Friday, October 30th, 2009
Several major Jewish groups, apparently pressured by lay leaders who don’t want sweeping health care reform with a public option, have backed off as the debate rages in Washington.
Entering a Borough Park public school early Tuesday, David Tilis was emphatic about his pick for president.
“I’m Jewish, so it has to be [George W.] Bush,” said Tilis, 21, a mortgage broker en route to casting his vote for the Republican incumbent. “I don’t understand how any Jew could vote for [Sen. John] Kerry. Yasir Arafat is for him.”
For the first time, a son of Safed is prime minister. All right, so Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is the Palestinian prime minister, but Israelís fate is in his hands as much as anyoneís. When he insists that peace depends on Israel recognizing the Arab right of return, heís talking about himself and heís talking about Safed.
Eight months after Minnesota voters went to the polls, the state is about to get a new senator. And it’s not the old one – Norm Coleman, the Republican whose last appeal of the razor-thin election was rejected by the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday in a unanimous decision.
A lower court ruled that Democrat Al Franken, the former Saturday Night Live comic, won the election by 312 votes, but Coleman continued to argue that an additional 4000 absentee ballots should be counted.
Periodically during his six-month battle to win a Minnesota Senate race a recount showed he lost by 312 votes, former Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, has suggested voters should just do the whole thing over again.
It’s already the longest and most boring senate election in recent history, unless you love legal minutia, and it’s not over yet; a three-judge panel in Minnesota is deliberating whether challenger Al Franken, who got a few more votes, or Norm Coleman, who says those votes are tainted, will be sworn in sometime before the end of the 111th Congress.
A while back this blog reported on suggestions Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand could face tough going with Jewish voters in 2010, when she runs for a full term, in part because of her strong pro-gun stance – a position that sells well in her former upstate congressional district but generally doesn’t impress Jewish Manhattanites.
With Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in limbo because of the political division between Gaza and the West Bank, many analysts are touting the potential for breakthroughs on the Syria-Israel track.
A senior member of the Jewish delegation in Congress, fresh from a trip to the region that included a meeting with Syrian president Bashar Assad, says maybe – but don’t count on it.