudan to choose between receiving lucrative U.S. government contracts and funding a government responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of its own citizens,” said Ruth Messinger, the president of American Jewish World Service, the group that has led Jewish community activism on the issue.

B’nai B’rith International also praised the bill’s passage

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