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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Obama's problems on Israel are substantive

A very lengthy piece by Allison Hoffman at the Tablet tries to convince us all that President Obama's problems with American Jews - mainly over Israel - can be solved with a bunch of platitudes. Here's her conclusion:
This, ultimately, will be how Obama will win the Jews: not with lawyerly responses and tactical reasoning, but by matching the emotional appeal his opponents are trafficking in with the same kind of uplift that carried him to the White House in the first place. “You’re three years into the administration, and that’s a little different than having proffered a governing theory over the last three years,” said Lehane, a Democratic strategist who worked for both Bill Clinton and Al Gore. “But,” he went on, “this guy has unique skills. The elements he needs to create the message exist.”
Tevi Troy disagrees.
The argument is flawed on several fronts. I don’t doubt that Obama has Jewish friends, but this has not made his Israel policies any more palatable. As for the notion of a whisper campaign, it seems to me that Republicans have been shouting their concerns about Obama and Israel from the rooftops. Nobody seems to be whispering, not the Emergency Committee for Israel, not the Republican Jewish Coalition, not Dan Senor, nor any of the dozens of writers and analysts who have made the case that Obama has exhibited a certain coldness towards Israel and towards Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Debbie Wasserman Schultz seems to be leading the bury-your-head-in-the-sand brigade when she says that “To the extent we have a problem, it’s being created by individuals who . . . are attempting to mischaracterize, distort, and lie about the president’s record.” There is no need to “distort” or “mischaracterize” Obama’s problematic record on Israel. Dan Senor gave the best short summary of the argument in the Wall Street Journal in September, and it is as yet unrefuted in a serious way. Obama and his team can denounce their critics and trot out a host of liberal Jews to say what a great guy he is, but that will not change the fact that many in the pro-Israel community, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, recognize the problem and will be willing to vote accordingly in November.
Obama's record on Israel is highly problematic, and we can only hope that he will be hammered for it at the polls next November. But realistically, 30% of the Jewish vote for a Republican candidate would be a great showing. It also may be enough to win.

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At 1:40 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

Obama should remember one thing: New York 9th.

At 3:39 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

senor's column was good, but his intermarriage undermines his credibility


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