Jewish politics

Rahm Emanuel's Chicago Jewish problem and why it could be the least of his worries

I've been intrigued by stories that Chicago voters won't vote for Rahm Emanuel for mayor because of Obama administration Middle East policies.

What makes the story interesting: that's probably the least of the now-former White House chief of staff's political problems.

First the Jewish problem: as some reports have suggested, Emanuel is taking the blame for Obama administration Israel policies detested by the Jewish right and a good part of the Orthodox community. That faction is a tiny proportion of Chicago's diverse electorate, but it's a loud and influential one.

Cuomo Meets With Chasidic Leaders

10/04/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that he and his father always had warm ties with the chasidic community and he hoped to “take it to another level” if he is elected next month.

“We have a special relationship that goes back many years,” the attorney general and son of three-term governor Mario Cuomo said during meetings with prominent chasidic leaders in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as seen on a YouTube video of the meetings.

Will the Jewish right save J Street from itself?

I just finished writing a story on J Street's disastrous week and the possible consequences of the revelation it's leaders lied for two years about George Soros' contributions - consequences on Capitol Hill, in voting booths and in the Jewish communal world. 

In looking the story over, I was particularly struck by one quote from my old friend Doug Bloomfield, once the legislative director of AIPAC, now a columnist for – gasp – Jewish newspapers.

Silver Speaks Out On Paladino

09/21/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

In his first public comments on Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said New Yorkers should “consider moving out of the state if he becomes governor.”

Since winning the GOP nod, Paladino has come under fire for comments he made nearly a year ago supporting Erie County Supervisor Chris Collins for calling Silver an “anti-Christ.”

Still more bad news for Sen. Russ Feingold

The bad news keeps coming for Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), the most liberal member of the Jewish delegation in the Senate.

According to a new Rasmussen poll, GOP challenger and political neophyte Ron Johnson now enjoys a seven point lead over the two-term incumbent less than two months from the November election.

Losing Iowa

09/21/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Iowa may be the Achilles' heel in the fabled power of the Israel lobby. Unfortunately, Jews are losing the state.

There are about 6,000 Jews in Iowa according to the latest Statistical Abstract of the United States. That means only one in 500 Iowans is Jewish. By comparison, New York, California, and Illinois have 1.6 million, 1.2 million, and 278 thousand Jews, representing 8.3 percent, 3.3 percent, and 2.2 percent of their respective state populations. The challenge to maintain basic religious services in Iowa leaves little leadership to defend Israel and the Jewish people.

Tough-Talking Paladino Seen Solidifying Democrats’ Base

Buffalo millionaire, Republican gubernatorial nominee, not likely to put together winning coalition in state, experts say.

09/16/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

The upset victory of Buffalo developer and Tea Party activist Carl Paladino in Tuesday’s Republican primary for governor over Rick Lazio is likely to solidify the Democrats’ most crucial voting blocs — including Jews — and drive most independents into the Democrats’ camp as well in November’s election, observers say.

GOP nominee Carl Paladino

More on Obama's (liberal) Jewish problem, and a brighter future for Jewish Republicans

I've had some interesting feedback on my story last week on President Obama's “real” Jewish problem. No, it's not the problem of angry Jewish activists who think he's anti-Israel, but the disillusionment of many on the left over what they view as his overly centrist domestic policies.

Obama Facing Jewish Left Backlash

09/07/2010
Washington Correspondent

As the midterm elections near, Jewish progressives, frustrated by what they see as President Barack Obama’s lack of leadership on a range of domestic issues — starting with the economy — may sit out the November congressional vote in large numbers.

The prospect of a backlash from Jewish liberals, which carries big political risks for the president, say observers, is his real “Jewish problem,” not the Jewish right’s criticism of his handling of the Israel issue.

President Obama with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

High Drama, Low Turnout

09/07/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

With little drama at the top of the ticket — there is only one statewide Democratic primary contest — turnout is expected to be largely underwhelming in Tuesday’s election. But the exception will likely be in Manhattan, where some spirited campaigns are playing out.

Lawyer Reshma Saujani, left, is challenging East Side Manhattan Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
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