A Card Carrying Abomination (REVISED-shaggy dog opening anecdote now replaced by some histortical perspective)
Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman’s name first surfaced in New York politics in late 1999 or early 2000 when, as a totally uncredentialed unknown with a bit of money, he declared himself a candidate for the Citywide office of Public Advocate; the few news outlets which bothered to pay attention immediately mistook him for a State Senator from Brooklyn named Seymour Lachman.
Among those who noticed the mistake were the State Senate’s Democratic Campaign Committee, who, turned on by the impressive bulge in Lancman’s pants (or at least that much of it which was attributable to his wallet), immediately recruited him to run for the State Senate against Republican relic Frank Padavan, who'd nearly been caught asleep two years before.
In what soon was to become a Queens Democratic tradition, the last election's surprisingly successful losing candidate of Indian sub-continental origin (in this case, Morshed Alam, who, like Mr. Lancman, would also surface later) was unceremoniously dumped for one deemed to have paler skin and greater electability. Unlike in the current year (G-d willing), the cooler heads which ultimately prevailed were proven quite wrong and Lancman was beaten in a landslide.Eventually, in 2006, Lancman, having paid some dues and gotten some real local credentials, won a seat in the Assembly when the incumbent, Brian McLaughlin, got caught with his hand and other appendages in various cookie jars and honey-pots.
McLaughlin, who, simultaneous to his Assembly service, headed the City’s Central Labor Council as well as an Electrician’s Local, now works 48 stories below the ground as a sandhog on one of the City’s water-tunnels, while awaiting sentencing.
Given the depths to which he’d previously descended, which included stealing money from a Little League, this actually represent a rise in McLaughlin’s prior elevation. By contrast, Lancman has only just begun to demonstrate the depths to which he is willing to descend.
Just recently, Lancman sent a letter to Barack Obama, modestly offering his advice on how to speak to “my community” in advance of Obama’s trip to the Middle East.
“My community”. To whom could Lancman be referring?
Certainly, Obama does not require Lancman’s advice on how to talk to those who think they are God’s gift to mankind. And, presumably, when referring to “my community”, Lancman is not talking about the 65% of his Assembly district which (like Obama, but not Lancman) is non-white.
I guess Lancman must be speaking of “the Jews”; “my community” too.
Lancman asks Obama to “say loudly and clearly to the world” the words “Ani Yisraeli,” meaning "I am an Israeli." And, who knows, maybe Obama can convince Lancman's "community" that Barack, Sr. was an Ethiopian Jew, although frankly, I think that idea may just be a Falasha in a pan.
Given the legths to which Obama has been forced to prove his Americanism, proclaiming this sort of dual citzenship is probably not the best stratgic move he could untertake. This is not 1963 Berlin and Obama is not a jelly-donut; nor is he a collard green knish.
Lancman also suggested that Obama “challenge the Palestinians to build their nascent nation instead of building homemade missiles to launch into Israel," and to say that “Jews can live in Hebron or anywhere else, and Israel has the right to protect them if the Palestinians won’t.”
Later, Lancman attended a meeting of Jewish Obama supporters to proclaim he was not one himself.
Lancman says he’d "love to be a card-carrying Obamanian," but feels there are some outstanding issues, including whether Obama "will take whatever action is necessary, including military action if all else fails, to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," and "understands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the same terms we do, i.e., that the key to resolving the conflict is not by forcing Israel to make ever-more concessions to a terrorist, theocratic proto-state, but it is instead the Palestinians developing the considerable territory they do control into a peaceful, democratic, law-abiding society and not a violent theocracy, i.e., Gaza.”
Now, as someone a “progressive” blogger once compared to the traitorous Jonathan Pollard, I find much to agree with in Lancman’s policy prescriptions, as well as some things with which to take issue.
In Hebron, 79 years ago this August, a bloodthirsty mob (to call them animals would invite a rebuke from the ASPCA), encouraged by their “clergy”, killed 65 members of a Jewish community which dated from Biblical times, while the British authorities did nothing but imply that the Jews had brought it upon themselves; 58 others were wounded and those who survived were psychological dogmeat; they left and did not come back.Jews did not return to live in Hebron for almost 40 years. During the period of rule by Jordainian “moderates”, Jews attempting to enter some of their holiest shrines were shot on site.
