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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish vote’

Wasserman Schultz Turning Her Back on Israel over Iran Sanctions

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s pro-Israel image is being tarnished – make that blackened – by a firmly based report that she is the number one obstacle to a bi-partisan Congressional initiative to threaten new sanctions on Iran, effectively scuttling the recent interim agreement secured by President Barack Obama and the rest of the P5+1 club.

Her spoiler role, reported Wednesday by the Washington Free Beacon, starkly differs from her wild support in August 2012 for the “hardest-hitting sanctions in history” against Iran thanks to Congress having made “clear to the world [that] we are resolute in using all tools at our disposal to halt Iran’s nefarious nuclear ambitions.”

Those “nefarious ambitions” apparently have transformed in less than 18 months into the development of enriched uranium for medical research and other do-good humanitarian efforts that are a disguise for a nuclear warhead headed for Israel, if not Washington.

President Obama has threatened he will veto any Congressional bill to impose harsher sanctions on Iran and put a hole in his “engagement” with the Ayatollahs. Nevertheless, leading Democrats such as New York Sen. Charles Schumer and New Jersey’s Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker don’t buy it, and they support the proposed bill that shows Iran it cannot get away with murder literally.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland also was on the sanction bandwagon but backed off in the past two weeks. Why?

All fingers point to Wasserman Schultz, the Free Beacon reported, and the reactions back home in her strongly Jewish South Florida district are far from favorable.

“Every minute she is publicly silent, or working against bipartisan efforts to pressure Iran, is a minute she is siding with the Mullahs over the American people who overwhelmingly want mounting pressure,” one Democratic Congressman told the Washington newspaper.

“Debbie has been busy at home telling her constituents she is doing all she can to stop Iran, but in reality it appears she is busy behind the scenes working to scuttle bipartisan action to put increased sanctions pressure on Iran.”

It quoted a South Florida Jewish community leader as saying that her constituents have serious problems with her new soft-on-Iran position.

She has a Congressional ally with Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, who also opposed the bi-partisan effort, but she will have a lot of explaining to do at a meeting this week called by Jewish leaders in her South Florida district.

Wasserman Schultz’s spokeswoman did not reply to the Free Beacon’s request for a comment on the report.

The first sign of her currying favor with President Obama and closing her eyes to Iranian’s Islamic wish to annihilate Israel came on November 25, after the interim agreement was reached.

“I commend President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Under Secretary Sherman and their team for the tremendous amount of work they put into these negotiations,” she said in a press release. “This agreement provides a framework to stop the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran while we work to negotiate a broad, comprehensive deal to permanently dismantle their nuclear weapons capability.”

After having bragged in 2012 that the Congressional sanctions caused Iran “a daily loss of $133 million and 1.2 million barrels of oil… [and] that we will not accept a nuclear Iran, and that we are prepared to use all options at our disposal to keep the world free from this Iranian threat.” she has swallowed the Obama “let’s trust Iran” policy hook, line and sinker.

Wasserman Schultz is ignoring official Iranian statements that make it clear it signed the agreement to buy time.

For example, the interim agreement would prohibit Iran from adding more centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facilities.

So how did Iran follow up? Well, at least it is honest, to wit:

“We have two types of second-generation centrifuges. We also have future generations [of centrifuges] which are going through their tests,” Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said less than two weeks ago.

Also last December, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assured the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Arak reactor in Iran that is designed to use plutonium, which could be used to construct a bomb, is “frozen stone cold, where it is” and “we’re actually going to have the plans for the site delivered to us.”

Really?

Salehi announced a week later that Iran’s heavy water installations Arak will continue its work with full power.

If Wasserman Schultz still believes that Iran has turned over a new leaf and no longer has “nefarious ambitions,” all she has to do is look at Lebanon and Syria.

Hezbollah, now up its neck in Syria and working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is smuggling anti-ship missiles from Syria piece by piece after previous attempts to smuggle them into Lebanon were ruined by Israeli intelligence, followed up by Israeli aerial strikes on the weapons.

So Iran really does not need a nuclear bomb if it can simply use Hezbollah to blow Israel off the map.

Wasserman Schultz may be the woman who saves President Obama from having to veto the sanctions bill, which already has the support of 50 senators, twice as many as when the bill was introduced last month, and one short of a majority.

