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Friday, March 26, 2010

Will the Jews hold Obama accountable?

Now that President Obama's visceral hatred for Israel is out in the open, the real question is whether American Jewry and Jewish organizations will hold the President liable in 2012 (and even in the midterm elections in 2010). Here are a couple of comments addressing that issue.

Jonathan Tobin:
This White House’s cold shoulder to Netanyahu may be just an act of symbolism but not even the most shameless Obama apologist can pretend that it was anything but an indication of the president’s hostility. When the first president Bush used the occasion of an AIPAC conference in Washington in 1991 to show his contempt for Israel, even Jewish Republicans were aghast. Many deserted him at the next election — the GOP’s share of the Jewish vote dropped to a record low in 1992. The question for Jewish Democrats and other liberal friends of Israel is whether they are prepared to hold Barack Obama accountable in the same fashion.
Jennifer Rubin:
This AP story is headlined “Obama risks alienating Jewish voters?” What’s missing is any evidence that this has yet happened or that Jewish Democrats are prepared to withhold support, financial and otherwise, from Obama. Off-year elections are a poor proxy for foreign-policy sentiments, except in extreme cases. (2006, at the height of the anti-Iraq-war sentiment, was the exception that proves the rule.) But certainly there will be Senate races in which the administration’s policies on Iran and the Palestinian conflict are prominent. However, the definitive answer as to whether American Jews will actually withhold their votes and campaign dollars from Obama will have to await the 2012 election cycle.

In the meantime, the question remains whether the push back we’ve seen over the last two weeks on the Obami’s Jerusalem housing gambit will continue, and how prominent Jewish organizations will react when, as we suspect will be the case, Obama’s effort on sanctions on Iran proves to be far less robust than advertised. This week AIPAC set the bar fairly high — reminding the administration that “Jerusalem is not a settlement,” making it clear that the bully-boy routine needed to stop, and urging those crippling sanctions. If that is not forthcoming, its members and the larger Jewish community will need to make some choices. The credibility and continued relevance of major Jewish organizations depend on holding the administration accountable.
Yours truly:

My guess is that most American Jews will still vote for Obama although the percentage will drop and not be as high as it was in 2008. Recall that despite Jimmy Carter's unabashed hostility to Israel, he still won a plurality of the Jewish vote in the 1980 election, and probably would have won a majority but for the third party candidacy of John Anderson. If the Republican nominee is Huckabee or Palin, all the Leftist Jews who fear the word "Christian" will run right back into the Obama camp. If it's someone else (maybe even Romney), there is some chance of siphoning off some Jewish votes.

Israel may play prominently in this year's races - California Senate comes to mind. If Fiorina beats out Campbell, I believe she can pick up a substantial number of Jewish votes (honestly, if Campbell wins, I think even I would vote for Boxer).

As to Jewish organizations, I think you'll see a split between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox groups, with the Orthodox groups voting more Republican (and maybe getting more Modern Orthodox Jews to do the same), and with Conservative and Reform still staying with the Democrats.

One wild card: If God forbid Iran attacks Israel before 2012 and Obama just lets it happen, all bets are off.


At 1:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with this article almost completely, except I would still vote for Campbell. Even bad Republican Senator will support Republican leadership and weaken our main enemy Obama, who can damage both US and Israel way more than any Senator.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

No they will not. We successfully proved already that we are stupid all way to the oven. Only brainless Jews could vote for the friend of Farrakhan and parishioner of Wright.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Liberal American Jews are a lost cause. They won't abandon the One any more than they abandoned Jimmy Carter. Israel's sovereignty, security and survival isn't on the top of their list of concerns. The sole reason America has not completely written off Israel is its Christian Right. If America didn't have it, I suspect America's attitude towards Israel would be no different in principle than Europe's attitude is towards the Jewish State.

American Jews are not going to punish Obama for anti-Israel policies. The much feared Jewish Lobby in America is pure fiction.

At 4:26 PM, Blogger g2loq said...

... One wild card: If God forbid Iran attacks Israel before 2012 and Obama just lets it happen, all bets are off...

Once the unthinkable happens they might change their

Twilight Zone. Maybe it is better to stay away from such people ...

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl.
If most Jews would vote again for Obama then they have their heads and brains burried in the sand.
Haven't they learned anything from history ?
Just running along in the line doesn't stop people of killing them.

At 7:51 PM, Blogger ryanshaunkelly said...

mossada bin laden
president carter
regime change

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Findalis said...

In 1980 my mother (of blessed memory) refused to vote for Carter, Reagan or Anderson. She voted for Mickey Mouse instead. Thus giving Reagan the win without voting for him.

In 2012 Jews in the US just might do that again.

At 11:59 PM, Blogger wedgewood said...

Having trouble wrapping my head around jewish support of this pres whose support of Israel seems questionable, at the very least; yet Pres GWB, whose support of Israel appeared unwavering, was (and continues to be) despised by jews. Can anyone explain (to this non jewish, non Obama supporter)?



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