Bintel Blog

Eric Cantor to the Forward: Administration Is 'Bullying Israel'

By Nathan Guttman

The lone Jewish Republican in Congress is taking the Obama administration to task over its latest spat with the Israeli government.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor phoned White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on March 15 — asking him to convey to his bosses the message that it is time to ease pressure on Israel.

“The administration needs to reduce the level of its rhetoric,” Cantor said in an interview with the Forward, “I don’t think that the notion of us telling Israel what is best for its security is a good one.”

Cantor and several other Republican lawmakers have criticized the administration’s tough stance on Israel in light of the dispute over the Jewish state’s approval of another 1,600 homes in contested East Jerusalem. Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent, and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, have also said that the Obama administration was wrong in pressuring Israel.

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Iranian Intelligence Ministry Thinks George Soros and John McCain Are Buddies

By Daniel Treiman

Here’s a video broadcast by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, subtitled by Memri. Very “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Very “Protocols.” Very creepy. (Though the production values are very lousy.)

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan’s blog

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‘Joe the Plumber’ Puts Down the Plunger, Heads to Israel

By Gabrielle Birkner

“Joe the Plumber” won’t be unclogging any toilets, at least not while war is raging in Gaza. Samuel J. Wurzelbacher — the Ohio plumber and would-be country music star who became a fixture of John McCain’s presidential campaign — is heading to Israel for 10 days as a war reporter for the conservative Web site Pajamas TV. There will be no pretense of objectivity. CNN reports:

“The famous plumber will be focusing on the Israeli perspective on the situation. ‘It’s tragic, I mean it really is,’ Wurzelbacher told CNN affiliate WNWO ‘I don’t say that in any little way. It’s very tragic, but at the same time what are the Israeli people supposed to do.’

Wurzelbacher told WNWO he’s not worried about the potential dangers of his new gig. ‘Being a Christian I’m pretty well protected by God I believe. That’s not saying he’s going to stop a mortar for me, but you gotta take the chance,’ he told the CNN affiliate.”

One of the last times Wurzelbacher spoke publicly about the Jewish State — specifically in regard to Barack Obama’s positions on it — he was taken to task by Fox News’s Shepard Smith.


Southern Baptist Leader: Say It Ain’t Joe (But Cantor’s Kosher)

By Daniel Treiman

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and a titan of the religious right, has some ideas on which Jews would make good number twos for John McCain.

Land tells CBSNews.com:

I think that the vice presidential choice that John McCain makes is probably the most important choice he’s going to make in this entire campaign. Because he has no room for error, no margin for doubt. If he picks a pro-choice running mate, it will confirm the unease and the mistrust that some evangelicals — and don’t forget this, social conservative Catholics — feel about McCain.

That, of course, means Joe Lieberman’s out. Land explains:

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Obama Digs Roth, But McCain Prefers Wouk

By Daniel Treiman

A few weeks ago, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg — who has lately established himself as a key contender for the title of Mr. Jewish Journalist — grilled Barack Obama about Israel and other topics of Jewish interest. Now, he covers some of the same ground with John McCain.

Since Obama, in his interview, volunteered that he is a fan of the writers Philip Roth, Leon Uris and David Grossman, Goldberg grills McCain on his Jewish literary tastes. And while the two presidential hopefuls may have very different views on the potential utility of talking to Iran (“you don’t sit down face-to-face with people who are behave the way they do, who are state sponsors of terrorism,” McCain told Goldberg), at least they can agree when it comes to Leon Uris:

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Lieberman Volunteers His Services for Republican Convention

By Daniel Treiman

The Hill reports:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the Democratic Party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee, is leaving open the possibility of giving a keynote address on behalf of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) at the Republican National Convention in September.

Republicans close to the McCain campaign say Lieberman’s appearance at the convention, possibly before a national primetime audience, could help make the case that the presumptive GOP nominee has a record of crossing the aisle. That could appeal to much-needed independent voters.

McCain has yet to ask Lieberman to speak, either in primetime or elsewhere, at the convention. But if McCain thinks it will help make his case for the White House, as some of his allies suspect, Lieberman would be willing to speak on his behalf.

“If Sen. McCain, who I support so strongly, asked me to do it, if he thinks it will help him, I will,” Lieberman said in a brief interview.

Lieberman said he doubts McCain will ask him to give a keynote address, but acknowledges the subject has yet to come up in the two senators’ discussions.

A Lieberman aide said even though there are no plans for the Independent to give a speech at the convention, it is a “likely possibility” he will address the Republican audience in some form.

Hat tip: Open Left’s Chris Bowers

Update: Lieberman also is taking some swings at Obama, telling an interviewer that the Illinois senator has “some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America.”


Obama Plays the Purim Card

By Daniel Treiman

A week ago, Media Bistro’s TVNewser blog reported that the Clinton campaign may have objected to the possible scheduling of a debate on the first night of Passover (although the blog was tentative on this point, suggested other possible motives and issued an update that the holiday’s first night was only one of the nights under consideration).

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is casting his lot with Purim (which, as the JTA notes, is “a holiday that has rarely if ever been commemorated by any other candidate or Congress member.”)

Yesterday, Obama issued the following statement:

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Sly's for Sderot

By Daniel Treiman

The stars came out to support for Sderot this week. The L.A. Jewish Journal’s Dikla Kadosh was at the “Live For Sderot” concert/fundraiser at the Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills. Also in attendance, she reported, were Sylvester Stallone, Mayim Bialik, Maria Conchita Alonzo, Valerie Harper and Hollywood’s No. 1 Judeophile, Jon Voight.

(Ha’aretz has video from interviews with Stallone and other participants here.)

But politics were also a part of the mix. Kadosh reports:

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