If you're a Jew with Internet access, by now you've probably seen Sarah Silverman's video thegreatschlep.com. Sponsored by JewsVote.org, a project of the Jewish Council for Education & Research, the video encourages young Jewish people to make a trip to Florida before the 2008 presidential election to encourage their grandparents to vote for Barack Obama.
From the JewsVote.org website:
The goal of JewsVote.org is to find out what is unsettling so many people in our community, those friends and family who have typically supported the more progressive candidate for president, and to convey to them why we are so excited about the possibility of an Obama presidency.
Jews are generally regarded as a pretty Democratic bunch. Sarah Silverman describes us as "the most liberal, scrappy, civil rightsy people there are," and Woody Allen calls us "New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the father with the Ben Shahn drawings."
Yet the Jewish vote for Barack Obama is not a forgone conclusion.
Our social values are aligned with the Democrats. We're militantly pro-women, minorities and gays. We show up for even the rallies no one cares about. Again, to quote Woody Allen, "I can't enjoy anything unless everybody is. If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening."
Yet the one issue that surpasses even those that center around civil liberties is the continued existence of the state of Israel.
In her video, Silverman says, "Barack Obama's foreign policy is much more stabilizing than John McCain's and much better for Israel." But the reality is McCain has a 25-year pro-Israel voting record and Obama has only two years of Senate experience.
We're optimistic that when Obama says he wants to talk to Arab leaders, some of whom have been candidly anti-Israel, he has Israel's best interest in mind. We hope that he sees Israel as "the only true ally of America in the region, a fellow democracy and a Western nation," as Ed Lasky does in The American Thinker. We're encouraged that Obama's Muslim lineage might make him more relatable to the Arab countries than our gun-toting, cowboy hat wearing, yahoo current president. But Obama's foreign policy record has yet to be tested, and as liberal and civil rightsy as we Jews are, we don't have the luxury of not being single-issue voters.
Jewish voters want to get behind Obama. He represents so much of what we stand for and cherish as Americans. We just need to know that he is behind us.