Which Bothers You More?

This Picture:

                                         Hillary Clinton kissing Suha ArafatHillary and Suha

Or This one:

                                         Rudy and Pat

Does it bother you that a woman who is now a Presidential candidate making a diplomatic gesture as First Lady (an essentially diplomatic position) to the wife of a known terrorist?  Or does it bother you that a supposedly centrist, moderate Republican, who is supposed to even lean left on social issues while maintaing old-time conservative fiscal values, is shaking hands with the foulest of right-wing social nuts.

It makes me sick to see Rudy pander this obviously to the Christian right.  For a candidate who I support because of his stance on gay rights and abortion, to be shaking hands and making common purpose with Robertson is reprehensible.

But it bothers me even more from a different perspective, one that makes it worse than the Hillary picture, in my opinion:

For Jews in America, Pat Robertson is as bad (or even worse) than Yassir Arafat.  Remember, Robertson thinks that you’re damned for eternity until you accept Jesus as your lord and savior, that you’re responsible for the death of Jesus, and supports Israel against the Palestinians only so that he can witness Jews in control of the Holy Land, a sure sign to him of the coming apocalypse and rapture, which will mean we all die.

Not exactly who I want my candidates shaking hands with.


32 responses to “Which Bothers You More?

  1. OK, honestly, a well-articulated comment would require much more thought and work. So I’ll just say this, in my best Chris Russo voice: You CANNOT put those two pictures side-by-side and make a comparison. You just can’t do it!

  2. Why not? Cheek kissing is the Euro-Asian equivalent of hand-shaking, especially when there’s a woman involved. One’s not any more a sign of affection than the other.

    Looked at objectively, both pictures are of a warm greeting. It’s the object of the greeting that’s the problem, and I think you can certainly compare the two.

  3. One thinks you’re damned to hell. The other one wants to send you there today. This is a terrible comparison

  4. 1) Rudy is playing to the Conservative Right for political reasons. Every serious candidate (Democrat or Republican) does this or they don’t win the primary. Why is this surprising? We may not like it in theory but practically speaking it is what must be done. If anything he has stuck to his guns (for the most part) on social issues and should be commended for doing so even if you disagree w/ Rudy on those issues. Romney on the other hand has drastically changed his views from those he maintained a few years back.

    2) Comparing Arafat to Pat Robertson is absolutely insane. Robertson never killed any Jews as far as I know – Arafat did. Robertson never killed any Americans – Arafat did. Just b/c he has a belief that we may be damned does not make him equal to a murderer. We, for example, believe that someone who transgresses certain negative commandments does not receive good standing in Olam Habbah (essentially damned) but we are not comparable to someone who actually kills a mechalel shabbos. I am not arguing for buddying up with the likes of Robertson on issues that relate to Israel etc. (that is an issue we have discussed before) but to say he is worse than Arafat is off base.

    BTW, I hate Hillary and I didn’t think the kiss (considering the context) was such a bad thing. It was certainly overstated in the Jewish media.

  5. Your points about Yassir Arafat may all be true, but we’re talking about his wife, not him.

  6. Rob, I didn’t say it was surprising, I said it was reprehensible. If Giuliani really thinks that a woman’s right to choose is one of his “core beliefs,” then he should be ashamed to be in the same room with this man, let alone shake his hand.
    It continues to baffle me how a person of your erudition and intelligence can so nonchalantly accept such a contradiction in values and blatant pandering.
    Just because you see pandering and playing to the base as realities of political necessity doesn’t mean we have to accept it and ignore the fact that it muddles (in my opinion) the man’s commitment to his values.
    It’s a tough road he’s starting on. “just to win the primary” then “just to win the national election” then “just to win reelection” then “this is what the majority wanted when they elected me.” If he plays to the base for votes, he’ll be beholden to the base afterward.

  7. “Your points about Yassir Arafat may all be true, but we’re talking about his wife, not him.”

