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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Debbie Does Detroit - Tonight 6 PM Adat Shalom Synagogue

A Florida synagogue has cancelled a scheduled keynote appearance by Democratic National Committee Chair and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz after a quake erupted along political fault lines. Why is our Federation-funded JCRC featuring Obama’s chief Jewish campaigner tomorrow night? 
Talking Tachlis has received many emails about tonight’s appearance by Rep. Wasserman-Schultz at JCRC's annual Activist Award event questioning why the Democratic Party spokeswoman and Obama mouthpiece was the invited guest speaker for a Federation-funded council that represents itself, and collects donations, as a non-partisan entity.
In the lead-up to this historic 2012 presidential election, much attention has been devoted to the ‘Jewish vote.’  Just last month, the online Daily Beast expanded on “Obama’s Problem with Jewish Voters.” Citing the widely reported Public Religion Research Institute’s poll in early April which found that 62 percent of 1004 American Jews said they would vote for Obama, the article points out:  “We would do well to remind ourselves that Obama is having trouble with Jewish voters.”
This is against the backdrop of widely acknowledged frothy relations between the White House and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, growing  concerns about the West’s failure to check Iran’s nuclear menace to Israel, and the major upset in New York ‘s special election which saw Republican Bob Turner take the Democratic stronghold district vacated by the ‘exposed’ Congressman Anthony Weiner.  As the Huffington Post reported:
 It sounded improbable on the surface that a New York City congressional district where Democrats have a 3-1 registration edge and have held office for nearly a century could even come close to electing a Republican to the U.S. House.
But voter frustration over the sour economy and President Barack Obama's policies made the improbable a reality, as a Republican political novice, Bob Turner, scored an upset victory in a special election Tuesday over David Weprin, a Democratic assemblyman from a prominent local political family. The surprising results in the Brooklyn and Queens-area district portend a perilous national environment for Obama as he prepares to seek re-election next year.
Enter Debbie Wasserman Schultz, center stage in Detroit, to bolster Obama’s waning popularity among Jewish voters.  It will be some tour de force for this headline act from central casting to avoid political speechifying to smooth over Obama’s record on Israel and Bibi snubs like his open mic comments with Sarkozy.  Wasserman-Shultz herself has come under fire for her support of JStreet, an organization Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren has repeatedly assailed for its hostility to Israel, and for addressing a fundraiser for a radical Islamist organization. Many have also called into question the Obama camp’s support for Occupy Wall Street in light of documented antipathy to Israel, to AIPAC and anti-Semitic statements.  One only need read the Occupy statement here to see why Jews and Israel-supporters are raising concerns about the Occupy movement and wondering why the President refuses to repudiate his earlier support.
Wasserman-Shultz’s Midwest trip will also include a stop in Wisconsin to pump up Democrat voters one week before the special gubernatorial recall election. Her politicking in Wisconsin is certainly understandable, given her role as high priestess of the Democratic Party and given the high stakes in the Badger State, being called a bellwether for the November presidential election.
 But what is inexplicable is that the footlights at the gala for what is supposed to be a non-partisan Jewish “public affairs voice of the Detroit Jewish community” will be shining on Wasserman-Schultz in her cameo appearance in Detroit.  After all, the JCRC should not be a political platform advancing the interests of any politicians or parties since, as its mission statement purports:
As the umbrella body for more than 200 local Jewish organizations, Council unifies, mobilizes, represents and is responsible to the Detroit metropolitan Jewish community.”
If truly the JCRC has as its goal the purpose of “unifying” our community and is “responsible” to the entire community, why would it invite as the marquis speaker at its major annual event the head of the Democratic National Committee and Obama’s Jewish proxy?  Wasserman-Shultz blitzes the country and news shows propping up Obama and bashing GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. She even took heat four days ago on CNN for the “hypocrisy” of the Obama campaign’s attack on Romney’s record at Bain Capital, as reported in Politico.
There is no attempt at even an appearance of political neutrality by the JCRC.  If there was, one could imagine that a more balanced approach that truly respects non-partisanship would have included equal time to the likes of an Eric Cantor, the Jewish Congressman from Virginia who is the Majority Leader of Congress.
Plain and simple, no matter any attempt to spin it otherwise, this is our Jewish community’s central address playing it one way to drum up support for President Obama.  This contradicts not only its ostensible objective, but it runs afoul of the IRS stipulations that organizations benefitting from tax-exempt status as 501(c) 3 charitable organizations steer clear of political partisanship.
No doubt, JCRC, the Federation and others may try to play the Jewish community for fools and feign that Wasserman Schultz is not coming to speak in her capacity as prime political operative.  But if not to advance the interests of the Democratic Party and Obama’s political fortunes, why would a key political asset like W-S take time away from her dance card to waltz before Jews in Detroit?
Yes, Rep. W-S is a cancer survivor and she is to be admired as a mother and uber-successful political figure fighting and calling attention to the disease.  But the pretense that she is coming here as a spokeswoman for breast cancer or any other health concern just won’t wash.  If the intent of the JCRC was to spotlight breast cancer or other health issues, surely there are multitudes of speakers far more expert in these matters who don’t bring the same political voltage as the head of the DNC. 
A Federation-funded and overseen-JCRC sensitive to its obligation to be politically neutral and sensitive to ‘diversity’ would never have dared to bring in a political star of W-S’s stature, unless you are committed even more to delivering Jewish votes in November.  You don’t get much more politically heavyweight than W-S.  Any attempted justification to the contrary for bringing her in is B-S.
The Federation and its JCRC have already voted, with their actions, to gin up Detroit Jewish support for Obama.   The role of the Federation and JCRC, much as the role of synagogues and all non-profit institutions, is NOT to politic for any candidate or party.  So, now, it’s up to metro Detroit Jewry to vote too – by withholding our donations.  We in Detroit could stand to learn a lesson from Jewish Floridians when our institutions fail us. 
The blowback from Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ political tactics that the Shark Tank first reported on last week has resulted in a unprecedented public outcry and political pressure being brought to bear on the Trustees and Rabbis of Temple Israel in Miami – pressure which may lead (did lead) to the cancellation of Wasserman Schultz’ appearance at the Temple scheduled for this Friday night.

