It was the Thomas luncheon and the J Street endorsement that drew Dershowitz into the race -- to endorse a Republican against a Democrat for the first time in his life. (He has endorsed Republicans in primaries against other GOP candidates.)New Zealand Jews are planning to fight for shechitah.
"I'm nervous about why she had Helen Thomas," the Harvard law professor and best-selling author told JTA. “Even before Thomas revealed herself as a bigot, everyone knew she was virulently anti-Israel."
Dershowitz said J Street's "enthusiastic" support for Schakowsky also made him nervous. The outspoken advocate for Israel has clashed with J Street in the past, saying it should promote its dovish policies within existing pro-Israel structures rather than making such disagreements public.
Much more of a consideration for Dershowitz, however, was Pollak's status as a former student and assistant.
"He was one of the best researchers I ever had," Dershowitz said. "He is a brilliant young man who has an important future."
Dershowitz said Pollak helped him research his responses to Israel critiques by former President Jimmy Carter and Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer.
Dershowitz headlined a sold-out lunch for Pollak that packed a room with more than 200 people and brought in $30,000 for the candidate.
On the same day, J Street ran an online fund-raiser asking followers if they were "itching to send Dershowitz a message." The campaign raised $35,000 for Schakowsky.
Schakowsky acknowledged that her relationship with J Street and her closeness to President Obama -- she was one of the first lawmakers to endorse him -- created opportunities for Pollak in a Jewish community that has been made nervous by disagreements between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"I am a supporter of the president. That doesn't mean on every aspect or everything he does I might not have a nuanced difference," she said, specifying Israel as an example.
Schakowsky said that at a recent closed meeting between Obama and Jewish Congress members, she and others raised "all the kinds of things we hear in the community."
Six Jewish leaders were granted a 30-minute meeting a week ago with Prime Minister John Key, the son of a Jewish refugee, to discuss the fallout from the May 27 decision to outlaw kosher slaughter, or shechitah. The meeting in Auckland concluded with the delegation informing Key, who does not practice Judaism, that the small Jewish community would be left with “no option” but to take legal action “if there was no solution forthcoming.”Personally, I find this sickening. You cannot just take Israel out of Judaism. Israel has always been apart of the Jewish identity.
The prime minister “acknowledged that this may be the only course open to us,” New Zealand Jewish Council chair Geoff Levy said in a statement.
It now appears likely that Key will face a potentially embarrassing legal showdown that has been described as a test case for shechitah.
Really, Louis Farrakahn?
Abraham Foxman, ADL's national director, received a copy of the letter and the books.
"Never, in our more than 20 years of following Minister Louis Farrakhan, have we seen him so obsessively devoted to his hate crusade against Jews," Foxman said. "His anti-Semitism is obsessive, diabolical and unrestrained. He has opened a new chapter in his ministry, where scapegoating Jews is not just part of a message but the message.
"Dialogue does not begin with bigoted accusations. Farrakhan's call for dialogue with Jews is so outrageous and disingenuous that you can't believe anyone would take him seriously."
In a news release, the ADL pointed out that Farrakhan, in an address to followers in Atlanta on June 26, announced that he had sent the book to the media and members of the Obama administration.