Odds and Ends


Over at NRO’s the Corner, Tevi Troy wonders whether President Obama’s premature Shana Tovah yesterday, on his health care call with rabbis, isn’t emblematic of a more serious tone-deafness when it comes to matters Jewish (noting, for instance, the Robinson medal — which the rabbis on the call considered raising — and the abortive Freeman appointment).

He also questions the wisdom of quoting the "who by fire" Yom Kippur liturgy when so much of the president’s time is spent trying to bat away "death panel" rumors.

Paul Bedard at U.S. News notes that Troy’s old boss, President Bush, once sent out Rosh Hashanah greetings a week early. I dunno, a formal greeting a week early, an informal greeting a month early — sounds about even in gaffe-land, I’d say.

Mainstream America has been regretting its mistreatment of Native Americans since almost immediately after the expulsions and wars were completed; certainly the consensus for the last 40 years has been one of "If we had it all to do again…" So I’m not sure why defenders of settlements think it’s smart to liken Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to what is widely perceived as a genocide.

At Salon, Glenn Greenwald wonders why former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee isn’t getting a media whupping for trash talking Obama’s Middle East policies in Israel, noting the bashing Al Gore got when he critiqued President Bush’s policies in Saudi Arabia in 2006. (Greenwald does not deplore talking out of school, just the double standard.) Huckabee doesn’t help himself when — presumably filing from Jerusalem — he says on his website that gosh, he would never trash the "disagreements dissapear beyond our shores" rule:

I haven’t even bashed Obama’s anti-Israel and promise breaking policy, and I have certainly had the opportunity.

As in, "I never take the Lord’s name in vain, Godammit?"

Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.),  has a thing, it seems, for stuffy chambers crammed with old boys: he’s taking up a teaching fellowship at Harvard, CNN reports.

In South Carolina, apparently, Ben Stein is spokesman for, well, us.

We opened with one Bush admin Jewish liaison, let’s close with another. At the Forward, Noam Neusner has some advice for Benjamin Netanyahu:

Cool it with the settlement saber-rattling. Your consul general in Boston, Nadav Tamir, was right: Your confrontational stance on settlements isn’t helping Israel’s image in America. Now that you’ve called Tamir back to Israel to answer for his internal memo (which was leaked to Israeli TV), perhaps you should take the opportunity to hear him out. Yes, by sticking out your chin at President Obama’s call for a total freeze, you’ve cemented your right-of-center coalition at home. But you’ve antagonized the people around the president, and you may need them if Hezbollah or Hamas decide to start launching missiles. Plus, all this haggling over settlements irritates Americans. Americans generally think that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Here’s a solution: Send Tamir back to America with a message to Obama offering a six-month hudna on settlements. No more evictions of Arab squatters, no more building permits beyond the Green Line, nothing to get headlines. But after six months, revisit the issue and quietly urge the Obama administration to revert to the Bush-era tolerance of vertical growth within major settlement blocs.

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