Jewish community traditionally at the forefront of immigrant rights efforts has gone strangely mute as politicians fan public fury over illegal immigration. This week there were signs that is changing; the Anti-Defamation League issued a warning to the 2008 presidential candidates to cool their white-hot rhetoric on the issue.
But the ADL has been a lone voice; some critics say the timorous Jewish response is not commensurate with an anti-immigrant surge that could ultimately hurt all minorities – Jews included.
American Jews are increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for Mideast peace and less willing to support the "painful compromises" that Israeli leaders say will be critical to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A behind-the-scenes struggle among politically active Evangelicals could boost former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s 2008 presidential ambitions.
Some Christian conservative leaders now say the global fight against Islamic extremism trumps the social issues, such as opposition to gay rights and abortion, that pushed the religious right into the political big leagues — a fight they depict as a to-the-death clash of civilizations.
Home Fires Spurning
by James D. Besser
A year ago, with a new Republican administration coming into office, Jewish groups were arming themselves for political trench warfare over a host of thorny close-to-home issues.
But the war on terrorism and the worsening emergency in Israel have shoved those issues into the deep freeze — so much so that some Jewish activists worry that the community’s interests will not be fully represented as Congress chugs along on the domestic front.
In a strange political year, the U.S. Senate race in Virginia is rapidly moving into the realm of the surreal.
First there was Republican Sen. George Allen’s mystifying use of the term “macaca” in referring to a young, dark-skinned worker for his opponent, former Reaganite-turned-Democrat Jim Webb.
Macaca, according to many news reports, refers to a kind of monkey, and is a racially derogatory term in some parts of the world; Allen, who has 2008 presidential aspirations if he can just hold on to his Senate seat, said he just made the word up.
Jewish groups may be poised for a major burst of activism on the issue of torture and detainee abuse — an issue that until now has produced what one prominent activist called “shameful” silence from the Jewish community.
The shift was apparent in an interfaith ad in The New York Times on Wednesday arguing that “Torture is a Moral Issue” — a letter signed by the leader of the Conservative movement, as well as a Reform leader who has been an outspoken critic of administration policy on the issue. “
President George W. Bush may get a boost in the polls after a U.S. air strike killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the top al Qaeda leader in Iraq, but a growing number of Jewish voices are speaking out against the war. This week the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism issued an action alert urging its network of activists to support a bill in the House that would require President Bush to “develop and implement a plan for the withdrawal of the United States armed forces from Iraq.”
The Jewish wall of silence on the Iraq war cracked a little more this week when a major Jewish women’s group shifted gears and endorsed a strong anti-war statement.
The board of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), in a resolution approved with little dissent, said that “continuing or expanding our country’s military presence in Iraq does not promote peace nor does it provide freedom from terrorism.”