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N.Y.-9 Voters Think Obama ‘Not Pro-Israel’

They’re, um, wrong, but it’s still his problem

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President Bush: not pro-Israel?(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The weekend brought more news of the utter unsuitability of David Weprin, the Democrat running for Rep. Anthony Weiner’s old seat: a decades-old court filing reveals allegations of bad parenting and “dirty politics.” Clearly this will have played some role in Weprin’s (likely) loss tomorrow. But it’s undeniable: a major problem for Weprin is that, despite being a pro-Israel Orthodox Jew running against a non-Jewish Republican in a heavily Jewish and Democratic district, he is being hurt, perhaps fatally, by President Obama’s unpopularity in the district, which is in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, in part due to Israel. A new poll yesterday confirmed one from last week that showed Bob Turner, the Republican, up six points. More specifically, 37 percent of voters said Israel was “very important” to their decision, and of these, 71 percent are supporting Turner; and meanwhile only 30 percent approve of Obama’s handling of Israel—and only 22 percent of Jews. Put these numbers together and a clear picture emerges: to those who care about Israel (and particularly to Jews who care about Israel), Obama is not pro-Israel.

Which happens to be the exact message of an ad campaign launched last night with a spot on the Times Website’s homepage (it’s there as of press, on the right side, down a little) by the GOP Emergency Committee for Israel, directing viewers to this site. I’ve praised ECI’s strategy, which is to put its chips not on Turner’s victory but on using Turner and Weprin’s shared dislike of Obama’s Israel policy to take shots at the national incumbent, and this ad is very much in that tradition (you don’t put an ad on the Times Website to influence voters in Sheepshead Bay; you do it to prompt blog posts like this one). I’ve also written that Obama’s credibility problem on Israel is mainly his fault: his politics, in reaching out to Israelis and Jews in particular, have been poor. But that doesn’t excuse the ECI site’s troubling sophistry, which begins in its opening image, which casts the friendly picture between Obama and President Abbas as evidence of an unseemly relationship—belied, of course, by the picture I have posted, taken in the last days of President Bush’s presidency.

The ECI site makes a series of claims. Let’s examine them.

“Obama tells Jews they can’t build in Jerusalem.” ECI leads with its best shot: the Obama administration did come into office demanding a settlement freeze that extended to East Jerusalem (not all of Jerusalem), and has repeatedly chastised Israel for announcing building there at inopportune moments. This was, however, in keeping with prior commitments on Israel’s part. And it’s not as though the administration brought out any sticks when Israel kept up the East Jerusalem building. ECI also claims that the whole contretemps about listing “Jerusalem, Israel” as a place of birth on U.S. passports is another blemish on the administration, failing to note that the Bush administration is the reason U.S. passports don’t do that in the first place.

“Obama attacks Israel at the U.N.” The “attack’ cited came after the U.S. provided a crucial veto at the U.N. protecting Israel. Actions speak louder than words on this one.

“Obama wants to divide Israel’s capital.” As I’ve written before, this isn’t true. The May speech calling for negotiations based on the 1967 borders explicitly excluded Jerusalem from that formulation. At worst, you could accuse Obama of kicking the Jerusalem issue down the road (which I would call wise). There is no actual evidence that he wants to divide Israel, and plenty that he doesn’t.

“Obama questions Israel’s desire for peace.” He also questions the Palestinians’ desire for peace, and flat-out rejects Hamas. Now we are getting into the area of rhetorical disagreement, but it really is not difficult to look at Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government—the most right-wing in Israel’s history—and, well, question its desire for peace.

“Obama allows U.S. aid money to flow to terrorists.” It’s the Bush administration that first ramped up aid to the P.A. You don’t really think it was being used for completely clean purposes until Obama came to power?

“Obama joined Arab dictators on the U.N. Human Rights Council.” This is true, and it’s true the HRC is a hotbed of anti-Israel activity even by U.N. standards. Yet this was a strategic decision to engage that, in the cases of Libya and Syria—where the normally complacent council has actually taken stands—has arguably paid off. Either way, it was not done out of a lack of care for Israel.

