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Jewish Democrats for Bush

Tuesday, 07 September 2004 12:00 AM

The Democrats were all for getting out of a war that we were dragged into by the French and our treaty with them. The Democrats also gave the impression of being the champion of human rights as well as equal rights and equal pay. And most importantly to many Jews, the Democratic Party was a staunch supporter of Israel.

Also at that time, religion was not as prominent an issue unless one was discussing separation of church and state. For many Jews who still had the fresh memory of the Holocaust, the Republicans were 'too Christianity-oriented' for comfort.

At that time, the emphasis of the Christian political movement was not the inclusive, accepting, morals-promoting movement it is today. At that time, many Jews (whether rightly or wrongly) felt that the Christian right was out to exclude and convert the Hebrew people.

Fast-forward a few years and times changed, presidents changed, and the world had new troubles. For many Jewish Democrats, President Carter was considered an aberration and a fluke. His election by many was a backlash against the Watergate scandal.

His brother Billy's embrace of, and shady financial dealings with, fascist Islamist leaders was alarming but as short-lived as his brother's presidency. Most Jewish Democrats continued to vote Democratic in subsequent elections.

After another few presidents the Jews had a new threat called 'The Oslo Peace Process.' Oslo was a maneuver which the first President Bush helped Prime Minister Rabin push through to force Israel into giving over part of her land as well as most of the holiest Jewish sites to people bent upon her destruction. Therefore, when it came time to re-elect Bush, most Jews continued to vote Democratic and President Clinton won the election.

But Clinton destroyed some of the support the Democrats had from the Jews. To understand how this could happen, one must first understand the Jewish people themselves.

While Judaism is one religion, it has several different sects based upon the degree of religious observance. Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Humanist – the most modern of the sects – are traditionally Democratic voters. Orthodox and Chassidic are the most traditionally observant. (Jews for Jesus are not considered Jewish by any of the sects and do not qualify as Jews according to Jewish law.)

While there are many differences between the Jewish sects and much debate amongst them, certain philosophies are intrinsic to all groups. Morality, ethics, education and freedom are synonymous with Judaism, no matter what form of it is practiced.

And so is the desire to return to the homeland, Israel. No matter what the sect, there is one prayer that is part of everyone's Holy Days prayers: "Next year in Jerusalem." Support of Israel, the aboriginal homeland of the Jewish people, is as common to Judaism as support of Vatican City is to Catholics or Medina and Mecca are to Muslims.

All of this brings us nearly to the point when many Jews became Jewish Democrats for Bush. Before I discuss my interview with the founder of this movement, I must tell you of my own experience.

I registered as a Democrat back when the Democrats supported Israel, as well as freedom of thought and freedom for those oppressed. I even voted for Clinton. (When Carter ran, I did a write-in for Jeane Kirkpatrick.)

But Clinton's sexual shenanigans and outright lies began souring me on the Democratic Party. So, too, did Hillary's all-too-public physically warm embrace of master terrorist Yasser Arafat's wife. That Hillary, as a representative of the White House, could embrace the wife of the biggest genocidal monster outside of Hitler was appalling.

What had happened to the values of the Democrats? My politics had not changed; instead, the party had changed around me.

Then there was the whole travesty of political correctness. While I have always agreed that people who are different from me shouldn't be given negative labels, the Democrats took it way too far. The Democrats, as in some Orwellian nightmare, stressed sameness as being the politically correct mode.

Whatever happened to diversity and individuality? These are the qualities that made our country great, and yet the Democrats wanted to change everyone to be not only equal but also indistinguishable.

I remember not long ago when some school district in California decided that playing tag was unfair to the slower children because they might lose. If I remember correctly, they banned the game. What will they ban next, superior intellect and a desire to succeed? Or beauty? Or talent?

The Democrats have turned this into very scary times that endanger our country into losing that which made us great: our uniqueness, respect for individuality and drive.

And then there's Israel. Yasser Arafat, the father of modern-day terror, was an honored guest at the Clinton White House more times than any other leader. And this is a man who has openly, repeatedly, called for genocide upon the Jewish people.

Meanwhile, at the end of Clinton's last term, he rammed through 'Camp David,' whereby Israel was arm-wrestled into giving up territory and exposing herself to becoming an Islamist majority with no guarantees of safety, security or acceptance in the international as well as Arab arenas.