The bill is aimed at putting teeth into the interim agreement by declaring that Iran must abide by it rather than simply biding time until a final agreement is reached, if that ever happens.

If not, then new sanctions would go into place.

It appears that the only thing that might change Wassermann Schultz’s new go-soft-on Iran position is a severe backlash from her constituents, who are more worried about the Iranian nuclear threat against Israel – and the United States – than she is.

Pakistani Jewish Vote?

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

The Pakistani Election Commission lists approximately 800 voters as Jewish although there are virtually no Jews in the country, according to the country’s The News website contributor Dr. Abdul Majeed Abid.

He facetiously asked, “We can only wait to see which way the ‘Jewish vote’ goes, if it goes anywhere.”

He noted that no Jews are running for public office and no political party has tried to woo the supposed Jewish voters, leaving open the question why the Elections Commission bothers to list Jews as a minority.

Obama Garners 69 Percent of Jewish Vote in CNN Exit Poll

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

President Obama won 69 percent of the Jewish vote according to an exit poll.

The poll, posted on CNN’s website, was commensurate with projections by preelection polls by Gallup, the American Jewish Committee, among others, that Obama would win between 65 and 70 percent of the Jewish vote.

Both parties blitzed Jewish voters in swing states, particularly Ohio and Florida, ahead of the election.

Jews constituted 2 percent of the overall CNN response group, but the network did not reveal the total number of people polled, so it was impossible to assess a margin of error.

Republicans noted the discrepancy between Tuesday’s numbers and the 78 percent Obama garnered in 2008 exit polls.

Democrats, citing a more recent broader study of the 2008 results, now say Obama earned 74 percent of that year’s Jewish vote, and suggested that Tuesday’s showing was within the margin of error.

On social media, Republican and Democratic Jews argued over whether Tuesday night’s results showed a substantial drop in Jewish support for Obama.

Two organizations — J Street and the Republican Jewish Coalition — planned to release separate exit polls on Wednesday morning.

Wake up Jews!

Friday, September 28th, 2012

No doubt, it’s hard for people to give up their lifelong attachments and identity.  But there are moments in history when a turning point arrives, and those with eyes to see and ears to hear recognize it.  Many Jews have made political liberalism their religion and personal identity and the Democrat Party their unexamined home and comfort zone.  But everything changed early September.

Rarely do modern-day political conventions startle.  The Democratic National Convention, however, was earthshaking and a warning to Jews to wake up.  Democrat delegates decided to stick it to Israel.  We no longer care, they roared, if Israel remains a Jewish state; flood her heartland with millions of so-called Palestinians whose goal is to make the state Islamic.  We will not condemn Hamas for targeting Jewish population centers with rockets.  Jerusalem is not Israel’s indivisible capital but should be divided, like Berlin was.  Such was the undeniable sentiment of the delegates at the Convention.

After objections from outside the Convention, the chairman reinstated support for Jerusalem.  But he was resoundingly booed.  The world saw how those boos far outweighed the yeas.  My fellow Jews, the boos were for you; those boos were for Israel, a successful Israel that sticks in the craw of a leftist, socialist mindset that sees Israel not as the beacon of freedom and accomplishment she is, but as something outside the leftist ideological orbit.  Sure, they will take your contributions and your votes, but they don’t want your Israel, and they expect you to forgo distinctly Jewish needs on the altar of leftism.  We saw not liberalism, but hardcore leftism, and we saw a home where the welcome mat is quite conditional and worn out.

The prophet Daniel saw the writing on the wall.  All too often throughout our history, we Jews, and especially heads of major Jewish organizations, have failed to see the writing on the wall.  We are afraid to see that which is a game-changer, and so we deny events we wish were not happening.  After all, who wants to change the comfort zone?

It was a convention, like the last four years of the Obama administration, reveling in class warfare.  Class warfare, like Occupy Wall Street and other scapegoating calls, has never been good for the Jews.  We are often the scapegoat of those envious.  Knowing this, Ahmadinejad scheduled a meeting with Occupy, a movement endorsed last year by many bigwigs in the Democratic Party and even President Obama himself.  Jihadists and much of Islam want to delegitimize the concept of a Jewish state by tarnishing Jews as “those rich capitalists” unworthy of a state among the community of nations.