“Obama pressures Israel to apologize to terrorists.” This is a reference to the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla. Secretly ECI’s most persuasive “fact”: the administration was far too eager to see Israel and Turkey resume relations for its own purposes, even if that meant an apology where one was not warranted (according to the relevant U.N. commission). Still, the Obama administration would, I’m sure, prefer Israel merely express regret and offer compensation, and have Turkey accept that; and while the flotilla was an illegal operation sympathetic and with ties to Hamas, to simply label them “terrorists” is a stretch.

But this debate is not the one being had in New York’s ninth district. And it’s because of that—and because Obama has seemingly gone out of his way not to convince those who needed convincing of his bona fides—that that solidly Democratic district is going to go Republican this week, and may go Republican in 14 months.

The Bottom Line in NY-9 [Ben Smith]
Not Pro Israel
Earlier: GOP Jews, Koch Weigh In on Post-Weiner Race

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At some point, what the pundits (like you, Marc) think will matter less than what the people think. This was true of the Obama-McCain debates in 2008, when pundits (like you) initially called the debates “even” before the snap polls overwhelmingly handed victory to Obama, and it’s true now. Maybe the pundits (like you) don’t know everything.

Get real. 20,000 Jews live in Ramot. He was Abbas says they will never take it. Obama does not want Jews building homes there. His positions are outrageous. A Jew can build a home in Chicago, Beverly Hills but not parts of Jerusalem. And his policy is racist, he never says a word about Arab building homes in Jerusalem.
As for the timing of the announcements. That is baloney, be it Monday Tuesday or Wednesday Obama does not want Jews building in Jerusalem. Need a extra bedroom for another child, if you are a Jew you can’t build. Alas if a you are an Arab its just fine.
Stop defending the indefensible.

Ellis Jayus says:

Add one word, please to your headline: N.Y.-9 Voters Think Obama ‘Not THEIR Pro-Israel.’
It’s the King Lear thing: Perception becomes Reality and the GOP has done a better job (as usual) getting voters to believe what they want them to believe. Heck, if you were to tell it often enough, gullible voters who do not do their own research would think that Clinton not Bush I, was the fist president to deny loan credits to Israel. I’m getting very excited for the coming election…amid all of the GOP lies and fabrications, will the Dems counter-punch or do the modern version of the Rope-a-Dope, aka Kerry Swift-Boating.

If Obama is such a close friend of Israel why was his approval rating in Israel last year at 4%? Clearly the Israeli Jews see him as no friend.

Obama moving Israel back to the 1948 borders is not exactly offering her national security with her 9 mile wide geographic area.

He favors a two state solution allowing Arab terrorists to more easily lob rockets into Israel. He also seems oblivious to the fact only ‘right of return’ will satisfy the “peaceful settlement” requirement for the Arabs. He gave Abbas and the PA $800 Million. Israel gets, what, $3.2 Billion? And the PA is a great ally of ours? Since when? Blame Bush for the precedent but Obama receives no criticism for policy perpetuation?

As a Jew I’ll do what I need to do November 2012. Vote Republican.

Marc,

I can tell you have a commitment to evenhandedness, which is very admirable. A few of your statements seem to be questionable to me though, so it would be great if you could provide substantiation or corrections (if necessary). Here are a few:

(1) “This was, however, in keeping with prior commitments on Israel’s part. And it’s not as though the administration brought out any sticks when Israel kept up the East Jerusalem building.”

–I’m not sure what commitments you’re referring to. Has Israel committed not to build in East Jerusalem, an area that it has annexed? I may be wrong, but I don’t think that’s the case. And there have been sticks, such as the long harrangue that Sec. Clinton provided and the less-than-warm recemption PM Netanyahu received upon his next trip to Washington. Was it a cancellation of aid? No. But it wasn’t exactly nothing.

(2) “The ‘attack’ cited came after the U.S. provided a crucial veto at the U.N. protecting Israel. Actions speak louder than words on this one.”

–So it could have been worse, it’s true. But is that the best defense one can muster?