Collective resignations and public outcry forced the cancellation of W-S’s speaking engagement at Temple Israel in Miami Beach.  Why again is she speaking in Detroit?
By: Alan Bergstein
Source: BIZPAC Review
Date: May 25, 2012
When Boca Raton's B'nai Torah refused to allow a former synagogue member to respond to a recent speech by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, it apparently sent tremors that reached all the way to Miami Beach's Temple Israel. Temple Israel was scheduled to host a speech by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, on Friday. A prominent member of the Miami synagogue, Stanley Tate, requested equal time to refute whatever political points Wasserman Schultz would make. 
But the entire event was cancelled, perhaps out of concern that Temple Israel would earn the same bad rap the Boca synagogue got in the wake of Rice’s speech. And these two events may set the stage for other religious institutions to shun anything dealing with politics during the months leading up to the Nov. 6 elections. But what is it that leads Jewish institutions to risk the loss of their tax-exempt status to score political points anyway?
Tate is not just an ordinary guy. At 85 years old, he is a terrific philanthropist, having given millions of his own money to endow college scholarships for deserving kids.  His life experiences and his knowledge of government qualifies him to stand next to Wasserman Schultz to debate the benefits or liabilities of having President Obama re-elected. He is also a major financial benefactor to the synagogue. So why was Tate denied this opportunity to challenge Wasserman Schultz and even make some points of his own? You see, diversity of political opinion is not the usual practice in many Jewish institutions. For years, it was taken for granted that Jewish institutions and social agencies were run by and for those with a liberal mindset. It was naturally assumed that Jews were Democrats. In the 2008 presidential election, Obama garnered 78 percent of the Jewish vote.
But nearly four years later, things have changed. And not for the betterment of the Democratic Party. Jews are unhappy with the obvious partiality that this administration has shown to the Palestinians in their efforts to destroy Israel. And then there’s many Jews’ belief that the president is soft on terror and Iran. This has changed the whole complexion of the political scene in the crucial state of Florida. Political pundits tell us that this state is crucial to the election of the next president. The Democrats can no longer count on the knee-jerk support of the Jewish voter. So they have brought out their heavy artillery to boost their waning political support among this now-wary bunch. Former Congressman Robert Wexler, Wasserman Schultz, Vice President Joe Biden and even Barack Obama have spent valuable electioneering days giving pep talks to revive the crowd. But their usual, friendly speaking haunts may have vanished due to the militancy of some Boca protesters and the fear they may have generated in the front offices of these institutions. Talk is that B B'nai Torah had a rash of members resign as a result of their actions in threatening to arrest the peaceful protesters.
The repercussions of the actions of these two synagogues will have a terrific impact on who gets Florida's 29 electoral votes. The virtual closing down of religious institutions to Democratic-only speakers will surely resonate with fewer Jewish voters being swayed in the comfort of their own religious sanctuaries. The loss of the rabbis' endorsement of these candidates will be costly as well. Voters will have to resort to attending open debates among the candidates in public venues, and that's dangerous from the liberals' point of view. It's better to have a captive audience controlled by the rabbi than have an open forum with competing views.
We'll have to wait to see the fallout from the pressured actions of these two synagogues. You can rest assured that other religious institutions and social agencies are re-thinking their speakers' schedules. Will they go ahead as planned with their Democratic agendas and risk protests, share the podium with Republicans, or just cancel the talks completely? Those decisions may make or break the campaign strategy of the Democrats in Florida and around the country. Let's wait and see.
***Update-The temple’s president, Ben Kuehne, a Miami attorney, said the event was cancelled because of “security concerns.” He said they “certainly embrace the congresswoman’s willingness to participate in one of our programs” but decided it was “unwise to proceed with the program tomorrow.”-Miami Herald

