GOP unveils stage for convention

(Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch)

The GOP released a model of the stage for their 2016 convention.

A couple of thoughts:

  1. Because it’s a model, I don’t think releasing it achieved the effect they desired. It kind of looks like a middle-school panorama project.
  2. It looks like a standard convention stage. Anyone expecting anything dramatically different for a Trump convention won’t find it here.

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Win One State and Become President

tckThe 2016 presidential election has been unprecedented already in so many ways, but it may be holding its biggest surprise for last, and by “last,” I mean January 2017.

Political analysts are focused on the Republican nominating contest. Some believe that Donald Trump may amass 1,237 delegates and win the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Others believe that no one will win a majority on the first ballot and in subsequent ballots the “Trump” delegates (who in many cases are not chosen by the Trump campaign) would coalesce in support of a Republican more palatable to the establishment.

Riot-control gear being acquired by Cleveland in preparation for the RNC.

Riot-control gear being acquired by Cleveland in preparation for the RNC.

I think either outcome is fairly likely. In any case there are likely to be a large number of unhappy campers at the Republican National Convention.
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Presidential Campaigns: Is 2016 the New 1964?

1964 Presidential Election Results

1964 Presidential Election Results

If you are looking for clues about what this Fall’s campaign will look like, consider the 1964 Presidential campaign. The Republican National Convention in Daly City, California was contested as the establishment viewed Governors Nelson Rockefeller (NY) and William Scranton (NJ) as their best candidates to challenge Democratic incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson. After much infighting, the radical Senator Barry Goldwater (AZ) was nominated. The belligerent Goldwater ran a campaign of fear while Johnson reached across the aisle winning the support of moderate conservatives with his “Confessions of a Republican” commercial.

Confessions of a Republican

RNC Tries to Make Us Forget Anti-Semitic Partners

330px-BigBrother

The air of “1984” hangs over the whole trip: History has been erased; the trip was never planned; Fischer was never a spokesman; Priebus and the RNC “always” had other plans.

The Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus, with a group of RNC board members, was scheduled Saturday to begin a tour of Israel, sponsored by the right-wing Christian network, the American Family Association, and led by Association spokesman, David Lane. Time Magazine wrote about this trip as early as December 8, 2014.

However, the association of AFA with the RNC did not receive mainstream public attention until questioned by Rachel Maddow and the Huffington Post. The AFA tour guide, David Lane, is on tape declaring that he would not vote for Mitt Romney (because of his Mormonism) in 2012. Fischer is on record, broadcasting repeatedly that Jews (specifically, and immigrants of other religions by implication) do not have the right to free practice of religion: that they are expected to “adopt our religious values and our traditions — that would mean Christianity” in order to emigrate to our shores.

There is no record, as of Groundhog Day, that Priebus and his entourage have actually left on this trip. The RNC website has been cleansed of any reference to this trip. The AFA website has no reference to Reince Priebus today earlier than 8/1/2014.

The air of “1984” hangs over the whole trip: History has been erased; the trip was never planned; Fischer was never a spokesman; Priebus and the RNC “always” had other plans. As Orwell put it in the book, “We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

Perhaps this is a case of Republicans adopting the hated European “right to forget,” which gives citizens of the European Union the right to cleanse offensive and false internet portrayals and search linkages.

In a related article, Charles Krauthammer would like us to believe that anti-Semitism is a genetic disorder in Europeans, and of no account to the European nationalist anti-immigrant movements.

It is, of course, some concern that some Europeans consider Jews permanent immigrants, incapable of becoming fully integrated Europeans — just as Fischer and Lane believe that even Christians who are not of their dominionist beliefs are not fully American citizens.

We hope that these are not normative American/European beliefs, and work to assure that liberal points of view are available to the public (decreasingly so, at least in Philadelphia’s opinion pages of record).

While we certainly strive to tolerate our opponents’ attempts to write their religious beliefs into the law of the land, we should voice our indignant objections when our citizenship is questioned, and when our good wishes for the state of Israel are exploited by those who demand that we ignore their intolerance of our presence as their neighbors.

