I was trying to figure out exactly why Jon Stewart's “Restore Sanity / Keep Fear Alive” rally in Washington on Saturday made me so uneasy, and then the Daily Beast's Peter Beinart neatly put his finger on it.
On one hand, the good spirits and humor of the rally – look at sideshows to get a good chuckle – were a welcome balm after months of vicious attack ads and years of talk-show venom, most of it coming from an increasingly extreme right.
Question: what have the congressional election campaigns told us about the state of the debate over U.S. Middle East policy?
Answer: Nothing good.
The fierce, bitter midterm campaigns have demonstrated once again that a small but vocal minority in the Jewish community thinks only of partisan concerns – partisan support for a political faction in Israel, or for the Republican party in this country – and not much about the need to strengthen U.S.-Israel ties or to ensure support for Israel is a bi-partisan affair, not just another partisan wedge issue.
Bob Turner, the Republican who wants to unseat Rep. Anthony Weiner, says his poll of 4,702 people in the district, which includes Flatbush and Park Slope in Brooklyn and Forest Hills, the Rockaways and other areas in Queens, shows less than a five-point difference between the two, 52.3 for the six-term congressman to 47.7 for the upstart, when the numbers are weighted to reflect actual party registration in the 9th District.
During the last Presidential election, Jewish voters made a significant difference in helping put Democrats back in power. We came out in full force to show the country that Democratic values are truly Jewish values. This election cycle our core beliefs are again being challenged by a Republican Party that continues to move further and further to the right. On November 2, we one again have a chance to make an impact on the outcome of key races.
Recent polls have shown a higher-than-usual interest in this midterm election, with large early-voting turnouts and strong opinions among likely voters about issues like the economy, health care, and Israel. There is a deep sense that this election matters.
WASHINGTON (JTA) – Eric Cantor has spent a lifetime relishing in wearing the other hat.
Among Jews, the Republican congressional whip from Richmond, Va., likes to play the genteel Southern conservative, the posture that won over his wife, a socially liberal banker from New York.
Among southerners, he’s the nice Jewish boy who belongs to an Orthodox synagogue and graduated from Columbia Law School, but who has an easy familiarity with NASCAR, country music and evangelical beliefs.
Republican wins could produce domestic gridlock, uncertainty for Obama peace plans.
James D. Besser
A big Republican victory on Nov. 2 could bring the Obama administration’s troubled domestic agenda to a dead stop — but it is unlikely to do the same for its faltering Middle East peace efforts, which some Israelis argue favor the Palestinians.
In fact, it could have the opposite result, said Kenneth Wald, a University of Florida political scientist and director of the school’s Center for Jewish Studies.
(JTA) -- A polling place at a messianic Christian center in New York was changed after Orthodox Jewish voters protested.
Jewish voters complained to the Board of Elections after the Life in Messiah evangelical group's building was announced as a polling place for four election districts from Midwood in Brooklyn, according to the New York Daily News. The voters said their strict adherence to Jewish law would not allow them to enter the building.
The group requested after the outcry that its building not be used.