    I can’t take that seriously. I’m going to file this post in the “It might be a stretch, but I’m going to find a way to take a shot at a Republican” category. This post belongs on DovBear’s conspiracy theorist blog, not on the Noy G Show.

  8. “If Giuliani really thinks that a woman’s right to choose is one of his “core beliefs,” then he should be ashamed to be in the same room with this man, let alone shake his hand.”

    Why? Because they disagree on abortion?

  9. I’m going to file this post in the “It might be a stretch, but I’m going to find a way to take a shot at a Republican” category.

    That’s BS. Until recently I’ve been a Rudy supporter. As I’ve mentioned earlier, his pandering bothers me. This was another way to point that out.

    Why? Because they disagree on abortion?

    Yes, exactly. If I encountered someone willing to support me who felt the opposite as me on one of my “core beliefs” I’d say “thanks, but no thanks.”

  10. “should be ashamed to be in the same room with this man, let alone shake his hand.”

    That’s very strong language. that just because they disagree on abortion, he should be ashamed to be in the same room as him. It’s not as though Robertson supports terrorism. Oh…. whoops… right, I forgot. that’s the other one.

  11. [I just read the comment I’m about to submit, and I think it reads a little differently than it sounded in my mind’s ear when I was writing it. It isn’t meant to be harsh, but I do wish to log serious disagreement with Noy G’s post.]

    “Until recently I’ve been a Rudy supporter.”

    Exactly. so now that you’re no longer a supporter you’re going to harp and micro-analyze every handshake he makes? And to compare very typical campaigning to kissing Arafat’s wife? You don’t even give the courtesy of putting this in context – You don’t say what Rudy actually said at the meeting – for all we know, he sat down with him and stood his ground on the areas in which they disagree. That certainly would be a better context than the Hillary/Suha kiss, in which Arafat’s wife had just finished a speech about putting an end to the Zionist regime, only to get off the stage and be kissed by the former first lady.

    And to then actually say to rob that “It continues to baffle me how a person of your erudition and intelligence can so nonchalantly accept such a contradiction in values and blatant pandering”? Noy G, how about how baffling it is that a person with your powers of logic and deduction, not to mention your knowledge of middle east history, can think that there is a comparison to be made here. It’s a totally incongruent logical statement, and I know you would see that if you weren’t trying hard to find a flaw in a particular candidate or platform. Plus, even if you believed that Robertson and Arafat are both bad people, certainly you realize that one’s actions have far more grave consequences than the other’s? Certainly you also realize that while Rudy and Robertson disagree on certain values, such as abortion, there are other values that they *do* agree on; just as surely as you recognize that there are very few values that Americans and any Arafat, even Suha, can find common ground on. (When your first priority is that Israelis and Americans should be killed, it’s hard to find common ground on your second priority.)

    If this post were put in the op-ed section of the new york times, jews everywhere would be screaming that the author was anti-semetic. Think about it – there’s not a doubt in my mind that that’s how it would be interpreted. That’s how offensive your comparison is.

  12. Noyam, what are they doing to you in that new place. One of my core beliefs is keeping kosher – does this prohibit me from being in the same room, shaking hands with or befriending a Jew who does not keep kosher? Even politically speaking why can’t people with differing opinions be friends and even support one another? James Carville and Mary Matalin are married for Christ’s sake (PR would love the reference). Many spouses have diametrically opposed positions on issues as important as abortion. I happen to be anti-abortion and I have friends who are pro-choice. They are still my friends and if they ran for office I would likely vote for them taking their abortion stance into account as a factor.

    “Your points about Yassir Arafat may all be true, but we’re talking about his wife, not him”

    This is not a strong argument, to put it nicely. Suha was there representing her husband and his “people”. Suha, soon before the smooch, had accused Israel of using toxic chemicals against the Palestinians. Again, the kiss didn’t bother me so much b/c Hillary claimed she did not know what Suha sad in Arabic but let’s not pretend like we need to distinguish b/w Suha and Yassir.

