Jewish Journal’s skewed endorsement puts Israel on back burner

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WarshalÂ?s backing of Â?neutralÂ? Betty Castor over pro-Jewish Peter Deutsch is just Â?selfish rantingÂ?

As reported in this column three weeks ago, Betty Castor was endorsed by the Jewish Journal this past week in her race for the Democratic nomination for US Senate here in Florida.

By endorsing Castor, the Jewish Journal – more specifically its publisher-emeritus, Rabbi (ha!) Bruce Warshal – dismissed fellow candidate Alex Penelas as a non-starter. He then went on to once again castigate another fellow office seeker, U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch, by comparing him to none other than former President Richard Nixon.

If Warshal's comments and reasoning behind the endorsement of Castor weren’t so mean-spirited and self-indulgent, they would be laughable. Warshal, who hasn't had a conversation with Deutsch in at least the 12 years he has been in Congress, seems to have some kind of vendetta against the six-term congressman.

His comments comparing Deutsch to Nixon deride Deutsch as a ruthless candidate who lies just the way Nixon did. He also goes on to denounce Deutsch as a second-rate congressman based upon rankings which, for the most part, are the opinion of lobbyists.

Finally, Warshal again defends Castor while ignoring the facts surrounding the Sami Al-Arian episode at the University of South Florida while Castor was USF president.

Warshal is some piece of work. If you talk to any number of Deutsch's constituents, you will find they are thrilled with the work he has done for them both in Congress and earlier in his career as their state representative.

Deutsch has spent his life in public service passing legislation that has had specific positive effects on the people he represents. Yet Warshal would have you believe that Castor has had a lifetime of public service and Deutsch has had none.

Deutsch has always responded to the needs of his constituents while responsibly voting for what he deems is right, regardless of whether the measure was a Republican or Democratic initiative.

Warshal would have us believe that Castor deserves the Jewish vote because she is the best candidate. Yet when she had the opportunity to take action against a USF professor who was the head of an organization that called for the ruination of Israel, she at best took little or no action.

Warshal is the only one distorting the facts as they pertain to Castor's role in the Al-Arian affair. Castor has denied that she had any information from the FBI back in the mid-1990s about Al-Arian's terrorist activities that were being carried out right under her nose. The truth is that she had received a 42-page affidavit from both the FBI and INS detailing the context of their investigation into Al-Arian.

Warshal would have us believe that Deutsch is smearing Castor by accusing her of inaction when it came to Al-Arian. It simply sounds like the truth to those that have read the documents and listened to Castor's denials.

"Warshal, who remember is the publisher-emeritus of a publication that has 99.9 percent Jewish readership, is endorsing a candidate that has stated the United States needs to be more 'even-handed' in its approach to Israel." In other words, the US must force Israel into concessions that jeopardize its very existence.

He is endorsing a candidate who is neutral towards the state of Israel while denouncing Deutsch, who happens to be Jewish, but, more importantly, has been a staunch supporter of the Jewish state.

Nothing Warshal says makes any sense, but then again, when has he ever made any sense? This is the same man who endorsed Jeb Bush for governor and then lambastes President Bush for judicial appointments that he deems too far to the right.

I suppose "W" hasn’t been as nice to Warshal as Jeb has. After all, "W" never appointed Warshal to anything – and Jeb has. "This [Warshal] is the same man who stood by as the chairman of Florida Atlantic University's Board of Trustees made self-advantageous business deals with the very university he was supposed to be overseeing."

Warshal's endorsement is an embarrassment to the Jewish Journal and its readers. Hopefully, it will be the last time we will have to be subjected to his personal biases and self-interest in a political campaign.

The only smear being perpetrated here is the one Warshal is perpetrating on Deutsch. Let's hope his readers are smart enough to read through Warshal’s selfish ranting and vote for the best candidate – not against one simply because Warshal has an ax to grind.

by Neal Heller

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Aprill Turner
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