In Dick We Trust

We already know how Republicans will run against Hillary Clinton, because Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is busily banging that drum.

“Hillary Clinton is, quite frankly, someone the American people can’t trust,” he “>video proves why you can’t trust Hillary Clinton,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “We already know from recent polls that a majority of Americans do not believe she is honest or trustworthy,” he pointed out in “It’s a Matter of Trust,” an “>missing documents from her Arkansas law firm that mysteriously turned up in the White House family quarters, or the sniper fire she said she avoided at a Bosnian airport, an account that turned out to be “just a
Flip-flopping is a garden variety accusation of pandering, but in the context of this dishonesty narrative, a change in position has been reframed as a lie.

But this can boomerang. Consider Jeb Bush’s bungled answer to Megyn Kelly’s “>acknowledged that Dick Cheney was lying when he told us in 2003 that Saddam Hussein “has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” Cheney and the neocons (who’ve now set up shop in Jeb Bush’s inner circle) told us there was a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but Morrell “>yellowcake and the uranium “>Frontline documentary), the factory for manufacturing the phony case for war was headquartered in the vice president’s office. Cheney, not W, is the real albatross around the neck of the Republican presidential field.

If untrustworthiness is the attack they themselves are most vulnerable to, why are the Republicans working so hard to sharpen that blade? “Projective identification” is the term psychoanalyst Melanie Klein used to describe how people can unconsciously split off a part of themselves and project it instead onto others. That might be what’s happening here. Reince Priebus looks at Hillary Clinton and sees a deceiver. Dude must not know he’s looking in the mirror.  

Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  Reach him at

VIDEO: JTA’s Wednesday Convention Summary

Eric Fingerhut and Ron Kampeas summarize the jewish events of the day at the election, while attending a jstreet function in downtown Denver.


2008: The contest for the Jews

With Hillary Rodham Clinton’s

Hillary Clinton’s address to AIPAC, June 4, 2008

Hillary Clinton’s prepared speech, AIPAC Conference, June 4, 2008

Thank you all very, very much. Thank you. It is wonderful being here with all of you, among so many friends and I feel like this is a giant family reunion. The largest AIPAC gathering in history and I feel like I am among family and thank you for the warm welcome. I want to thank my friend, Lonny Kaplan, for his leadership and that introduction. I also want to thank Howard Friedman for his leadership as president and to congratulate David Victor on his election. I want to commend Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s distinguished board of directors, and all of the AIPAC staff who work so hard every day all year round. And I particularly want to acknowledge the many students in the audience from around the country, the future of AIPAC and the U.S.-Israel relationship. I want to pay tribute to one member of the AIPAC family and my very good friend who is not with us this year, Congressman Tom Lantos. Tom bore witness to the worst of human cruelty and devoted his life to stopping it. He taught us to stand up for what’s right, even when it ‘s hard, especially when it’s hard. And we will always cherish his memory and his wonderful family will always be in our hearts. And finally, I want to thank all of you for coming to Washington, D.C., once again to stand strong with Israel and to strengthen that special bond between our countries. Being here today, I am reminded of a passage in Isaiah: “Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night, they shall never be silent.” Just like the sentinels of old, you are never silent, you never grow weary and you never stop standing up for and fighting for Israel.

Now, I know that there are some who say you shouldn’t be here, who say speaking up for a strong, American-Israeli relationship is somehow at odds with America’s interests. Well, I believe that speaking up for a strong American-Israeli relationship is essential to our interests. And I reject that our common commitment to Israel’s survival and well-being is not in the best interests of the United States of America. I think you not only have a right to stand up for what you believe in, you have a responsibility as Americans to do so. You are acting in the highest American tradition, exercising a right enshrined in our constitution – the right to petition your government. And I applaud you for it.

