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DATE: 14 Oct. 2008


TO: My Political E-Mail List


SUBJECT: Obama is a friend of Jews, Israel, & peace.



One of my Jewish friends has a friend who is an American citizen living in Israel. She is about to cast her vote for president but is still undecided. My friend asked me if I could share any information about Obama that might convince her to vote for him.


I did some Googling and found what follows.


Doug (I would never vote for an anti-Semite, an anti-Catholic, or any other hate-monger)






“Obama has worked strenuously to combat Jewish misgivings about his candidacy. His campaign has highlighted the prominent role Jews played in his rise in Illinois politics. And he has appeared before numerous Jewish groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., in June, when he declared Israel’s security ‘sacrosanct’ and ‘non-negotiable.’ The speech was well received and earned him a sort of ‘hechsher,’ says Wald — the certification from a rabbi that food is kosher. In Florida, Obama has dispatched well-regarded Jewish surrogates like U.S. Reps. Robert Wexler and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who have been making an emphatic case for the Democratic nominee. The Republicans ‘are wrong on funding and improving education, they are wrong on health care and wrong on civil rights and civil liberties,’ says Wasserman Schultz. ‘Barack Obama supports all our values, not just some of them.’”


... more good information follows that in the article (mainly about how Palin is costing McCain Jewish votes), including mention of “The Great Schlep” ...




“The Great Schlep aims to have Jewish grandchildren visit their grandparents in Florida, educate them about Obama, and therefore swing the crucial Florida vote in his favor.”


Attached [to my e-mail] are their Talking Points [linked here].


BarackObama.com presents a brief video featuring Shimon Peres as well as Jews in Chicago and elsewhere in the United States speaking in support of Obama ...




The National Jewish Democratic Council has this to say about Obama ...




Senator Obama has an outstanding voting record on Israel issues. Senator Obama co-sponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act. He has joined several letters urging actions on behalf of the interests of the State of Israel, including a letter calling on the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist groups, a letter urging President Bush to press Palestinian leadership to bar terrorist groups from Palestinian elections, and a letter expressing solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism. He has voted multiple times in favor of foreign aid and is a leader in pushing for divestment from Iran.


On January 22, 2008, Obama sent a letter from his U.S. Senate office to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations calling for the U.S. to strongly support Israel on the U.N. Security Council. An excerpt:


“‘I urge you to ensure that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on this matter that does not fully condemn the rocket assault Hamas has been conducting on civilians in southern Israel for over two years.


“‘All of us are concerned about the impact of closed border crossings on Palestinian families. However, we have to understand why Israel is forced to do this. Gaza is governed by Hamas, which is a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction, and Israeli civilians are being bombarded by rockets on an almost daily basis. That is unacceptable and Israel has a right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians.


“‘The Security Council should clearly and unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks against Israel, and should make clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against such actions. If it cannot bring itself to make these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all.’


“[Letter from U.S. Senator Barack Obama to Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, January 22, 2008]


Obama wrote legislation promoting divestment from Iran. The legislation would clear the way for more states to divest their pension funds from companies that support Iran’s oil and gas industry. Iran uses the revenue it generates from its energy sector to finance its pursuit of nuclear weapons and support for terrorist groups. The legislation, according to the Senator’s office, ‘once enacted, will provide needed information about which companies are supporting Iran’s energy industry, clarify that state and local governments have the authority to divest of such companies, and provide legal protection for those governments that wish to do so.’ The legislation is being held up in the Senate by a Republican Senator. [NJDC Blog, 8/1/07: http://njdc.typepad.com/njdcs_blog/2007/08/obama-pushes-le.html]


Obama is outspoken about the dangers of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. For example, in November 2007, he stated firmly: ‘Make no mistake — if the Iranians and Syrians think they can use Iraq as another Afghanistan or a staging area from which to attack Israel or other countries, they are badly mistaken.’ [Chicago Sun Times, 3/1/07: http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/278222,CST-EDT-sweet01.article]


Senator Obama spoke eloquently about his support for the U.S.-Israel relationship at the 2007 NJDC Washington Conference. An excerpt:


“‘When I am President, the United States will stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in search of this peace, and in defense against those who seek its destruction ...


“‘... Those who have worked with me in Chicago in the state Legislature and now in the United States Senate will testify that I have not just talked the talk, I have walked the walk when it comes to Israel’s security. I think it is fundamental. I think it is something that is in the interests of the United States because of our special relationship, because Israel has not only established a democracy in the region but has been a stalwart ally of ours ...’


