Philadelphia — Clifford Lipkin is a lifelong Democrat who has been active in local party politics. But with barely three weeks before the election, his vote is up for grabs.
“I’m so disillusioned” with Democrats and their candidate, said Lipkin, 71, a retired public school administrator, standing in the doorway of his home in the Sun Valley neighborhood of the northeast suburbs here.
As the political landscape continues to shift under a re-elected and re-energized Bush administration, local Jewish agencies are bracing for what could be a sea change in government assistance to human services in an age of tax cuts and a surging federal deficit.
Federal funds and aid to states that allow local grants amount to about 50 percent of the billion dollars on which UJA-Federation depends to run its vast network of beneficiary agencies.
Wading into the delicate fray over the alliance between Jews and pro-Israel Evangelicals, former President Jimmy Carter last week reportedly said it was a mistake for Jews to accept such ties, and that he was working to convince Southern Baptists to change the way they look at Judaism and the Middle East.
Christian Zionists can be better friends of Israel by challenging its government’s policies, while accepting Judaism as a legitimate path to God, Carter told a group organized by Rabbi Michael Lerner in California last week, according to the rabbi.
After last week’s record-setting carnage at Virginia Tech, the National Council of Jewish Women reacted by calling for a “renewed effort” on gun control.
“As the toll from gun violence mounts, we feel compelled to ask, how many more tragedies will it take to spur lawmakers to take decisive and effective action …?” asked the organization’s president, Phyllis Snyder, in a statement.
The organization is not alone in pressing for stricter measures to control firearms; it is an agenda item of almost every mainstream Jewish group.
After months of being hit with accusations that he’ll be too weak in his support of Israel, Sen. Barack Obama faced the opposite assertion on Sunday from Ralph Nader, the consumer crusader who kicked off his third consecutive White House bid.
Nader told Tim Russert on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Democratic frontrunner Obama had been an advocate for the Palestinians before he ran for the Senate in Illinois, but has since shifted gears.
After vanquishing his rivals in a stunning Super Tuesday near sweep, de facto Democratic nominee John Kerry now faces a debate over foreign policy whose battle lines are still being drawn.
The challenge, as some observers see it, is how to bash President George W. Bush’s foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, without attacking his stance on Israel, which has proven an asset to the Republican chief executive among Jewish voters.
When the Rev. Al Sharpton officially tosses his hat in the presidential ring later this month, his supporters won’t be the only ones rejoicing.
Pundits expect the national GOP, which seems to delight in painting the controversial civil rights activist as a mainstream Democrat, to be elated at the prospect of a divisive primary involving an African-American leader who has been accused of anti-Semitism — a potential replay of 1984.
Next week’s delegate-rich Super Tuesday contests will see an unprecedented surge of Jewish primary voting in a single day, and the results should offer the first solid glimpse of the community’s attitudes heading into the post-George W. Bush era.
The only states with major Jewish populations not voting on Tuesday will be Florida, which held its primary this week (perhaps at the expense of gaining Democratic delegates) and Pennsylvania, which holds its primary on April 22.
by Adam Dickter & James D. Besser and Washington Correspondent
Who got to speak, and who didn’t? That was the question among elected officials during Monday’s historic Israel rally in Washington. Given the length of some speeches, had everyone who sought inclusion been allowed to the podium, the rally might still be going.
With more than 100,000 in attendance and live coverage on C-Span, the rally was an ideal platform on the national stage — particularly for those representing Jewish or conservative Christian areas.
Holocaust denial may be down, but it’s not out. Just ask Charles “Skipp” Porteous, a New York writer, activist and investigator targeted in a lawsuit by an author who calls the Shoah a “myth.”
Historian Deborah Lipstadt recently triumphed in a similar case in London, in which a judge not only denied David Irving’s accusation of libel but branded Irving an anti-Semite and racist before ordering him to pay millions in court costs.