Perhaps, Priebus, Krauthammer and the RNC could visit Disneyland and pick up measles in their unvaccinated, unvarnished state of nature.

RNC Should Apologize for Using Nazi Pistol’s Name for New Venture


Parabellum Pistole.

— by Rabbi Jack Moline, NJDC executive director

The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced the launch of a new start-up lab called “Para Bellum Labs, America!” The phrase “parabellum” was used by a German arms manufacturer as a name for its signature guns: first, the light machine gun used by the Kaiser’s best during World War I, and then its most iconic gun: the Parabellum Pistole, or the “Luger pistol.”

Frankly, I am astounded and sorely disappointed that the RNC would put so little thought into the message of their new venture. Using the phrasing “para bellum” not only exploits horrific symbolism, but also communicates a fatalist & violent message toward any who differ with you.

The RNC should immediately repudiate the name of this venture, denounce the approach it suggests, and apologize to all the people this names offends — those of the Greatest Generation, those who have ever been victims of gun violence, and those in the Jewish community and beyond who were victims of the Nazi genocide.

Our Forgotten Warriors

On MSNBC, Iraq war veteran and former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA 7) discussed Mitt Romney’s decision not to mention Afghanistan in his speech at the Republican National Convention and the passing reference he made to the war in his speech at the American Legion. President Obama ended the war in Iraq and will end the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Romney called the end of the Iraq War “tragic” and has failed to lay out a plan to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home.

Friday, Murphy rebuked Pat Toomey and 39 of Mitt Romney’s other allies in the Senate Republican caucus for killing the Veterans Jobs Corps Act that would create jobs for veterans and put in place programs to help our brave men and women reenter the work force when they come home:

These Senate Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. They are a disgrace. To put their political priorities ahead of veterans who risked their lives to protect our country is the lowest form of cowardice. I understand that their number one priority is not jobs or veterans or seniors. I know their number one priority is to deny the President a second term. But I never thought they would take it this far. We’re talking about helping to put tens of thousands of our nation’s heroes to work, and Republicans can’t set aside the political games for 5 minutes to support our troops when they come home from war? Helping our warriors settle back into civilian life is the least we can do. We’re talking about job training programs and priority hiring for first responder jobs, police officers, firefighters or rescue workers – but Republicans would rather kick up their heels and do nothing. It’s pathetic.

It’s particularly disappointing to hear Senator Toomey joined in the political gamesmanship immediately after holding public events with Pennsylvania veterans. Our veterans don’t need more lip service from opportunistic politicians, they need action.

Speaking of opportunistic politicians, where was the Republican Party’s alleged leader Mitt Romney during all this? Not a word.  After neglecting to mention veterans or our troops fighting in Afghanistan during his convention speech, it’s no surprise Romney took the easy way out and stood silent as his Republican colleagues killed an important jobs program for our nation’s heroes.  Apparently, veterans are an even lower priority for Romney than previously thought.

Video transcript follows the jump.

ANCHOR: Former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy is a Democrat, also the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress. Patrick, good morning to you. Let’s note here first of all what Mitt Romney did say at the American Legion. This was a speech he gave on August 26th. Let’s put it up on the screen here. He said in part, “of course, we are still at war in Afghanistan. We still have uniformed men and women in conflict risking their lives just as you once did. How deeply we appreciate their service. We salute them, we honor them, we respect and love them.” Now, that’s a 16-second quote out of about a 16-minute speech, but again no specifics about policy there. Why do you think that there’s been such a fear or reluctance to get specific?

MURPHY:  Because then he has to take a stand, Craig, and he refuses to do that. I mean, it’s like what John Kerry said in his speech the other night: You know, Mitt Romney has to debate himself before he actually debates Barack Obama in a couple weeks. I mean, Craig, the quote that you played where Mitt Romney said, “I talked in my speech about the things that I thought were important.” We know that there’s 68,000 sons and daughter of American families that are fighting for us in Afghanistan. That’s not important to Mitt Romney? I mean, he wants to be Commander-in-Chief. And not just a Commander-in-Chief as President, but a wartime Commander-in-Chief – what Barack Obama has been and a true friend to our veterans. I mean the contrast couldn’t be more clear.

