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The demonization of President Obama must end
by Menachem Z. Rosensaft
Sep 12, 2012 | 6698 views | 21 21 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Menachem Rosensaft
Menachem Rosensaft
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NEW YORK — Every once in a while, you have to feel sorry for Mitt Romney.

One of his surrogates during his unsuccessful 2008 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination was Dr. John Willke, the controversial doctor who inspired Missouri Congressman Todd Akin’s now infamous belief that a raped woman is unlikely to become pregnant.  Moreover, the good doctor is inconveniently sticking to his guns.  A woman being raped, he told The New York Times, “is frightened, tight and so on.  And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.”

According to the Times, Dr. Michael Greene, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School, dismisses Willke’s theories as “just nuts.”

Another 2008 Romney supporter was Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff charged by the U.S. Justice Department with discrimination and racial profiling who is also one of the foremost proponents of the equally wacky proposition that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, is therefore not a naturally born U.S. citizen, and consequently is ineligible to serve as president.  Arpaio believes the president’s birth certificate to be a forgery, and it appears that nothing under the sun can convince him otherwise.

There are lots more birthers out there, including most prominently Donald Trump, all driven by an irrational animus toward the president.  Understandably, Gov. Romney does not want to needlessly antagonize them.  They, too, may well be nuts, but a vote is a vote irrespective of the citizen’s IQ or emotional equilibrium.

Still, it was disturbing to hear Gov. Romney’s quip, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.” To be sure, he subsequently dismissed his comments on the CBS Evening News as an attempt to “have a little humor” in the campaign.  “I’ve said throughout the campaign and before, there’s no question where [President Obama] was born,” he explained.  “He was born in the U.S.”

The problem, of course, is that the generally humorless birthers were certain to interpret the “birth certificate” comment not as a joke but as an indication that Gov. Romney was sympathetic to their cause.  New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd described it as “a bat’s squeak calling to the basest emotions.”

Last year, I observed in these pages that Gov. Romney “does not come across in any way as mean-spirited,” and quoted him as telling the Values Voters Summit that, “We should remember that decency and civility are values, too.”

Unfortunately, as I have also noted here more recently, there is nothing decent or civil in attempts to depict President Obama as somehow un-American, and to date Gov. Romney has not done nearly enough to dissociate himself from the nastier, unquestionably mean-spirited personal attacks on President Obama that emanate from others in the Republican/conservative camp.

This goes far beyond the birthers who could be dismissed as part of the loony element of the electorate.  Accusing President Obama of espousing “some phony theology” (Rick Santorum), charging that he “wants to destroy capitalism” and “nurtures a hatred for the white man” (conservative Christian radio host Bryan Fischer), referring to him as the “food-stamp president” (Newt Gingrich), alleging that his administration has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood (Michele Bachmann), proclaiming that “He’s just not an American” (Rep. Mike Coffman, R.-Colo.) and that he “hates this country” (Rush Limbaugh), denouncing him as an “anti-Christian, anti-religious bigot” (conservative radio host and columnist Jeffrey T. Kuhner), calling him a Muslim who “hates the U.S.” (Hank Williams Jr.), and repeatedly likening him to Adolf Hitler (again, Rush Limbaugh) are part and parcel of an insidious campaign of personal destruction that cannot be countenanced in the American body politic of the 21st century.

The Jewish community has also not been immune from this type of virulent, irresponsible and utterly reprehensible verbiage.  In January of this year, the owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times was forced to resign as the paper’s publisher for suggesting that one response to the Iranian nuclear threat might be for “U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place.”  Rabbi Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, called President Obama a “kushi,” a derogative Hebrew term for a dark-skinned person of African descent, and likened him to Haman, the archenemy of the Jewish people in the Book of Esther.  Paul Eidelberg, a far-right American-Israeli political scientist, has written, “Obama is Israel’s most insidious enemy” who “shares the Muslim objective to wipe Israel off the map.”  In the same vein, conservative radio host Mark Levin declared earlier this summer that “Obama hates Israel and he’s demonstrated it time and time again.”