Of course, I am privileged to represent one of the largest Jewish constituencies in the world. Is there anyone from New York even here in this audience today? I know you will be talking to your Members of Congress this week, but you won’t need to ask me where I stand, because you already know the answer. I stand with you and for you. v

The United States and Israel have an incredible bond, as allies, friends, as partners. We have shared interests. We have shared ideals. These are not just common values. They are our core values: freedom, democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, a robust civil society. And we stand with Israel, because Israel demonstrates that democracy can flourish in the most difficult conditions, because its very existence is a stinging rebuke to hatred and the holocaust, because in defeating terror Israel’s cause is our cause, and because Israel’s struggle is a struggle not just for the Jewish people but for all people who want to live in peace and security under a democratically elected government.

President Harry Truman certainly understood the importance of Israel. He recognized the new nation just 11 minutes after David Ben-Gurion read the proclamation of independence. So it is with joy and some sense of relief that we celebrate the 60th anniversary of that day. And for all of the trials and tears, what a remarkable 60 years it has been. From my first trip to Israel in 1982 to my most recent, I have seen firsthand what Israel has achieved – the desert is blooming again. And we can be so proud of the role that America has played in this success. Every American president since Truman recognized the special relationship and has made it stronger. Israel is stronger because of us and because of you.

But even as we celebrate these achievements, we know the work is far from over. Israel is not yet safe. The values that Israel represents are not yet secure. Our hearts go out in particular to the courageous citizens of cities like Sderot and Ashkelon who live in fear that a rocket will fall on their homes or their children’s schools at any moment. I have seen these security challenges firsthand. In 2002, I went to the Sbarro Pizzeria with then President Olmert just a few weeks after that tragic suicide bombing there. I visited with victims of terrorism in the Hadassah Hospital. I have been to Gilo and seen the security fence protecting Israeli families from attacks in their own homes. I have stood up and have spoken out for their right to have that protective fence.

As a senator from New York, who has talked way too much, I have seen the tragic toll of terrorism on 9/11 here at home as well. My support for Israel does not come recently or lightly. I know it is right in my head, in my heart and in my gut. And that is exactly the commitment we need in our next president – a Democratic president, because the Democratic Party’s strong commitment to the state of Israel since the days of Harry Truman endures today. It is one of our party’s most cherished values and it will continue under the next Democratic president.

I know Senator Obama understands what it is at stake here. It has been an honor to contest these primaries with him. It is an honor to call him my friend. And let me be very clear: I know that Senator Obama will be a good friend to Israel. I know that Senator Obama shares my view that the next president must be ready to say to the world: America’s position is unchanging, our resolve unyielding, our stance nonnegotiable. The United States stands with Israel, now and forever.

Let me underscore that I believe we need a Democrat in the White House next January because it is not just Israel that faces challenges in the 21st century, America does, too. The next president will inherit grave problems, difficult threats – a war in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq, America’s reputation at an all-time low, the continued threat of terrorism at home and abroad. President Bush has moved us in the wrong direction. For all the strong rhetoric you heard from Senator McCain on Monday, he will continue the same failed policies in Iraq and weaken our security, making the Middle East a more dangerous place. America needs a new beginning in our foreign policy to make our country stronger and, frankly, to make our position in the world more credible, to give us the strategic leverage back that we have lost over the last seven years. We cannot stand strongly with Israel if we are not strong at home and if we are not respected and considered strong and the leader of the world everywhere else.

We have a rare moment of opportunity to change America’s course and restore our standing in the world. We must seize this moment by leading our friends and allies in building the world we want rather than simply defending against a world we fear. We must build a world that will be safer, more prosperous, and more just. I believe security and opportunity go hand-in-hand. When children have hope, a real belief that there is opportunity ahead for them, we help to dry up the swamp of fear and pessimism that breeds terrorism. That means supporting education, not just for boys but for girls too. It also means that real economic opportunity can’t grow where there is no security. And that opportunity alone is not enough to overcome extremism.

I have been very specific about how I would make this new foreign policy vision that I share, and I think many of you do as well, a reality. Today I want to lay out three principles that I hope will guide us in all that we do with Israel and why it is important to put that relationship into the broader context of what foreign policy is in the best interests of the United States.