“For the full address: http://www.pjvoice.com/v25/25304obama.aspx


To an AIPAC audience in Chicago on March 2, 2007, Obama said, ‘Our job is to renew the United States’ efforts to help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share this vision. … That effort begins with a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel: our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That will always be my starting point.’ Continued Obama, ‘And when we see all of the growing threats in the region: from Iran to Iraq to the resurgence of al-Qaeda to the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah, that loyalty and that friendship will guide me as we begin to lay the stones that will build the road that takes us from the current instability to lasting peace and security.’ [Address of Senator Barack Obama to AIPAC, 3/2/07]


The New York Sun — hardly a bastion of support for Democrats — editorialized: ‘We’re no shills for Mr. Obama, but these Republicans [who questioned the Senator’s support for Israel] haven’t checked their facts. At least by our lights, Mr. Obama’s commitment to Israel, as he has articulated it so far in his campaign, is quite moving and a tribute to the broad, bipartisan support that the Jewish state has in America.’ [New York Sun, 1/9/08: http://www.nysun.com/article/69154]


Rep. Robert Wexler — a strong supporter of Israel who endorsed Obama — wrote, ‘What has always struck me about Senator Obama — and this is one of the reasons I have endorsed his candidacy for the United States Presidency — is that a love for Israel and a desire to keep the Jewish people secure is evident not just in his work, but also in his heart.’ [Letter of endorsement from Rep. Wexler]”




Sen. Obama’s voting record on Israel can be found here ...




... which includes these highlights ...

That Web site is introduced by the following letter of support, signed by a great many American Jews ...




“We have decided to issue this statement because, increasingly, we are seeing inaccurate and often scurrilous attacks on his positions circulating on the internet. We are not interested in stimulating an endorsement war with any other candidate. We are interested in setting the record straight.


“We represent the breadth of the American Jewish community. Some of us are observant, some are not. We are old and young, male and female, and we represent a wide range of professions. A few of us are sabras; a few are converts. A few come from families that sought refuge in the United States from the Holocaust. Some of us have known Barack Obama personally for many years. Others were drawn to his stirring call for change.


“Why do we support Senator Obama?


“Our reasons are as diverse as our own community. Some of us support his history of enacting ethics reform legislation. Others admire that he opposed the Iraq war, even as many politicians supported it, against their own better judgment but because they feared the political consequences. Still others believe he will be the best on environmental issues and climate change, and that he will address Darfur with a sense of urgency. And others think he is best positioned to lead us toward health care reform and to tackle the considerable problems of the economy.


“Whatever our personal reasons, we all believe that Senator Obama is one of those unusual visionary leaders who comes once in a generation to inspire us to overcome what has, especially for the past seven years, divided and polarized us.


“Despite this, we are increasingly seeing vicious and often nameless attacks on Senator Obama. Some of these are downright silly: that the Senator is Muslim (‘proven’ by his middle name, which he received, along with his other two names, from his father); that he refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance; or that he would use a Koran instead of a Bible in his swearing-in ceremony.


“Religious leaders of our own community have called for a halt in the ‘particularly abhorrent … hateful emails that use falsehood and innuendo to mischaracterize Senator Barack Obama’s religious beliefs and who he is as a person.’ The ‘Open Letter to the Jewish Community’ was signed by Rabbis who lead Reform and Orthodox parts of Judaism, and officials from the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Anti-Defamation League.


“More disturbing are the charges that electing Senator Obama would be ‘bad’ for Israel.


“The best answer to the last point comes from Senator Obama, himself. ‘I start with the premise that Israel is a stalwart ally of ours and their security cannot be compromised’ Senator Obama pledged last year to an AIPAC audience. ‘Our job is to never forget that the threat of violence is real.’


“Other leaders and opinion makers confirm Senator Obama’s strong support of Israel.


“Alon Pinkas, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, wrote that &ksquo;Obama’s voting record on issues pertaining to Israelis [is] impeccable. ... He has never outlined a policy that Israelis ... find incompatible with what they believe a pro-Israeli Mid-East policy should be.’


“Shmuel Rosner, Chief U.S. correspondent for Haaretz, concluded that ‘Obama supports Israel. Period.’ Mel Levine, former Congressman and AIPAC Board Member, whose standing and respect in the Jewish-American community is unquestioned, wrote recently that


“‘More than most, Jewish Americans have benefited from progressive ideas and inclusive politics, and no candidate better represents that tradition than Barack Obama. In fact, there is something essentially Jewish about Obama’s political philosophy. ‘One’ is the golden thread that runs throughout Jewish thought and belief. ... Oneness is a Jewish frame of mind. In his speeches and public statements, his legislation and his voting record, he has proven himself to be a stalwart friend of Israel, committed to helping Israel in its search for peace with its neighbors, while standing strong with Israel against those who do not share this vision.’


“As for the charges made regarding Louis Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite who has said intemperate, distasteful, and inaccurate things about Jews and the Holocaust, we want to set the record straight. Senator Obama quickly denounced any statement of approval of Louis Farrakhan, saying ‘I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan.’ About his own church, which publishes Trumpet Newsmagazine, Senator Obama said, ‘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.’


“Upon careful examination of Barack Obama’s record, we believe he has the policy instincts, judgment, wisdom, and passion that we need in our next President of the United States. We hope that American Jews everywhere will join in our support for Senator Obama.”




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