US Presidential Race – New York, Israel bashing, the pope and Matzah

New York is or was the home of three of the remaining candidates for president. Donald Trump lives in Manhattan, Hillary Clinton formerly of several places, moved to Chappaqua, a small town north of New York City, when she decided to run for US Senate from New York, and Bernie Sanders was born and raised in Brooklyn.

Each of the three contenders hopes that New York will be theirs on Tuesday when the state holds its primary for both parties. The latest numbers from the RealClearPolitics average of polls show former Secretary of State Clinton 12.5% on top of Vermont US senator Sanders, but she will do even better than that (more in a bit), and The Donald 29% over Ohio governor John Kasich, with Texas US senator Ted Cruz further back.

Last Tuesday, the Bernie team announced the appointment of 25-year-old Simone Zimmerman as the campaign’s National Jewish Outreach Coordinator, whatever that is. By Thursday she was just plain out. Seems the young lady, a vociferous left-wing Israel basher and BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel) supporter wasn’t vetted too well.

Oh, her Israel bashing was just fine and in line with Bernie, but her Facebook comments about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came back to haunt her. Among other things, the polite Miss Zimmerman remarked, “Bibi Netanyahu is an … ***hole,” and, F*** you, Bibi.” She also wrote that he sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people in the 2014 Israel/Gaza war. Nice. Bernie may have dumped the poor girl because according to him at first, and not even Hamas, Israel killed over 10,000 “innocent” Palestinians, and so, he felt Zimmerman was being too nice to the PM.

The Huffington Post article about her “suspension” was appropriately headlined, “Bernie Sanders Suspends Staffer For Being As Tough On Israel As He Is.” By the way, what does that mean, suspension? Why not just fire her? Will she come back? Should Bernie actually win the nomination, and he won’t because of the superdelegates fix for Hillary, he would reinstate her I am sure. Probably would promote her to Assistant Secretary of State or something like that if he became president, God forbid.

Clinton and Sanders debated yet again and this time it was pretty nasty. They had the usual arguments but the moderators pressed for answers and the two adversaries yelled at each other, spoke over each other, and looked to me as if they wanted to punch each other in the nose.

Hillary was even more silly than usual, once again saying she would not release the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches (what are you hiding?), and trying to deflect away to something else for that question and others, like her obfuscating answer about how much to raise the minimum wage.

In March, Ms. Clinton said, “I’ve been the most transparent public official in modern times as far as I know.” Uh-huh. And if you actually believe that ridiculous statement, you are voting for Hillary Clinton.

For his part, Bernie must have forgotten he was in New York City, home to over a million Jews, his spending so much time castigating Israel for using disproportionate force in the war with Gaza in 2014 (not!). And he called for US even-handedness when it came to Israel and the Palestinians, as if Obama wasn’t already putting the screws to Israel enough. Sanders also keeps repeating that the unemployment rate in Gaza is at 40%, like it was Israel’s fault. Well, whose fault is that Bernie? Ever hear of Hamas?

Israel is one of the third rails in politics, but Sanders didn’t care. He grabbed the high voltage rail with both hands and held on tight, much to the glee of his left-wing Israel-hating supporters in the audience. Israel has never been criticized this way before in any debate, and it is no surprise this first time would be by a Democrat.

Good ol’ Bernie. The most un-Jewish major Jewish candidate for anything ever. His skewed, warped views on Israel are those of the United Nations, and he gives license to Jew-haters. Thanks for the embarrassment, Bern.

And why did CNN allow the audience to clap, cheer, whoop and holler with every phrase? Crazy. In any event, if Bernie thought he had a shot at New York, he has now blown it big time. I wouldn’t be surprised if he lost by 20% or more. He will get crushed. Not that Hillary is such a big Israel supporter, and in the debate she did mention her own chastising, but compared to Sanders she seems like the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

Because the New York primary is so critical and important, after the debate, Sanders took time away from campaigning to go to the Vatican to speak at a conference on social, economic and environmental issues, where he also met with Pope Francis. Bernie loves the pope because of the pontiff’s continued criticisms of capitalism. No word if the gushing Bernie will now be against birth control, abortion, gay marriage, etc.

On the Republican side, Trump was still crying foul about his being outhustled by Cruz in Colorado on April 9, Cruz grabbing all 34 delegates when all was said and done. The state’s Republican leaders decided not to have a primary or caucus but instead, state conventions where delegates were chosen by the attendees.

Cruz has a great ground game and tries to squeeze every delegate out of every state, and he squeezed the Centennial State pretty well. Would Colorado have gone to Trump had its people voted? Probably. But it had been known for months there would be no citizen vote. Trump plain and simple had an anemic organization. Cruz did the same play in Wyoming, taking most of that state’s 29 delegates in state conventions culminating on Saturday.

The whiner Trump has a new delegate strategist who should help stop the bleeding of delegates. Maybe.

Florida state attorneys decided not to prosecute Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for grabbing a female reporter’s arm at a rally last month. Good. It was a silly charge.

On a radio show Wednesday, former candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio somewhat endorsed Cruz. The same day, Cruz said “Anyone would naturally look at Marco as one of the people who would be a terrific person to consider for VP…” Seems they are looking to make strange bedfellows. Rubio does have those unreleased 173 delegates. So Cruz/Rubio? Wouldn’t matter. Cruz at the top of any ticket means disaster for the Republicans in November across the ballot, period.

Several of Trump’s former The Apprentice show winners and contestants held a news conference blasting the businessman for his “campaign of sexism, xenophobia, racism, violence and hate.” Guess they still crave publicity.

John Kasich (full disclosure – my favorite) proved he needed his own National Jewish Outreach Coordinator when, upon visiting a Matzah bakery in Brooklyn, he linked the blood of the Pesach (Passover) sacrifice with that of Jesus. Hello? Earth to the Kasich campaign: Jews don’t believe in Jesus, and very observant Jews especially, don’t want to hear about him even when they are not baking Matzahs.

Earlier the he-meant-well governor sermonized to a group of older Yeshiva students about Yosef (Joseph). “What do you think about Joseph? Did you hear the most important thing Joseph said to his brothers?” Kasich is very spiritual and caring – his religion helps guide his life, but the Yosef questions were for first graders, not high school boys.

Now had the governor asked the young men whether they agreed with Resh Lakish or Rabbi Yochanan in the Talmud, Baba Metzia 90b, as to whether vocal commands to animals are considered actions, well, that would have been something.

Trump will pummel Kasich (and Cruz) in New York, but it is possible the Ohio governor may pick up delegates by winning some congressional districts such as those in and around Manhattan, that is if he didn’t blow it with the Jesus/Joseph stuff.

So another interesting or bizarre week on the campaign trail, depending on your point of view.

New York, you’re up.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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