First, I have a bedrock commitment to Israel’s security because Israel’s security is critical to our security. When Islamic extremists, including the leaders of nations, proclaim death to America, death to Israel, we understand that our two nations are fighting a shared threat. Those of us in this room know this bond is so much more personal than any security agreement or risk assessment. We know a shared threat can also mean shared sorrow. When eight young men were killed in a Jerusalem yeshiva in March including a 16-year-old American named Abraham David Moses, we reunited in our grief. So, I strongly support Israel’s right to self-defense. Israel has both the right and the obligation to defend its citizens and I believe America should aid in that defense.

I am proud to support the $2.5 billion in security assistance for Israel and the Foreign Aid Bill and I am committed in making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats. Part of our commit Israel’s security is a commitment to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. I am deeply moved by the legacies of so many leaders who have sacrificed so much in the quest for peace, like my friend Yitzhak Rabin, and the warrior, Ariel Sharon, who is in our thoughts and prayers.

We must support Israel and in making the tough choices for peace. I believe that U.S. diplomacy is critical to making progress and consistent U.S. involvement can lower the level of violence and restore our credibility in the region. We need to talk to all sides but all parties must know we will always stand with Israel in its struggle for peace and security. Israel should know that the United States will never pressure her to make unilateral concessions or to impose a made-in-America solution. Palestinians will need to do their part by renouncing violence and teaching their children the ways of peace and tolerance. We must show Palestinians and moderate Arabs that the path of reconciliation is better than the terrorist road to self-destruction.

I am deeply concerned about the growing threat in Gaza. Hamas has built a military force equipped with sophisticated weapons from Iran. Hamas’ campaign of terror has claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent Israelis. Its charter calls for the destruction of Israel. It has shown no commitment to peace or to renouncing violence. So, we must be clear about how we feel about our next president negotiating directly with Hamas. Here is how I feel: until Hamas renouncing terrorism and recognizes Israel, negotiating with Hamas is unacceptable for the United States.

We must continue to demand a return of the Israeli soldiers captured by Hamas and by Hezbollah – Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev, Gilad Shalit. I have been privileged to know Karnit Goldwasser, Ehud’s wife and I was proud to sponsor the resolution that passed the Senate calling for their immediate release. I will not stop fighting and pressing for these soldiers to come home until they finally are safely home with the families that are waiting for them.

The second principle is a simple one: no nuclear weapons for Iran. Iran is a country whose leaders, whose president denies the Holocaust. He defies the international community. His government trains, funds, and arms Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists in attacking Israeli civilians. He threatens to destroy Israel. Just this week, he said that Israel is about to die and will soon be erased. We can never let Iran obtain nuclear weapons. The next president will have to deal with the Iranian challenge from day one. This is not just in Israel’s interests. It is in America’s interests and the world’s interests, and this is a threat that I take very seriously. I’m a co-sponsor the Iran Nonproliferation Act. I support calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard what it is: a terrorist organization. I have also said that should Iran ever, ever contemplate using nuclear weapons against Israel, they must understand what the consequences will be to them. But we must do everything in our power to prevent such an unthinkable day from ever happening and the best way to do that is to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons in the first place.

We should start by developing an international consensus against Iran’s nuclear program with a set of tougher sanctions if Iran continues to defy the international community. We should also work with Israel and moderate Arab neighbors to roll back Iran’s influence in that region. If the Iranian government wants to become a responsible member of the international community, we would wholeheartedly welcome that change but Iran simply cannot be allowed to continue its current behavior and I wish to underscore I believe that we are further behind in constraining Iran today because of the failed policies of President Bush than we would have been had we taken a much more aggressive engagement course earlier. That is why it is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late.

Now my third principle is standing up against hatred and anti-Semitism wherever it is found and it is not only Israelis and Jews who need to be speaking out against anti-Semitism, it is every fair-thinking person who understands that it directly affects you as well.