(3) “it really is not difficult to look at Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government—the most right-wing in Israel’s history—and, well, question its desire for peace”

–Here you’re assuming your readers agree with you and not trying to persuade. PM Netanyahu has gone against his party’s platform and endorsed a Palestinian state and repeatedly sought negotiations. Also, you must know that this government isn’t the most “right-wing in Israel’s history.” Not even close. On the relevant foreign policy issues, it’s far to the left of any government before Rabin’s.

(4) “Either way, it was not done out of a lack of care for Israel.”

–I hope not. But really, our hopeful thinking is not really any evidence, is it?

Marc Tracy, once again, shows his elitist attitudes toward American Jewry.

He write:

They’re, um, wrong, but it’s still his problem

Well, Marc, so much for democracy and the right of people to express themselves.

It’s fine as long as they agree with you?

Right?

Israel is turning away from your anti-Zionist ideas and so are American Jews.

I have never voted GOP in my life but I will never again support Obama, the greatest enemy of Jewish sovereignty in the history of the White House.

Koch was right and so are those who will make Turner our next GOP congressman.

Yisrael Medad says:

On the birth registration listing only “Jerusalem” – did you know that an American child born outside of Jerusalem in Judea & Samaria will be first-optioned as being born in the “West Bank”? That is State Dept. diplomatic creationism. The West Bank doesn’t exist, it was the name of an entity that was illegally occupied by Jordan, and if it does, then why not “Jerusalem, Israel”? If Obama tolerates that, it’s his fault right now, his responsibility at this moment and the past doesn’t count.

The facts: http://myrightword.blogspot.com/2009/06/west-bank-birthing.html

T/Ramat-Gan/Israel says:

Sorry, I am blogging from work so I will have to write it in hebrew and without articulation

1. באמת תודה רבה שמרק טרייסי ואובמה “מרשים” לישראל לבנות במערב-ירושלים.

אבל הבניה בכל איזורי ירושלים היא בדיוק לב העניין. וחוץ מזה במערב-ירושלים אי אפשר לבנות תודות לגרורות של הקרן החדשה לישראל שכל כך חביבה עליך מרק

2. כל הפיאסקו הזה באו”ם הוא תולדה של היחס של אובמה לישראל. ראו אומות העולם איך אובמה וממשלו משפילים פעם אחר פעם את ישראל ולמדו. העולם השלישי והאירופאים יהיו תמיד משמאל לארה”ב ביחס לישראל.

4. מספיק לקרוא את ההדלפות של אובמה ושות’ לשופרו ה- NYT כדי להבין שאתה טועה במקרה הטוב או משקר במקרה הרע

Look at the Editorial of the NYT today and tell me that it’s assumptions don’t reflect BHO. Do you think we are idiots or what?

3. ראה 4

Louis H. Blumengarten says:

Obama clearly does not like Israel. Maybe he learned that from his pastor, maybe he picked that up in all too many African American or liberal circles. Whatever, he doesn’t like or respect Israel and has treated Israel very poorly since becoming President.

It’s high time to send a message to him about that if you’re a Jew with any self respect.

T/Ramat-Gan/Israel says:

ps,

The reason that Orthodox are more care about Israel is obvious: must of them have families in Israel while all the others(R/C/I) don’t

President Obama did visit a number of Arab countries but left out Israel. That shows his disdain for Israel.

The building freeze was not part of any previous commitments. The demand to ethnically cleanse Jews from the Palestinian state is the problem. If they could have Jewish citizens like Israel has Arab citizens then two states would have been solved ages ago.

Um… yes, Obama is anti-Israel. He also lists terror victims and always omits Israel. When he listed countries that came to Haiti’s aid, he omitted Israel.

The guy is a freaking bigot, and you can’t keep whitewashing him like this.

Rather than beating up on Israelis and celebrating when a Jewish family is butchered in Itamar (the Fogels hy’d); why doesn’t Obama and Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright tell their Muslonazi allies to knock of the Jihad, stop the wars, and eradicate Shari’ah.