Stark Contrast for Jews Between Democratic, Republican Conventions

The National Jewish Democratic Coalition welcomed delegates to the Democratic National Convention at their mobile headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-PA13) stopped by NJDC’s mobile headquarters and explained why she supports Obama/Biden 2012.


PA State Representative Brian Sims.


Equality Pennsylvania’s President Adrian Shanker.

— by David A. Harris, President of NJDC

The Democratic and Republican conventions held over the last two weeks will continue to make it clear to the vast majority of Jewish voters that the Democratic Party is the one party that champions their values. If the stark contrast between the Democratic Party’s platform-which commits to expanding civil rights, pursuing social justice, and working toward peace and security for Israel-and the “antisocial, anti-science, anti-reason” Republican platform is not enough to remind Jews of the immense stakes ahead in this election, the sights and speeches of the two conventions certainly will.

The Republican Party kicked off its convention by allowing its speakers to trash the President, Vice President, and fellow Democrats-often with language and jokes ranging from corny to disrespectful-on a variety of domestic issues that put the policy gaps between the GOP and most Jews on full display. Pledges to repeal Obamacare, pursue anti-choice and anti-marriage equality policies, and to support dangerous cuts to essential social services advocated in the Romney-Ryan budget-like ending Medicare as we know it-were the standard talking points from the seemingly endless stream of negative and divisive speeches delivered from the podium. When the “severely conservative” Mitt Romney and GOP “young gun” Paul Ryan took the stage for their headlining speeches, they kept up with the flow established by the previous speakers and delivered mendacious (per repeated objective analyses) speeches full of policy positions out of step with most Jews. Romney even belittled the idea of healing the world – the very heart of tikkun olam.

But if the policy differences between most Jews and the GOP weren’t enough, Romney and his Republican Party allowed two very Israel-challenged individuals to play significant roles in the convention. Romney personally selected Israel-challenged former Governor and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu to officially nominate him for president. And after NJDC and others sounded every alarm bell imaginable that anti-Israel Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) was becoming a legitimate force within the GOP, the Republican Party honored him with a video tribute that completely ignored his dreadful foreign policy positions. The GOP then gave his son Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)-who shares many of the same extreme foreign and domestic positions-a prime speaking slot.

More after the jump.

The Democratic National Convention will be different. The Democratic Party has historically been the home of most American Jews-and the 2012 convention will help affirm this. One needs only to look to the records of President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party to understand why the majority of Jews will pull the lever for Democrats this November.

President Obama and his party passed a historic health insurance reform bill that has expanded-and will continue to expand-access to affordable health insurance for millions of Americans. The Democratic Party has fought against Republican obstruction to protect women’s rights, whether on matters of choice, contraception, domestic violence protections, or equal pay. The President has led on advancing equal rights for all by voicing support for marriage equality and working to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

President Obama has been Israel’s most important advocate on the international stage and has provided the Jewish state with unprecedented amounts of security aid-including $275 million in supplemental aid for missile defense programs that protect Israeli cities like Sderot from terrorist rocket fire, and an overall total of more than twice as much funding for missile defense programs as the prior administration. He is leading the global coalition to responsibly sanction Iran over its pursuit of nuclear weapons. His leadership has resulted in the largest and most significant sanctions regimen in history to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. The President also ordered the raid that brought justice to Osama Bin Laden and firmly communicated to those seeking to harm America and its citizens that this President will not hesitate to use force to protect our country or its interests.

The multitude of policy positions and values shared by the Democratic Party and American Jews will be on full display in Charlotte, which simply cannot be said for the Republican convention. American Jews will listen when President Obama delivers his speech under the stadium lights, and will hear a President who has worked hand-in-hand with the Jewish community in the pursuit of social justice and security for Israel. For many American Jews, the Democratic Convention will be their point of entry to the 2012 campaign-and what they see will remind them why they overwhelmingly voted for President Obama in 2008 and will do so again in 2012.