I have spoken out for years against anti-Semitism in Palestinian schools. I am appalled, still today, the Palestinian textbooks reject Israel’s right to exist and describe Israel’s founding as a catastrophe that’s unprecedented in history. That is not education, it is indoctrination. We also know that the Saudis have textbooks describing Jews as wicked and we were all revolted when Iran’s President held a conference to deny the holocaust, but our vigilance against anti-Semitism must go beyond the Middle East. It must receive no quarter anywhere in the world.

The next president will face a test of resolve on this issue, at the 2009 Durban Conference, also called the Durban II. I will never forget how the world’s first conference against racism became a mockery of itself when it descended into anti-Semitism and hatred. The debacle at Durban must never be repeated. We should take very strong action to ensure anti-Semitism is kept off the agenda at Durban II and if those efforts fail, I believe that the United States should boycott that conference.

The challenge of fighting anti-Semitism is indeed great, but we know it is possible to change hearts and minds. We saw it recently when Magen David Adom was finally included in the international Red Cross after years of being singled out for being Israeli. On one of my trips to Israel, I met an MDA member named Natan, an Ethiopian Jew who had saved many innocent lives when he tackled a terrorist carrying explosives. It was a miracle that Natan had survived. His valor was extraordinary and it was just what you would expect from a member of the MDA. That’s why I was so proud to take up the MDA’s cause, sponsoring legislation and speaking out. And I was very pleased as all of us were when the International Red Cross righted this historic wrong. On a personal level, I was honored when Natan accepted my invitation to come to New York and walk with me in our Salute to Israel parade. In a way we are still walking together and the image of this very dignified Ethiopian Jew, now an Israeli, walking in that parade down Fifth Avenue, bearing the scars of his heroic rescue effort to prevent the terrorists from destroying more lives, was one I will carry with me my entire life because that was really Israel. It wasn’t just everyone on the sides of the streets waving. It was this proud young man who had kept Jewish traditions alive and as a long string of those for centuries who had done so and who had finally come home to Israel and had given so much to protect the country that had given him a new life.

So while it can be easy to be discouraged when we look at the challenges ahead, we can never lose our resolve and never give up hope. What gives me not just hope but the underlying reality that can be delivered by those who work together, is that the power of the values we share with Israel are such an unshakable and unbreakable bond, and the difference that America can make is so critical.

Let me leave you with just in glimpse of why America matters and why AIPAC matters. In her memoir, one of my personal heroines, Golda Meir, wrote about the wonderful moment, 60 years ago, when Israel joined the family of nations and America stood at her side. Here is what she wrote: “a few minutes after midnight, my phone rang. It had been ringing all evening and as I ran to answer it, I wondered what bad news I would hear now.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? “But the voice at the other end of the phone sounded jubilant. ‘Golda, are you listening? Truman has recognized us.’ I can remember what I said or did but I remember how I felt. It was like a miracle and I was filled with joy and relief.” That was the decision that one American president made, to be there for Israel at a time of need. That is the decision that the next president must be ready to make as well. To the members of AIPAC, just know your cause is just, your voice is strong. Washington and the world is listening. So go forth and speak up for what you know is right.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel and God bless America. Thank you all very much.

After weeks of feuding over Mideast, candidates head to AIPAC conference

If there’s any doubt about AIPAC being the belle of Washington, check out next week’s ball.

The lobbying powerhouse’s conference, to be held June 2-4, is the only policy event since the presidential election campaign was launched that has attracted all three major candidates: U.S. Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The conference comes on the heels of a spate of Middle East-related dust-ups involving Obama and McCain.

They have engaged in a bruising battle over Iran policy. McCain favors increased isolation for Iran, Obama favors what he calls tough diplomacy and direct negotiations, and both are casting their arguments in terms of what’s better for Israel.

Those differences promise a lively conference. That’s fine, officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said.

“They want to compete over who’s more pro-Israel?” one said. “Let them compete.”

Few holds have been barred in the fierce competition. McCain has supported President Bush’s contention before the Knesset earlier this month that directly dealing with Iran amounts to Nazi-era appeasement. Some administration aides described the remarks as a swipe at Obama’s position.

