Politics
A woman helps to carry a banner at the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York, Sunday, June 5, 2011.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) A woman helps to carry a banner at the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York, Sunday, June 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  

Democrats fighting not to lose Jewish voters

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

The White House is pushing back against predictions that President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy will prompt many voters in the Jewish community to switch their vote to the GOP nominee in 2012.

“The president will do very well with Jewish Americans,” said Robert Wexler, a former Democratic representative from Florida.

“I don’t know if it will be 72 percent or 75 percent … [but] it will be a vast majority,” said Wexler, who now is the president of the Washington-based S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace.

The Democrats’ push-back features Wexler, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Alan Solow, a Chicago lawyer and Obama’s earliest and most prominent supporter in the Jewish community. The White House has joined the effort by posting a new page at the White House’s site titled, “President Obama: Advancing Israel’s Security and Supporting Peace.”

The push-back “is multifaceted through discussions on TV, speaking to Jewish organizations, though op-eds,” Wexler told TheDC. “All of these people are close friends and close associates and work with each other in a regular way,” he said.

The push-back follows the controversy over the president’s May 19 proposal to solve the 63-year-long struggle by Israel to win recognition and peace from the surrounding Arab states. In his speech, he said the United States wanted the parties to accept a border based on the 1967 truce lines, with some mutually-agreed swaps of territory.

The speech generated much opposition from Israel’s supporters, because it largely accepted a Palestinian negotiating position, and because it ignored the underlying disputes, such as the control of important sites in and around Israel’s capital of Jerusalem.

“1967 lines with agreed swaps means you’re saying to Israel that ‘You think you have the Western Wall [of the ancient Jewish temple in Jerusalem] as part of Israel, but we don’t … [and] you need to come up with some swaps that that Palestinians believe acceptable to keep the Western Wall in Israel,’” said Elliott Abrams, at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The deeper disputes include many Arabs’ reluctance to recognize a Jewish state on territory once ruled by Muslims, and many Arabs’ demand that Israel accept the return of the Arab community that fled during the Arab invasion of Israel in 1948. Fewer than one million Arabs fled in 1948, but they and their descendants now number between 4.5 million and 7.2 million.

The population of Israel comprises 5.8 million Jews and 1.6 million Arabs. The political dispute is especially sharp-edged because Palestinian-Arab groups celebrate the killing of many Israelis civilians, including a family of two adults and two children that were stabbed in the town of Itamar.

Obama’s speech showed his hostility to Israel, and prompted many American Jews to back away from Obama, or even to shift their support to the GOP, according to several board members at the Republican Jewish Coalition.

“I’ve been surprised by the negative reaction,” said Brad Wine, an RJC board member and a lawyer at Dickstein Shapiro in Washington D.C. “We see Jewish opinion leaders openly critical of the president.”

GOP activists don’t claim Obama’s policies will shift a majority of that Jewish vote, which went lopsidedly for Obama in 2008, by 78 percent to 21 percent. But a slice of that vote — mostly male or Orthodox — is more willing to walk away from their community’s traditional support for Democrats, said Jews who affiliate with the GOP.

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  • FromMissouri2

    I remember as a young man,in the Navy, stopping in Israel. I remember thinking that it was amazing, how alive, vibrant, and green it was even though the land really looked like a desert to me. I remember thinking, these people must really work hard to make this country liveable. Now, I see the relatives of those people, in the U.S., voting for liberals, up and down the line. They vote liberal whether it’s dog catcher or president. I have to ask why? I can only conclude that the Jews of America do not know Israel and they only know liberalism. Like Rush Limbaugh said, they are always liberals first and Jewish second. Unfortunately, those two do not mix.

  • JOEL714

    THE WORST PART OF THE MYTH OF JEWISH INTELLECT IS THAT THE OBAMA SUPPORTERS, THAT ARE JEWS, WILL STILL SUPPORT HIM AND VOTE FOR HIM AGAIN—IN SPITE OF HIS TURNING HIS BACK ON ISRAEL, AND ALL BUT ADMITTING HE IS A MUSLIM OR A MUSLIM LOVER./

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  • loneranger

    Confession of a middle aged Jew. My parents were democrats, so was I with no other reason … until homosexuality touched my family. In the course of events to follow, it was dismayng to find the damage done by the liberal left. Every day the indoctrination of youth to sex and drugs. Kids are not given a chance to live as kids. This goes back to the 60′s – sex and drugs hav been a tool of the left for fifty years and it worked. It pulls kids from their families and religion.

    If you are Jewish and “liberal”, study your Torah and think a second time. Visit http://www.prageru.com (Dennis Prager University), take a few five minute classe and the test ‘ARE YOU A LIBERAL”.

    Us Baby Boomers must take some time to clean up the mess we created before it is too late.

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  • truebearing

    Why a group as blessed with the talent and intelligence that the Jewish people have evinced throughout the course of human history, would continue to ally themselves with the Progressives is beyond me. It surpasseth all human understanding that after centuries of persecution, the Jews would voluntarily choose to support those who are their obvious enemies.

    Obama is friends with Reverend Wright, a vicious anti-Semite. He is also friends with Farrakhan, a Muslim leader with a Nazi-like intensity of hatred toward Jews. Obama is friendly with radical Muslims, all of whom want Israel wiped out. obama is a card carrying member of the left, which is decidedly anti-semitic. He has attempted to throw Israel under the bus repeatedly, and has undercut them both by his actions and inactions.

    If ANY Jew supports Obama this election it is incomprehensible to me, and my incredulity will be no less than if I saw a “Jews for Nazis” sign (and it wasn’t funded by Soros).

    • HoosYoDaddy

      Exactly. Why would any Jew, or any freedom-loving American, support the first POTUS, or the party, that is precipitating the demise of Israel- the only real democracy, and our only ally, in the region? Great question, with no good or reasonable answer.

    • JOEL714

      THE MERE FACT THAT SO MANY -79% OF- JEWS VOTED FOR OBAMA IS PROOF POSITIVE THAT THE MYTH OF JEWISH SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE IS A LIE. JEWS ARE AS STUPID AND AS GULLIBLE AS THE REDNECK FROM GEORGIA OR THE POOR BLACKS OF OUR GHETTOS.
      THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS FELL FOR THE LIES AND DECEIT OF THIS “MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE” AND OUR COUNTRY IS NOW PAYING A TERRIBLE PRICE FOR OUR COLLECTIVE IGNORANCE.