Thursday, September 11, 2008

Michele Obama's "Jewish" Kin

To: Steven Plaut <>
Subject: Michele Obama's "Jewish" Kin

The Left Tries to Stampede the Jews into Supporting Obama

By Steven Plaut

The very timing of the story was enough to raise suspicions that it was
all bogus. The small leftwing Jewish weekly "The Forward" ran a story on
September 2, 2008, widely cited and reprinted, that Michelle Obama, the wife
of the Democrat contender for the presidency, has Jewish kin and even a
rabbi in her family.

Coincidence? Hardly. American Jews are a small part of the US
electorate, yet are concentrated in key states like New York and Florida and
tend to vote Democrat by significant majorities. The Obamas need their
support to win, but American Jews have been alarmed by talk of Obama's
Muslim ties and roots and by things like his 24-hour flip-flop over whether
he supports acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital, a
position he reversed hours after voicing. So what better way to boost
support for Obama among Jews than to discover some Jewish kin for his
Misses? The Forward found one in Capers Funnye (pronounced fuh-NAY), the
"chief rabbi" at the Beth Shalom Bnai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in
southwest Chicago.

Jewish liberals have decided to go to bat for Obama and try to calm
Jewish disquiet over Obama's questionable commitment to Israeli
security. Sure,
Obama has Biden on his team, who has a strong record of supporting Israel. But
other than supporting Israel, Biden, who was chosen to offset Obama's
weakness on foreign policy, has credentials on foreign policy consisting
mostly of supporting the wrong things (like capitulation in Iraq). The
Obama Jewish liberals are now being led by "The Forward<>,"
a left-leaning Jewish weekly that is published in New York (decades ago it
was a Yiddish daily with socialist ties). It is a small paper, with
circulation about 25,000 and a web site. It is editorially monochrome
(ultra-liberal) and bashes
this appeals to its editors' leftist sentiments.
The Forward's Op-Ed columns are near uniformly liberal-leftist, featuring
such commentators as arch-liberal Leonard Fein. It makes little effort to
hide its delight at the Obama candidacy.

The Forward is the sort of paper beloved by that sort of Jew who
– in Dennis
words – has replaced Judaism with liberalism as his religion.
It was more diverse and centrist back when it was run by Seth Lipsky, who
also wrote for the Wall Street Journal, but Lipsky was forced out in
2000<>and replaced by
leftist J.J.
Goldberg <>, himself recently
replaced by Jane Eisner <>, a
sycophant of Peter Jennings
<>. Among
her first projects <> at the paper was
an attack on Sarah Palin for being on civil terms with anti-Semite Pat
Buchanan Other leftists are similarly trying to make the Jews alarmed at
Sarah Palin, on grounds that the church she attends once
nasty missionary from the "Jews for Jesus."
This is all kind of amusing considering the sort of pastor with whom Obama
has spent much of his adult life.

Under the title "Michelle Obama Has a Rabbi in Her Family," the
Forward ran a piece <> celebrating the
supposed Jewish connections of Michelle, and noted that her "rabbi" cousin
"has often urged the larger Jewish community to be more accepting of Jews
who are not white."

There is only problem. And read my lipstick here - the "rabbi"
discovered by the Forward as the Jewish kin to Michelle Obama is not a
rabbi and evidently not a Jew either.

Let us back up a bit here. First, there is no reason why a black
person cannot be Jewish and in fact there are many tens of thousands of
black Jews. The largest black Jewish population consists of the Jews from
Ethiopia, nearly all of whom have now moved to Israel. (When years back two
of them in Israeli army uniform shot an Arab who had just called them
"niggers," no Forward editorial defended them.) There are small groups and
congregations of *bona fide* black Jews in the United States and elsewhere,
usually descendents of converts, some descendent from folks who migrated in
from the West Indies. Other individual blacks have converted to Judaism
(see this<>for
an interesting news story about them).
Judaism, in spite of the endless hate propaganda by anti-Semites against it
for being about a Jewish "race," has never been racial and there are Jews
who are racially Chinese, Indian, Native American, and so on. The ancient
Israelites were a multiracial population even at the time they left
Egypt. Admission
to the Jewish "race" consists of nothing more than a commitment to conform
to Jewish religious practices and undergoing a process of religious

But there is an important distinction between black Jews and black
pseudo-Jews. The latter are non-Jews pretending to be Jews. In
particular, there is a group calling itself the "Black Israelites," also
calling themselves "Hebrew Ethiopians" and other names, who are black
non-Jews, having invented a history they claim traces back to Biblical
Israelites. The largest group of these live in Chicago, although some of
their members moved to Israel in the 1970s and live as "Black Hebrew"
non-Jews in Dimona and other places in southern Israel. They are not
regarded by real rabbis or by the state of
*bona fide* Jews, although no one would object if any of them decided to
convert to Judaism. They are not ordained by *bona fide* rabbinic
seminaries, but instead have their own "Black Hebrew" school, in which
Hebrew and Jewish prayer can be among the subjects taught. Funnye's
congregation is among those Black Israelite "synagogues" that appears to be
closest to traditional Judaism.