The blowback from Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’  political tactics that the Shark Tank first reported on last week has resulted in a unprecedented public outcry and political pressure being brought to bear on the Trustees and Rabbis of Temple Israel in Miami – pressure which may lead to the cancellation of  Wasserman Schultz’ appearance at the Temple scheduled for this Friday night.

As you may recall, the Shark Tank reported on the sanctioning of the former President and long time member of Temple Israel, Stanley Tate.  Tate was told he would not allowed to address the Temple’s congregation either before or after Wasserman Schultz spoke at the May 25th event, prompting him to send out a scathing letter to the members of the Temple in which he described what transpired between him and the Temple’s Trustees that ultimately lead to his resignation.
Mr. Tate told the Shark Tank that the oldest member of the Temple- a 94 year-old woman, along with many other members have sided with him and have collectively resigned from the Temple.  Temple Israel was constructed 90 years ago.
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”.-  Stanley Tate
Several of South Florida’s grassroots organizations are planning to protest Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s May 25th appearance at Temple Israel in North Miami. Wasserman Schultz is still currently scheduled to address the congregation at 7:30pm.

 By Javier Manjarres\
DNC Chair/Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s partisan political tactics have brought an end to the 70 year-old relationship between Temple Israel of North Miami and one of its past presidents and most respected members, the honorable Stanley Tate.
Wasserman Schultz and Tate were both scheduled to address the Temple Israel congregation regarding U.S.-Israeli relations, but apparently Wasserman Schultz couldn’t handle the fact that Tate would undoubtedly contradict her partisan talking points- so much for “diversity” when it comes to Debbie allowing equal time to opposing points of view. In what can only be described as an act of political spite, Wasserman Schultz strongly voiced her objection to Tate’s scheduled address directly to the Temple’s Board of Trustees, and based on her objections and political pressure, the Trustees decided to scrap Tate’s address to the congregation.
In a recent letter sent out by Mr. Tate to the Temple’s congregation, Tate stated that he would not be speaking at the forthcoming May 25th services-
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 (dais), 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.” – Stanley Tate
Tate also stated that the Board of Trustees held a “special” meeting on May 14th where the majority of the board decided not to let him address the congregation.
During a phone interview with Mr. Tate, the former founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) 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.”

