Jews for Obama
Obama 08
How the Bush-McCain Surge Harms Israel
Jews for Obama Newsletter - Inaugural Issue    April 16, 2008


Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Jews for Obama 
e-Newsletter, an independent grassroots American Jewish initiative.
This new online publication will highlight the most compelling text and multimedia commentaries in support of Senator Barack Obama from a Jewish perspective.    It will, we hope, serve to unite the various burgeoning online grassroots Jews for Obama groups, offering a new way for Jewish Obama supporters to reach out to the broader American Jewish community on the real issues at stake in this presidential contest.    In this special first issue, we bring you a surprising interview with former Secretary of State Colin Powell -- if you read about it in the New York Times, you missed half the story -- and show how to talk to Mideast hawks, plus original takes on other topics.
Our roving spotlight will shine each week on a host of foreign and domestic issues of concern to American Jews.  It will range across the differences between Senators Obama, Clinton and McCain on Israel and the Middle East, including the war in Iraq and the rising power of a nuclearizing Iran.  With a special series focusing on social justice issues here at home --from our unequal health insurance system to the mortgage crisis, the rise in joblessness, poverty and social inequity; from our growing dependence on foreign oil to the mounting threats to our fragile environment; from eroding civil rights and constitutional protections to the abuse of presidential power and our special interest-dominated government, and much more -- we will bring into bold relief how Senator Obama's proposals best exemplify the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) in the Jewish tradition.
American Jews throughout the country have joined together in growing numbers in support of Barack Obama for President.   We believe that Senator Obama is the candidate who best represents the highest ideals and moral values of the Jewish tradition, together with the practical wisdom to apply them to our nation and our world.   We are convinced that Barack Obama is the candidate who not only is best poised to safeguard America's national security at home and abroad, but to ensure the flourishing of the State of Israel.

In the words of the Jewish petition for Barack Obama, we regard Senator Obama as "one of those unusual visionary leaders who comes once in a generation to inspire us to overcome what has, especially for the past seven years, divided and polarized us." 


Senator Obama has been targeted with a continuous stream of slurs and slanders, smears and attempts to tar him through guilt by association.  Recognizing, as our tradition and culture do, the power of the spoken and written word and the immorality of using evil speech to denigrate others, we are appalled that many of these scurrilous attacks have been perpetrated by fellow Jews.  We call upon them, and indeed upon all who are engaged in the American political process, to leave aside the politics of destruction and engage in open, honest, civil dialogue about the issues of concern to us all.


To help us build support for Barack Obama in the Jewish community, we encourage you to do two things: 
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1.  Forward this newsletter to at least 5 friends and family members and invite them to subscribe.
2.  Give us your feedback at on what you'd like to see in future issues, write letters to the editor, and suggest articles, web videos and other materials to which we should draw the attention of the American Jewish community.  Post your responses to newsletter articles and other commentary appearing on our Jews for Obama blogs;  from time to time we'll select the most interesting blog post replies and link to them here.
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Bush-McCain Surge is Failing, Hastening Iraq's Demise & Endangering Israel, Steven Simon
US troops in Baghdad during "surge"
While the Bush-McCain "surge" in Iraq has helped reduce violence, it suffers from a fatal flaw.  Because it is not linked to any sustainable plan for building a viable Iraqi state, it has made such an outcome less likely--by stoking the revanchist fantasies of Sunni tribes and pitting them against the central government. The recent short-term gains have thus come at the expense of the long-term goal of a stable, unitary Iraq.  The Bush-McCain strategy in Iraq makes Israel and the Middle East less secure over the long term.  
Steven Simon is a Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and served in the White House as a Senior Director at the National Security Council.

To read an excerpt from Simon's article click here.

