Campaign Confidential

Praise for McCain in Some Unexpected Places

By Brett Lieberman

A mere hour or so before the National Jewish Democratic Council’s annual Washington conference was set to begin, the Republican Jewish Coalition rolled out it’s latest ad and some interesting quotes.

The RJC recycles quotes from Hillary Rodham Clinton (March 2008), John Kerry (April 2004) and Chuck Schumer (November 2003).

But what’s sure to elicit an interesting responses at the NJDC conference is a quote by NJDC Executive Director Ira Forman.

“I have to take my hat off to [McCain] for putting principle in front of politics… I wish there were more John McCains,” Forman is quoted as saying.

Of course, RJC had to go way back to an Oct. 1, 1999 JTA story to find such a kind comment.

We couldn’t find the story RJC cites. Forman has characterized the GOP ad campaign as a bunch of smears.

RJC responded to a request for additional information noting that “It’s a JTA story.” But a spokesperson has not provided a copy of the story yet.

UPDATE: Forman says he doesn’t remember the quote, which he’s been informed came in the context of praising McCain for urging that Patrick Buchanan be kicked out of the Republican Party for his fringe views.

The important thing, according to Forman, is that “the four people that are quoted there, me, Hillary, Kerry and Schumer, we all agree on one thing – John McCain is not the best person for president. Barack Obama is the best.”

Forman did say that he still wishes there were more John McCains. Of course, it came in the context of his noting that “the [John McCain] who exists today bears no resemblance to the one from 1999.”

Forman also enjoyed the irony of the latest RJC ad highlighting his praise of McCain for criticizing Buchanan. Less than a week ago, RJC released an ad that highlighted Buchanan’s comments as it sought to draw a connection with Obama.


Here are the rest of the quotes:

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Republican Jewish Coalition, National Jewish Democratic Council, John Kerry, Ira Forman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chuck Schumer, John McCain, Barack Obama, Patrick Buchanan

Jewish Dems Forced To Call Out One of Their Own

By Jennifer Siegel

Jewish Democrats rushed to call out one of their own on Friday, after Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia – who has raised hackles with previous comments about the “Israel lobby” – went at it again in the latest issue of Tikkun.

In the September/October 2007 issue of the magazine, Moran is quoted as having said that “… AIPAC is the most powerful lobby and has pushed this war from the beginning … because they are so well organized, and their members are extraordinarily powerful – most of them are quite wealthy – they have been able to exert power.”

It’s not the firt time Moran has been a loose cannon: Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq he told an antiwar audience in Reston, Virginia that “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this. The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should.” Then, as now, the National Jewish Democratic Council led the charge against his comments, and were then joined by Democratic leaders including then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

This time around, it will be interesting to see if Moran draws fire from any of the Democratic presidential candidates.

If you’re interested in a succinct rebuttal to Walt, Mearsheimer and Moran, check out NJDC Executive Director Ira Forman in the Jewish Week.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jim Moran, NJDC, Ira Forman

Good=Jews and Jews= Politicals, So Politics=Good??

By Jennifer Siegel

Shmuel Rosner, correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, is hosting an online conversation this week with the executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Ira Forman.

So far, it’s been a pretty standard discussion of whether the Dems are truly as pro-Israel as the GOP, etc., etc. But Forman has also provided a very tidy summer of the history of Jewish political engagement in America.

To wit:

“Jewish Americans participate in all aspects of American politics to a degree which may be unequaled by any other minority group in America. Jews register and turn out to vote in very high numbers. Jews represent only about two percent of the population but they run for elected office in much higher numbers. A significant proportion of the most prominent political journalists are Jewish. Jewish Americans provide both parties (especially Democrats) a disproportionate share of their campaign contributions.”

So here’s my question: If Jews are the ultimate civic engagers, and they’ve gone full steam into politics, are the political cynics wrong after all? In other words, by the transitive property:

Good=Jews Jews=Politics Good=Politcs??


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Shmuel Rosner, Ira Forman

House Republicans to Aipac: Don’t Take Our Vote Personally

By Nathan Guttman

Thursday’s House vote on the foreign operations bill provided Democrats with an opportunity in the latest round of the never-ending “who is better for Israel” debate. Having been bashed on this issue in the past, House Democrats now came up with a winning card.

It all started with a memo distributed by the Republican leadership asking staffers to “advise your boss” to vote against the foreign aid bill, because it ignores President Bush’s “Mexico City policy” — which maintains that no U.S. aid will be given for foreign programs that allow abortions.

178 Republicans listened to the advice and voted against the bill, which passed with 241 supporters.

The problem is that voting against foreign aid doesn’t look too good with pro-Israel activists, since Israel is the single largest aid recipient, with an annual $2.4 billion.

Not to worry. The Republican leadership added a note to the memo saying:

Members are advised that the Leadership has drafted a letter to AIPAC affirming Republican support for Israel funding, not withstanding final passage of this bill. This letter will be available for Members to sign at the Leadership Desk on the floor tonight. A copy of that letter is attached.

Will the letter be enough to do the trick?

Aipac sources said that they expected Republicans to vote against the bill because of the “Mexico City policy” issue and that they don’t see the vote as a change in policy.

But that doesn’t mean the Republicans are off the hook.

The National Jewish Democratic Council’s executive director Ira Forman is calling the Republican actions “a cynical act of political hypocrisy” and goes on to quote Aipac itself about how important supporting the bill is for Israel.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ira Forman, House, Aipac, NJDC




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