Too often, we Jews have been beguiled into believing that Jews in positions of power have our interests at heart.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz is but the latest who would have us think she is “doing what is good for the Jews” when, in fact, she is doing and will continue to do what is good for Debbie and her power base.  Similarly, the heads of the major Jewish organizations have been conspicuously silent — a silence that would not prevail if a Republican were doing the things to Israel Obama is doing.

Job openings are way down; 50% of college graduates, our children, can’t find jobs; and Mr. Obama will continue to weaken national security and thus the safety of our families…and continue to make it more difficult for Israel to survive.  For many, all this is secondary and expendable for their more important agenda of abortion on demand and gay marriage.  How frivolous; how irresponsible!

We can determine what truly is important to a person when he is forced to choose between two values.  Since when is it a Jewish value to condemn Israel to misery just so one can be assured of abortion at any time, under any circumstance?  Most of your grandparents would have chosen Israel over abortion and gay marriage.  As our sages tell us: “The wages of immorality are further immorality.”

President Obama has time to meet with Muslim Brotherhood Morsi of Egypt, who has declared his intention to get rid Israel, but Mr. Obama has no time to meet with Israel’s Netanyahu, whose country is under imminent nuclear threat from Iran.  Israel’s concern about a possible nuclear Holocaust is, for Mr. Obama, dismissed as mere noise, while his delegates at the U.N. on Sept. 24 are ordered to sit and listen to the vile noise of the Holocaust-denier and Iranian Jew-hater-in-chief.  It is clear that Mr. Obama’s underlying sympathy is with the Muslim Brotherhood and its spread and influence around the world.  He is coaxing us to accept Islamic attitudes and norms.  This speaks volumes — to those willing to see the facts as they truly are.

Jewish Groups To Make Presence Felt At GOP, Democratic Conventions

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

WASHINGTON – The same key words and themes will bounce around Jewish events at next week’s Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., and at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., the week after that: “pro-Israel,” “marriage,” “Jewish vote” and “abortion.”

With the exception of “pro-Israel,” however, the content of the sessions will be as different as the cities of Tampa and Charlotte.

The presence of national and local Jewish organizations will be felt at both conventions.

The American Jewish Committee is hosting Jewish-Latino events in both cities – Florida’s substantial Cuban American community trends Republican, while the other Latino communities trend Democratic. Notably, however, the AJC’s only Jewish-African American event – aimed at a community that votes overwhelmingly Democratic – is in Charlotte.

This year there’s an AJC first for a convention: a Mormon-Jewish get-together cosponsored by the Tampa Jewish Federation, a nod to the interest in the faith of the presumptive Republican nominee, former Mass. governor Mitt Romney.

Most of the differences between the conventions have to do with an increasingly polarized polity. Leaders of the Republican Jewish Coalition and the National Jewish Democratic Council agree that the overriding issue is one that will play out throughout the convention, not just in the Jewish forums on the sidelines: the economy.

“American Jewish voters first and foremost are Americans,” said David Harris, NJDC president and CEO. “The things that concern American Jews are primarily the things that concern most Americans, the economy, jobs, everyday kitchen table interests.”

Jobs will also be the core of Romney’s message, said Matt Brooks, the RJC director.

“People are going to be looking to hear about his vision going forward,” he said. “Job creation, getting the economy moving.”

That said, social issues also will feature prominently, particularly among Jews at the conventions.

The Democratic convention platform committee, heeding submissions from a slew of groups that included the Anti-Defamation League and the NJDC, will endorse marriage equality.

The Republican platform frames the concept as an “assault on the foundations of our society”; language that gay Republicans sought that would have urged “respect and dignity” for gays was made vague, recommending instead “respect and dignity” for all Americans.

On abortion, according to the National Journal, the GOP will adhere to its 2008 plank. It declares that the procedure “is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life” and has no explicit exemption for rape or incest. Romney has said he favors such exemptions.

The National Council of Jewish Women, which will be present at both events, has reproductive rights high on its agenda and is allying with like-minded members of both parties to promote them.

NCJW also will promote voter registration at both events; it strongly opposes efforts by some Republican legislatures and governors to tighten voter registration, saying that requirements of photo IDs discriminate against minorities and the elderly.

Likewise, both conventions will feature sessions on the perennial question of whether this election will be the one that sees a substantive shift in the Jewish vote.