Reprinted courtesy of the Washington Jewish Week.

What Really Happened at the Democratic Convention

— by Steve Sheffey

Last week Republicans accused Democrats of doing what they did just the week before regarding Jerusalem. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats clarified their position by amending the platform, resulting in a statement on Israel that is stronger in several respects than the Republican platform.

The voice vote was messy, but far more problematic was the Republican tribute to Ron Paul, the most anti-Israel candidate to run for president in decades, and the GOP decision to let Rand Paul, who supports cutting foreign aid to Israel, address their convention in person.

Rational pro-Israel voters should not base their 2012 votes on Jerusalem because both parties have the same position.

More after the jump.
 
As many of you know, I was a delegate from Illinois at the Democratic National Convention last week. After Shabbat services yesterday, many people approached me during kiddush lunch with questions.  This article will be longer than usual.  If these issues are important to you, I hope you’ll take the time to read to the end.

Ron Kampeas accurately summarizes what happened. Republicans attacked Democrats for not including certain language on Jerusalem and when Democrats added the language back, the voice vote did not go smoothly.

We first need to separate politics from policy. The Democrats kicked the ball into their own goal. This entire firestorm could have been avoided if someone had done what the Republicans did the minute they had a chance: compare the 2008 platform to the 2012 platform for emotional issues. We’ll talk below about the policy rationale for not including the Jerusalem language, but not initially including it created an unnecessary distraction.

The Democrats then scored another goal against themselves with the voice vote. We’ll talk below about why it went down the way it did,  but the optics were terrible. Should any of this matter to pro-Israel voters? That’s where policy comes in.

To understand the Democratic platform on Israel, one first has to understand the Republican platform on Israel. This election is a choice, not a referendum. I was not able to find a link to only the Israel part of the Republican platform, but here is a link to the entire Republican platform.

Scroll down past the part about how taxes reduce freedom, past the part about repealing the estate tax, past the part supporting a Constitutional amendment requiring a super-majority for any tax increase, past the part supporting a Constitutional amendment restricting marriage to unions of one man and one woman, past the part supporting prayer in public schools, past the part supporting a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children, past the part opposing federal funding for embryonic  stem cell research, past the part about reining in the EPA, past the part about saving Medicare by “modernizing” it (I’m not making this up),  past the part about repealing Obamacare, and you’ll eventually get to a section titled “American Exceptionalism.”  The last two parts of that section talk about Israel.

Most Democrats would probably agree with the 2012 Republican platform on Israel. I certainly do. Everything in the Republican platform on Israel is fine, but in 2008, the Republicans also said this: “We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.” Now that language is gone.

Does that mean that Republicans now think Jerusalem should be divided? Does that mean that Republicans now oppose moving the embassy to Jerusalem? It does by the logic of those who are attacking the Democrats, but as Buzzfeed correctly observed, “In both parties’ cases, the revisions don’t seem to reflect a dramatic policy shift, but rather attempts by party leadership to avoid foreign policy commitments in the non-binding political document.”

Only a week before the Democratic Convention, the Republicans omitted key language on Jerusalem. As Bill Clinton said, “it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”

Now let’s look at the pre-amended Democratic platform. Once again, you’ll have to scroll down to get the Middle East section. The Democratic platform is very strong on Israel; in many ways, it describes how President Obama has already done what the Republicans say they want to do.  But it too is not the same as the 2008 platform.

The Democratic platform is stronger on Israel. For example, as JTA reports, the Democrats say this about Iran:

“At the same time, [Obama] has also made clear that the window for diplomacy will not remain open indefinitely and that all options – including military force – remain on the table.”

Specifying military force explicitly is new — the Republicans fall back on the coy “all options” language, which is interesting because that elision has frustrated pro-Israel groups and Republicans and Democrats in Congress no end in the last year, and helped bring about more explicit warnings from the White House, culminating in the explicit mention of “military force” in the DNC platform.

Here’s the GOP 2012 language:

“We must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the safety of our friends.”

