Blame the Jews.

“Off to Florida!”

That’s what humorist Sarah Silverman, above, says she’s going to do if Barack Obama doesn’t become the next president of the United States. It’s all caught on tape in the racially prickly, mildly NSFW political promo, The Great Schlep. Schlep is an effort by, itself a project of the Jewish Council for Education & Research (JCER).

Its noble ends? “The Great Schlep aims to have Jewish grandchildren visit their grandparents in Florida, educate them about Obama, and therefore swing the crucial Florida vote in his favor.”

“Come to Grandma.”(Schlep, for non-Yiddish speakers, means to carry, or drag. So, the idea, as the stylish logo, right, may indicate, is that young Jews from across the nation—moving by plane, train, and automobile—congregate en masse in Florida, between now and Election Day, and persuade their oldest living ancestors to vote for Obama.)


This is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard.

I mean, first of all, why Florida, as opposed to any other state, and why does the geriatric Sephardic demographic require a special effort, of this unique kind: one made by, of all people, their own grandkids?

Quick: What was the name of James Evans’ wife on *Good Times*?Well, the first question’s easy: Florida, right, is a huge swing state, one that Obama wants very badly and needs even more in order to win. (Did you see how quickly he announced to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) his unlimited, almost flamboyant support of their client, the moment it was clear he had the Democratic nod?) Jewish voters are fully 5% of the FL electorate, and as JewsVote/JCER’s co-executive directors, Mik Moore and Ari Wallach, say on their web site, “In certain swing states, Jewish votes can make a significant difference between victory and defeat.”

Florida is definitely one of those states. But you’d think, all things considered, it’d be Obama’s for the taking. As Moore and Wallach also point out, historically, Jews overwhelmingly support progressive U.S. candidates.

Between 1924 and 2004, Jews have given their vote to the more progressive candidates at an average rate of 76 percent. In fact, none of the more conservative candidates has ever mustered more than 40 percent of the Jewish vote, while more than half received less than 20 percent.

“I approve this message.”But if true, then, as Moore and Wallach themselves remind, “Given this history, why is Barack Obama hovering at 60 percent of the Jewish vote, according to three separate polls?”

Yes: Why, exactly?

Is this all the product of a highly effective rumor campaign, spread through Jewish networks often by well-meaning individuals concerned that they information they received was true? Or is there something more?

The goal of 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.

Yeah, perhaps, but to quote Joe Biden, “If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a solution.”

In other words, at this, the critical juncture in their arguement, they don’t answer the question, but blandly talk around the issue. They don’t even give the answer that radical, anti-Jewish screed, The New York Times, delivered last May, in the form of a dialogue between two Jewish senior citizens, below, from Boynton Beach:

Keepin’ it real?

At the Aberdeen Golf and Country Club on Sunday, the fountains were burbling, the man-made lakes were shining, and Shirley Weitz [right] and Ruth Grossman [left] were debating why Jews in this gated neighborhood of airy retirement homes feel so much trepidation about Senator Barack Obama.“The people here, liberal people, will not vote for Obama because of his attitude towards Israel,” Ms. Weitz, 83, said, lingering over brunch.

“They’re going to vote for McCain,” she said.

Ms. Grossman, 80, agreed with her friend’s conclusion, but not her reasoning.

“They’ll pick on the minister thing, they’ll pick on the wife, but the major issue is color,” she said, quietly fingering a coffee cup. Ms. Grossman said she was thinking of voting for Mr. Obama, who is leading in the delegate count for the nomination, as was Ms. Weitz.

But Ms. Grossman does not tell the neighbors. “I keep my mouth shut,” she said.

Neither one of these women will likely vote for Obama, despite admitting that they are “thinking” of it. In other words, it’s a sham. Indeed, in polling science, an obsession that the neighbors will be voting against a Black candidate is, typically, a strong sign that those so fixated are expecting to do so, actually. (It’s the voting equivalent of, “Doctor, I have this (air quotes) FRIEND who thinks she’s contracted an STD….”)

Yet these women, particularly Grossman, are actually the people being most direct about what’s being withheld from Obama, by affirming that a massive race tax has been exacted, invisibly, from his candidacy.

Meanwhile, JewsVote posits “a highly effective rumor campaign” as the culprit, and hopes “to find out what is unsettling so many people in our community” about Obama.

We are the world!Keep looking, bud. Even Silverman, the Schlep host, never admits that these old people she seeks to placate may simply be racists. And though imbued with a spirit of supposed racial openness that marks her humor, she rarely fails to offend African-American audiences in the entertainment of white ones.

In fact, she parodies this very detail in The Great Schlep, above, when she notes aloud that, among others, one quality young Black males and elderly Jewish women have in common is that “all their friends are dying.” (The comment causes the African-American actor to walk off the set in scripted outrage.) But that we’re all in on the “joke,” I’m guessing, is an aspect of the self-referentialism that ostensibly makes it funny. Right. Tell it to Barack Obama.



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