Obama hates Israeli non-Muslims. Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright, his pastor and father-figure for 20 years, is one of the biggest boosters of Hamas and the Ikhwan al-Muslimiyya in the United States.

To pretend as if Mr. “NASA’s primary goal is to make the dar al-Islam feel good about itself” has the interests of Israeli non-Muslims in mind is madness.

Lou Adams says:

Come on now, how long are you liberals going to go to the mat for a guy who is unquestionable NOT a friend of Israel. You can make excuses, deny his history of associating and friendship with real Jew haters and blame Bush ( hasn’t that really become a worthless ploy ) all you want. We see him by HIS ACTIONS.
The real question is are Jews like you who try to convince other Jews that he is our friend, friends of Israel?

Marc Tracy, in focusing on Obama’s unpopularity among Jews, you are missing one of the reasons Welprin is doing poorly among Orthodox Jews in the Congressional election.

Welprin was one of the swing votes for the Gay Marriage Bill’s passage in the NY State Legislature. This is and was a hot issue among the many Orthodox Jews in his district who were opposed to the bill, and “the chickens are coming home to roost.”

Let a Canadian say that Marc Tracy has a tough row to hoe. President Obama is only as much a friend to Israel as he has to be due to the strong pro-Israel stance of Congress and the USA public. To say that the left wing of the USA Democratic Party is cold to Israel is a clear understatement. Throughout his life, Obama has kept specially close ties to Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians, but has no real Jewish credentials to speak of. There was a time when that sort of analysis was useful as prediction of Obama’s future policies vis a vis Israel. Now, we don’t need predictions, we already have Obama’s track record as president. Covertly and overtly, Obama’s foreign policy has emboldened the many enemies of Israel. And then, from time to time, President Obama ostentatiously steps in to protect Israel (e.g., at the UN). All of this is calculated to do the maximum harm to Israel compatible with still keeping Jewish votes and contributions. Obama also needs to pose as Israel’s friend because Israel is popular with the American public. Bitter enemies want to wipe Israel off the map, but President Obama’s policies follow the fiction that “the” problem is where to site the border between Israel and a 22nd Arab State, i.e. a new country to be called “Palestine.” Better for Obama to man up, be a real USA president and deal with Iran’s nuclear weapons, instead of picking on Israel. Like others, Jews want dignity and respect. Problem is that Obama’s speeches morally condemn Israel. This shows that he does not believe that the Jews are native to “Eretz Israel,” where at least some Jews have lived in every year for the last three millennia. Lots of USA Jews support Obama, but Obama does not really respect the Jewish People, Jewish history and Israel. However, for Marc Tracy and some other Democrats, denying Obama’s anti-Israel obsession is essential for partisan politics. They are the ones doing the spin about Obama.

Barry E says:

The problem for Obama, he talks first thinks after. His administration does treat Israel well, but what it says first poisons those actions. They are willing to veto the UN resolution to establish the PA state, but at the same time say they agree with formation of the Palestinian state. Although accepting the need for negotiations on major issues, this is forgotten when the rest of the Ara world hears they are for the state. Better to be quiet support an ally, and tell them not the press what you are really thinking.

Vroom48 says:

There is an additional issue that has upset the Orthodox communities in the district. Weprin voted for the NY same-sex marriage bill. His announcement that as an Orthodox Jew he would vote “yes” because he saw the issue not as a religious/moral issue but as a civil rights issue, did not help him. The communities may be sending two messages (anti-Obama and concern about same-sex marriage). If Weprin is defeated be prepared for the Democratic spin doctors to push the later reason.

In “fact checking” the ECI ad, Mr. Tracy completely misses the point. Mr. Obama was a lost cause for many pro-Israel voters as soon as became more Palestinian than the Palestinians in demanding a settlement freeze at the start of his presidency. Mr. Tracy incorrectly asserts that Israel had previously committed to freezing construction in E. Jerusalem – they had not. He posits that because there was no overt punishment then it’s no big deal. It’s a really big deal. It pushed Abbas to dig in his heels on settlements and led directly to their UN statehood quest. Mr. Obama has generally acted in accordance with J Street’s positions. He may now learn that J Street doesn’t represent mainstream pro-Israel thought.

umm, don’t you think it’s a little rude to talk to us as if we Jews are children incapable of knowing right from wrong? The ECI’s points are exactly right. Obama is anti-Israel and if it’s even making Jews consider voting Repub then we know he must be very anti-Israel. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. Do you think Erdogan would be threatening Israel daily if he thought Obama cared about Israel? Think about it.