Democrats counter that what they call the “Bush-McCain” policy of not dealing with Iran has “made matters worse” for Israel, in the words of U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the speaker of the House of Representatives.

In addition, McCain and his surrogates have sought to score points by highlighting the fact that a Hamas official publicly praised Obama. The Democratic front-runner called such talk a “smear,” noting that he and McCain hold virtually identical positions on isolating the Palestinian terrorist group.

The candidates are unlikely to tamp things down in time for next week.

“Senator Obama will continue to describe his strong support for Israel’s security and the U.S.-Israel relationship, and his concern about how Israel’s security has not been enhanced by the current administration’s policies, and how his policies will advance U.S. national security interests and also Israel’s security,” said a senior aide to the candidate who asked not to be named.

Ann Lewis, a senior Clinton adviser, said, “This is like the Super Bowl for those of us who care about Israel and foreign policy. For Hillary it’s like having a conversation with old friends. There are so many people who will be at this meeting that she has known, that she has worked with, some of her best friends. She looks forward to it.”

Lewis did not have details of Clinton’s AIPAC speech, but said the candidate would likely emphasize her deep ties with the pro-Israel community.

“It will be very much about her commitment and her record, from Magen David Adom to the anti-Semitic language in the textbooks, to going to Israel and seeing the victims of terrorism in the hospitals,” she said.

Clinton was behind legislation that helped shepherd the Israeli first responder into the International Red Cross umbrella, and also backs tough scrutiny of Palestinian textbooks. Equally important, Lewis said, “would be the dangers posed by Iran.”

The McCain campaign did not respond in time for publication, but it seemed clear he also would not stint.

In a nuclear policy speech Tuesday in Denver, McCain subtly revived his contention that Obama is downplaying the Iran threat.

“We have seen Iran marching, marching with single-minded determination toward the same goal, authenticated again today by the IAEA,” the U.N. nuclear regulatory body, McCain said at the outset. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he continued, “has threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and represents a threat to every country in the region — one we cannot ignore or minimize.”

For her part, Clinton counts the pro-Israel community as a redoubt of support in her increasingly unlikely bid to claim the Democratic nomination and has made clear she will not cede it. In the last debate with Obama, Clinton said she would “obliterate” the Iranian regime should it launch a nuclear strike against Israel.

The trio of candidates isn’t the only draw to what promises to be a crowded three days: Defending the Bush administration in its waning days will be Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state. The leaders of both parties in both houses of Congress also plan to speak.

It marks a pleasant change for AIPAC, which has been dogged in recent years by critics who have accused the lobby of helping the Bush administration win support for the Iraq war, even though lawmakers have denied repeatedly that AIPAC played any role in rallying congressional backing for the war.

It is also the first policy conference since last summer, when AIPAC agreed in principle to continue to fund the defense of two former staffers facing trial for dealing in classified information, removing at least partially the opprobrium that the group had abandoned two loyal soldiers.

More substantially, AIPAC is scoring major lobbying successes in Congress. A bill under consideration that would create certification to show that Israel is maintaining a qualitative military edge in the region already has garnered major support.

And while the Democrat-controlled Congress and Bush are deadlocked over just about every major budget issue, lobbyists at AIPAC are confident that Congress will adopt the president’s plan this year to start increasing assistance to Israel from an average of $2.4 billion annually to $3 billion.

The policy forum’s highlight is its dinner June 3 at the cavernous Washington convention center, which organizers say is the largest seated meal in the nation’s capital. AIPAC leaders call out the roster of lawmakers in attendance and usually garner a bipartisan majority of both houses, underscoring the group’s main point: support for Israel crosses the aisle.

Partisanship can raise its head, and did so a year ago when Vice President Dick Cheney and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert both called for Jewish support for the Iraq war — and when Pelosi earned scattered boos for decrying the war.

An AIPAC spokesman said such manifestations are marginal.

Community Briefs

Hillary Clinton to Speak on Forgiveness at Temple

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will speak on Yom Kippur, Oct. 13, at Temple of the Arts in Beverly Hills.

