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PostAmerican-Israeli Rabbi Criticizes Obama (Randy Black, USA, 03/31/15 4:31 am)
It seems that President Obama may be losing the support in Israel of the rank and file and at least one synagogue in New York City. Knowing how American Jews traditionally support Democratic Party candidates while also sympathizing with Israel, what is going on here?
After reading this abbreviated article from The Jerusalem Post, I wonder what my fellow WAISers think about Democratic candidates' chances in the forthcoming US elections.
From The Jerusalem Post: "Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat [RB: on the West Bank] on Saturday night compared US President Barack Obama to Haman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Mordechai.
"Speaking at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the American-born Riskin said that he could not understand what was going through Obama's mind.
"'The President of the United States is lashing out at Israel just like Haman lashed out at the Jews,' he said.
"'I'm not making a political statement,' he clarified, 'I'm making a Jewish statement.'
"When a woman in the audience shouted out that Riskin was being disrespectful to the President of the United States, she was booed by the crowd and Riskin said he didn't need any help from the audience.
"'I am being disrespectful because the President of the United States was disrespectful to my prime minister, to my country, to my future and to the future of the world.'
"Just as Mordechai was focused on saving the Jews of Persia from destruction, Riskin noted, so Netanyahu is focused on saving Israel and the world from destruction.
"Riskin said more than once throughout his address that he was proud of Netanyahu, and added that he did the right thing in speaking to Congress 'even if it angered Obama.'
"Riskin also drew an analogy between the conquest of Babylon by ancient Persia and the armed conflict between Iran and Iraq.
"In relation to Iran, Riskin said that the only difference between Iran and ISIS (the Islamic State) was who would be using power to control the world...."
From Wiki: Shlomo Riskin was born on May 28, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended the Yeshiva of Brooklyn, and graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Yeshiva University in 1960, where he received rabbinic ordination under the guidance of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik. In 1963, Riskin received his Masters Degree in Jewish history, and he completed a PhD from New York University in 1982. From 1963 until 1977, he lectured and served as an Associate Professor of Tanakh and Talmud at Yeshiva University in New York City. At the age of 23, Riskin became the founding rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City and served in that position until 1983. With the full backing of his mentor, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Rabbi Riskin transformed a fledgling Conservative minyan into one of New York's most innovative and dynamic Orthodox communities. The synagogue became particularly well known for its pioneering outreach programs, which inspired many secular people to become religiously observant Orthodox Jews."
JE comments: Rabbi Riskin renounced his US citizenship and emigrated to the West Bank. This to me does not make him a representative voice of American Jews. For starters, he's not even American.
On a related note, Riskin's Wikipedia bio has been vandalized. As of this morning, the final sentences read:
"[Riskin] has also worked to promote good relations with the leaders of the Palestinian villages surrounding the Efrat settlement. That is why he compared US President Barack Obama to the ancient Persian Vizier Haman the Evil in a March 28, 2015 speech in the Grand Synogogue in Jerusalem. Because there is nothing quite like hyperbole and name-calling to further the cause of understanding yada yada."