Never mind that the Obama administration recently allocated $70 million over and above the approximately $3 billion in annual security assistance that Israel receives from the United States to fund Israel’s Iron Dome defense system that helps protect Israelis from rocket attacks launched against them from Gaza.

Never mind that no less an authority than Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said publicly that, “I can hardly remember a better period of support, American support and backing and cooperation and similar strategic understanding of events than what we have right now.” Never mind that President Obama has consistently and fiercely championed Israel’s cause at the United Nations and in the international arena.

Rigorous debate and strongly expressed differences of opinion are central to our way of life.  Hate mongering in any form, however, is never a permissible political strategy.  As the 2012 presidential campaign shifts into high gear, I fervently hope that we can all agree, regardless of our political affiliations, that the demonization of the president of the United States, or of anyone else for that matter, will be neither tolerated nor rewarded.

(Menachem Z. Rosensaft teaches about the law of genocide and World War II war crimes trials at the law schools of Columbia, Cornell and Syracuse universities.)

Comments
(21)
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Bradford Hager
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September 18, 2012
For someone who teaches on genocide, you are quick to defend a President who supports mass murder by abortion.
Golda Cooper
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September 15, 2012
So now that "buet" Adelson has joined his moneyed voice into the arena. I wonder what G must think of his chosen people , and Israeli's to boot.As jews I would have thought these people mentioned above should have some shame, where is your memory of what hitler did to us, do you think your words and actions are are any different. Shame on you.Mitt the twitt is so duplicitous, such a greedy, hungry

political soul, why should we expect anything more.

EditorJP
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September 13, 2012
Your entire screed would be better titled "My demonization of Mitt Romney has only just started".

Do you feel better kissing Obama's tuchis every day, as he hands over more and more of the arab world to the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Queda?

Are you happy now that Obama and Hillary have empowered jihadists to burn our embassies and consulates on the anniversary of 9/11 and also murder (and rape?) our diplomats?

You were wrong when you embraced Arafat, and you're wrong now as you embrace Barak Hussein Obama.

Your defense of Obama continues even when:

His own party platform (REVIEWED BY HIM) disavowed support for Jerusalem and removed mention of continued sanctions on Hamas, a platform that also removed all mention of God, that the DNC Chair then had to ram back in, even when the members CLEARLY did not want them put back;

Obama has refused to meet with Bibi this month, claiming "schedule conflicts" while he somehow has time for David Letterman and Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood.

His Secretary of state stated "we have no red lines for Iran" and his Chairman of the JCOS said they couldn't be "complicit" with Israel preemptively taking out Iran's nuclear weapons capability, even though Iranian leaders have REPEAtEDLY outlined their desire to annihilate the only Jewish State on the planet.

It is hard to understand how someone who was a child of survivors does not see the connection between this administration's appeasement of radical jihad with Europe's and America's failure to contain Hitler in the 30's.

Perhaps your emblem of "Labor-Zionist" simply means you are more marxist than anything else, and as a marxist, you embrace any ally, even the jihadis, as long as they is the enemy of the Judeo-Christian capitalist West.

Bottom line? We pray you are ignored, to save more American and Israeli lives.
Willie Cruz
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September 13, 2012
Menachem: could you point me to your analogous article condemning the thousands of vitriolic attacks on the Bush administration for similar policies?

Thank you.

Mattdaddyx6
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September 13, 2012
You know its incredibly sad that you completely turn your back on your own people. Barack Hussein Obama hates the Jew. Ok? He hates Israel. He seeks to empower own enemies while spitting on our greatest ally. How a person can betray his own people is disgraceful. Damn Judas! Just like Barack betrays us all, you betray the Jewish people of Israel, and that is just despicable to me. You ought to have a damn spine and stand up against this tyrant, but you wont, because you're a damn bottom feeding coward with no damn backbone. Im done with this garbage. You are a traitor pal. A traitor!
S_Lane
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September 13, 2012
Obama brings it on himself by saying one thing but doing another. Actions speak louder and he is usually the one to begin the adolescent rancor rather than initiate an engaging debate based on fact.
SharonH9877654321
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September 12, 2012
What planet are you living on? And where are the rest of the comments about your irrelevant remarks.
Craig Wilson
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September 12, 2012
Let's be fair! You have linked two people to Mitt Romney as supporters of his. He can not control who favors his campaign. Why not mention who our President affiliates himself with. Not who support him, but whom he followed, such as Ayers, Jeramiah Wright, and the following despicable characters: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/mike-bauer/obama’s-czars-and-their-left-wing-affiliations/

