Are American Jews Beginning to Rebel Against Pulpit Progressivism?

The First Amendment to the Constitution was not written to prevent religion from having an undue influence on the federal government, but to prevent the federal government from having an oppressive influence on religion. Yet the latter influence is happening anyway and much of it in a subtle manner. Many religious-based institutions forget their higher callings and instead become mouthpieces for the positions of the federal government. For example, this Progressive government is having undue influence on the Jewish faith in America. 

For a whole host of reasons, the majority of Jews in America fall on the liberal side of the political spectrum. But since 2008, they have been pushed to stay there by progressive rabbis, synagogue boards, and Jewish institutions that are using the pulpit to push for the reelection of Barack Obama.

They forget, however--as the Torah says--the Jews are "a stiff-necked people," and there is evidence that Jews are beginning to rebel against Progressivism from the pulpit.

This past month, Temple Israel in Miami almost split apart at the seams over a political invitation. The Synagogue board invited Obama spokesperson and DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to speak in front of the congregation regarding U.S.-Israel relations during Friday night services on May 25th. Scheduled to deliver an opposing point of view was past president, and respected synagogue member, Stanley Tate.

The Democratic Party mouthpiece Wasserman Schultz (who represents a different part of Florida) contacted the Board of Trustees and strongly voiced her objection to the past president’s scheduled address--so the Trustees decided to scrap Tate’s address to the congregation.

Tate responded with a letter to the congregation that was obtained by Javier Manjarres (Shark-Tank.net), who broke the story. The letter said, in part:

I have been told by the Temple Israel Board of Trustees, that in no uncertain terms, I am not welcome, nor am I desired to speak on the bema (the pulpit), nor does the Temple want me in any way to address the attendees on the evening of May 25th, after the Shabbat Services, even though the other invited speaker will be giving her politically motivated remarks on the topic of “Maintaining a Strong U.S. – Israel Relationship.

Javier interviewed Mr. Tate, who besides his leadership role at Temple Israel is a founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC). Tate said that Wasserman Schultz told board members, “Stanley cannot be allowed to speak,” and that “no other speaker can speak in opposition before or after her.”

Mr. Tate, along with many other members, have resigned from the Temple because of the board's one-sided politics. He added:

The President wants the Jewish people to believe that he is in favor of peace, but what he really wants is to give the Palestinians what they want, a two-state solution that divides Jerusalem. President Obama went to Cairo, Egypt to give a speech, yet he has never been to Israel.

The Synagogue eventually cancelled Wasserman Schultz's appearance, but there is no word whether the congregation will be able to repair the fracture.

The controversy has not been confined to Florida. "If you don't support Barack Obama, shut the heck up!”--that, at least, appeared to be the message of two leading secular Jewish organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee last October in a joint statement released asking Jews not to make Israel a political Issue:

The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee have joined together in an effort to encourage other national organizations, elected officials, religious leaders, community groups and individuals to rally around bipartisan support for Israel while preventing the Jewish State from becoming a wedge issue in the upcoming campaign season. Join the ADL and AJC in taking the “National Pledge for Unity on Israel” -- and sign our pledge.

Although the prose in their pledge was tame, its purpose was to isolate Jewish groups who wish to point out the failings of President Barack Obama's policy towards Israel. The ADL, AJC and other other like-thinking Jewish organizations have a vested interest in ensuring that the Jews continue to vote Democratic and re-elect this president. They fear losing access to he White House.

These same groups never opened their mouths when Jewish groups disinvited Sarah Palin from an anti-Ahmadinejad rally in 2008 because she was a Republican who supported Israel.

The ADL/AJC "joint statement" was met with so much derision by both conservative and liberal Jews that the head of the ADL, progressive leader Abe Foxman, had to walk it back a bit:

There has been some distortion of our announcement of the ADL-AJC “National Pledge for Unity on Israel.” The pledge is not intended to discourage raising questions about a candidate’s support for Israel or the policy decisions of the current administration regarding Israel. In fact, ADL has been outspoken in questioning and even criticizing U.S. policies and positions toward Israel during the last three years. We will continue to raise concerns about those policies and positions when we believe it is warranted, just as we will be supportive when we feel that is appropriate.

Recently, I was contacted by friends whose rabbis have actually conceded that Obama is bad for Israel, but have advised that they should not be worried because Congress disagrees with him and there is nothing that a president can do. In the past, congregants would take a rabbi's word verbatim--but today, just like many other Americans, Jewish people are questioning 'the official story" they are getting from the press, politicians, and even their religious leaders.

Witness the fun video below called Pastrami and Politics. It is the latest work of Rabbi David Nesenoff, the man whose video exposed Helen Thomas as an anti-Semite in 2010. Rabbi Nesenoff visited a few kosher delis to get opinions from people who voted for Obama in 2008. The video is by no means a scientific poll, and not indicative of Jewish opinions across the entire country. But it does provide an insight into the thinking of American Jews; it shows that despite pressure from their religious leaders, at least some Jews do not plan on repeating their mistake of 2008.


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