  13. “Just because you see pandering and playing to the base as realities of political necessity doesn’t mean we have to accept it and ignore the fact that it muddles (in my opinion) the man’s commitment to his values.”

    You don’t have to accept it, you can vote for the likes of Ross Perot, Ralph Nader and the others who don’t “play” politics and you can see how far that principled approach gets you – not very. You (and any serious political contender) need to deal with reality – if you don’t you will no longer be a serious contender. So for Rudy to do something he has to do to have a shot at being president is not surprising nor disturbing to me. Still not sure why your feathers are so ruffled by this.

  14. …And I will add a bit to what Rob just said. Would you rather Rudy and his possibly muddled but still centrist/left values in the White House, or would you prefer one of the 4 candidates who said they don’t believe in evolution? There’s a certain degree of practicality that you have to exercise here.

  15. BTW, I would add that if Rudy would come out and say he was now vehimently opposed to abortion (ala Romney), I would loose respect for him but to meet and try to get support from PR does not bother me too much.

  16. It’s also worth noting that Pat Robertson has raised more money for Israel than most of American Jewry. I have serious issues with the man, and quite possibly his motivations involve a supernatural cataclysm for Jews, but for now our separate interests involve a common goal. Frankly, since I believe that there won’t be a rapture any time soon, I’m happy to have the Pat Robertsons of the world doing good by Israel, waiting (indefinitely) for the second-coming. It helps Israel, which, I believe, also helps the United States.

  17. (My point is not that he’s a good friend – it’s simply a comparison to Suha Arafat.)

  18. OK, picking on abortion, which is but one example, is unfair. If you don’t like the abortion example, what about gay rights? What about Christianity as national religion. What about evangelism? Abortion was an example.

    Now, the same way I can’t compare Suha and Pat, you can’t compare yourself (“I have Democratic friends.” “My father’s a Democrat!”) to Rudy. Sure, you can share different beliefs with people and still be friends with them (as this and other discussions on this blog have shown). But I think there’s a line to be drawn when it comes to political support.

    If I was running for President, and someone of Pat Robertson’s ilk said to me “we want to support you. We want to endorse you as our candidate,” I would say, “No thank you. If you want to support me then you’ve misunderstood my message. I don’t want to associate myself, politically or otherwise, with the likes of you.” That’s also what I would hope for from Rudy. The fact is that Old Rudy (the Rudy who expelled Yassir Arafat from an event in NYC) would have nothing to agree with Pat Robertson on, and he would tell him so. And not show up at Regent University.

    And I’m also not sold that this is what he needs to do to win. He has a strong margin with moderate Republicans that he can use to his advantage (or lose, if he keeps pandering). With some huge, important primaries moved up (for states that are more moderate than fringe Republican, like NY and CA) he could win without pandering. That’s why the pandering pisses me off.

  19. I think you are underestimating the power that religious right has in the Republican party, particularly during the primary, which typically attracts the most hard-core of supporters.

    I don’t know whether Rudy asked for the meeting or vice versa. Not sure whether it matters either. I think that if Rudy were to say that he wasn’t going to meet with Robertson, it would be the end of his run for the nomination. All the other candidates, who are already trying to make an issue out of Romney’s Mormonism, would make it such a campaign issue about Rudy’s lack of commitment to faith that it would seriously hurt his bid. We’ll have to simply disagree on that one, dude.

    People who know Rudy (living with those gay dudes after he got divorced and kicked out of Gracie) knows where he stands on these issues.


  20. “If I was running for President, and someone of Pat Robertson’s ilk said to me “we want to support you. We want to endorse you as our candidate,” I would say, “No thank you. ”

    and if you would running in a Republican primary you would likely loose. Rudy does need them. They turn out in serious numbers and Republican moderates like me don’t. And politically there’s little downside. Pissing off a few people (Republican moderates who dislike pandering as much as Noyam) is no big deal b/c they will vote for him anyway b/c he is the moderate candidate.

