American Jews Warming to Obama, Says Koch
Former mayor receiving fewer complaints, responds to all letters
Ben Smith reports in Politico that, in Ed Koch’s opinion, American Jews are warming to President Barack Obama. By which Koch means they’re complaining less, by email, to him. Koch makes a point of responding to every letter and email that gets sent to him, and considering his continued influence in the political sphere, his sample group is worth considerating.
According to Smith:
The president’s rising fortunes among Jewish voters, at least according to Koch’s brand of polling, may face a critical test in the coming months; whether Washington stands in support if Israel decides to take military action to halt Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons. In perhaps the most important sign of Obama’s strengthened pro-Israel credentials, Koch and others have come to believe that if the Netanyahu government bombs Iranian installations, Obama will back them; and that an American strike isn’t out of the question.
“This is an existential threat to Western civilization,” said Koch. “I think that the president and others have recognized that and will do whatever is required to keep our nation safe.”
Marc Tracy emphasized Koch’s influence in September, particularly the significance of his endorsement of Obama for re-election after playing a key role in New York’s ninth district electing a Republican in the special election:
And this is important for two related reasons. First, it’s a sign that the administration/campaign’s charm offensive—beginning with the embassy rescue, continuing to the unequivocal support Obama offered Israel at the United Nations in both his deeds and his speech, and going through the new revelations of heightened military-to-military cooperation—are having an impact on convincing fence-sitting American Jews that Obama is their friend. Second, it’s important because, as Tevi Troy presciently wrote many months ago in Tablet Magazine, Koch is the emblematic figure of this sort, whom Democratic candidates need on their side.
But let’s not lose sight of what is possibly the best part of this story: Ed Koch’s correspondence. BuzzFeed has a collection of several emails, which Koch’s assistant prints out and gives to him and upon which he writes responses by hand, which then get typed up and sent. That is dedication.
His best response? “Please point out one ‘canard’ in my statement.”
Israel hawks warm to Obama [Politico]
Ed Koch Defends Obama On Israel By Sending “Hand-Written” Emails [BuzzFeed]
Related: Koch Test [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Koch Back Obama for ’12
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 email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.