Politics, rabbis, gotcha

Presidential Politics

In response to the Oct. 10 Letters on Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin:

I noticed the advertisement on Obama with the questionable people he is photographed associating with. I read the weekly news and view television debates, and I don’t know who to believe is the best vote for the Jewish community and pro-Israel.

Both used Israel, and that is a sensitive catch phrase with the Jewish community, and both are trying to get the Jewish voters. Our vote needs to be the right one.

I for one intend to contact the Israeli Consulate to inquire and seek their advice as to which candidate they would prefer in the presidential office. I will ask them, “Why?”

Frances Kruger
Los Angeles

Sen. Barack Obama is clearly the only sensible choice to protect Israel’s best interests (“The Debates Won’t Matter,” Oct. 3). He understands what the challenges are from today’s perspective and not from a decades old perspective.

Sen. John McCain may be a nice man, but he seems to be another trigger-happy American who will shoot first and ask questions later. What’s worse is that his running mate’s interest in protecting Israel stems from her Christian faith and her expectations of the second coming.

Obama will ask the correct questions first but will not hesitate to use force if the answers to the questions are not acceptable.

Joel Gossman
Los Angeles

Rabbis and Politics

The Jewish position on politics as stated in Pirkei Avot does not mince any words:

“Be careful in your relations with the government, for they draw no man close to themselves except for their own interests. They appear as friends when it is to their advantage, but they do not stand by a man in his time of stress.”

With approval ratings of the president and Congress quickly approaching that of low-fat milk, rabbis who decide to practice politics should not wonder if they are held at the same level of contempt as our politicians. (“Obama Conference Call With 900 Rabbis,” Sept. 26).

I naïvely believed that rabbis should rise above all politics to serve all community members, which is why it is disappointing to see them using their status and influence as spiritual leaders to promote their favorite political candidate in this paper. One would hope that these rabbis would leave politics to politicians and instead focus on what they are trained to do: guide us on spiritual growth, and leave us alone to decide on our politics.

Avi Zirlerhas
Via e-mail

McCain, Obama and Israel

The opinion articles of Dennis Ross and Morris J. Amitay, which describe their respective positions in this increasingly heated and venomous debate, lay bare the true and scary differences between the two presidential candidates on the issue of the safety and security of Israel (“Why I Support Barack Obama,” “McCain for America — and Israel,” Oct. 10).

Amitay’s opinion reads like one of Sen. John McCain’s diatribes, full of visceral and impulsive reactions, little to no premeditation or follow-through thinking and waving the jingoist flag of patriotism. The only statement missing from this piece is that McCain has approved this political message.

Ross’ opinion reads like one of Sen. Barack Obama’s treatises, devoid of rash reactions, full of reasoned compassion and empathy and extending an open hand that can become a closed fist — but only as a last and not a first resort.

Ross’ Obama piece reflects a future predicated on reality, dialogue,intelligence, compromise and a walk softly but carry a big stick military position.

Amitay ‘s McCain piece reflects a future that is a reprise of the past, dominated by fantasy, unilateral monologues, raw and unfiltered emotion and a dictatorial military position that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands, shredded the international monetary system and turned our vaunted morality into a turpitude of the lowest caste.

So can a Jew remain true to the Talmud and Torah while simultaneously voting Republican? He not only should not — he cannot.

Marc Rogers
Sherman Oaks

Gotcha Journalism

I read [Marty Kaplan’s] article with great interest (“Gotcha? You Betcha!” Oct. 10). In fact, I posted it at OpEdNews.com. That failure of the press to cover the real issues hits close to home for me. That’s what I and the rest of the election integrity advocates have been bellyaching about for years.

How many stories, really big ones, have the media passed up? Which is how, of course, we are in the pickle we are in regarding our elections and the inability of anyone to know how the official results line up with the actual ones. Yikes.

Joan Brunwasser
Election Integrity Editor

Outstanding article. I live in Okeechobee, Fla., population 12,000, three Jews, including my wife. These rednecks fully believe that the media is waging a war on the beloved Gov. Sarah Palin.

She can’t answer a question with a follow-up to save her life.

Keep up the good work. I am subscribing as soon as I’m done.

Dennis Hamilton
Via e-mail

What a terrific article. It should also be published in the New York Times and the Washington Post. You should be a guest on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, etc. Thank you for telling it how it is.

Our media is not doing its job of informing the average guy and gal, and the public, being so ill informed, has absolutely helped create this financial crisis. Going to listen to all the NPR shows you suggested.

Sydni Moser
Long Island, N.Y.