The Gateway (Making a Few Breezy Points Edition)
I would like to make an announcement.
As I've sometimes noted before (here is just one example), the new model Republican support for Israel has some inherent problems, most notably things like Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s bizarre and dangerous proposals to separate aid to Israel from the rest of the foreign aid budget.
And they were right.
But these days it is the conservatives who propose to do exactly that.
Those who disagree should understand this is not merely the whining of a liberal Zionist.
It is the position of the mainstream Zionist establish in its most important manifestations like NORPAC and AIPAC.
The point was driven home most forcefully when Senate Foreign Relations Chair Richard Lugar, whose positions on Israel/Palestine negotiations and Iran put him slightly to the left of the President on those issues, received overwhelming mainstream Zionist financial support in his primary against an unwavering supporter of the Zionist right.
Said pro-Israel counterterrorism consultant Mike Kraft: Lugar wasn’t actively pro-Israel, but he wasn’t anti either...But generally losing a good, balanced, thoughtful guy on foreign policy is a real tragedy. It weakens the American political system.
Said Jewish Week's Ron Kampeas: The problem, the insiders say, is not one of enthusiasm for Israel but in how members of the party’s right wing have proposed changing the mechanisms for allocating foreign aid.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has always emphasized the importance of backing the entire foreign assistance package. The logic is multifold: Aid overall builds good will for the United States and its allies; the perception that aid to the developing world is inextricable from aid to Israel promotes good will for Israel in those countries; singling out Israel for assistance while neglecting other countries promotes unseemly stereotypes about Jewish influence; and cutting aid inevitably will likely lead to cuts in assistance for Israel, however much the current Congress supports the country.
“They want to cut everything but Israel, but in the end, if everything else is cut, assistance to Israel will have to be cut,” said the pro-Israel donor.
A few weeks ago, a very liberal Orthodox friend sent me an Op Ed defending Joe Hynes' not revealing the names of accused sex abusers in the Ultra-Orthodox community.
Understanding that community from my years of work there, and understanding the strenuous efforts Hynes makes to get victims in this community to come forward (I know one of the people who does that work, and also have some independent familiarity with the details of some of the cases which have been prosecuted), I did not disagree with the undeniable fact that releasing the names of the alleged perps often leads to serious consequences for the families of the victims.
To pretend otherwise is to live in denial.
Nonetheless, I also understand that treating different accused perps differently based upon on their religion and ethnicity is, at some basic level, Un-American. It causes the entire society to have grave doubts about the fairness of the entire criminal justice system.
So, let no one fool themselves; any Brooklyn DA must make a real choice here, and both choices are ugly.
For the sake of this argument, I will ignore the FOIL implications (upon which I really cannot comment), and say that from a public policy perspective, I lean in the direction that Hynes has made the wrong choice, but I say so knowing that I am thinking about broad principles, rather than the specific concerns of the individual families.
In other words, Joe Hynes is wrong, but he is wrong for all the right reasons.
That being said, the DA would serve us and himself better if he consistently spoke a bit more clearly in asserting that there is a zero tolerance policy about those, especially mandated reporters, who do not report such crimes.
This is not a religious free exercise issue.
Historically, even the most zealous advocates of free exercise have understood that it must yield to a compelling state interest (and what state interest could be more compelling?).
However, it is ludicrous for people to put say that Joe Hynes does not prosecute Rabbis he thinks have suborned or threatened witnesses, and/or that he is afraid of confronting Orthodox political power.
As this ancient article (containing a cameo from the despicable Lieb Glanz) proves, Hynes has not only prosecuted such people, but has done so at considerable political risk.
Hynes’ office was so aggressive in prosecuting the politically connected Baruch Freilich, that it got Freilich to admit under oath that he is not really a Rabbi and his title was purely honorary. The ADAs prosecuting the case then referred to him as “Mister Freilich” for the balance of the trial.
In revenge for the Freilich indictment, Dov Hikind endorsed Clarence Norman’s candidate for District Attorney, State Senator John Sampson against Hynes in the next election. Sampson’s candidacy was widely seen as an effort to get the DA to drop politically related indictments, including Norman’s.
Which puts Hikind’s criticisms of Hynes on this issue in an entirely different light.
I should note that not every elected official showed Joe Hynes’ bravery at the time.
My boss at the time represented the Williamsburg Hasidim, and the Councilmember for the area sent to staff members (one of them an Orthodox Jew, the other a white southerner whose family had helped stir up hate against Leo Frank) to sit in Freilich’s rooting section.
They asked me to join them.
I declined, knowing without asking I had the full support of my boss. Hynes and His ‘Haman’ - Page 1 - News - New York - Village Voice www.villagevoice.com
Kevin Parker complains about the lack of support the State Senate Democrats receive from other Democrats.
Perhaps the Sen Dems should take some time and reflect upon why that is so; and when they do, Senator Parker will probably be on the top ten list. 'Be not involved': A Democratic senator's wish for Andrew Cuomo | Capital New York www.capitalnewyork.com
If I were the Democratic equivalent of Gene “Fat Bastard” Berardelli,” I'd urge Dan Halloran to drop out of the race for the sake of his family, but since I am a civilized human being I'll just wish him a speedy recovery. Dan Halloran to Undergo Surgery to Remove Tumor politicker.com
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