Clinton will deliver a 10-12 minute speech on forgiveness, as part of Rabbi David Baron’s “living sermons,” which typically feature well-known guests.

Past participants have included Dr. Judea Pearl, father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl; Steve Emerson, a counterterrorism expert; Peter Zvi Malkin, the Israeli agent who captured Adolf Eichmann; Cmdr. Scott Waddle, whose nuclear submarine accidentally killed a group of Japanese tourists; Bill Bingham, whose father rescued artist Marc Chagall; and John Miller, who left ABC News to handle counterterrorism for the Los Angeles Police Dept.

“A living sermon means instead of me quoting them or their books, I can present them in person,” Baron told The Journal.

It was after reading the senator’s book, “Living History,” that Baron asked Clinton to speak to his congregation, which numbers as high as 1,800 on Yom Kippur. The service will be held at the synagogue’s new permanent home at the historic Wilshire Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills.

“Living History” was the former first lady’s 2003 perspective on events in the Clinton presidency.

“For me, [her book] was about forgiveness and functioning, when you have people who want to harm you on personal or professional level, and she was an exemplar of forgiveness,” Baron said.

He began communicating with her a couple of years ago — she was even considering coming last Yom Kippur, but her husband’s health problems detained her.

Baron believes that his guests — Jewish and non-Jewish — always have something to teach him and his congregation. “Most of us are talking about [forgiving] in the private arena, and I think someone who has to do that on both levels” — public and private — “has a lot to offer,” he said.

Forgiveness is only one part of the day’s theme. Another is how to move forward after a life-altering experience, Baron said. In that vein, another Yom Kippur guest this year will be mountain climber Aaron Ralston who had to cut off his arm in order to survive.

Will some congregants be upset that such a political persona will be speaking in temple on the holy Day of Atonement?

“I’m sure that will be the case,” Baron said, emphasizing that Clinton’s speech will be completely nonpolitical. “But again, I would hope that people will see this for what it is — an opportunity to meet someone who has something instructive to say, and that to me is the most compelling reason why I have her here.”

Her political aspirations notwithstanding, the rabbi said, “I hope that on Yom Kippur of all days people will suspend their judgment and criticism.”

For more information about Temple of the Arts tickets, call (310) 444-7500. — Amy Klein, Religion Editor

Stand With Us Premieres Campus Hate Documentary

“Zionism is a mixture of white supremacy and the chosen people,” said Abdel Malik Ali to a group of mostly Muslim students at a public event at UC Irvine in February 2005.

Such statements are not only tolerated but represent just the tip of the iceberg, warns the new documentary, “Tolerating Intolerance: Hate Speech on Campus.” The film was produced by StandWithUs, an Israel advocacy organization, and premiered last week in Los Angeles at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills

“I never thought of making the film until I heard these guys speak,” said Roz Rothstein, director of the documentary and national director of StandWithUs. “Racism on college campuses must be exposed and rejected.”

The film, made for $25,000, includes examples of alleged anti-Semitism on college campuses, including UCLA, UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz.

Through interviews with students, educators and college administrators, the film also explores the fine line between free speech and incitement, demonstrating how virulent anti-Israel speeches can sometimes lead to intimidation, or in some cases, violence. The film also argues that administrators and lecturers are often complicit in encouraging anti-Israel bias through the speakers and lectures they sponsor.

“Of equal importance to protecting free speech is the moral obligation to create a civil society on the campus,” Rothstein told The Journal.

The screening before an audience of more than 400 was followed by remarks from people featured in the film, including professor Judea Pearl, father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and Nonnie Darwish, an Arab-American who is outspoken in her support for Israel.

Pearl, who teaches computer science at UCLA, described the anti-Israel rhetoric he has observed on campuses as a disguised form of anti-Semitism.

“We are seasoned to deal with anti-Semitism,” Pearl said, “but we are novices when it comes to anti-Zionism.”

For now, StandWithUs will screen the film on a limited basis, but ultimately intends to make the film widely available. — Orit Arfa, Contributing Writer