Jews Still Support Obama

For all the hyperventilating from American Jewish leaders about how terrible Obama is on Israel – Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post has gone as far to suggest that Obama is intentionally “fomenting a crisis in U.S. relations with Israel” — the latest polling shows a majority of American Jews firmly support the U.S. president on Israel.

According to the poll, 57 percent of American Jews support Obama, while 38 percent disapprove. And a full 55 percent approve of how Obama is handling Israel, while 37 percent take the opposite view.

(By comparison, only 50 percent of Jews approve of the way Obama is handling health care; 48 percent disapprove.)

And, despite all the huffing and puffing about a crisis between the two countries — a supposed material breach — a full 73 percent still view the U.S.-Israel relationship as somewhat or very positive.

What this tells me is that Obama may be more in touch with the pulse of the American Jewish community, writ large, than the Jewish leaders who pillory his policies.

Perhaps the most telling — and frightening — number in the entire poll is the very last one. While a solid majority (74 percent) say they feel fairly or very close to Israel, a full 25 percent say they feel fairly or very distant. That’s one out of four American Jews. And it does not bode well.

Glick, in her column, argues unpersuasively that Obama is intentionally trying to sabotage Israel’s image among American Jews, to drive down popular support for Israel.

These numbers suggest to me that Israel’s support is already diminished, as a generation of Jewish Americans who haven’t known anti-Semitism and have little connection to the Holocaust come of age — amid interminable Middle East conflict.

6 Responses to “Jews Still Support Obama”

  1. Daniel Lewis says:

    Agreed. And this shows the continued need for for Birthright Israel. One trip is all it takes. At least, one trip was all it took for me, my wife, and son.

  2. Neurotic Dem says:

    Great point, Danny. Can’t quite imagine what those numbers would look like without Birthright.

  3. Neurotic Dem says:

    This came in, via Facebook, from Mike:

    If Republicans can win without them this fall, American Jews risk becoming just as irrelevant in elections as African Americans have become. This is especially true as the Tea Party movement pushes the Republican party away from Christian conservatives somewhat.

    If Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod can stand behind the current administration’s policies vis-a-vis Israel and still have huge support in the Jewish community, what would keep Mitt Romney or another non-Fundamentalist Republican from taking this as a starting point and going even further toward the Euro position on Israel?

  4. Neurotic Dem says:

    I think Republicans use Israel as a wedge issue. For the GOP, being pro-Israel is good politics — in part because Israel is a Democracy in the Middle East, and in part because many Christian fundamentalists (base Republicans) believe there must be a Jewish ingathering in the holy land for the Messiah to return. (At which point the Jews will be obliterated.) I don’t think these elements really exist in Europe. Romney –a Mormon, remember — would never alienate the base by turning on Israel.
    Jews have voted overwhelmingly Democratic in every presidential election, with the exception of Reagan v. Carter. (39 percent Reagan; 45 percent Carter.) Yet each cycle, Repubs pander to them on Israel, and spend tons of money trying to convince them to vote GOP. 78 percent of Jews voted for Obama. The question is, in the next election, can the GOP peel off say 10 – 15 percent or more? If so, that would still be a solid Jewish Democratic majority, but it could — in Florida or Ohio — quite literally swing the election one way or the other. I don’t see irrelevancy any time soon.

  5. Neurotic Dem says:

    This came in, via Facebook, from Mike:

    In reply to you, I’d say that the argument that being pro-Israel is good politics for the Republicans is very, very tenuous. That party is a coalition of two groups – pro-business capitalists and fundmentalists Christians. The former is fairly close to the Tea Party Movement, and for that group, it’s more important to be pro-Arabic oil state (e.g. Saudi Arabia) than pro-Israel.

  6. Neurotic Dem says:

    You’re leaving out an important group: The hawkish pro-Democracy crusaders. The neocons. Isn’t there still a George Bush wing of the Republican party? The very powerful wing of the GOP that led us into Iraq in the first place view Israel, rightly, as the only true Democracy in the Middle East. We support Israel because Israel shares our value of freedom and Democracy. This is distinct from: We support Israel because we want the Messiah to return. Unless Ron Paul is elected, I don’t think you can easily discount these forces.

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