Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Is Obama Vulnerable on the Israel Issue?

New ad campaign, pegged to special N.Y. election, suggests he is

Print Email
President Obama earlier this week.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Democratic-leaning seat goes to Republican Bob Turner rather than Democrat David Weprin on September 13, as a new poll shows it may, the lesson won’t actually be that Jewish Democrats are turning on President Obama. After all, Weprin himself has gone out of his way to criticize Obama’s Israel policies. And Weprin is a poor enough politician—earlier this week, he skipped a debate with Turner—that his own incompetence would be the obvious culprit in his loss.

However, what the Weprin-Turner race is demonstrating is the wider resonance of the Obama administration’s political vulnerability on the Mideast issue, which could see non-Jews turn on the president in 2012 for being too hard on Israel. A case in point is this new video from the Emergency Committee for Israel, the Republican Jewish group that is happy to cast the yarmulke-clad Democrat Weprin (frozen, below) as a friend to Israel because it makes Obama seem that much more out-of-touch:

The video, reports Ben Smith, is part of a six-figure campaign in New York. But don’t let that fool you: newspaper ads in the Hamptons, a YouTube, and the like aren’t designed primarily to get a few Jews in various corners of Queens and Brooklyn to vote for Bob Turner; they’re designed to affect Jewish money and organizational talent, as well as to start a conversation in the country’s media capital about how Obama is not even in line with his own party when it comes to Israel. As I’ve written, this is where the eventual Republican nominee—whether it’s Perry, who talks Israel non-stop (and can back up that talk); Bachmann, who touts her time on a kibbutz; or Romney, who just happened to stop by an AIPAC confab in Florida last night—will gain traction on Obama, and where they will be able to accuse Obama of not standing up for America’s friends or against its enemies: the same story that every national Republican candidate in the past four decades has tried to tell about his or her opponent.

Oh, and as for the line, “Obama: a uniter not a divider—except of Jerusalem”? In his controversial May speech in which he cited the “1967 borders,” Obama specifically emphasized that those territorial negotiations would leave “the future of Jerusalem” unresolved; as Tablet Magazine contributing editor David Samuels wrote at the time, “Essentially, what Obama is proposing is an arrangement in which Israelis and Palestinians negotiate a map from which Jerusalem is excluded.” I’m not saying you couldn’t argue that Obama’s policies now aren’t endangering the future status of Jerusalem; but the guy has left himself some plausible deniability when it comes to whether he’ll be the one to divide it. As for whether Obama is “not pro-Israel”—that will be up to the voters. All voters.

Republicans Sniff Upset in Weiner District [Hotline On Call]
GOP Israel Group Launches New York Campaign [Ben Smith]
Related: Pulling Out of a Debate, Over a Storm Long Gone [NYT]
Obama’s Mideast Speech [NYT]
The Acrobat [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Lieberman Backs Dem Against Koch’s Guy

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Obama is anti Israel wanting her to go back to the 1948 borders and enabling the Arabs with her destruction. However, many liberal anti Israel/anti Zionist Jews want the same destruction of Israel as Obama.

I see/read about it all the time. These liberal Jews are comfortable here in the US. Made a ton of money. Connected politically and socially in high places as elites. Many in the Democrat Party don’t like Israel at all and Jews just a little more. To move comfortably, invited to social gatherings, sitting at the right table all are a bit uncomfortable if NOT critical of Israel.

I expect at least 50% to vote Obama in 2012. 40% would vote for Dr Mengele if he had a (D) next to his name. Liberal Jews will oppose Israel’s right to peacefully exist for self-serving reasons mentioned, and their social justice behavioral/economic liberalism whereby if one deviant anywhere is being trod upon…..the Jews are obviously next. And we need Obama and Democrats to protect Jews from the evil Christian Evangelicals who happen to be Israel’s best friends/supporters.

Yes, it sure isn’t easy being a Jew. Not today. And witness the liberal Jewish soft in the head voting behavior supporting an anti Israel president and party while hammering the most pro Israel non Jewish religious group.

Two words to describe them…….Educated idiots.

CalTex says:

Personally, I would have a hard voting for anyone who pays for my conversion to christianity.

G Shapiro says:


I see you are still parroting the hard-right with the old and tired “liberal Jews hate Israel,” blah, blah, blah. And the mention of Mengele – such a nice touch! Seems to me you are the one with the narrow mind and hatred in your heart, because you clearly hate Jews that have opinions other than your own. Please, try to watch something else besides Faux News, whoops, I mean Fox News. And while you’re at it, get a life.

brynababy says:

Yes, most liberals are educated, but I think people like you more reasonably fit the “idiot” description. I am a Jewish Liberal and I support Israel completely. President Obama speaks more to the defense of Israel than those like you with your vile right-wing attitudes and misconceptions. And the reference to Mengele is a disgusting, unacceptable and shameful remark.

If Obama is so “speaking to the defense of Israel” why was his approval rating among Israeli Jews at 4% last I checked in 2010? Must be watching “Faux new, whoops, Fox News.” And obviously ungrateful for all of Obama’s tele-prompter “speaking to the defemse of Israel.”

Since Arabs only want ‘right of return’ how does a 2 state solution bring about peace? How does stopping Israeli contruction bring about peace? How does dividing Jerusalem bring about peace?

Ever heard of the “salami method” of bargaining? Look it up. Arabs are damned good at it.

G Shapiro, you Jews supporting presidents and policies bringing about Israel’s destruction? You’re correct. I have disdain for self-loathing Jews having a deleterious effect on Israel’s survival.

Never again.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Is Obama Vulnerable on the Israel Issue?

New ad campaign, pegged to special N.Y. election, suggests he is

More on Tablet:

11 Non-Jewish Celebrities—and 2 Jewish Ones—Show Off Their Hebrew Tattoos

By Marjorie Ingall — You don’t have to be Jewish to sport Hebrew ink. But some of these stars should have thought twice before going under the needle.