Is there any way Tablet can get an unbiased journalist to cover the political scene? Marc Tracy is a shill for Obama, and has been from the dawn of time, or at least since I was made aware of his existence.

The one country in the world that Obama chooses to humiliate, punish, criticize, and patronize is Israel. God forbid we find out how he will attempt to bully Israel in a second term, when he really doesn’t need the Jews at all.

Arik:

And its no secret. His allies and boosters openly declare that as soon as Obama tricks his way to a second term, he will work to exterminate the Jews of Israel.

Rev. Wright has emphatically and repeatedly explained that Obama can’t say it now, but toward the middle/end of his second term, Obama will go to war against the Jews.

Stupid liberals who think: Ohhhh . . . when Obama shows every day in word and deed that he hates Jews, he means he hates those crazy “settlers” or those wacky chassidim, or those misguided Russians, or those nefarious neo-cons, or those evil republicans, etc . . ., etc . . . have another thing coming. George Soros won’t be able to save you Marc – he’s be too tapped out using his corrupt political influence to save his harem of non-exclusive girlfriends.

Check out MondoWeiss.com, PeaceNow, Electronic Intifada, J Street or any of the other Pro-Obama mouthpieces to read how they are salivating for the genocide of Israel that Obama has planned for his second term.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2009/06/rev-wright-blames-them-jews-for-keeping-president-from-talking-to-him/

SBSteelers says:

They’re – um, Right! Obama is anti-Israel. Obama is in campaign mode and is courting the Jewish vote. Here’s a tip for Obama…Israel will go back to pre-1967 borders when the United States goes back to pre-1959 borders, minus Hawaii

SBSteelers says:

Oh wait – Obama once ate a bagel – therefore Obama is pro-Israel. I’m waiting for the idiot in chief to head to a NY deli in what he believes will shore up Jewish support.

william Engledow says:

This makes me laugh.

Beatrix says:

Obama isn’t anti-Israel, he’s simply inept. He took the settlement issue that had been informally decided in 2008, and not only made it an issue again, he made it THE issue.

The Palestinians, learning independence and self-respect with the replacement of Arafat by Abbas and Fayyad, are back to their self pitying, whinny complaints to the world about the “big” meany Israel, and the ineffectual world, always willing to bully a small minority, gleefully encourages them.

The Democrats don’t have a choice except to run Obama again, but the rest of us are free to refuse a 2nd term to this wishy-washy schoolteacher.

The Republicans survived Nixon, but only because they had a Reagan waiting in the wings. Hopefully, an equally competent leader appears in the future to save the Democrats who now have Carter AND Obama to live down.

At least Nixon overrode his advisors telling them to give Israel every bit of weaponry she needed in 1973 largely responsible for Israel’s winning that war.

Wouldn’t want to have to count on this president

G Shapiro says:

Barry,

What a bunch of paranoid mishegas. There is no way in hell that President Obama wants or promotes the genocide of Israel. Tell me something, would you have the same view of him if he were white? Tablet Magazine has turned into nothing but a forum for right-wing haters who have no room for diverse opinion. Here’s a tip for you and your ilk – if you don’t like Marc Tracy and what he writes, DON’T READ IT. It’s that simple.

G Shapiro,

What does race have to do with this? If hypothetically Rick Perry’s Minister was David Duke sharing similar Israeli policies the same comments would be made toward him. Point is. other than Ron Paul ALL the GOP presidential candidates are pro Israel.

This president clearly isn’t. The only ones not getting it are Liberal Jewish Democrat Party sycophants desperately trying to snooker us with disinformation about Obama’s Israeli policies.

