Democratic senior statesman Ed Koch says Israel is facing its “most dangerous and critical period” and he is ready to break with his party in the next presidential election over President Obama’s policies on the Middle East.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, the former New York City mayor said, “Mitt Romney correctly summed it up when he said that President Obama has once again thrown Israel under the bus.
“I believe this is the most dangerous and critical period that Israel has ever faced and regrettably it does not have the support of the President of the United States, which in past difficult situations it could count on.”
Koch, who crossed party lines to support President George W. Bush against John Kerry in 2004 due to his foreign policy stance, said he would do it again. All it would take is the right candidate.
“I’m a Democrat. I support the Democratic domestic philosophy and policies and will always be supportive of them,” said Koch, mayor of America’s largest city from 1978-89. “But I have no hesitation in crossing party lines when I think America’s interests demand that I cross party lines.
“I supported President Obama, believing he would be good on foreign policy, particularly with respect to the support of Israel. It turned out badly.”
But 86-year-old Koch said that no “decent” Republican candidate has yet come forward – “their efforts to privatize social security and Medicare and Medicaid absolutely turn me off,” he said.
“Now if a Republican candidate were to appear who was good on Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid and support of Israel, I wouldn’t hesitate to cross party lines.”
Koch was speaking in the light of Obama’s Thursday speech on the Middle East in which the President called for a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine gridlock with borders that were in place before 1967.
Koch said he believes the president took the position because “he thinks it’s more important that America have the support of the Arab nations as opposed to the support of what we heretofore have said was our ally in the Mideast – the only democratic state there.”
But he said he has doubts that the speech will affect the support that Jewish voters have traditionally given Democratic presidential candidates.
“Regrettably the Jewish vote has been tied to the Democratic Party since FDR. No matter who’s running for president, many Jews think it’s still FDR.
“That’s been harmful to the Jewish community supporting the State of Israel.”