Monday, April 30, 2012

Walter Cronkite & Obama's Jewish Problem

Is Gary Rosenblatt playing the role of Walter Cronkite for the Obama administration?

Obama and the Jews -Rafael Medoff

President Barack Obama's election strategists might want to examine [an] historical episode — especially in light of stinging comments made this month about the president's Israel policy by the editor of the largest American Jewish weekly newspaper.

Gary Rosenblatt [pictured], longtime editor of The (New York) Jewish Week, took aim at recent leaks to the press that were apparently intended to undermine Israel's ability to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities. One leak claimed to reveal Israel's approximate timetable for military action. A second claimed an Israeli strike would provoke Iranian attacks on Americans. A third exposed an Israeli agreement with Azerbaijan that would have given the Israelis a base from which to launch a raid on Iran.

The Obama administration vehemently denied that it was the source of the leaks. Mr. Rosenblatt isn't buying it. "I have come to believe, reluctantly, that the administration is leaking these stories to the press," he wrote, adding: "[This] strongly suggests that the president views Israel as more of a nuisance rather than a partner regarding Iran, and perhaps the wider Mideast conflict."

Mr. Rosenblatt stopped just short of calling the president a liar. Naturally, one does not use such language when referring to the president. Still, Mr. Rosenblatt's challenge is clear. The president says he has Israel's back; Mr. Rosenblatt says no, his administration is leaking stories to undermine Israel. The president says he is the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history; Mr. Rosenblatt says no, Mr. Obama views Israel as "a nuisance." The president's spokesmen say the administration did not leak the stories; Mr. Rosenblatt says no, they did leak them.

When CBS-TV anchorman Walter Cronkite [pictured] began criticizing U.S. policy in Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson told his aides, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America." He understood what Cronkite represented.

Gary Rosenblatt, too, may represent more than just himself. As a widely respected editor of the largest U.S. Jewish weekly, as a centrist on America-Israel issues, and as someone not known for having been especially critical of the Obama administration before, his views command attention.

When it comes to American Jews and Israel, will Mr. Rosenblatt turn out to be the Obama administration's Walter Cronkite?
Rafael Medoff is founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies and coauthor of the new book "Herbert Hoover and the Jews."
[The Baltimore Sun]

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