Brooks, the RJC director, will speak on the topic to reporters. In Charlotte, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) will moderate a panel on the matter; with her will be speakers from J Street, NCJW and Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, which seeks to revitalize neighborhoods.

Republicans have been especially focused this year on moving Jewish votes. Speaking on background, officials in both parties have said that a showing of less than 70 percent for President Obama at the polls would represent a substantive undercutting of his support among Jews. Obama scored 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008, according to exit polls.

Both parties will feature events with “pro-Israel” in the title: The RJC will have a “Salute to Pro-Israel Officials,” and NJDC will have a similar event.

“Pro-Israel” also is likely to be a theme during the prime-time speeches by the candidates and other top officials. Expect each side to depict the other as hapless in defending Israel’s interests.

Jimmy Carter, the former president who has angered Israel and U.S. Jewish groups with his criticism of Israeli policies, will have a prime-time speech at the Democratic convention, to be delivered by video. Some groups, including the ADL and the Zionist Organization of America, have criticized the slot, saying Carter is divisive.

Jews Are Still Liberal, But Obama’s Losing Ground

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

A poll conducted by the liberal Workmen’s Circle and published last week should reassure liberals that their views still predominate in the Jewish community, but it provided little comfort to those hoping President Obama can come anywhere near his 2008 share of the Jewish vote.

The poll showed American Jews are far more liberal than most Americans. They are willing to pay higher taxes, don’t seem to like financial institutions, love unions and favor abortion and gay marriage in numbers that far outstrip the rest of the country.

The respondents also give President Obama a big majority at a time when national polls are calling the presidential election a dead heat.

But despite the effort of the poll’s left-wing sponsor to treat this as a victory for the incumbent, it actually confirms the fact that the president is bleeding Jewish support this year and appears to be falling far short of the share of the community’s vote that he won in 2008.

With the poll showing him getting only 59 percent of the Jewish vote as opposed to the 78 percent he received four years ago, there is no disguising a drastic decline in support for the Democrat.

The Workmen’s Circle attempts to soften the blow by saying if undecided voters broke down the same way decided voters did, it would give Obama a 68 to 32 percent lead among Jews. But that’s an absurd assertion. History shows us there is no reason to believe that is the way undecided voters actually vote.

If anything, in a close race undecideds are more likely to break toward the challenger.

But even if that wildly optimistic supposition were to be borne out, it would still represent a ten percent drop in the Jewish vote for Obama – a result that would have to be treated as a blow to the Democrats and a minor success for Republicans.

If, however, the final results turn out to be closer to the 59 percent figure, Obama would receive the lowest percentage of the Jewish vote in a presidential election of any Democrat since Jimmy Carter.

The pollsters insist, not without some reasons, that Israel does not appear to be a determining factor in the presidential vote. It bears repeating that the vast majority of Jews are not single issue voters on Israel and, like most Americans, will cast their votes based on other issues – principally, the economy.

The pollster’s analysis points out:

Significantly, neither attachment to Israel nor confidence in Israelis vs. Palestinians as peace seeking strongly factor into Jews’ presidential vote decision. This was among the findings of the survey regarding American Jewish attitudes toward Israel.

Obama voters and Romney voters do differ on Israel; Romney voters are more attached to Israel and more confident in Israel’s commitment to peace. However, these differences are totally explained by prior factors like religiosity and political ideology, than are the primary determinants of Obama vs. Romney preferences.

These are fair points but if, as the poll shows, the decline in Obama’s share of the Jewish vote is greater than the losses he is encountering in other sectors in national polls, analysts need to ponder what it is about the president that is repelling a higher proportion of Jewish supporters to abandon his ship than elsewhere. That is a question the Workmen’s Circle prefers not to ask, let alone answer.

Because if, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports in its article on the poll, this otherwise heavily liberal population is still steadfast in its support for Israel as well as sympathetic to its current government, it is not unreasonable to suppose that those sentiments have led them to be, at the very least, a bit less favorable to a president who spent his first three years in office picking fights with Israel.

Like the rest of the country, more Jews are disillusioned with the president’s handling of the economy, but is that enough to explain a potential loss of almost a quarter of the votes he received four years ago?

Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this originally appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.

