Oy Vey, Obama: Prez Losing Jewish Support (Finally)


obama-jewishCharles M. Blow writes in the NY Times: Is President Obama good for the Jews? For more and more Jewish-Americans, the answer is no. In a Pew Research Center report issued on Thursday and entitled “Growing Number of Americans Say Obama Is a Muslim,” there was another bit of bad news for Obama: the number of Jews who identify as Republican or as independents who lean Republican has increased by more than half since the year he was elected. At 33 percent it now stands at the highest level since the data have been kept. In 2008, the ratio of Democratic Jews to Republican Jews was far more than three to one. Now it’s less than two to one.This is no doubt a reaction, at least in part, to the Obama administration having taken a hard rhetorical stance with Israel, while taking “special time and care on our relationship with the Muslim world,” as Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, put it in June. If that sounds like courtship, it is.

(It should be noted that the Pew poll was taken before Obama’s bold support for the right of Muslims to build a community center and mosque a few blocks north of ground zero.)

Some of the president’s most ardent critics and some of Israel’s staunchest American defenders – two groups that are by no means mutually exclusive – have seized on what they see as the administration’s unfair and unbalanced treatment of Israel and have taken their denunciations to the extremes.

In September 2009, Obama went before the United Nations and declared, “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” It was a line that the president had used a few months earlier in a speech in Cairo, but this time it threw critics into a tizzy. John Bolton, an ambassador to the United Nations during George W. Bush’s administration, responded: “This is the most radical anti-Israel speech I can recall any president making.”

In March, while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting, Israel announced it would move ahead with plans to build housing in East Jerusalem. The administration was not amused. Biden condemned the decision as undermining “the trust that we need right now” in order to have profitable negotiations.

In other words, “You announce this now? You can’t be serious!”

In April, after President Obama urged Israel to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Representative Eric Cantor, the House minority whip and the lone Jewish Republican in the chamber, lashed out: “The administration’s troubling policy of manufacturing fights with Israel to ingratiate itself with some in the Arab world is no way to advance the cause of Mideast peace.”

And, the Gaza flotilla incident in May that left nine people dead and drew international condemnation of Israeli tactics only added to the tensions.

The White House, feeling pressure over the developing rift, sought to mend fences in May through a series of meetings and statements, but as Helene Cooper reported in The Times, “It remains unclear whether Mr. Obama’s latest outreach will reassure American Jews and the general public in Israel, where Mr. Obama’s approval ratings have plummeted.” And, it’s still foggy.

When the president met in July at the White House with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he stressed the United States’ unwavering support for Israel and his commitment to the “special bond” between the two nations.

Still that was not enough to quell the cries of those like Representative Mike Pence, the Republican Conference chairman who earlier this month told the Christian Broadcasting Network, “I believe the Obama administration is the most anti-Israel administration in the modern history of the state of Israel and our relationship with her.” The more extreme the statement the better I guess.

Fair or not, these criticisms are crystallizing into a shared belief among many: Obama is burning bridges with the Jewish community in order to build bridges to the Muslim world.

There is very little independent polling, aside from Pew’s party identification polling, to help us understand how American Jews see the president, his stance toward Israel and the political implications. So in that vacuum, pollsters with partisan leanings have been spinning their findings like dreidels.

In April, the Republican polling firm McLaughlin & Associates released a survey that they said showed that only 42 percent of American Jews would vote to re-elect President Obama. He captured 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008.

Recently, the democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg and the Israel Project, a nonprofit in Washington, conducted a poll that they said found American support of Israel was dropping like a rock.

Wherever the truth lies, it is fair to say that it doesn’t bode well for Obama. While Jews are only 2 percent of the United States population, their influence outweighs their proportion. Furthermore, in crucial battleground states like Florida, their vote is critical. Obama won Florida by 3 percentage points in 2008. Jews represented 4 percent of the overall vote in that state.

As Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City, told Fox News in April, “I have been a supporter of President Obama and went to Florida for him, urged Jews all over the country to vote for him, saying that he would be just as good as John McCain on the security of Israel. I don’t think it’s true anymore.”

The president now has another, more visible chance to reverse this perception. On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that Israel and the Palestinians would resume peace talks in Washington early next month. The administration has to decide how heavy its hand will be in guiding these discussions and what its tone will be with the two parties – who gets the tough love and who gets the free love.

{NY Times}

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Welt’s take a look at what George Bush and Dick Cheney authored in their Roadmap and what George Bush re-affirmed at Annapolis

    If you recall, President GW Bush waited for the appointment of a Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas on March 19, 2003 after which on April 30, 2003 he proceeds to release the details of the Road Map he authors with Arab countires but without Israel. The Road Map calls for a Palestinian State by 2005 and no growth of settlements- not even natural growth in a settlement that would surely be retained by Israel in any final status agreement.
    ( direct quote from Road Map follows:)

    · ” Government Of Israel immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.
    “Government Of Israel freezes all settlement activity including natural growth of settlements.” (end quote )

    For the first time since 1967 an American President created as official American policy with Arabs signing on, the demand for Israel to not engage in settlement expansion ….EVEN NATURAL GROWTH. Less importantly, for the entire 8 years of the Bush /Cheney administration, with no Soviet Union around, continued the American government’s refusal to recognize even The Jewish Quarter as of equal status to the rest of Israel. Bush /Cheney refused to even move the American embassy to WEST Jerusalem.

    May 27, 2003, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says to the press: “I think the idea that it is possible to continue keeping 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation–yes it is occupation, you might not like the word, but what is happening is occupation–is bad for Israel, and bad for the Palestinians, and bad for the Israeli economy. Controlling 3.5 million Palestinians cannot go on forever. You want to remain in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem?”

  2. I can see the fact that jews are frustrated with obama but i really wonder if those who voted for him would turn around and actually vote republican.

  3. Thank you George Orwell for putting things in perspective. Those people who criticize Obama incessantly for his policies on Israel were most likely silent in criticizing Bush for what you detailed. Also, I think that reaching out to the Muslim world is appropriate given the fact that we need their support for fighting terrorism. It is expected of a president to be diplomatic and hear both sides. In principle, criticism of an ally’s actions will ultimately lead to a healthier relationship. CRITICISM OF ISRAELI POLICY DOES NOT MEAN ONE IS ANTI-ISRAEL. Similarly, criticism of Bush or Obama is not “anti-American”. Israel and the US are democracies. Criticism of governmental policy is expected and encouraged even between democracies. That said, I don’t agree with Obama on everything of course and he could stand to be a little more on Israel’s side but this article ignores positive aspects of Obama’s relationship with Israel like the recent military aid package and the fact that the US did not condemn the flotilla raid (one of the few countries not to). I seriously doubt that US-Israel relations have been or will be seriously shaken in the Obama era. I have heard some people criticize Obama for being too pro-Israel (a point not mentioned in the article). The point here is that whether you vote Republican or Democrat, you’ll probably end up getting less than you bargained for vis a vis Israel. What is clear is that there is a continuation of policy from one US administration to the next. While there are certain degrees of variance from one president to the next, there exists a basic framework that is not strayed from too far. Obama certainly falls into this framework. I happen not to agree with this framework as it has produced no tangible results in regards to a peace settlement. Israel needs to become more independent and not constantly capitulate. Advice and friendship from the US is certainly appreciated but the opinion of the US government should not form the basis of Israeli policy. That is why I agree (for the most part) with the Zionist Freedom Alliance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionist_Freedom_Alliance
    Please stop the bitter partisanship. The same people who complained about Bush being the subject of gross and unfair criticism are now doing the same thing to Obama. Let’s try to keep the debate more rational!

