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DNC: Obama’s “Jewish Problem” Meshugas

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: Spirituality, Politics, DNC, Democratic National Convention, election 2008, Barack Obama, Rudy Guliani, Rudy Giuliani, Jews, Judaism, Foreign Policy, JewsVote.org, the Politico, Bubbies for Obama, Operation Bubbe, Florida,

Jews for ObamaWith the Clinton-Obama rift story finally being put to rest, pundits are turning to the supposed rift between Obama and the Jews as potential fertile ground for controversy. The story isn’t new: Back in May, the New York Times reported on the blatant falsehoods believed by some Jewish retirees in Florida. And Republican strategists may see an opportunity to grab some Jewish swing votes, with Joseph Lieberman’s name being kicked around as a possible Republican VP nominee and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani trying to attack Obama on his Israel policy.

In spite of the media coverage, the story of the Obama-Jewish rift is just a bunch of schlock according to Joshua Keating writing for the Foreign Policy blog. Keating cites Gallup polls showing Obama clearly beating McCain among Jewish voters as proof that the storyline just doesn’t hold up. “The idea that Jews are disproportionately suspicious of Obama has a lot to do with the stereotype that they vote solely on which candidate is more hawkish on Middle East policy,” Keating writes, and that stereotype simply isn’t true. 

Not taking any chances, Jewish groups have begun aggressively courting Jewish voters for Obama. Writing for the Politico, Ben Smith reports on JewsVote.org, a new website launched during the Democratic National Convention aiming to convince more Jews to vote for Barack Obama. Mik Moore, one of the group's founders told the Politico "[t]he goal of this website is to provide a series of powerful tools to Jews who are supportive of Obama and dismayed at the rumors that have made a lot of Jews question whether or not they can support Obama in the election."

Moore gained some attention in 2004 with “Operation Bubbe,” an effort to convince Jewish grandmothers (or Bubbies in Yiddish) to vote for John Kerry. Similarly, a website called “Bubbies for Obama” has popped up this year, enlisting more Jewish grandmothers to get out the vote for the Democrats.

For a more humorous take on the subject, be sure to watch Wyatt Cenac of the Daily Show try and get to the bottom of controversy:

For more of Utne.com’s ongoing coverage of the Democratic National Convention, click here.