Jill Miller Zimon, Cleveland Blogger (Writes Like She Talks) offered me a metaphorical Advil this morning for my post debate headache in her comment to this post.
Thank you Jill – I followed your link to blogher and got some stress relief. The first few paragraphs of the post “Obama, Hillary and the Jews” was more of what I am hearing in the neighborhood, however, in a discussion thread to be commended on its civility, there is much important information. Check it out.
I have been reading various media reports focusing on Obama’s response to Tim Russert’s question on Louis Farrakan ‘s support of Obama’s candidacy. I thought he responded appropriately and honestly. Hillary pushed that his statements were not strong enough. Some of my neighbors agree; agree to the point that when asked about a McCain/Obama contest they didn’t know who would get their vote.
They are “afraid” of Obama’s candidacy because of Farrakan’s outrageous statements. This issue was addressed by Barack Obama to the satisfaction of the ADL in January when Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen took him to task:
In this morning’s Washington Post, columnist Richard Cohen took Obama’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ, on Chicago’s South Side, to task for giving an award last year to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The church, through its magazine, bestowed on Farrakhan its Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award — named for its pastor — saying Farrakhan “truly epitomized greatness.”
“Maybe for Wright and some others, Farrakhan ‘epitomized greatness,’ Cohen wrote. “For most Americans, though, Farrakhan epitomizes racism, particularly in the form of anti-Semitism.”
The column caught the attention of the Anti-Defamation League, which was preparing to publicly press Obama to distance himself from the award and from Farrakhan. But Obama’s campaign, before the ADL could act, put out a statement doing just that.
“I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan,” Obama said in a statement released by his aides. “I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.”
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL’s national director, welcomed Obama’s words.
“Issues of racism and anti-Semitism must be beyond the bounds of politics,” Foxman said in a statement. “When someone close to a political figure shows sympathy and support for an individual who makes his name espousing bigotry, that political figure needs to distance himself from that decision. Senator Obama has done just that.”
The Anti-Defamation League was satisfied with his answer, but my neighbors are not.
Digging deeper I found substantial commentary detailing Obama’s understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian issue and a deep commitment to Israel.
He has led the effort in the Senate to pass legislation that would assist U.S. states that choose to divest from Iran. His top Middle East adviser is Dennis Ross, who had the job during the Clinton administration and who since has principally blamed the Palestinian leadership for the failure of the Oslo peace process.
Ron Kampeas for JTA, Global News Service for the Jewish People
Jill Miller Zimon’s Obama Clinton campaigns tackle Cleveland Jewish Community