But what about Jerusalem? As Josh Rogin reported, “the drafters [of the platform] made a deliberate and conscious decision to reframe the Israel section of the platform around Obama’s record, to limit the section to cover his existing policies, and to intentionally avoid any and all final-status issues.”  That might not be how to win US elections, but it does make sense.

Then why did the Democrats add the Jerusalem language to the platform on Wednesday? Politics. The only chance to amend the platform was during the convention. The language was irrelevant from a policy standpoint. The platform is not meant to be a checklist of every issue. But given that no policy change was intended, and given that Republicans had the brass to allege a policy change, the Democrats decided it would be easier just to add the language and remove all doubt. So, with President Obama’s approval, they added this: “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

Note that this language too is stronger than the 2012 Republican platform, which omits the word “undivided.”

But what about other language that was not added? Republicans also complained that language about Hamas in the 2008 platform is not in the 2012 platform. Robert Wexler responded that the 2012 platform is stronger because it covers all Palestinian terror groups:  “The platform doesn’t say ‘Hamas,’ but it says that any potential Palestinian partner has to meet the conditions necessary for peace. That’s even stronger and of course it applies to Hamas.”  President Obama’s position is clear on the refugee issue and the armistice lines issue, both of which are final status issues that are not necessary to include in the platform.

The voice vote was blown out of proportion. I knew in advance that the platform would be amended at 5:00. Do you know where I was at 5:00? I was having dinner at Bentley’s with most of the Illinois delegation. It was a done deal. Many of the people there at 5:00 weren’t even delegates and had to get there early because they didn’t have reserved seats. When C-SPAN wasn’t zooming in on those two Arab-Americans, they showed the main floor, plainly revealing how few people were there. The Illinois section was virtually deserted.

Why the booing? Some delegates were upset because they had no notice of the amendments (they didn’t). Some delegates were upset because the “under God” language was also being added (it was). And yes, there probably were some people upset about the Jerusalem language, but it’s impossible to know how many of the nays and boos were actually from delegates. What we do know for certain is that Democratic leadership strongly backs the Jerusalem language. I was at an AIPAC lunch earlier in the day, and Senator after Senator, Congressperson after Congressperson, re-affirmed their support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And this being the Democratic Convention, all of them were Democrats.

Republican delegates exhibited anti-Israel sentiment only a week earlier. The voice vote at the Democratic convention was ambiguous, but you don’t have to guess what Republican delegates supported. Rep. Ron Paul is the most anti-Israel candidate to run for president in either party for decades, maybe ever. Yet Ron Paul was honored at the Republican convention, no doubt to appease the Ron Paul delegates who were elected during the Republican primary. And Sen. Rand Paul, who is not quite as extreme as his father but who does favor cutting foreign aid to Israel, spoke at the Republican convention. Can you imagine the outcry if a Democrat who supported cutting foreign aid to Israel spoke in person at the Democratic convention?

Pro-Israel voters shouldn’t vote based on Jerusalem anyway. I was tempted to lead with this, but so many people want their questions answered first that I defied what might be good PR strategy and decided to actually answer the questions people are asking. But Aaron David Miller is 100% correct on this:

The Jerusalem issue defies logic and rationality when it comes to our presidential elections. Presidential candidates say all kinds of things in order to win elections, including repeated commitments to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And then, once in office, they turn around and seek ways to avoid doing it.

Despite all of the campaign rhetoric, no administration has changed the bottom line U.S. position on the embassy, or for that matter the status of Jerusalem, since 1967. Its fate is to be determined in negotiations.

And here’s a news flash for you. Should Mitt Romney become president and serious negotiations start between the Israelis and Palestinians, his position would conform to that of his predecessors, and might even go further to allow for Palestinian sovereignty in east Jerusalem.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke accurately about Michael Oren. I was in the room when the DNC Chair said “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.” I don’t know if the “reporter” stayed for all of what she said, but it was obvious to me, as it should have been obvious to anyone familiar with Oren’s warnings about using Israel for partisan gain, that she was right.

The confusing part is that following the reporting of Wasserman Schultz’s comments, Oren issued a statement stating that “I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel. Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle.”

