Trading Barbs

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) are partisan groups whose mission is to build Jewish support for their respective parties, and that's usually done by ripping into the other side.

Lately they've been trading insults over some endorsements and over who's getting video – but not in-person — time at the conventions.

RJC is far better funded than its Democratic counterpart, thanks in very large part to controversial casino operator Sheldon Adelson latest $6.5 million gift. But both are rich in their rhetoric and quick to take umbrage at the least offense, imagined or exaggerated, by the other side. 

Both love to point out Nazi or Holocaust allusions by the other side, and they're not in danger of running out of material because so many pols have very shallow learning curves and their mouths work quicker than their brains. 

Each accusatory and umbrage-dripping press release pointing out an offense is accompanied by a demand for an apology, retraction or remedial act.

The latest is RJC's "profound outrage" over the inclusion of "radical" Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb on a list of 613 (now where did they get that number?) "Rabbis for Obama," and called for her removal.

Compounding the sin of putting Gottlieb on the Obama campaign's list, in the RJC's eyes, is that it came out "at around the same time" that it was announced that Jimmy Carter will address the Democratic Convention by prerecorded video.  The conspiracy is obvious to RJC's hysterical flacks.  Carter "has met with Hamas and has been a virulent critic of Israel" and Gottlieb was " the first American rabbi to visit Tehran."

Equally outraged, of course, the NJDC declared it a "national disgrace" for the GOP to pay tribute to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in a primetime video.  Paul is a longtime critic of Israel, foe of all foreign aid, opponent of sanctions on Iran and publisher of newsletters with anti-Semitic and racist content.  What's more, said NJDC, Paul "disparaged the U.S.-Israel relationship on Iranian television and empathized with Iran’s nuclear weapons program."

RJC said "the Obama campaign failed to properly vet the rabbis on their official list."  It's a valid point.

Where they're way off base, however, is charging her inclusion demonstrates "the insensitivity of the Obama campaign to the concerns of the Jewish community."  The same point could be made about the Republicans' tribute to Ron Paul.

If you missed this latest exchange of barbs, don't worry, there are many more to come, and they won't end with this election. 

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.