Jews in Cleveland Bitterly Divided over Obama

In a nasty, partisan article in the New York Times, the growing divide over the presidential election among the Jews of Cuyahoga County is depicted. Cuyahoga county is in the Northeast part of Ohio that includes Cleveland. 

The Jews there are quarreling with great passion over whether to support Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. They are also quarreling over whether to support native son Josh Mandel, the observant Jewish former Marine who served two terms in Iraq, or his uber-liberal opponent, Sherrod Brown.

Jewish conservatives have come forth with an ad in the Cleveland Jewish news asking, “Are you willing to bet the life of the Jewish people on this president?” The Times, of course, colored the ad this way (note the quotes) :

It questioned Barack Obama’s willingness to defend an Israel “threatened by nuclear annihilation.”

Gee, those budding nukes in Iran must be intended for space aliens.

John Bolton, the esteemed former ambassador to the U.N., has gotten involved, the Times reports:

Automated calls pour into Jewish households from John Bolton, the hawkish former U.N. ambassador, in which he warns that a vote for Romney is needed to save Israel from an Iranian bomb and Islamist extremists.

Mandel is portrayed this way:

Mandel, a 35-year-old ex-Marine who has raised more than $20 million through conservative backers, has appalled Ohio’s socially progressive Jews — who are still the clear majority — with an anti-abortion stance that has included calling the Indiana Senate nominee Richard Mourdock a “class act” after Mourdock said pregnancy resulting from rape was “something that God intended to happen” and life was always “a gift from God.”

Forget the fact that the Times is quoting Mourdock out of context, picking and choosing from his statement; Mandel has “appalled” other Jews. Of course, most “socially progressive” Jews are precisely the same ones who choose the prevailing social norms over the traditional values of the Bible. Appalling them would be to be expected form a person of faith.

The writer of the article derisively referred to the conservative case against Obama this way:

The case I heard in Ohio against Obama on Israel was the usual Republican hodgepodge of insinuations: The president went to Cairo but not Jerusalem, he snubbed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he reached out to Muslims but showed no love for Jews. They ignore all the defense and intelligence cooperation that led the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, to say Obama had done “more than anything that I can remember in the past” for Israeli security.

The writer conveniently ignores that all of those “insinuations” are true, that Barak is a known leftist who once offered 98% of the eternal capital of the Jews, Jerusalem, to the Palestinian Arabs; that Obama’s administration has four times divulged the agreements Israel had with other countries to fly over them in an attack on Iran, thus scuttling the agreements; that Obama suggested Israel retreat to the pre-1967 suicidal borders.

The writer also decides his major source for commentary is James Ratner, an executive of the Forest City real estate group, who is related by marriage to Mandel and whose sister Deborah is a major Democratic fund-raiser. Deborah told Mandel at a family gathering: “I don’t want this to be awkward, but you represent everything I’ve spent my life working against.” James Ratner melodramatically put the growing divide this way: some Democrat relatives “have supported Mandel’s campaign out of family loyalty … that leads deeper into the darkness.”

Even with his scathing attack on the Jews who reject Obama, the writer does acknowledge the possibility of a drop in Obama’s support; in 2008, roughly 80% of Cleveland’s Jews voted for Obama; now, Robert Goldberg, former chairman of the United Jewish Communities (now The Jewish Federations of North America), who supports Romney, believes Jewish support for Obama has dropped to 60% this year.

It doesn’t matter to the New York Times; their hatred for those of faith runs this deep:

James Ratner sent me an e-mail saying, “This may well be a case where the noise is obscuring the music.” Beneath all the shouting, he suggested, Jewish sentiment remains solidly Democratic. “In a meeting this week of 60 members of a woman’s group at Park Synagogue there was absolute unanimity behind Obama. No one was voting for Romney.”

Those Jewish women know exactly what Romney and Mandel represent: an obscurantist and invasive threat to their rights in the name of a God whose wishes these men presume to know.

This gratuitous slam at Romney and Mandel for not supporting abortion-on-demand and relying on their faith rather than the odious secular values of the Left, as represented by the Obama Administration and their allies, is beyond sanctimonious. For those of us who hold steadfast to our Judeo-Christian values, it is an attack on faith itself. And that is exactly what the fight in Cleveland is all about.



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