Oren is right. But that’s not the point. In 2010, Oren “expressed deep concern over the increasing use of support for Israel as a partisan issue in American domestic politics. The Ambassador stressed that bipartisan support for Israel is a strategic national interest for the State of Israel.”

Republicans have repeatedly attempted to use Israel as a partisan issue. Whatever Romney meant when he said he’d “do the opposite” of President Obama on Israel, there is no way to interpret his statement as anything but the opposite of bipartisanship. And if accusing President Obama of “throwing Israel under the bus” even as Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called US military and intelligence support for Israel under President Obama unprecedented isn’t playing politics with Israel, I don’t know what is.

So while it’s true that Oren did not specifically call out Republicans, it’s also true that Republicans are engaging in exactly the behavior that Oren so rightly condemned. I was in the room. It was obvious that’s what Wasserman Schultz meant. And good for her for speaking up.

But what about the troop exercises? Someone asked me about this in shul too. Some have suggested that the US is sending Israel a signal because the number of US troops participating in an upcoming major joint military exercise with Israel is smaller than originally planned.  The reality is that the exercises were moved at the request of Israel from the spring to the fall. At that time the administration told Israel that if the date was changed, then due to troop rotations the number participating would be a bit smaller.  Time reported that only 1500 US troops would participate, but the actual number is about 3,000.

Crossposted courtesy of Steve Sheffey’s Chicagoland Pro-Israel Political Update.

Israel Frequent Subject At Democratic National Convention

The New York Times has developed a wonderful tool to see how often any given word was used at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

There was a bit of excitement at the DNC as Democrats were criticized for removing any mention of Israel from their platform (Republicans had removed all but one mention of Israel from their platform.) Democrats were quick to amend the platform and restore the language regarding Israel.

However, I still wondered how central Israel was to the Democrats and the Republicans at the National Conventions, so I used the New York Times’ “At the National Conventions, the Words They Used” tool:

It turns out that Democrats mentioned Israel over four times as often as did Republicans.

At the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, Democrats mentioned Israel 68 times per 250,000 words.

Former US Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) led the pack along with discussion of Israel by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL, Republicans mentioned Israel 15 times per 250,000 words.

Israel was mentioned by Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Congressional candidate Mark Meadows (R-TX).

Examples from all eight speakers follow the jump.
Robert Wexler (D-FL), Former U.S. representative

Four years ago, I stood at the convention podium in Denver affirming Barack Obama’s heartfelt, steadfast commitment to the state of Israel.

Over the past four years, the president has proven this commitment time and again, in both word and deed. And the Democratic platform reflects the president’s unflinching commitment to Israel’s security and future as a Jewish state.

To strengthen Israel’s qualitative military advantage, the president has increased security assistance to Israel to record levels — more than any other president.

When he visited Sderot in 2008 — an Israeli town along the Gaza border besieged by constant rocket attacks, President Obama saw for himself the toll terrorism takes on Israelis. And that’s why he secured the funds to deploy the iron dome anti-rocket defense system which has already saved countless Israeli lives.

And under President Obama, the U.S. and Israel are firmly committed to stopping one of the gravest threats to international security: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. The president has explicitly stated that an Iranian nuclear weapon is “unacceptable” And that He will mobilize all instruments of U.S. power- economic, diplomatic, Intelligence, And military — to prevent, not contain, a nuclear Iran.

Due to the president’s strong leadership, Iran is more isolated than ever. He has marshaled the international community to impose the most crippling sanctions in history. Iran’s oil exports have plummeted and its currency value has been slashed in half.

Not only has he stoodup to Iran, President Obama Also has bravely Stood up for Israel In the international community.

  • When the anti-Israel Goldstone report was released, questioning Israel’s right to self-defense, President Obama challenged it.
  • When the U.N. held the Israel-bashing Durban conference, President ObamaLed an international boycott of it.
  • When a violent Egyptian mob stormed the Israeli embassy In Cairo, it was President Obama Whointervened to ensure the safety Of the Israelis Trapped inside.
  • In the wake Of the Gaza flotilla, President Obama’s support for Israel never waned.

