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Monday, June 18, 2012

Obama can't even make up a good lie to save face with Jews

Rafael Medoff publishes this astounding account by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein (if I recall correctly, the rabbi who taught Bill Clinton to say "Shalom, Chaver" after the Rabin assassination) of President Obama's meeting with Orthodox Jewish leaders last week.
A few days before the poll came out, a delegation of Orthodox Jewish leaders met with the president at the White House. In a memo to his congregants this week, Rabbi Dr. Haskel Lookstein of Manhattan’s Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue described the meeting.

“When asked about the perception that Israel is being pressed on the peace process more than are the Palestinians,” Rabbi Lookstein wrote, “the President indicated his belief that both sides need to compromise and that he has pressured both sides. However, in truth, he only cited pressure on the Israelis with respect to stopping settlement activity. He indicated that all of the United States assistance to Israel on security issues is problematic for the Palestinians, but, of course, that doesn’t constitute pressure on them to do anything. The one thing the Palestinians have to be pressured to do is to sit down at the table and negotiate without preconditions. The President has not done this and he avoided giving a clear response to the question of how he is specifically pressuring the Palestinians.”

Although the president and his advisers had plenty of time to prepare for the meeting, and even though the meeting was, as Rabbi Lookstein put it, “carefully scripted,” President Obama “avoided giving a clear response” regarding pressuring the Palestinians. One would think he would have come up with at least one example, even if it was more rhetorical than substantive, to soothe the concerns of the Jewish delegation. No such luck.

Rabbi Lookstein, the author of Were We Our Brothers’ Keepers?, an important book on American Jewry’s response to the Holocaust, has a keen sense of history. He recalled, in his memo, how some prominent Jews with access to President Franklin Roosevelt hesitated “to ask the hard questions or raise the tough issues.”

In December 1942, after the US had verified that mass murder of Europe’s Jews was underway, Jewish leaders were granted half an hour with the president. He spent the first 23 minutes telling jokes and commenting on other subjects. Then FDR spoke in generalities about the Nazi genocide for a few moments. And then – one participant later wrote – he “pushed some secret button, and his adjutant appeared in the room” to usher the Jewish leaders out.

In his diary, Roosevelt’s vice president, Henry Wallace, wrote about an incident in March 1944, in which FDR met with Jewish leaders and “caused [them] to believe that he was in complete accord with them...” The very next day, Roosevelt boasted to his cabinet that he had told the Jewish leaders “where to get off” and had warned them that their agitation for Zionism was “going to be responsible for the killing of a hundred thousand people.” “Enraged Arabs” would retaliate by attacking Americans in the Middle East, FDR claimed.

“The President certainly is a waterman,” Wallace wrote. “He looks one direction and rows the other with the utmost skill.”

American Jews in the 1940s had no way to know President Roosevelt’s true feelings on these issues, and Jewish leaders were reluctant to speak up. “Thank God, we live in a very different world today,” Rabbi Lookstein wrote this week. Today’s Jewish leaders are much more willing than their predecessors to ask the president the difficult questions that need to be asked.
I disagree with Rabbi Lookstein's conclusions, although I find his account compelling and believable.

Most Jewish leaders - and certainly most non-Orthodox Jewish leaders - are not willing to ask President Obama the hard questions. Many Jewish leaders who are willing to ask hard questions are not willing to draw the proper conclusions from the lack of a reasonable answer to them. If the rabbis and lay leaders were asking the hard questions and drawing the proper conclusions, there would be an advertisement in every major American newspaper signed by hundreds of rabbis urging their congregants to vote for Mitt Romney. But there is no such advertisement. There is not even such an advertisement signed by Orthodox rabbis alone, and so many of their congregants will go to the polls and blindly vote for Obama again.

There is no Rabbi Moshe Feinstein to go to the White House and protest, and even if Rav Moshe were alive today, there would be even fewer rabbis that would accompany him than did in 1943.

Obama has read the American Jewish community correctly. It is weak and sycophantic. It lacks the backbone to stand up for itself or for its brethren elsewhere. Instead, it is trying to convince itself that four more years of Obama would not be such a bad thing, because after all 'we can't vote for a Mormon.' 'A Muslim, okay, but a Mormon?'

Our rabbis tell us in the tractates of Sotah and Sanhedrin that each generation gets the leadership it deserves, and the leadership of the generation just preceding the Messiah is the weakest of all.
The Talmud in both Sotah and Sanhedrin says that in the times leading up to the Messiah's arrival, the generation's face will be like that of a dog. The (real) rabbis explain that when one walks a dog, the dog seems to run ahead, but constantly turns around to make sure that the 'master' is following. So is the dog leading the 'master' or is the 'master' leading the dog? In reality, the 'master' is leading the dog, even though the dog gives the illusion that the opposite is the case. The dog symbolizes the Jewish communal leadership; the 'master' symbolizes the Jewish public at large.
God save us all.


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At 1:07 AM, Blogger Jesterhead45 said...

In some respects I can understand we are given the leadership we deserve, yet how does one account for the fact that there are many Jews out there who believe otherwise, that the today's Jewish leadership does NOT represent us and that we deserve so much better then the current crop that pass for Jewish leaders?

One only needs to see how much of the Jewish public in Israel and other places outside of Israel lean to the right, while being ruled over by an unrepresentative unaccountable group of oikophobic leftists that make up today’s Jewish leadership (i.e. traitorous sell-outs to mostly inimical foreign powers / governments / interests) who readily employ undemocratic means to maintain their hold on power.

At 2:17 AM, Blogger HaDaR said...

It was Rav Kotler, zt"l, and Irwing Bunim, zt"l, of the Vaad Hatzalah who organized the demonstration of the 1,000 Orthodox Rabbis in front of the White House.
Pigs like Roosevel or S.S. Wise could not care less.

At 3:50 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Until we formulate an approach (or reminder) to Torah Economics, which is not marxist, socialist, kibbutznik, urban dole, etc., then I don't see any chance that the leadership will change. I keep thinking that someone like Natan Sharansky will take it on, since he saw so much badness. But, actually, in Natan's first decade in Israel, he was discounted as not liberal enough by the liberal Jewish leaders. They were "disappointed" that he didn't join the march to the Left. Did that limit his leadership?

Or I think of Dershowitz or Lieberman. They are very pro-Israel, but are over on the edge of pushing the U.S. into socialism. I don't think I've ever heard of them objecting to this Dem disaster sending guns on down to our precious neighbor Mexico to arm up multiple sides of their street war. Or objecting to dead people in Mexico as a result. So, nope.

We do need a leader to discuss and re-formulate the Torah Economics approaches. Maybe an orthodox Rabbi out in flyover country? Hmmm...

At 3:53 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

And, if you actually open your mouth in objection to the marcuse Leftism, you will be Un-Friended by people you have admired in the Jewish Community.


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