While *bona fide* black Jews move to Israel all the time under the
country's Law of Return that grants automatic citizenship to any Jew wishing
to live there, the "Black Israelites" do not qualify, although many were
allowed to migrate to Israel anyway in the 1970s. At the time, the Israeli
government was worried about the public relations fallout in the US if they
were not admitted. Many Israelis disapproved, particularly since some of
the leaders of the "Black Hebrew" group then went on world campaigns of
defamation against Israel, and there was even a small movement in Israel in
the 1980s to expel them. In 1981, a group of American civil rights leaders
led by Bayard Rustin investigated their treatment by Israel and concluded
that they were treated fairly and without discrimination. Today the "Black
Hebrews" of Dimona have a popular gospel choir, run restaurants, and made
the news when Whitney Houston paid
them<>a visit.
In 2006, Eddie Butler <>,
a Dimona Black Hebrew, was chosen to represent
the Eurovision
Song Contest <>.

Some of the "Black Hebrews" in the US practice Christianity or mix
Christian ideas and practices with their other beliefs, and one of the
earliest such groups (founded in 1896) called itself the Church of God and
Saints of Christ<>
. The black "Commandment
congregations appear to be closest to actual Judaism in their beliefs and
practices, although its members are regarded as non-Jewish unless they
formally convert. Some such "Black Israelite" groups are openly anti-white
and Afrocentrist. The "rabbi" cousin of Michelle Obama from the Beth Shal
om Bnei Zaken "synagogue" also has sat on the board of the "Black Holocaust
Museum <>" in Milwaukee (which recently
went bankrupt and closed).

The Dems are going on the war path to paint Sarah Palin, who keeps
an Israeli flag around her
as an anti-Semite, all to scare Jews into voting Obama. See
a lurid example.
The alternative they want the Jews to support is the protégé of the Rev
Wright, endorsed by Louis
ambivalent about the
and whose policies would bring an Arab fascist terrorist restoration in Iraq.