Today, Hebron's Jewish populations consists of a small group of deranged fanatics living lives of Russian roulette, who tax the resources and risk the lives of an Israel force several times their size, whose job (much to the consternation of most Israelis)is to protect them.
George W. Bush has never promised to protect Jews who wish to live in Hebron; John McCain has never promised to protect Jews who wish to live in Hebron; Ehud Olmert wishes with all his heart he did not have to protect Jews who wish to live in Hebron. God him or herself probably cannot protect Jews who wish to live in Hebron, or in a piranha tank.
Rory Lancman knows this; so why is he lending credence to the rhetoric of those who wish to portray Obama as a less than full-fledged supporter of Israel by making this one of his lines in the sand?
Rory, if you think it's such a holy obligation for Jews to live everywhere where Jews once lived, why don't you move to Brownsville?
Likewise, a promise of military action in Iran seems over-the-top. Obama should not, and has not, ruled out military action; no one wants a nuclear-Iran, but experienced card players know brinksmanship works best when one can keep ‘em guessing.No one knows what the facts on the ground will look like if and when things come to the brink—depending upon where we stand elsewhere in the world, military action against a power like Iran (hardly the punk Saddam’s Iraq was) may not be viable. Promising what one may be unable to deliver, and not delivering, will dangerously undermine our nation in the future.
Anyway, the far right-wing branch of the Zionist community such statements would be targeted to is not going to won over by Obama, even if he swallowed Dead Sea saltwater and pissed it out as pesedich Manischewitz Cream White Concord, while dancing the horah with Golda Meir’s ghost.Worries about a loss of support for Democrats at the presidential level by Orthodox Jews are a bit similar to Republican worries about losing support among African-Americans. And, that’s OK, because the majority of Jewish voters are to be found in the Zionist mainstream, where Obama’s positions should cause no controversy.
I find the balance of Lancman’s ideas I’ve seen reported, give or take some rhetorical twists, to be not only unobjectionable, but possibly laudable. I’d love to hear Obama say some of the things Lancman advocates him saying, though I’d prefer hearing them in Obama’s language rather than Lancman’s.
The strange thing is that I believe I’ve actually heard Obama say many of those things already. Given Rory’s vaunted concern for Israel, it’s funny that he hasn’t noticed them, since I’m sure he reads “The Forward” and “Jewish Week” just like I do.
And, while I have no problem with many of the policies Lancman advocates, I find the way I learned about them to be obnoxious and repugnant.
Lancman says he’d “love to be a card-carrying Obamanian”. I have my doubts. One who wishes to become a “card-carrying Obamanian” might very well send Barack Obama a letter filled with advice; perhaps someone wishing to become a “card-carrying Obamanian” would even offer Obama the exact same advice offered by Lancman. Let a thousand flowers bloom!
But, someone wishing to become a “card-carrying Obamanian” would be offering that advice in private; not releasing the letter to the public, and certainly not releasing it before anyone on the candidate’s staff even saw it.
And certainly, someone wishing to become a “card-carrying Obamanian” would not attend an Obama event for the sole purpose of airing his qualms about Obama all over the Jewish media.
In 2006, I endorsed Lancman against an equally pompous blowhard (Mr. Alam) because Lancman seemed the better Democrat, but now, in an effort to crown himself king of the Jews and gather a few lines of type in the Jewish media, Rory Lancman chooses to score points by using his party’s presidential nominee as some sort of a straw man, while crying crocodile tears about how much he’d like to help elect him, if only he could.
Such self-serving balderdash probably causes Obama little damage among the Jewish right, but non-specific allegations concerning qualms about Obama, without reference to the actual issues, when raised by Jewish Democratic elected officials, could damage Obama among Jewish voters who may not learn that the qualms are about issues where they themselves have no differences with Obama, and sometimes concerns issues where Obama has no differences with the Republicans.
As such, I put the following curse on Rory Lancman’s head:
“May Congressman Gary Ackerman live for 120 years and four months (so he shouldn't die suddenly) and serve in Congress for every one of them.”
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