  4. I, too, support the Zionist Freedom Alliance. They are supporters of Ron Paul and authentic conservatism in America and abroad.

  5. Lianiyos daati,the above debate seems very small minded as it implies that the criteria for judging obama centers only on his shamefull record regarding Israel .Even if obama was able to overcome the antisemitic indocrination he has been subject to his entire life,and suddenly become a supporter of israel his other “accomplishments “need to be taken into account when judging him.Foremost is the so called healthcare reform bill that anyone who has read honestly will acknoledge can be called “abizryio deshfichas damim”.Secondly his attempts to socialise the economy and destroy the wonderful system that allowed jews to achieve unprecented affluence should make anyone who cares about our mosdos and institutions shudder.The list can go on and on.One thing that should be clear is that there exists a terrible potential chillul hashem if we support candidates based on thier so called pro israel credentials but disregard the radical left wing obamaist agenda they promote ie.chuck shumer.

  6. the difference between obama and bush is the public RHETORIC! and that means alot. psychological warfare is stronger than a nuclear weapon. that what arabs use against israel and thats what obama uses against israel.

  7. I think its fair to say that on most fronts Obama has been more against israel then Bush was, I mean consider the speech where President Bush acknowledged that there will remain settlement blocks and they will not be negotiated upon in any final status agreement, and his continuous commitment to pay lip service to so called peace process initiatives while hardly engaging in pressuring israel to commit to them, one has to be blind not to see the serious contrast on this issue between the two demonstrations (and it is well known that when Israel told the Obama administration that they a commitment from the Bush administration regarding the settlement blocks, Obama said well that tough we are not commited to any promises made by Bush, and so to claim that Bush was just as bad to Israel as Obama is just not true), but its true that as far as east jerusalem or other issues the American administrations dont change their views, thats a problem which will never go away really, but on the geneneral Mr Obama has no love lost for Israel, does he have a Muslim agenda? I doubt it considering his being a liberal and the two dont really go together, but and as far as being a fair negotiater well no he is not fair at all and has already made clear that if the talks between the israelis and palestinians due to begin on september 2 fail America will force a settlement on Israel, and you could know for certain that Mr Abas is not entering talks without knowing for certain that his side is the only side the Americans will respect and he even told his opponents this!

  8. [Spotted this on the web. Sara]

    Prof. F. N. Lee’s “ISLAM IN THE BIBLE”

    Eminent Australian theologian and church historian known worldwide as Professor Francis Nigel Lee (who has eleven earned doctorates!) has found claims in the Koran that may have escaped the attention of many Muslims including those in the White House.
    It’s amazing how often in history someone notices an unclear passage in the Bible, sees possibilities in it as a wellhead, isolates it and then backstabbingly uses it against the Bible’s intent while developing an anti-Biblical cult or false religion!
    Dr. Lee quotes the Koran which claims that when Jesus promised that after His departure He would send the Holy Spirit to be personally with His followers as the “Comforter” (John 14:16, John 15:26, etc.), Jesus was actually promising He would send them Mohammed! (Aside from the blasphemy, has history shown Mohammed and his fanatical followers to be “Comforters” of human beings?)
    Another quote from the Koran that Dr. Lee reveals is that the disciples of Jesus viewed themselves as “Muslims” – centuries before Mohammed was born!
    To read Dr. F. N. Lee’s scholarly and informative article, type in the “Islam in the Bible” pdf article associated with him. Interestingly, leading Christian scholars for many centuries have viewed the 9th chapter of Revelation (with its references to a violent army of 200 million who torture mankind in earth’s final days, the centering on “the great river Euphrates,” and the connection to demons loosed from “the bottomless pit” who inhabit this army) as a scary portrait of Islam murdering, in a short period, one-third of earth’s population, as is explicitly stated there!
    Readers may also wish to Google “Imam Bloomberg’s Sharia Mosque” and “Michelle Obama’s Allah-day” since these two items have been in the news lately.