Despite recent change in tone, rhetoric and conduct by President Obama toward Israel and its prime minister, most Israelis do not trust this new act and perceive Obama to be the most pro Palestinian, Pro-Arab, and Pro-Muslim American president ever, lacking a basic commitment or even sympathy to the Jewish state.
It seems that Obama’s sudden “change of heart” toward Israel is not the result of rediscovered love, but rather, fear of losing the Jewish vote and financial backing in the upcoming elections.
In 2008, 78% of US Jews voted for Obama and were responsible for a third of total financial donations to the Democratic Party.
However, in an August 2010 Pew Research Center report, the number of Jews who identify themselves as Democrats or leaning Democrat has decreased to 60%. At the same time, the number of Jews who identify themselves as Republicans or as Independents who lean Republican has increased by more than half since the year Obama was elected, the highest change among all religious groups.
While in 2008 the ratio of Democrat vs. Republican Jews was far more than 3 to 1, now it is less than 2 to. The New York Times, in an op-ed titled “Oy-Vey Obama,” explained the decline by stating that ”Obama is burning bridges with the Jewish community in order to build bridges to the Muslim world.“ In the upcoming November elections, Jews must take a strong stand and not vote for any Democratic candidate, as a strong message to Obama and the Democratic party that Jews should never be taken for granted again, and that being pro-Israel is still an important factor for Jewish voters.
Two Gallup polls taken in February 2010 suggest that the American public is becoming increasingly divided by party lines on its view of Israel. While sympathy for Israel is increasing among Republicans and Independents, it has been declining among Democrats. One poll found that 85% of Republicans and 48%of Democrats support Israel more than the.
A separate Gallop poll showed that while Israel’s favorability ratings remain high in the aggregate (67%), when broken down by party, 80% of Republicans and 53% of Democrats hold favorable ratings.
The evidence also shows that support of Israel is a swing issue for many Jewish voters. When the Jewish community judges a candidate to be distinctly problematic on Israel, it will desert that candidate or his party in decisive numbers whether he is a Democrat or Republican.
Many Jewish liberals abandoned President Carter in the 1980 elections when he was viewed as favoring Arab interests at Israel’s expense. Carter was left with a mere 45% of the Jewish vote, the first democratic president in 60 years not to win a majority of the Jewish vote; meanwhile, the pro-Israel Ronald Reagan won 39% of the Jewish vote.
In 1992, after President Bush Sr. angered American Jewry when he threatened to deny Israel much-needed loan guarantees to help absorb Soviet Jews, he was left with a mere 10% of the Jewish vote, down from the 27% he received in 1988.
Many other Jews in the Diaspora, in England, Canada and Australia, have already moved rightward, voting for conservative parties when they became dissatisfied with liberal politicians who showed animosity to Israel. In those countries the Jewish vote is now divided between the camps.
Now, American Jews have to decide what their swing issue is. Many Jews will still choose their traditional liberalism and will vote again for any Democrat, resistant to any facts that undermine their long held beliefs. But we need as many Jews as possible to choose Israel as their main concern and to turn away from the Democratic party as a warning to Obama not to sacrifice Israel‘s security and survival in his two remaining years in office.
If Obama continues to mirror the failed policies of the Carter presidency, hopefully he too will end up as a one-term president.