2. Civil Fights: Judicial hypocrisy on judicial review
Sep. 10, 2008
Addressing a conference of the nation's judges two weeks ago, Supreme
Court President Dorit Beinisch offered two explanations for the recent
steep decline in public faith in the court: attacks on it by politicians,
and what she termed tendentious media reporting. The idea that the court's
own behavior, or that of its leading champions, could be at fault
evidently never crossed her mind.
Yet in fact, no verbal assault by ethically challenged ministers like Ehud
Olmert or Haim Ramon could possibly undermine public regard for the court
as much as the hypocritical behavior of the justices and their adherents
does. The uproar over Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann's bill to limit
judicial review, which the cabinet approved on Sunday, is a case in point.
The bill would allow the Knesset to reinstate legislation that the Supreme
Court has ruled unconstitutional, as long as this move was approved by at
least 61 MKs, with supporters outnumbering opponents by at least five
votes. That is an idea one could certainly oppose on its merits. While I
personally support the 61-MK override, one could legitimately either
object to legislative overrides in general or argue that they should
require a larger Knesset majority.
But it is sheer hypocrisy to charge, as former Supreme Court president
Aharon Barak did at the Herzliya Conference in January, that such a move
would turn Israel into a "Third World country." It is also sheer hypocrisy
to claim, as Beinisch repeatedly has, that limiting judicial review would
"undermine the country's democratic character." After all, no one knows
better than Barak and Beinisch that restrictions on judicial review exist
in many Western democracies.
Even Canada - which, judging from his many laudatory citations of it,
boasts Barak's favorite Western constitution - explicitly permits
legislative overrides of Supreme Court decisions. And some democracies
curb judicial review far more drastically: Holland, for instance, forbids
its Supreme Court to overturn legislation at all, while Switzerland bars
its court from overturning all federal legislation.
THE LATEST argument raised by the bill's opponents, however, makes their
hypocrisy even more blatant - because while many Israelis may be unaware
of how other Western democracies approach judicial review, they assuredly
remember Ehud Barak's negotiations with the Palestinians at Taba in 2001.
According to this new argument, Sunday's cabinet vote on the bill was
illegitimate because the prime minister has already announced he will
resign following next week's Kadima leadership primary, and a lame-duck
government has no right to make far-reaching changes; it must confine
itself to strictly necessary business. Israel Bar Association chairman
Yori Geiron, for instance, declared that approving this bill would violate
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz's directive that the government, being on
its last legs, must be "cautious" about exercising its powers.
Haaretz published both an editorial declaring it "verboten for the
government to vote in favor of such a fundamental, constitutional
change... during its last cabinet meeting," and an op-ed by the paper's
legal commentator, Ze'ev Segal, making the same point.
Adherents of this view cite repeated Supreme Court rulings declaring that
a lame-duck government must exercise restraint in making major decisions
unless delay is untenable. The problem, as all the experts making this
argument know perfectly well, is that the seminal ruling on this matter is
the one that upheld Barak's Taba negotiations. At that point, Barak had
already resigned, so the restraint incumbent on lame-duck governments
certainly applied. Nevertheless, the court ruled that offering
far-reaching diplomatic concessions in no way violated this restraint.
Most Israelis undoubtedly remember what Barak offered the Palestinians at
Taba: almost all of the West Bank, plus a "safe passage" slicing through
Israel to connect the West Bank and Gaza; much of east Jerusalem,
including the Temple Mount and most of the Old City; and the absorption of
tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Israel. Needless to say,
these concessions would have been completely irreversible had Yasser
Arafat actually accepted them, and even after he refused, they became the
starting point for Palestinian demands during the inevitable next round of
talks, thereby constraining future governments' options.
In contrast, the cabinet's approval of Friedmann's bill has no lasting
consequences at all. For starters, all cabinet approval means is that the
government has decided to submit the bill to the Knesset. Since the
Knesset will not be back in session until the end of October, the new
government that will presumably arise following the Kadima primary could
easily change its mind and not submit the bill.
Moreover, submitting a bill to the Knesset in no way guarantees that it
will pass; the Knesset has rejected bills submitted by the government
before. And even if it did pass, any future Knesset could easily repeal
the law, with no more than the same ordinary coalition majority need to
enact it to begin with.
BUT EVEN if approving Friedmann's bill were as irrevocable a step as its
opponents falsely claim, Olmert's government would still have far more
legitimacy to take it than Barak's government did to embark on the Taba
negotiations, because Barak went to Taba after having already lost his
Knesset majority over that very issue - his conduct of the talks with
Arafat. Olmert's government, in contrast, still has a strong and stable
Knesset majority.
For anyone who seriously cared about the issue of preventing lame-duck
governments from tying their successors' hands, there would be no possible
way to justify the Taba talks. In contrast, even the very strictest
interpretation of lame-duck restrictions would not justify preventing the
cabinet from approving Friedmann's bill, since that decision does not bind
the next government at all. Yet needless to say, many of the leading
opponents of the cabinet's decision to approve Friedman's bill - from the
Supreme Court itself to Haaretz - are the very same people who
vociferously supported Barak's right to conduct the Taba talks.
That hypocrisy is clear for all to see. And such hypocrisy does more to
damage public faith in the court than even the most vicious attacks by
politicians or the media ever could.
This article can also be read at

3. Meet the Pseudo-Rabbis Campaigning for Hussein Obama: and also <>
(soon to be
Note how Mikey of Meaning and Rabbi Woodstock both star there?

By Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

5. Tel Aviv University's Sand brings anti-Semitism to the French Left a
bit like exporting coals to Newcastle:
Zionist Nationalist Myth Of Enforced Exile
Israel deliberately forgets its history
September 06, 2008 By Schlomo Sand
Source: Le Monde diplomatique