Nor was Clinton a maverick in this Camp David Accord. He had party support, with Carter championing the murderers of Jewish children and families: the Arabs who follow Arafat. I blame the last three years of the Intifada and its 1,000-plus dead children, mothers, babies, families and the elderly directly on Camp David and the Democratic stance toward Israel.

Lastly, from my personal viewpoint as an American, a Democrat and a Jew, is Kerry himself. The very leaders who advocate the destruction of Israel and who praise the homicide bombers whenever they kill Americans or Jews have come out for Kerry.

Kerry is not responsible for those who endorse him. He is responsible, however, for accepting or denouncing such support. I have waited for Kerry to denounce the support of Islamists and those who praised 9/11, but it has not been forthcoming. So I quietly decided to throw my support to President Bush, almost feeling embarrassed to announce it.

Enter Heshy Friedman. He is my opposite number; an orthodox Jew, he is strictly observant. Mr. Friedman and many of the orthodox consider me secular even though I practice Reform Judaism.

But although our religious practices are quite different, Mr. Friedman and I have two things in common: We are both Democrats and we both support Bush.

Mr. Friedman started the Democrats for Bush movement. His reasons come from a moral and religious standpoint as well as a political one. As an orthodox Jew, he wants a president who conducts himself morally both in and out of office.

As an orthodox Jew, he is against abortion and views homosexuality as morally wrong since it is denounced in the Bible. And as an orthodox Jew living in Brooklyn, Mr. Friedman learned that a strong defense is necessary to maintain not merely one's freedom, but also one's life.

When asked about Kerry, Mr. Friedman first mentioned the senator's stance on defense issues. He reminded me that Kerry was against the Patriot Missile, which has been so important to Israel's defense. He also cited Kerry's opposition to the B-1 bomber.

And most important to current events, Mr. Friedman reminded me that there has not been a foreign terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. He attributes this to Bush's strong leadership in the face of liberal opposition to the Patriot Act as well as his policies abroad.

Mr. Friedman is also a staunch supporter of Israel and sees President Bush as Israel's best friend in a long, long time.

On the next to last day of the Republican National Convention, Mr. Friedman came into Manhattan with an enormous sign that read "Jewish Democrats for Bush." I went with him and some of his people to observe public reaction.

For several hours Mr. Friedman and other like-minded people paraded their sign in the areas around Madison Square Garden, where the Republican National convention was being held. The reactions were surprising.

Many people stopped to take pictures while commending him and his people on their bravery. The detractors, for the most part, were, frankly, fanatical-looking. Most of them seemed stuck in the hippie style of dress, and a few appeared downright crazy, with odd costumes and handmade crayon or Magic Marker signs.

Perhaps most interesting were the supporters. Many business people (judging by their clothes and their desire to move on through) in the Herald Square area told him in conspiratorial whispers that they were Jewish Democrats who planned to vote for Bush. A group of Chinese Falun Gong, there to publicize the fate of their brethren at the hands of the Communist Chinese government, also gave Mr. Friedman a thumbs-up.

Even the police, being union members and notoriously Democratic, quietly gave him words of support as he and the others walked by with their huge banner.

But most remarkable of all were Mr. Friedman's defenders. At one point a group of Arabs and Muslims surrounded Mr. Friedman and his people with shouts of "Hitler Was Right" and "You Jews Are Nazis." Rallying around Mr. Friedman, protecting him and shouting down the attackers, were not a few blacks, all of whom had stopped to help.

Mr. Friedman's movement seems to be growing legs. Meanwhile, there is another group I have interviewed in recent weeks, Global Israel Alliance (http://globalisraelalliance.com), made up of a coalition of Christians and Jews of all sects who also support Bush.

Some of them met Mr. Friedman's group informally on the street that day. They recognized a common goal in each other, and this emerging political trend may very well spell Kerry's demise.

(Anyone interested in Jewish Democrats for Bush may contact Mr. Friedman at 917-468-4840.)

Web site: http://hometown.aol.com/bgoodtree/

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The Democrats were all for getting out of a war that we were dragged into by the French and our treaty with them.The Democrats also gave the impression of being the champion of human rights as well as equal rights and equal pay. And most importantly to many Jews, the...
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Tuesday, 07 September 2004 12:00 AM
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