Will Jewish Voters Break Their Democratic Habit In 2012?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Will the Jewish vote, normally overwhelmingly Democratic, be up for grabs in 2012? That question became a subject of intense debate when a Republican was elected recently to the House of Representatives from New York’s 9th Congressional District for the first time in 90 years.

The district, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn and Queens and is about one-third Jewish, had been predictably Democratic and liberal. But in the blink of an eye it gave the non-Jewish Republican candidate an 8-point victory over the Democrat, an Orthodox Jew.

Public rabbinical endorsements in the district and extensive reportage in local Jewish papers indicated substantial Jewish defections from the Democrats, particularly among Orthodox Jews, estimated to make up about a third of the Jewish electorate there. Since the election, Republican presidential candidates have been ramping up their pro-Israel rhetoric on the assumption that Jews are disappointed with the administration’s Middle East policy, while Democrats are organizing special outreach initiatives in the hope of holding on to their Jewish support.

The just-released AJC Survey of American Jewish Opinion indicates a definite falloff of Jewish support for Obama, although it is not clear that the Republican candidate for president next year can count on a significant shift in the Jewish vote.

Jewish support for Obama began at a far higher threshold than in the electorate at large: In 2008 he received an estimated 78 percent of the Jewish vote while polling 53 percent nationally. Three years later his national approval rating stands at 39 percent, a 14-point drop, while his approval rating among Jews – according to the AJC survey – is 45 percent, a decline of 23 percent but still 6 points higher than among Americans as a whole.

Among Orthodox Jews, who made up 9 percent of the sample, disapproval is much higher, 72 percent.

The AJC poll indicates that the president has retained the support of American Jews on certain issues. A solid 68 percent approve of the way he has handled national security, for example. Yet there has been a striking reversal in Jewish attitudes toward the president’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations. In the fall of 2009, toward the end of the administration’s first year, the AJC survey showed Jewish approval outstripping disapproval by 54 to 32 percent. Now, two years later, disapprovers outnumber approvers by 53 to 40 percent. Among the Orthodox Jews, 81 percent disapprove.

But Jewish disaffection from the president is not confined to Israel policy; Jews share the broader American unhappiness with recent economic trends. In March 2010, an AJC survey had Jewish approval of the president’s economic policies at 55 percent as compared to 45 percent in the general population. Today the Jewish approval rating on the economy is down to 37 percent, about the same as among Americans as a whole.

The latest AJC survey indicates some falloff in Jewish identification with the Democratic Party, which stood at 53 percent in 2009 and is now at 45 percent. However, this has not translated into gains for the Republicans, which stands steady at 16 percent. Rather, the number of Jewish political independents rose in that time period from 30 percent to 38 percent. In the Orthodox sample, Republicans now outnumber Democrats by 35 to 21 percent, with 41 percent identifying as independents.

Looking forward to the 2012 election, the AJC survey matched up Obama with a number of potential Republican candidates and asked respondents to indicate for whom they would vote. Mitt Romney did best in the hypothetical contest, garnering 32 percent to Obama’s 51; Rick Perry garnered 26 percent to Obama’s 54; and Michele Bachmann received 21 percent against 59 percent for Obama.

Since 1928, Democratic candidates for president almost always have received at least 60 percent of the Jewish vote, with many doing far better. Only Jimmy Carter in his 1980 reelection bid did worse, winning a plurality of 45 percent in a three-candidate race.

Do Obama’s numbers in the AJC matchups, all in the 51-59 percent range, portend trouble for him? Not necessarily. Approximately 20 percent of the respondents said they were undecided or unsure about whether to vote for Obama or for any of the named Republicans.

To be sure, there is still a year to go before the next presidential election. Much could happen to change the electoral calculus both in the Jewish community and outside it, whether on the domestic economic front, in the Middle East or elsewhere. Also, other candidates could conceivably enter the race.

Clearly the president faces challenges in attracting Jewish voters, especially the Orthodox. Some are identical to those confronting him with regard to all voters, others specific to the Jewish community. It is far too early to tell if 2012 will be the year that Republicans finally fulfill their long-held aspiration to draw a large chunk of the Jewish vote or if, despite serious misgivings, the tradition of overwhelming Jewish allegiance to the Democrats continues.

(JTA)

Lawrence Grossman is director of publications for the American Jewish Committee.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/will-jewish-voters-break-their-democratic-habit-in-2012/2011/10/05/

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