Group dangles $50K for Jews who move to Ala. town
By JAY REEVES, Associated Press WriterMon Sep 8, 5:08 PM ET
Larry Blumberg is looking for a few good Jews to move to his corner of the
Bible Belt. Blumberg is chairman of an organization offering Jewish
families as much as $50,000 to relocate to Dothan, an overwhelmingly
Christian town of 58,000 that calls itself the Peanut Capital of the
World. Get involved at Temple Emanu-El and stay at least five years, the
group's leaders say, and the money doesn't have to be repaid.
More Jews are living in the South than ever . about 386,000 at last count
in 2001, according to Stuart Rockoff, a historian at the
Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Miss.
But young Jews are leaving small places like Dothan in favor of cities
like Atlanta and Birmingham, Rockoff said, and dozens of small-town
synagogues have closed.
"A lot of the older people have died, and not many of the younger ones
have stayed," said Thelma Nomberg, a member of the Dothan temple who grew
up in nearby Ozark, where she was the only Jewish student in public school
in the 1940s. "We are dying."
Being outside the Christian majority was never a problem, Nomberg said,
even six decades ago: She won the Miss Ozark beauty pageant at 14 and
sometimes attended church with friends after sleep-overs.
Now a widow, Nomberg has watched two of her four adult children leave for
Florida as Temple Emanu-El lost nearly half its membership, down to about
50 families. She can only hope the recruitment plan hatched by Blumberg
Family Jewish Community Services of Dothan works for her synagogue.
Launched in June, the Blumberg program has put advertisements in Jewish
newspapers in Boston, Miami, Providence, R.I., and Washington, and it
plans to expand the campaign.
"I think it's important that we try to find young people that we could use
in our religious school, our Sunday school and help in the way of trying
to create more of a family-type atmosphere in our temple," Blumberg said.
Groups offered financial aid for Jews to return to New Orleans after
Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Jewish organizations around the country
offer moving assistance for relocating families. A congregation has loans
and other benefits for Jewish families moving into an area near Boston.
"Our program is distinctive because it's Dothan, but it's also distinctive
because of the type of financial assistance," said Rob Goldsmith,
executive director of Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services, which
will screen applicants and administer the grant program.
Trying to lure Jewish families to a quiet Southern town in a state with a
reputation for hard-right politics and racial intolerance might be
difficult. About 20 Jewish families have sought information about Dothan,
though none has made the move.
Rockoff credits Blumberg and the rest of the congregation with fighting to
remain in Dothan, where the synagogue has a full-time rabbi and the
temple, which is aligned with the reform movement, hasn't missed having a
Friday night service in decades.
"It is a small community, but they have some deep pockets to be able to do
this," said Rockoff. "As a historian it is fascinating to see them trying
to buck this trend."
Dothan lies at the heart of the South's peanut region, in Alabama's
southeastern corner just minutes from Florida and Georgia. It's dotted
with big fiberglass peanuts painted to resemble characters and people .
there's even an Elvis peanut.
Little things are big here: The city boasts what it calls the world's
smallest city block, a triangular traffic island near the civic center.
But Blumberg's group is selling prospective Jewish residents on Dothan's
quality of life . its low cost of living, the heritage of its synagogue
and its proximity to Florida beaches, about 80 miles away.
The city is the site of the down-home National Peanut Festival each fall,
and it has a full schedule of community cultural events. It has two
hospitals, a branch of Troy University and is just a short drive from Fort
Rucker, the Army's main helicopter training base.
Downtown is filled with quaint red-brick buildings and colorful murals,
and traffic never gets too bad on Ross Clark Circle, the perimeter road.
"We have Friday afternoon rush minute, and that's about it," said
manufacturing executive Ed Marblestone, 69, who grew up Jewish in Texas
but married a Dothan girl and has lived in the town since 1961.
Valerie Barnes grew up in Panama and moved several times before settling
20 years ago in Dothan and becoming active at the synagogue. She's never
experienced any anti-Semitism and can't imagine living anywhere else.
"The biggest thing Dothan has to offer is that it's just a very
family-oriented community," said Barnes, who directs a hospital
foundation. "Our congregation is very vibrant, and we have a lot of things
that we get involved in."
Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith didn't know quite what to expect when she moved to
Dothan a year ago to lead the congregation at Temple Emanu-El, which was
founded in 1929. She came with her husband, who directs the Jewish
community services group.
A Connecticut native, the rabbi halfway expected the Alabama of old with
wide-open racism and dirt roads.
"The Northeast has a really warped perception of what the South is all
about, and I found out it was all wrong," she said. "The South is a
wonderful place to be. The people are warm and friendly. There's very
little traffic. And best of all, there's no snow."
On the Net:
Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services:
(This version corrects the executive's name to Marblestone instead of
Marbletree and the name of the group offering the incentive.)

Eureka! I Solved Israel's Political Crisis!

You see, all we have to do is send Ehud Olmert to Dothan, Alabama.

Associated Press reports that $50,000 is being offered to Jews who come to
Dothan, Alabama and settle there. Olmert can take a payoff and use it for
a new house without facing any new prosecution!

Not only that but at last there will be a Dothan that Olmert is not trying
to hand over to the Palestinian savages!

And being the peanut capital of the south, he can host Jimmy Carter to
ribs. In photo in above news story, see Carter visiting the town.

Speaking of Goobers Cater, take a look at

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