The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

August 28, 2012

Jewish student says president snubs Israel

Struggling to survive each day in a sea of hostility, tiny Israel not only faces enemies bent on her destruction but an American president who snubs the nation, says a young Jewish student attending the Republican National Convention as a West Virginia delegate.

On an issue much closer to home, Joseph Strauss says President Obama has also displayed disdain for West Virginia’s bedrock industry — coal — and that Mitt Romney will have to start from day one to undo the damage by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Israel is a real example of good in a bad spot of the world,” Strauss, an alternate delegate, said Monday, as he and fellow Republicans took a one-day recess to let Tropical Storm Isaac vent his fury elsewhere.

“It’s a true, thriving democracy, an unbelievably growing and prosperous population of Jews, Muslims and Christians, all living within the boundaries of a Jewish state, if you will.”

Strauss said there are “millions of examples” where Israelis have succeeded and Americans have failed for various reasons.

“They project an image of fairness and democracy,” the humanities major at Bluefield State said.

“As you know, they are constantly villainized in the media. The idea is portrayed in ways that are completely uncharacteristic of the people who make it up. This is a country that is surrounded by people who want to see them literally wiped off the face of the earth and announce that weekly in news conferences.”

Strauss sees Israel as “a bastion of hope in a very hopeless region.”

Medical advances have proliferated in that nation, and Israel was the first to produce cell phones, while the nation has excelled in other realms of technology, as well, he said.

“They do a lot of charitable work for northern Africa and other places in the world,” the delegate said.

In fact, he said, when an earthquake devastated Haiti, it was Israel that first leaped into the chaos with assistance.

“Obama is not a friend of Israel,” Strauss said, emphasizing any image to the contrary is false.

“It is a real slap in the face of the American people and people who support Israel.”

Obama’s first visit to the Middle East came in a trip to Egypt, where he promptly condemned the settlements in Israel, Strauss said.

“His administration does very detrimental things to Israel,” he said.

“They leak frequently information pending on Israeli military strikes on Iran, etc., which puts Israel in a bad position.”

When Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the White House, the delegate said, the Obama administration regarded the Israeli prime minister “essentially as a second-class citizen.”

“His Jewish delegation was served nonkosher food,” Strauss said. “They had to come in through a side door. It was just not good treatment at all. Obama just doesn’t have a history of being pro-Israel. Mitt Romney, by default, would be a better candidate.

“I can’t speak for what Mitt Romney will do for Israel. I hope he’ll do the good things. I can’t imagine he’s a bald-faced liar when he says that Israel is our No. 1 ally, that Jerusalem is the capital. When he goes out and campaigns on very pro-Israel stances, I find that to be a good foundation for a good start with Israel.”

On the domestic front, the head of two West Virginia groups — Young Professionals for Mitt Romney and Students for Romney — said the Republican nominee will provide “an instant boost” to West Virginia on the first day he sits in the Oval Office.

“He’ll have to undo some of the things that Obama has already done to make West Virginia a better place,” Strauss said.

“He’ll have to undo some of the regulations of the EPA, OSHA, etc. It will be hard work from day one to get West Virginia back where it needs to be to prosper.”

Romney is superior to Obama, given his understanding of small business, the principles of supply and demand, and the abundance of clean coal that West Virginia is capable of producing, he said.

“He understands the nature of how West Virginians get their power and how you just don’t shut down power plants,” Strauss said.

If Obama and his EPA had another four years in power, they would be unrestrained, given their track record of detriment to West Virginia’s economy, he said.

“The entire West Virginia economy already suffers because of faulty science and agendas,” Strauss said.

In fact, he said, Obama is “an across the board failure” in every aspect of the running the country.

Strauss grew up in south Florida and is familiar with the hurricane season. His father purchased a farm in West Virginia in the early 1980s, allowing him to spend much time in the region as a youngster. So, when the time came, Strauss decided to attend college in the Mountain State and live on the farm in Peterstown. Eventually, he hopes to attend law school at the University of Miami.

Isaac appeared to be tracking along the Gulf Coast, but as a precaution and a reluctance to put delegates in shuttle buses, Monday’s event was called off.

“The weather is looking up,” Strauss said.

“We’re praying for everyone on the Gulf Coast — northern Florida, Mississippi and Alabama, and everywhere else. Everything looks to be good here.”

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