Prominent Jews Take to Editorial Pages for Presidential Endorsements
by Zach Pontz
Several prominent Jewish-American voices have published editorials in recent days that give good insight into just how conflicted the Jewish community is this political season.
In the Jewish Journal the playwright David Mamet published an interrogative editorial in which he not-so-much questions Barack Obama as liberal sentiments as a whole.
“Will you tell your children that a liberal government will increasingly marginalize, dismiss and weaken the support for and the safety of the Jewish state?” He asks.
He then attacks what he sees as the hegemonic culture of the left. “Will you explain that whatever their personal beliefs, tax-funded institutions will require them to imbibe and repeat the slogans of the left, and that, should they differ, they cannot have a career in education, medicine or television unless they keep their mouths shut?”
He wraps up the article by implying that perhaps, despite a tradition of liberal values, many Jews will vote differently this year. “Please remember that we have the secret ballot and, should you, on reflection, vote in secret for a candidate you would not endorse in public, you will not be alone.”
In the Wall Street Journal casino magnate and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, no stranger to public displays of political expression, wrote an op-ed titled, “I Didn’t Leave the Democrats. They Left Me.”
“Like most Jews around the country, being Democrat was part of our identity,” Adelson writes of his youth. But he goes on to detail his disenchantment with the direction of the party, saying, “the truth is the Democratic Party has changed in ways that no longer fit with someone of my upbringing,”
“There is now a visceral anti-Israel movement among rank-and-file Democrats,” he writes, before attacking Obama’s economic policies. “Each year of his presidency has produced unsustainable deficits, and he takes no responsibility for his spending.”
Jeffrey Golderberg’s inclusion in the debate isn’t really all that surprising as the Atlantic columnist generally sits front and center in any American discourse on Israel. But he published a post to his blog just this morning titled, “Why Obama is Better for Israel Than Romney,” that raised interesting issues.
In the blog post his support of Obama isn’t necessarily glowing. “Barack Obama, who is pro-Israel — has done a lousy job managing the peace process, and a lousy job understanding, and manipulating, Benjamin Netanyahu, but he has done a stellar job defending Israel’s fundamental rights against many foes — including from the podium of the U.N. General Assembly — and he has done an outstanding job making sure that Israel receives the highest-level military cooperation with the U.S. possible,” he writes.
He also tries to dispel the notion that the president is seen as weak by Israel’s enemies, saying of Obama that he “is in a better position to carry through his promise to keep Iran from going nuclear, and he has proven he is cold-blooded enough to use force if he thinks American interests are at stake.”
Of course, Goldberg isn’t completely sold. “There is one wrinkle,” he writes. “I’ve also argued that the Iranians may be more apt to believe that Romney is crazy enough to attack them, and so they might be more apt to negotiate an end to their nuclear program for fear of a Republican president.”
Goldberg continues to waver in the face of an outright endorsement of Obama’s Israel policies, saying that he, “did a poor job, in his first term, helping Israelis analyze their existential dilemmas, save the existential dilemma posed by an Iranian bomb.”
Finally, Goldberg tells us what is really on his mind: “The truth is, Israel isn’t best served by either Romney or Obama. What it needs is a concentrated dose of Bill Clinton.”