Road Map to a Gaza War, Jackson Diehl
Dry Bones Cartoon
Here's what happens when you neglect Mideast diplomacy for seven years: 
"Seven years ago George W. Bush's incoming foreign policy team blamed the Clinton administration for an eleventh-hour rush for a Middle East peace agreement that ended with the explosion of the second Palestinian intifada. Now, with less than 10 months remaining in office, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are engaged in a similar last-minute push -- yet they don't seem to recognize the growing risk that their initiative, too, will end with another Israeli-Palestinian war."
Read Jackson Diehl's disturbing Washington Post report from Israel here.
Don't Judge Obama By His Longtime Pastor,
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld
US troops in Baghdad during
An Orthodox rabbi offers a surprising plea for congregational tolerance for the controversial political opinions of their religious leaders:  "I don't agree with Rev. Wright and I pray that some of his political views never enter the White House. But I recognize that people can love a house of worship and love a pastor without agreeing with his politics."
Read Rabbi Hertzfeld's plea here.
Tikkun Olam Spotlight: Passover, Obama on Healthcare for All Americans & the Fight for Equality

Jews for Obama Symbol"Why do we begin the story of our liberation from slavery in Egypt with the words 'Ha lahma anya--This is the bread of poverty and persecution.  Let all who are hungry come and eat'"?  Because we know that hashata avdei--despite the fact that we are free from Pharaoh--we remain enslaved as long as slavery and affliction persist in our world."

--Rabbi Sharon Brous

"[T]he world translates the word chamaskha [chamatkha] to mean your anger. But the word comes from cham, warmth. Now by Amalek the Torah says 'asher karkha.'  Evil wants to turn us into cold people.  Seder night we are begging G-d, 'Please purge the world of all the coldness. Please make the world a warm place for everyone.'"


--Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

"I...believe that every American has the right to affordable health care. I believe that the millions of Americans who can't take their children to a doctor when they get sick have that right...We now face an opportunity - and an obligation - to turn the page on the failed politics of yesterday's health care debates. It's time to bring together businesses, the medical community, and members of both parties around a comprehensive solution to this crisis, and it's time to let the drug and insurance industries know that while they'll get a seat at the table, they don't get to buy every chair."
--Senator Barack Obama
Click here to watch Sen. Obama speak about his plan to cover every American who needs health insurance
and the story of a middle class family that could not afford medical coverage after cancer.
Obama Healthcare Speech in Iowa City

Jews for Obama is a grassroots American Jewish initiative and not affiliated with the Obama Campaign. 
Wishing you a chag kasher v'sameach!   Happy Passover!
Gidon D. Remba
Editor-in-Chief & Publisher

In This Issue
1. Bush-McCain Surge is Failing, Endangering Iraq & Israel, Steven Simon
2. Road Map to a Gaza War, Jackson Diehl
3. Don't Judge Obama By His Longtime Pastor, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld
4. Tikkun Olam Spotlight: Passover & Obama on Healthcare for All Ameicans
Featured Web Clip
Click on the image
Gen. Colin Powell on Election 08
rap Sen. John McCain's bellicose positions on Iraq and Iran for lack of realism, and express his confidence in Senator Obama's ability to succeed as commander in chief.
Most Pentagon generals view an assault on Iranian nuclear sites, promised by McCain if Iran does not halt its march towards nuclear weapons, as not only ineffective but likely to entangle us in another protracted Mideast war that we cannot win and may well lose.  What's pro-Israel about that?
Read JTA's How to Talk to a (Jewish) Hawk here.
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Forward this email to at least 5 friends and family members and encourage them to subscribe.  Help us build support for Barack Obama in the American Jewish community.
Web Clip of the Week

MoveOn.Org Political Action Clip
Endless war on the installment plan

This video makes it clear:

No matter what happens in Iraq, the Bush Administration and John McCain always have the same answer: 6 more months.

They're at it again this week, asking for six more months. But six months won't change anything-except the body count and the price tag.

So please forward this video to your friends, and let's keep the pressure on to bring our troops home.

(Web Clip and commentary from Political Action)
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Jews for Obama
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Domestic Affairs Editor 
Yocheved Seidman
Chief Technology Officer
Editorial Advisory Board
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To include a broad range of prominent American Jews, including

  • rabbis
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  • policy experts
  • former diplomats
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