Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama rumors need to stop

There are many legitimate reasons for people not to vote for Sen. Barack Obama for president. "He's a secret Muslim" is not one of them. At a shabbos lunch a few weeks ago, a friend subjected me to a diatribe about Islam's law of patrilineal descent, and his dad was Muslim, so he must be a Muslim. Well, he converted--an act recognized by Islam as a capital offense--and he is an avowed Christian. We may not like his church or his pastor, but he is a Christian. He and his wife are raising their daughters as Christians. This business about his secret Muslim faith is nonsense, and it makes the gossip-mongers who repeat it look very bad. It's loshon hara, frankly.

I do believe Obama thinks he can deal with terrorists like the president of Iran by negotiating with them. I believe that is a grave mistake, and it's a reason I'm considering (no, seriously) voting for Sen. McCain. That is very different from alleging Obama is a terrorist puppet ready to turn America into a Hamas apologist and enabler. I think he loves his country and supports Israel, although not in the strong, Zionist way I would like. I just read a stupid blog post by an American-born rabbi who made aliyah about 30 years ago. (I can't find it now, but it was here.) "Of course he says he supports Israel," this rabbi wrote. "If the head of Hamas were running for the U.S. Presidency, he would say the same thing." Well, the head of Hamas is an antisemitic Israel-hating terrorist. Obama is not. So now we're resorting to comparing Obama to terrorists. We need to stoop that low? Obama met with pro-Israel groups in Chicago during his 2004 U.S. Senate run. He delivered the keynote address at a CityPAC fundraiser that year. He delivered a major foreign policy speech as part of an AIPAC event when he began his run for president last year. Obviously, he addressed the AIPAC conference this year. You can check his pro-Israel voting record with AIPAC. Likening Obama to Hamas terrorists makes Jews look weak, foolish and desperate. There are plenty of issues to focus on that don't require lies or lashon hara. Could we please focus on them?

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