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Friday, October 29, 2010

Can Joel Pollak win?

Shmuel Rosner spent some time on Wednesday with the Joel Pollak campaign in Skokie, Illinois. You will recall that Pollak is running against J Street Jan. Here are some of Shmuel's impressions.
6. There was also consensus in the room that the voters of the Jewish community were “wrong to be one Party supporters”, as rabbi Weisberg, leader of To Protect our Heritage Pac explained. The pac had recently endorsed Pollak, after an evening with the two candidates in which both answered questions about the US-Israel alliance. Some people believe this was a major victory for Pollak – others believe this was obvious that Pollak will be the one getting the endorsement. Doesn’t matter. There were quite a few Democrats in the room, and they agreed with rabbi Weisberg that it is time for Jews not to be afraid to split their votes between the parties when necessary. No wonder that Tevi Troy had made Pollak an example of possible change in the community in his recent Politico article about Jews moving rightward:


7. Pollak wants to win and believes he has a chance. But what if he doesn’t win? Naturally, this isn’t a good time to ask this question. But here’s what I think he’ll say in case he looses: We sent a message, we made clear that actions have consequences, Schakowsky now knows that people are watching her every move on Israel and are ready to challenge her if she doesn’t show that support they expect from her.

8. Of course, if Schakowsky wins J Street will take credit for her victory. It will be annoying, but understandable. Picking the right battles to support is one way of making sure that one is perceived as influential.

9. If she looses they can always say this was a bad year for Democrats – also true. However, in this case, no one will be able to ignore the specific message related to Israel. If Schakowsky looses it will be about the economy, and jobs, and Obama, and bad-year-for-Democrats, but it will also be about Israel. And it will add to the mountain of evidence showing that Jewish Americans are indeed uncomfortable with the policies of the Obama administration.
My own feeling is that Joel Pollak has a chance to win. Those of you who vote in Illinois 09 should go out and vote for him.


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