    “Now, the same way I can’t compare Suha and Pat, you can’t compare yourself (”I have Democratic friends.” “My father’s a Democrat!”) to Rudy”

    This is what I like to call Modeh B’Miktzas. I agree that they are not perfect comparisons but you could argue that Rudy as a politician has more of a reason to be seen w/ the Pat Robertson’s of the world – -it’s politics i.e. he doesn’t really like the guy or his ideas but needs him politically.

  21. Charles B. Hall

    I think both complaints are overdone. Sen. Clinton has had essentially a perfect record regarding Jewish issues — and Israel — since being elected to the Senate. There is no evidence of any pro-Palestinian slant in anything she says or does, or has said or done in many years. There is literally nothing that any Jew (except maybe Neturei Karta or Peace Now) can complain about regarding her policies or her record.

    And Giuliani hasn’t exactly pandered to Pat Robertson, who really is as bad as you say. Giuliani has reiterated his pro-choice abortion position and has not backed down from his support of Gay rights, which would normally make him radioactive for someone like Robertson. It is entirely possible that Robertson is terrified that Giuliani might actually get elected, and that Robertson is trying to maintain some influence on the margins of policy areas. Giuliani will get a tremendous amount of grief from the Catholic Church as it is because of those positions along with his outspoken support for the death penalty and the fact the he got remarried without an annulment.

    In short, both would make excellent Presidents from the perspective of American Jews.

  22. Hillary would be terrible for Israel. She’d take a dovish view towards the Middle East conflict, particularly as it relates to Israel. She would give her husband a second chance to pursue the legacy that he desperately tried, yet failed to attain while in office by appointing him as a special envoy to the region. The stories have come out about the undue pressure that Bill Clinton put on various Israeli prime ministers trying to persuade them into accepting a deal that would be bad for Israel but good for his own place in history. Israel would be much better off with a foreign policy hawk in the White House.

  23. Weak, Noyam.

    There’s a far cry between Robertson, whose views don’t affect us whatsoever negatively in this world, and Arafat, who actually killed people. That it’s “only his wife” doesn’t matter – the only reason she’s a notable figure is because of her husband, and that’s why Hilary is kissing her there.

    I’ll actually agree with Charlie that her record on Israel isn’t terrible, but considering her record on Iraq (wishy-washy, trying to avoid getting slammed by either base) and the lead of her husband on Israel (whatever it takes for public opinion), I don’t trust her for anything.

  24. Before this get’s farther afield, let me say that in no way should this post be construed as support for Hillary.

    I used her picture because I know that “She Kissed Suha Arafat” is a rallying cry against her, and I wanted to juxtapose that against Rudy and Robertson to make the point that I think Robertson is bad also and that his danger is more insidious.

    Sure, he can do relatively little harm now, but as long as politicians continue to seek his approval and the votes that it carries, he’ll continue to grow and seek power. That’s when he’ll become dangerous. Perhaps, to start, in less of a physical way, but certainly in an metaphysical, religious way.


  25. Consider: if you needed a car and a dude offered you a $150,000 Ferrari for free because (deep down) he hopes that you will crash and kill yourself the next time you drove the car on the freeway, would you take it? And is this person’s offer even comparable to someone who openly calls for others to kill you because of your immoral ways?

    Pat Robertson is 77 years young. I don’t think anyone really should be concerned with the harm he does “down the line” since the line, in all likelihood, is going to be relatively short.

    You may have meant to say that the ideology of the religious right may really wish Israel harm. But since these leaders do more good for the State of Israel by contributing more financial and political support than most American Jews, it seems to be a stretch to compare these folks to a nation that occupied and oppressed Jews 2,000 years ago.