You are being untruthful to yourself and others in supporting this Socialist who is intent on fundamentally changing the United States into what our founders and others worked so hard to create!
CindyCindy
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September 12, 2012
Wow. Were you drunk when you wrote this article?
Sylvia W. Mac
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September 12, 2012
Being born in America does not make you a real AMERICAN, it's a lot, lot more than that!!

Brian Ritchie
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September 12, 2012
What an astonishing hypocrite you are. Did you hold the people who slandered George Bush (Dan Rather) Sarah Palin (seemingly the entire mass media) or more recently, the vile pornographic tweets by the retarded actor Jason Biggs about Mrs. Romney following her speech at the RNC Convention to the same standard you apply in this poorly thought out polemical screed?

By the way, most of what I read as examples of your point are truths. Jews should fear Obama. He will open the door for the next holocaust.
Ray W.
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September 12, 2012
Excuse me, sir. Are you paying attention to what the POTUS is doing? He is giving Israel a good bit of money, but he is giving the whole of Islam a whole lot more. I hope you're not seriously considering voting for this man. It's shameful.
An amused reader
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September 12, 2012
Bat's squeak, dog whistle ... you lefties are nuts.
TacticalMan
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September 12, 2012
Rosensaft obviously spent more time studying Saul Alinski than current affairs or news.

Set them up, impugn their intellect and/or sanity, lacking any qualifications to diagnose psychological/psychiatric maladies, mix in some good old fashioned guilt by association techniques, splash of demonization and not once, not ever address any of the actual short comings of Obama!

Menachem fails to mention the phony and political "FEDERAL civil rights" charges, filed against Sheriff Joe Arpaio by the same AG Eric Holder currently hiding behind false assertions of "Executive Privilege" in the cover up attempt of his complicity in the death of TWO Federal law enforcement officers in the Fast and Furious scandal were DROPPED due to a lack of evidence.

What utter hypocrisy, engage in demagoguery using political hyperbole and hate speech then preach, "Rigorous debate and strongly expressed differences of opinion are central to our way of life. Hate mongering in any form however, is never a permissible political strategy"

Menachem Rosensaft, you should first elevate your own political speech prior to condemning others.

Such political bigotry only displays your own faults and lack of intellectual honesty!
Big Al
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September 12, 2012
How did a Jew ever become a apologist for this president? Just pathetic! Say there Hail Mary's and go to your room!
Pablo Juarez
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September 12, 2012
Wow...Short memory on the left as to what they did and still do to former president Bush. Stay at Columbia with your nose in your books.

Editor: If you are going to have a comments section post people's comments.
dave johnson
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September 12, 2012
Oh yeah, Rosensaft? Where was this column when Bush was excoriated, suffered death threats and got not even an inkling of a fair shot in the media? No President was ever so unjustifiable reviled, detested and lied about than the honorable George W. Bush.

I didn't think so.

And before you bloviate your fantasy about your Israeli brethren being so in love with B Hussein Obama, talk to Netanyahu.
Pablo Juarez
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September 12, 2012
Here's a shocker: an academic minded, Jewish heritage, law professor from liberal land of Columbia, Syracuse, Cornell writes a nasty article about Romney and sings the undying praises of a man who can do no wrong yet has utterly failed as the leader of the free world...Obama. Wow. Would you like to borrow my brain and some spectacles for a new perspective? Maybe read Dr. Lyle Rossiter's MD book called The Liberal Mind and gain a better understanding as to why you blindly follow the agenda. Another cup of Kool Aid?
A Gentile
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September 12, 2012
Funny how the liberals had no problems bashing Bush for eight years. Now that the show is on the other foot, liberals want everyone to "play nice".

"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority" - Benjamin Franklin