President Barack Obama spoke with rabbis from across the country in advance of Rosh Hashanah and said that
When it comes to the unshakable commitment to Israel's security, we've taken a clear stand, and the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding constitutes the single largest pledge of military assistance in U.S. history to any country, totaling $38 billion over 10 years.
I made a commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and because of our principled diplomacy, every pathway to a nuclear weapon is now closed off. Iran has dismantled two-thirds of its installed centrifuges, shipped out 98 percent of its enriched uranium, rendered its plutonium reactor core unusable, and adopted the most comprehensive nuclear inspection ever.
President Obama has every right to be proud of what he has accomplished.
Hillary Clinton also spoke with Jewish supporters before Rosh Hashanah, and noted that in her meeting earlier in the week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she had told him that she would always "stand up for Israel’s security and continue to work for peace."
The Arizona Republic endorsed Hillary Clinton. Since its founding in 1890, the Arizona Republic has never endorsed a Democrat over a Republican for president. But it is endorsing Hillary because "the 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified."
The Chicago Sun-Times endorsed Hillary, pointing out that a "vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, a man who could not even pass a basic world geography test, is not a principled protest gesture."
The memory of Shimon Peres will be a blessing. Not even President Obama's harshest critics, not even the people who use a stopwatch to time how quickly the White House reacts to every tragedy, would have blamed President Obama for not ordering the flag to be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for Shimon Peres. But he did.
The presidential delegation attending the funeral of Shimon Peres included two Chicagoans, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Alan Solow, former President of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.
President Obama delivered a remarkable eulogy of Shimon Peres. Read it, but better yet, watch it--it will move and inspire you. I'm tempted to quote from the President's eulogy, but the entire eulogy (it's not that long) is a highlight. If you don't have 20 minutes to watch it, take a few minutes to read it.
And if you have only six minutes, watch this beautiful eulogy from Amos Oz.
Prior to the funeral, Bill and Hillary Clinton said that Peres:
was a genius with a big heart who used his gifts to imagine a future of reconciliation not conflict, economic and social empowerment not anger and frustration, and a nation, a region, and a world enhanced by caring and sharing, not torn asunder by the illusions of permanent dominance and perfect truth. His critics called him a dreamer. That he was - a lucid, eloquent dreamer until the very end. Thank goodness. Let those of us who loved him and love his nation keep his dream alive.
How will history judge Shimon Peres? Gershom Gorenberg writes that
If Israel finally resumes reconciliation with the Palestinians, the Oslo accords will deservedly be remembered as where it all started, and Peres as the man who was ahead of his time. If not, Peres will deservedly be remembered as one of the architects of the Israeli settlement project that led to one form or another of a one-state nightmare between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.
The one certain legacy that Peres leaves is the ability to reinvent himself, to look forward and come up with something grand and new to accomplish, for the joy of it and because he didn't feel bound by the past. If Israel follows that example, there's hope to complete the task of peacemaking that he left unfinished.
My guess is that history will judge Peres favorably for stopping Netanyahu from striking Iran.