David Ainsman really began to get worried about President Barack Obama’s standing with his fellow Jewish Democrats when a recent dinner with his wife and two other couples — all Obama voters in 2008 — nearly turned into a screaming match.But its not just this particular speech, it seems as if it is a cumulative effect of all of the times Obama has thrown Israel and its leaders under the bus since he was elected President.
Ainsman, a prominent Democratic lawyer and Pittsburgh Jewish community leader, was trying to explain that Obama had just been offering Israel a bit of “tough love” in his May 19 speech on the Arab Spring. His friends disagreed — to say the least.
One said he had the sense that Obama “took the opportunity to throw Israel under the bus.” Another, who swore he wasn’t getting his information from the mutually despised Fox News, admitted he’d lost faith in the president.
“It’s less something specific than that these incidents keep on coming,” said Ainsman.Ainsman is correct Obama's "war on Israel" began just a few days after inauguration and continued through his first year and even through today. For example, these are only some of the articles I wrote about Obama and Israel during his first months in office, and all this happened prior to his getting involved in the Israeli/Palestinian issue.
Politico reports that the recent speech was the straw that broke the Camel's back:
- Jan 29th 2009 Israel-Hating Samantha Power Named Key Obama Adviser
- Feb. 2009 Obama Appoints Anti-Israel Chas Freeman as Chairman of the National Intelligence Board
- June 4th 2009 Obama's Cairo Speech Threw Israel Under the Bus
- Sept. 29th 2009 Obama Tosses Israel Under The Bus--AGAIN !
The immediate controversy sparked by the speech was Obama’s statement that Israel should embrace the country’s 1967 borders, with “land swaps,” as a basis for peace talks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized on the first half of that phrase and the threat of a return to what Israelis sometimes refer to as “Auschwitz borders.”Ben Smith, the reporter who wrote the article believes that it is hard to resist the conclusion that some kind of tipping point has been reached.
Most of those interviewed were center-left American Jews and Obama supporters — and many of them Democratic donors. On some core issues involving Israel, they’re well to the left of Netanyahu and many Americans: They refer to the “West Bank,” not to “Judea and Samaria,” fervently supported the Oslo peace process and Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and believe in the urgency of creating a Palestinian state.
But they are also fearful for Israel at a moment of turmoil in a hostile region when the moderate Palestinian Authority is joining forces with the militantly anti-Israel Hamas.
“It’s a hot time, because Israel is isolated in the world and, in particular, with the Obama administration putting pressure on Israel,” said Rabbi Neil Cooper, leader of Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Philadelphia’s Main Line suburbs, who recently lectured his large, politically connected congregation on avoiding turning Israel into a partisan issue.
Some of these traditional Democrats now say, to their own astonishment, that they’ll consider voting for a Republican in 2012. And many of those who continue to support Obama said they find themselves constantly on the defensive in conversations with friends.
“I’m hearing a tremendous amount of skittishness from pro-Israel voters who voted for Obama and now are questioning whether they did the right thing or not,” said Betsy Sheerr, the former head of an abortion-rights-supporting, pro-Israel PAC in Philadelphia, who said she continues to support Obama, with only mild reservations. “I’m hearing a lot of ‘Oh, if we’d only elected Hillary instead.’”
Mentally challenged Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, told Smith detected a level of anxiety in a recent visit to a senior center in her South Florida district.
“They wanted some clarity on the president’s view,” she said. “I answered their questions and restored some confidence that maybe was a little shaky, [rebutted] misinformation and the inaccurate reporting about what was said.”Of course the reporting was not inaccurate, like most Democrats in Congress, Wasserman-Shultz was defending her party's President. Well, either that or the reporting was
written above the third grade reading level.
“There’s an inclination in the community to not trust this president’s gut feel on Israel and every time he sets out on a path that’s troubling you do get this ‘ouch’ reaction from the Jewish Community because they’re distrustful of him,” said the president of a major national Jewish organization, who declined to be quoted by name to avoid endangering his ties to the White House.Democrats argue that during this point of every presidential race there are arguments that this will be the year Jews abandon the Democratic party. Truthfully, the only time that actually happened was the reelection campaign of Jimmy Carter.
“When Obama was running, there was a lot of concern among the guys in my group at shul, who are all late-30s to mid-40s, who I hang out with and daven with and go to dinner with, about Obama,” recalled Scott Matasar, a Cleveland lawyer who’s active in Jewish organizations.Obama was aided in the turn-around by prominent Jews such as former NY Mayor Ed Koch and New Republic Editor Marty Peretz who gave the candidate a "Kosher on Israel" certificate. They will not be supporting Obama this time.
Matasar remembers his friends’ worries over whether Obama was “going to be OK for Israel.” But then Obama met with the community’s leaders during a swing through Cleveland in the primary, and the rabbi at the denominationally conservative synagogue Matasar attends — “a real ardent Zionist and Israel defender” — came back to synagogue convinced.
Now Matasar says he’s appalled by Obama’s “rookie mistakes and bumbling” and the reported marginalization of a veteran peace negotiator, Dennis Ross, in favor of aides who back a tougher line on Netanyahu. He’s the most pro-Obama member of his social circle but is finding the president harder to defend.
...A Philadelphia Democrat and pro-Israel activist, Joe Wolfson, recalled a similar progression.Its not just the votes, this "Jewish Awakening" will also hurt him in the pocketbook.
“What got me past Obama in the recent election was Dennis Ross — I heard him speak in Philadelphia and I had many of my concerns allayed,” Wolfson said. “Now, I think I’m like many pro-Israel Democrats now who are looking to see whether we can vote Republican.”
A top-dollar Washington fundraiser aimed at Jewish donors in Miami last week raised more than $1 million from 80 people, and while one prominent Jewish activist said the DNC had to scramble to fill seats, seven-figure fundraisers are hard to sneer at.People involved in the Philadelphia event, however, said they think Jewish doubts are taking a fund raising toll.
“We’re going to raise a ton of money, but I don’t know if we’re going to hit our goals,” said Daniel Berger, a lawyer who is firmly in the “peace camp” and said he blamed the controversy on Netanyahu’s intransigence.The bottom line is that even hard core pro-Israel Jews do not vote on only one issue. Certainly Israel wasn't the only reason that 55% of American Jews voted against Jimmy Carter in 1980. But, just as what happened 31 years ago, Barack Obama's anti-Israel policies are causing liberal Jews to take the rose-tint off their glasses and evaluate what has happened since January 2009, domestically, his foreign policy and his policy toward the Jewish state, and what they see is not very positive.
Lets just hope the trend continues because in the end a one-term Obama Presidency would be the best thing for America.