Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich /Rubashkin /OU convention

The ongoing scandal in Illinois,will make a great novel/movie.However much as I think that Gov. B. and the Dem. and Rep. political machines are corrupt,what has happened and is unfolding is a kangaroo Court.
First the US Attorney once again violated Federal statutes by editorializing the complaints.He was followed by the top FBI investigator,who likewise editorialized the disgust of his seasoned agents upon hearing the tapes. Thus the atmosphere is poisoned over and above what it is already.
Then we have Rahm Emanuel with multiple conversations with the Gov or his Chief of Staff(who is also arrested) however contrary to the tranparency promised there is silence.Cong Jackson and the other cast of characters plus the Unions are all in the mix, awaiting the release of the tapes and further investigation,
The Legislature then starts impeachment hearings in the hope of getting Gov. B off the headlines.Forget about his rights to examine the evidence,or be indicted ,or be found guilty or to have the rights of any accused person. So Gov. B hires a tough lawyer, who not only points it out, but questions the impartiality of the panels.
In the meantime, after Obama and Durbin called for a special Senate election, the Dems fearing a loss claim poverty and time as a reason to hope the Lt. Gov. will be able to do that. The Senate Dems already announcing they will not accept a Gov. B designee.Any attempt to legislate that the Lt-Gov be given this power (to appoint a Sen.) would be vetoed by B.
Thus 2 results:
1-the scandal will continue to dominate the headlines
2-There may be no new Senator for quite a while, perhaps a year or more.Nixon resigned after 1 year of attacks and calls for impeachment.Sen. Harry Reid may need that vote.
As I often say-stay tuned !


The Rubashkin scandal is off the headlines, because we have Madoff,Dreir and Gov. B.There are serious charges involved.Yet,unlike most defendants,he is denied bail.
Because he is a Jew,and Israeli law grants automatic citizenship to every Jew under the Law of Return.Thus says the Govt if released he " would easily be able to immigrate to Israel,.... and (be entitled to) dual citizenship.") and not be extradited.
If allowed to stand this would apply to every Jew, even if their descendents came over on the Mayflower.
I have no problem asking people so accused to hand over their passports,including Israeli ones if they have one, however the logic of the US Attorney is definitely anti-semitic.
If someone is a flight risk,then they should be denied bail.Being a Jew is not evidence of such a risk
Where are all the National Jewish groups making a fuss?

I never criticize the OU publicly and will not start now.Rather I would like to talk in positive terms regarding a story in this weeks Long Island Long Island Jewish Star.
The story entitled" Unorthodox tactics at OU convention" raises the question of votes taken at the recent Israel convention (Nov. 26-30) in which there were only about 60 persons there ,and there is an accusation of one person bringing in 10 staffers and 6 NCSY kids to vote in a bloc according to the wishes of that individual.On one controversial vote ,they swung the decision.
Let me start from the beginning.
In 1994 the OU had its biannual convention at a major US hotel As always a thousand people (give or take a hundred)attended .I was elected that year,and one of the highlites was a debate between Ariel Sharon and Yossi Beilin.I suggested that on alternate years, we should have a convention in Israel.And so for the next 2 years we had a regular convention and an Israeli one. These were REAL National Conventions,where the Prime Minister addressed our dinner,and it was televised live on Israeli TV.
The problem was the OU lost a great deal of money on these conventions.
Skip forward and today we have no US convention depriving hundreds of synagogues and individuals of an opportunity to get involved.Except for a small cadre of lay workers,the Israeli portion is used by individuals who while not heavily involved with the OU, have children in Israeli Yeshivoth and hope to get a relatively cheap package to visit with them.It is rumored, that American Olim have been subsidized to attend the "convention"
How much ( if any) money was lost on this convention is of interest. The article thus raises some interesting and allied issues.
The OU should address the many questions raised including How do we run a REAL(U.S.) NATIONAL CONVENTION?how do we get more people involved ? How can we improve on the issue of WRITING and voting on resolutions so that they represent the synagogue body?Shouldn't there be term limits on OU representation on a body such as the JCPA- since we are the only orthodox organization represented in this body ,and their left-wing decisions affect all of us? (I suggest it is never healthy for one person to have almost a lifetime appointment to a commission ,especially as its head.This allows others to become lazy and leave the decisions to that person)
Should staff be allowed to vote? Who chooses NCSY delegates to a convention?Should the OU have a Southern convention, similar to the one held in Calif annually.
The issues raised by the Jewish Star article, should serve as a primer for Rabbi Weil who takes over as Exec. V.P. this June.
As always transparency is always the best antidote when issues arise!