    To put it in an even better context, Hillary kissing the cheek of the founders of moveon.org, an American group that is devoted to the Palestinian’s Right of Return, would be a lot more abhorrent to me than Rudy seeking out the approval of someone who has led efforts to donate millions of dollars and political support for Israel, the IDF, Israeli charities, et cetera…

  26. “Arafat:Haman::Roberston:Yevanim”

    Again off base. When Robertson physically disallows Jews to practice Judaism, when he destroys shuls and prohibits us from learning torah he will be akin to the Yevanim. Just b/c he believes that our religious beliefs are wrong doesn’t mean he is equatable to the Yevanim who destroyed the Bais Hamikdash and forbid the practice of Judaism. You may dislike someone but be careful to whom you equate them b/c it can diminish the crimes of the other person. If the Yevanim were as bad as Pat Robertson, the Maccabis had no right to wage war against them. If you really believe in this equation are you suggesting that we fight Pat Robertson the way the Maccabis fought the Yevanim. The real question is if we win that “war” whether we would say hallel or not and if so with or without a beracha :).

  27. Rob,

    Just because he lacks the power to accomplish the goal of denying your right to practice Judaism freely doesn’t mean he doesn’t harbor that goal. Like I said, right now he can’t do much. But if he (Mike’s right, not he specifically, but his movement) ever gets that power, he will be as bad as the Yevanim.

    The difference between Robertson’s ilk and the Yevanim is power. Not desire.

    And the Yevanim didn’t destroy the Bais Hamikdash. They defiled it.

    And I wasn’t comparing them to the Yevanim, I was saying that in the same way that Haman/Arafat seek our physical destruction, Robertson/Yevanim seek our spiritual demise.

  28. “The difference between Robertson’s ilk and the Yevanim is power. Not desire.”

    Not sure how you know this. Have they stated that they wish to prohibit other religions from practicing freely? If so I’m with you but I haven’t heard that stated goal from anyone in that camp.

    Many Orthodox Jews wish that non-affiliated Jews would practice Judaism the way Orthodox people do. Some believe that these non-affiliated Jews are destined to bad places (hell) in the world to come (all the details of Tinok Shenishbah aside). Is that comparable to forcing them to practice Orthodoxy? Robertson may wish for our spiritual demise or change but to date he has not forced me to do anything and I have not heard him or others in his camp suggest that they plan on doing so if in power.

  29. Do you think it’s something that would be explicitly stated, or maybe we should read between the lines a little?

    Because they certainly want to make Christianity a state religion. And they file Amicus briefs with the Supreme Court opposing every Establishment Clause challenge. Getting rid of the establishment clause is one short step from getting rid of the free exercise clause. Once that’s done, just who, exactly, do you think would be target number one on those anti-semites’ list?

    I mean, come on. The guys has quotes like this: “The battle to regain the soul of America won’t be pleasant either, but we will win it.” and this ““The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that’s what’s been happening.” (emphasis added) and this “We can change education in America if you put Christian principles in and Christian pedagogy in. In three years, you would totally revolutionize education in America.

  30. I had a simulated bar exam today. I can’t even think about posting a long post. But I agree with Rob. Bad analogy by Noy G. And DovBear is a loser.

  31. Pat Robertson has said a lot of silly things over the years, most recently proclaiming that he can legpress something like 2,000 pounds. So let’s not get too carried away with what he’s gone on record for saying about Christianity and how it pertains to America.

    In addition to being directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not more, innocent Jews around the world, Yasser Arafat went on the record for saying far worse things.

    So I’d much rather be in the corner of the guy that’s paying me for whatever nut reasons he has about Armageddon than the guy that’s trying to kill me.

    I’m no Evangelical Christian and my knowledge of the end of days is pretty limited, but isn’t it interesting that despite the fact that the State of Israel is pretty built up, the Christian right still sides with Israel? If anything, shouldn’t they be helping or encouraging the Arab nations to arms themselves to go after Israel so as to bring forth the end of days?

  32. The posting is a joke. Hillary was a PLO supporter for many years, and Guiliani has been a friend even when it was not politically expedient.
    Robertson has been one of Israels best fiends and certainly has raised more money and sent more tourists than Jewish liberals who are too busy intermarrying to care.
    Oh yeah he wants us converted, so do all the liberal chuches that are leading the divestiture movement along with Jewish libs.

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