There’s No Powerful Jewish Lobby

Ken Kurson, editor of the New York Observer, posts on FB: “I’m breaking some news here. I just don’t get this guy [Cory Booker] at all. I had such high hopes for him. I stand dazed and brokenhearted. And as Joel Pollak wrote (I’m paraphrasing…) the next time some asshole talks about the overwhelming strength of the ‘Jewish lobby’ I’m gonna punch him in the fucking neck. Jesus, we can’t even stop an actual nuclear threat from an avowed enemy. Good luck getting Elvis Costello to play.”

Seven months ago, Joel Pollak tweeted: “Being a Democrat in the Age of Obama requires you to believe cops kill black kids on purpose but radical Islamists kill Jews by accident.”

You could just as accurately say: “Being a black in the Age of Obama requires you to believe cops kill black kids on purpose but radical Islamists kill Jews by accident.”

It comes down to who whom? If Iran threatens Israel, why should blacks care? Jews didn’t fund black causes because they cared about blacks (there’s nothing in Torah about funding civil rights for other groups), but because they believed a multi-racial society would be better for Jews.

I’m no historian, but this Cory Booker story seems like a microcosm of Jewish disappointment with American blacks in general who don’t seem appropriately grateful for all Jews have done for them (funding Civil Rights, etc).

Different groups have different interests, so I take it for granted that blacks, Jews, Muslims, whites etc will have plenty of conflicts (within America and without).

I would have been shocked if Cory Booker, who’s black, had not voted with his black president and black caucus. What do blacks care about Iran getting nukes? It’s no threat to them.

Plenty of American Jews, perhaps a majority, support the Iran deal, which is a done deal in any event. Cory Booker’s vote is meaningless regarding the Iran deal but it has meaning in the symbolic sense that he’s independent of much of his Jewish funding and support.

Regarding putting the “Jewish lobby” in quotes, it seems to me that in America there is a China lobby and a Saudi lobby and yes, a Jewish lobby and they all have juice but not always a veto.

Chaim Amalek: “No matter what anyone does, Iran will get the bomb because it thinks it is in its own best interest to get the bomb. And likely, they are right. But then so too will Saudi Arabia and Egypt. If you are a Sunni, the best that can be said for this deal is that it buys time in which your side can build up the infrastructure necessary to manufacture fission and fusion type weapons of your own.”

Ken Kurson writes on

EXCLUSIVE: In Damage Control Mode, Cory Booker Invites Jews to Emergency Summit

Senator scrambles to save face—and future contributions—in the wake of support for Iran deal

The Observer has learned that Senator Cory Booker, who is under fire from Jewish supporters who had long treated him as one of their own, has convened an unusual emergency meeting to shore up his support in the wake of his decision to support ePresident Obama’s deal with Iran.

Around noon on Friday afternoon, Mr. Booker’s Deputy Chief of Staff, George Helmy, started emailing leaders of the Jewish community to invite them to a hastily assembled “small roundtable discussion on the JCPOA in his office.” The meeting, which will take place at the Gateway Center on Tuesday at noon, will be joined by Treasury undersecretary Adam Szubin, who will help explain how, “After weeks weeks [sic] of study and consultation, Senator Booker made the decision he feels in the best interest of Israel, the United States, and our allies.”

Reflecting the seriousness of this issue – and the threat that it poses to his standing in the Jewish community—Mr. Booker is pulling out all stops to kosher his vote. He posted a lengthy essay explaining his decision, so meeting with Jewish leaders has to be perceived as an extension of that. Mr. Szubin has frequently been trotted out by the Obama Administration to placate the Jewish community, which is concerned that the terms of the deal permit Iran to develop a robust nuclear weapons program.

The invitation appeals to its recipients’ vanity, assuring them it is only being “sent to his dearest friends and those whom he relies on for counsel.” For those still not feeling the love, another Booker staffer, Matt Klapper, larded it on hours later, sending a follow-up note asking to “discuss the JCPOA, as well as steps that need to be taken to keep Iran in the corner given the new challenges we’ll soon face.”

Apparently, there’s a second minyan being convened by Mr. Booker, as well – in Livingston, the heart of Essex County’s Jewish community, at 10 am.

The invitation lists comprise a who’s who of influential Jewish leaders in New York and New Jersey, including Raphael Benaroya, the managing director of Biltmore Capital Group; Menachem Genack, the CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division; Lori Fein, the New Jersey Director of the Zionist Organization of America; Ben Chouake, the Englewood, NJ, doctor who heads Norpac, the national PAC that supports Israel-friendly candidates; and Rabbi Aaron Kotler, who leads an important congregation in Lakewood, NJ.

Conspicuously absent from the guest list is Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whose friendship with Senator Booker is two decades old and had been intensely close before the Iran deal came to the fore. The two had many times traveled to the Rebbe’s grave in Queens, were guests at each other’s family events, and both described their friendship in very warm, near familial tones. Rabbi Boteach has been highly critical of the Iran deal, taking ads in newspapers and organizing rallies to apply pressure to his old friend. The absence of a prominent New Jersey rabbi who had been a close friend may signal that Mr. Booker prefers a room filled with Jewish leaders who have not been as vocally critical.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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