Think sending Emanuel, Axelrod, and Schumer out selling Jews how great a friend to Israel Obama will be, again, will work this time?

Tracy might as well have written the article for the ECI, since it all but makes their case:

A) “Obama tells Jews they can’t build in Jerusalem.” – Tracy all but accepts this, and further accepts that this administration was the one which provoked the confrontation. He excuses this with non-existent Israeli commitments (an outright lie) and rhetoric about ‘inopportune moments’ (when isn’t?).

B) “Obama attacks Israel at the U.N.” – again, Tracy shows this is true. He excuses it with a veto, which is what every other admin would have done, without attacking Israel. Furthermore, he seems to miss that Obama’s verbal attacks encourage other parties to attack Israel in the same manner…

C) “Obama wants to divide Israel’s capital.” – this time, Tracy gives an unconvincing denial. Once one accepts the 67′ border formulation, there’s no reason to except Jerusalem from it. Note also that excepting Jerusalem might be in the speech, but not in any of the ‘compromise’ UNGA proposals Obama admin suggested to the PA.

D) “Obama questions Israel’s desire for peace.” – again, Tracy accepts this as true. So what if Obama allegedly questions others too (I’ve never heard Obama question the PA)? Everyone see ‘Israel’s best friend’ questioning its desire for peace.

E) “Obama allows U.S. aid money to flow to terrorists.” – as usual Tracy agrees with this. So what if Bush is (allegedly) guilty too? Obama is the pres now, and Tracy actually says that Obama is giving money to terrorists.

F) “Obama joined Arab dictators on the U.N. Human Rights Council.” – Tracy agrees with the charge too. The excuse this time is that there was supposed care for Israel. How exactly? There are no evidence for this at all. The increased legitimacy for the council however will harm Israel.

G) “Obama pressures Israel to apologize to terrorists.” – again, Tracy agrees with the ECI. The excuses based on guessing Obama’s intent – and given the previous issues, most of us should not be as charitable to Obama.

I would be grateful if Mr. Tracy would take a moment to explain how exactly the stated positions and actual policies of the current Israeli government are supporting his accusation that it is not interested in peace – unless, of course, peace means giving Palestinians all they want.

Look, you can pretend Obama is not anti-Israel if you want. His words and deeds have obviously led to a situation where Israel is in more danger than it otherwise would have been. Obama’s focus on settlements as the biggest problem caused Abbas to demand a settlement freeze as a precondition to negotiations. This is something Abbas admits readily. Obama’s focus on the 1967 lines as borders has caused Abbas to expect an Israeli agreement to those lines as the basis for negotiations. Notice that neither of those positions are 1) acceptable to the current Israeli government 2) were accepted by any previous Israeli government 3) have been proclaimed as American policy in the past.

American policy for 40 years has been based on UNSCR242, which in addition to being purposefully vague on how much land Israel should withdraw from also demanded a negotiated agreement as the basis for Israeli withdrawal. Obama has basically thrown this out as the basis for negotiations and replaced it with what has translated into an international demand for Israel to withdraw from the entirety of the West Bank with *no* obligations whatsoever on the Palestinians.

You argue that Obama has supported vetoes of anti-Israeli resolutions on the UNSC. The problem with this is that he has done so while holding his nose because the resolutions contain phrases from his speeches drawn nearly verbatim. He has made a big deal of being *forced* to support Israel and made Israel’s enemies question the US support for the state. This causes them to be more bold in their demands.

Then there is the fact that thanks to Obama’s faith in ‘Arab Spring’ we have a situation where the US and Israel are facing a Muslim Brotherhood dominant Egypt and an al-Qaeda influenced Libya while *nothing* has been done on Iranian nuclear weapons and Iraq has been practically haned over to the mullahs.

The only way you can argue that Obama is pro-Israel is if you argue that Obama is dangerously incompetent.

The most right wing? It might be the most corrupt and wishywashy, but certainly not the most right wing government in Israeli history.

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N.Y.-9 Voters Think Obama ‘Not Pro-Israel’

They’re, um, wrong, but it’s still his problem

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