Now, the president’s opponents have been busy distorting his record.

Last week, Mitt Romney claimed that the president has thrown Israel “under the bus.”

Perhaps Mr. Romney should listen to those who know best — Israel’s leaders.

  • Listen to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has thanked president Obama For “unprecedented” security cooperation and for wearing His support For the Jewish state as a “badge of honor.”
  • Listen to Defense minister Ehud Barak Who has repeatedly declared that president Obama Has done more for Israeli security than any U.S. president He can remember.
  • And listen to Israel’s beloved president, Shimon Peres, Who recently said, “Mr. President, You have pledged a lasting friendship For Israel. You stated that Israel’s security is ‘sacrosanct’ for you. So you pledged. So you act. So you’re acting. As a great leader, as a genuine friend.”

Now is the time to continue the strong us-Israel relationship.

Now is the time to stand with Israel As it works toward peace and security… Toward two states, a secure Israel Living side by side with an independent, Non-militarized Palestinian state.

Now is the time to support Israel As a thriving, Democratic, and secure homeland for the Jewish people by re-electing Barack Obama As president of the United States.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA)

Barack Obama promised always to stand with Israel, to tighten sanctions on Iran and take nothing off the table.

And when it comes to Israel, my friends, I’ll take the word of Israel’s prime minister over Mitt Romney any day.

Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)

When it comes to one of our closest allies, Israel, President Obama has been resolute. (Cheers, applause.) The two biggest threats to Israel are the threat of nuclear weapons from Iran and the launching of Hezbollah rockets from Lebanon.

The president has imposed the toughest sanctions ever on Iran, and provided record amounts of security to aid Israel.

President Barack Obama (D-IL)

Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)

President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus – (boos) – even has he as relaxed sanctions on Castro’s Cuba.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R-CA)

They know that our friends and allies must again be able to trust us. From Israel to Colombia, from Poland to the Philippines, our allies and friends have to know that we will be reliable and consistent and determined.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

We can’t afford to cause our friends and allies, from Latin America, to Europe, to Asia, to the Middle East and especially in Israel, a nation under existential threat, to doubt America’s leadership.

Congressional Candidate Mark Meadows (R-NC)

We need a White House that will unflinchingly support our strongest ally, Israel. (Cheers, applause.) We need a president who believes in America.

Rabbis Bless Republican & Democratic National Conventions

Rabbis offered benedictions at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Last night Rabbi David Wolpe offered the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention, capping a night on the heels of the keynote speech by President Bill Clinton and the roll call vote which officially renominated President Barack Obama.

Rabbi David J. Wolpe is the spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles and a Philadelphia native. He teaches modern Jewish religious thought at UCLA. He was a graduate of the Akiba Hebrew Academy’s class of 1976.

Jewish day school does more than educate. It helps shape character. Its influence reaches far beyond the years we spend at school. I am glad and grateful for my knowledge, pride and passion for Jewish life and that is my legacy from Akiba Hebrew Academy, now Barrack.

Rabbi Wolpe is the author of such books as Why Faith Matters, Why Be Jewish?, Healer of Shattered Hearts and the national bestseller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times. He was named #1 Pulpit Rabbi in the U.S. by Newsweek magazine, and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by The Jerusalem Post. Rabbi Wolpe writes for many publications, including The Jewish Week, Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Times, and Beliefnet.com. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN and CBS This Morning and has been featured on the History Channel’s Mysteries of the Bible.

Last week, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik offered the benediction at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Rabbi Soloveichik is the associate rabbi at Kehilath Jeshurun, a modern Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan, New York. His colleage, KJ’s spirtual leader, Rabbi Haskal Lookstein, is according to Mondoweiss “a sometime Obama ally. He [Rabbi Lookstein] delivered a prayer at the National Cathedral at the Obama Inaugural Run-up, and took heat from other Orthodox Jews for setting foot in a church. He attended the Rabin funeral with Bill Clinton. But Lookstein lately met with Obama and slammed him afterward.”