Monday, October 29, 2012

Cohen: A divisive conflict among Jews in Cuyahoga County

 There's an online piece by New York  Times Columnist Roger Cohen that reports the fierce  mano- a-mano  dispute among Cuyahoga County Jews  that has ripened during the current presidential election campaign.  It has been long seeded by the distrust by some Jews that President Obama, of all things, is anti-Israel.

Cohen sets the stage for his report in the first paragraph, writing in the paper's Global Edition:
Things are getting ugly among the Jews of Cuyahoga County, with family splits and dinner   invitations declined.  "I have never seen the divisions this acute," said James Ratner, an executive of the Forest City real estate group.
Normally, the family argument would be just that:  a purely inside event with little more than passing attention from beyond its sphere.  However, in this case the implications are broader because any fallout from the traditionally progressive Jews  could determine the outcome of the Ohio election and therfore,  the U.S. election.  Not that Mitt Romney hasn't noticed its electoral possibilities with his constant pandering to Israeli interests on this side of the ocean.  (Obama has thrown Israel under the bus!, Mitt has quacked, as though all blessings of foreign policy, even such myths as these,  flow from his Bain cornucopia.)  

To heighten the intensity of the Jewish  combat in Cuyahoga County, the Ohio  Senate race has  devolved into the spectacle of Josh Mandel, a conservative Jewish Republican who has been on message since grade school.  He married into the influential Ratner family but today enjoys no more  than partial support from his in-laws.

Cohen  writes that Mandel's  anti-abortion stance included "calling the indiana Senate nominee Richard Mourdock a  'class act' [!] after Mourdock said pregnancy resulting from rape was 'something God intended to happen' and was 'always a gift from God.'"

Back to James Ratner:  Cohens reports that Ratner  emailed him with word that a Jewish womens' group, with 60 members attending a meeting  at Park Synagogue, unanimously supported  Obama.
"Those Jewish women," Cohen writes, "know exactly what Romney and Mandel represent: an obcurantist and invasive threat to their rights in the name of God whose wishes these men presume to know'.


David Hess said...

I thought Obama put that canard to rest in the last debate when he repeated his pledge to come to Israel's aid in the event of an attack against it, and to prevent any deployment of nuclear weapons by Iran. As I understand it, Obama's basic policy in that region is to secure a fair and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians--an objective that would serve the interests of both camps as well as the United States. Unfortunately, the domestic politics of both Israel and the Palestine people has so far prevented such an outcome, even though a succession of U.S. presidents has striven to bring about an accord. By pandering to Netanyahu, Romney may be serving his own electioneering interests in the United States, but it is doing little to resolve the impasse and may be doing more harm than good.

Marv Katz said...

Has Romney ever let the nation's interests stand ahead of his own? Someone, anyone, give me an example, please.