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Why I’m Voting for Romney

The Republican’s vision—based on choice and dignity, not dependence—is why Jews should support him

Shmuley Boteach
November 05, 2012
Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign rally in Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 31, 2012.(Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign rally in Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 31, 2012.(Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

As an observant Jew, I offer a prayer to God every morning that my daily bread comes through his beneficence and not a human hand so that I might retain my dignity. This is the clearest reason to support Mitt Romney’s vision for the country over that of Barack Obama. The president is a well-intentioned man who wants the best for the American people, but his insistence on big government—encouraging dependence on entitlements rather than the opposite—is slowly robbing Americans of initiative, entrepreneurship, and the dignity that comes from self-sufficiency.

The same man who quoted Maimonides earlier this year at the national prayer breakfast, saying that the highest form of charity is to empower a man to feed his own family with a trade, has punished job creators with higher taxes and has demonized success. The result is 44 months of unemployment at about 8 percent. When it comes to paying for groceries, the 13 million people that Obama has added to the euphemistic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would much rather pull out dollars than a food-stamp card at the check-out counter. The government must take care of the needy, but it should do so while giving the poor tools to become independent and prosperous.

Then there are vouchers. Obama has fought hard against the Republican Congress on vouchers, denying parents the fundamental right to choose schools for their kids. It’s a right Obama himself exercises as a millionaire who sends his children to one of the best prep schools in the nation, even as he opposes the right of low-income African-American parents in his city to do the same. School choice is an especially pressing issue for the Jewish community, as we are a nonproselytizing faith that depends on our birth rate for survival. Because Obama opposes funding to even the secular departments of parochial schools, Jewish parents are having fewer children as they struggle to pay high property taxes and extremely high tuition fees.

The problems with Obama aren’t just domestic. In the presidential debate that focused on foreign policy there was only one candidate who called for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be indicted for incitement to genocide against the Jewish people. It certainly wasn’t President Obama, who has stood by as the Iranian mullahs threaten to wipe Israel off the map. Now, they are four years closer to that goal.

Judaism is emphatic: “Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16). But President Obama waited nine days to condemn the Iranian regime for slaughtering its own people in June 2009, when Iranians took to the street to protest their government. Obama has spoken often of his admiration for Martin Luther King Jr., the man whom I consider to have been the greatest American of the 20th century. But his foreign policy seems much closer to the realpolitik of Henry Kissinger than the freedom-for-all agenda King would have surely championed.

To this, Obama supporters will say that the sanctions against Iran are the strongest against any regime ever; that oil production is down; and that the rial has cratered. But one need only look at North Korea, where Kim Jong Il decided that the only thing that would keep his family in power is nuclear weapons—never mind if the people starve. We’re seeing the same happen in Iran right now. The IAEA recently reported that enrichment of uranium is increasing, and by some accounts Iran is just months away from a bomb. Gen. James Mattis, Commander of U.S. Central Command, has requested that a third carrier group be sent to the Persian Gulf to show that U.S. military threats are serious. He has thus far been denied.

But the most distressing foreign-policy issue is Israel, on which Obama has simply been an unreliable friend. He arrived in office and immediately demanded a total freeze of Israeli settlements, even for natural growth, putting unilateral pressure on Israel for the stalled peace process rather than Hamas and Hezbollah. In Cairo in June 2009, the president analogized the Holocaust to Arab dislocation that resulted from Israel’s creation in 1948. “The Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. … On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people—Muslims and Christians—have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.”

In March 2010 he humiliated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, refusing a photo-op with him and then instructing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to dress down the prime minister and leak it to the media. Even Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer threatened to “blast” the administration if the State Department did not back down from its “terrible” rebuke of Netanyahu. “This has to stop,” he said.

He’s right. A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for a United States that recognizes Israel as its foremost ally and friend.


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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the founder of The World Values Network and the author of 31 books. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the founder of The World Values Network and the author of 31 books. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.