Tate said that “they are going to try to prevent me to speak,” and also indicated that the “Temple Israel is putting its tax-exempt status at jeopardy” by permitting Wasserman Schultz to address the congregation.
Wasserman Schultz and Stanley Tate’s bumpy relationship stems back to her days in the Florida Legislature when she brought in a crying baby onto the House floor, prompting Tate to tell her that she was out of line for doing so. According to Tate, Wasserman Schultz snapped at him and said, “Its none of your G**-damn business.”
“She (DWS) is an opportunist.” – Stanley Tate

Another reason Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz could be a little upset at Tate is because Mr.Tate has openly endorsed her chief adversary and likely Republican opponent Karen Harrington.
Rabbi Yehuda Kaploun, President of the Orthodox Alliance of Florida has also expressed his dissatisfaction with Wasserman Schultz and Temple Israel-
Synagogues should not be used for political purposes, and for Mr. Stanley Tate to be told that he cannot speak in front a congregation in which his family has helped found with 70 years of dedicated service goes against the bible’s teachings of thanking people for the good that they do. The Bema (dais) is traditionally not used for any political purpose, and it is unfortunate that Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s politics has ruined the 70 year family relationship between Tate and the Temple.- Rabbi Yehuda Kaploun

Stanley Tate and his family have since resigned their membership from Temple Israel. Here is Stanley Tate’s letter to the congregation of Temple Israel-;

By: Alan Bergstein
Source: BIZPAC Review
Date: September 28, 2011
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, has recently tried to disassociate herself from the radical Jewish group, J Street. The militancy and terror of the Palestinians, whom this organization has supported as credible peace partners for Israel, prompted her to shun it for fear of Jewish voter rage. Just look at the recent election in New York City, where an age-old Democratic seat went Republican because of the Israel issue.
But recent events have suggested the congresswoman isn’t distancing herself enough. It should be noted here that Wasserman Schultz hosted the first J Street convention three years ago, the same convention that also had then-Congressman Robert Wexler as the keynote speaker. And then there’s the issue of last month’s gathering in Washington.
On Aug. 22, a delegation of J Street officials was welcomed and photographed at Wasserman Schultz’s offices in the nation’s capital. The delegation was led by Ilana Miller, founder and chairwoman of J Street's South Florida chapter, and it was received by Wasserman Schultz's legislative assistant, Danielle Gilbert. After the meeting, J Street officials delivered more than 250 signature cards to the White House calling for President Obama to support a two-state solution and the Palestinians’ efforts for U.N. statehood.
At J Street officials’ meeting with Wasserman Schultz’s staff, at least one member of the group carried a sign with Obama's 2008 campaign slogan, "Yes, we can." But the word "can" was translated into Hebrew. Despite President Obama's proven record of hostility toward Israel, Jews continue to see the use of tactics specifically designed to manipulate the Jewish compact of ethnic trust in his favor. The same poster also includes a pro-Palestinian statehood slogan in Hebrew. So, what is there about J Street that Jews should know about? What does it stand for? Where does it get its financing? Does it speak for most Jews? The big question is, why is Wasserman Schultz still supporting this group?
Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, blasted J Street, saying the organization was "fooling around with the lives of 7 million people (Israelis)." According to an article in The Jewish Daily Forward, Oren described the left-wing group as "a unique problem in that it not only opposes one policy of one Israel government, it opposes all positions of all Israeli governments. It's significantly out of the mainstream."
So Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Robert Wexler -- the latter having been recruited from his home in Maryland, where he lived even while he represented congressional District 19 in South Florida -- are still part and parcel of the Jewish voices for Obama and Palestine by their association with J Street. Will the voters in South Florida come to the same conclusions as those in New York’s congressional District 9: that the future of Israel should be taken out of the hands of Obama and his Democrat cohorts?
That Adat Shalom will be hosting the event is especially embarrassing since one of its benefactor families, much like the case at the synagogue in Florida, is among the state’s top GOP leadership.


  1. Debbie agrees with Her boss Obama that Israel should go back to pre 1967 boarders. This is why I will not vote for her this year!

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