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McCain and the Jewish Vote, II:

Back in February, I suggested that McCain would start with a base of 25-30% of the Jewish vote (or slightly more than Bush received in 2004) and, if Obama was the nominee, that it's feasible he could get 40% or more.

A recent Gallup survey (analyzed here by Shmuel Rosner of Ha'aretz) shows Obama getting 61% of the Jewish vote, compared to 32% for McCain. Given that some fraction of Jewish potential McCain voters are probably reluctant to admit that they don't intend to vote for a liberal Democratic African American candidate (all three are categories to which many Jews feel loyalty/obligation), the real numbers are likely a bit worse.

The survey is based on polling data for the entire month of April, which means that it only partially accounts for the recent publicity over Rev. Jeremy Wright, whose antics (especially his vigorous defense of Farrakhan) are hardly likely to attract Jews to Obama.

Clinton does substantially better among Jews than Obama, which is especially interesting given that the Jewish demographic overlaps to a large degree with Obama's base of supporters--well-educated, professional, urban; the rural blue collar vote that has recently favored Clinton doesn't have much of a Jewish component. Gallup's press release doesn't break down the Jewish vote by subpart, but I'm guessing that Obama is particularly weak among older Jews, and among the Orthodox. Translation: trouble for Obama in Florida, and to a lesser extent Ohio and Pennsylvania (in the latter state, Hillary crushed Obama 62-38% among Jewish voters).

Caveat: The Gallup data is based on a sample size of only 588 Jewish Democrats, and Gallup does not reveal its estimate of the margin of error.

Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I just think it is way too soon to project this. There is a core of Jewish voters that is very concerned about Israel above all other issues (most of whom are hawkish but some of whom are dovish), and then there are lots of Jewish voters who weigh other issues as well, and many of them are very liberal. There's plenty of time for Obama to woo those voters one he gets clear of his primary fight with Hillary Clinton. Plus, jewish Democratic figures who will campaign for Obama have been staying out of the fray while the nomination is in doubt.

I am not going to claim that what Prof. Bernstein says won't happen-- it could-- but I think it is also quite possible that this is the high water mark in the polls for the Republicans among Jewish voters.
5.7.2008 11:43pm
kadet (mail):
I am not surprised that majority of Jews support Obama. They are on average smart and educated.
5.7.2008 11:59pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Obama's big problem with Jewish voters is going to be Wright-Farrakhan and his ties to other radicals (e.g., Ayers), combined with McCain's perceived moderateness. Almost no one--maybe some voters with close family there--votes purely on Israel--even a close relative who claims that Israel is paramount to him voted for Bush I in '92 because he favored his overall policies, even though he knew that Clinton was likely to be far friendlier to Israel than was Bush. And that small group knows that right now the GOP is more sympathetic to Israel overall than the Dems, and it doesn't matter whether Clinton or Obama is the nominee for that purpose, a Democratic administration will likely be staffed with, and pay attention to, more Israel-skeptics than a Republican one. Beyond that, Obama's pro-Israel pronouncents and defenders (e.g., Marty Peretz) are good enough for anyone inclined to vote for him for other reasons.

But the Farrakhan thing--that goes not to Israel, but to the status, safety, etc., of American Jews. It's to some Jews like John McCain being close to, and a congregant of, a pastor who has openly admired David Duke all that time.
5.8.2008 12:01am
TruePath (mail) (www):
I don't know why but I do get the sense that Obama wouldn't be as strongly supportive of Israel as Hillary. It's hard to say why I feel this way, especially because he makes all the right noise.

Perhaps part of it is that I feel Obama is more likely to act on personal conviction than Hillary is and there is always a certain worry about progressives being influenced by the anti-israeli movement. Still, I think that worry is fairly remote for Obama.

However, as strongly as I think we should support Israel I do think there are some things we really should pressure them about and I do think Obama is more likely to do that. They really should start dismantaling some of the settlements and certainly they need to clamp down on the semi-legal (i.e. officially overlooked) expansion of settlements. This is really a point where the US needs to itnervene since I'm not convinced the electoral politics in Israel (a concentrated interest who strongly favors the settlements) provides the right incentives on it's own.
5.8.2008 12:02am
Guest123 (mail):
Is the poll of observant Jews or all those identifying as ethnically Jewish? I would guess that the former cohort is disproportionately old, which would explain the greater support for Clinton/McCain. Show me a regression that controls for age and then we'll talk.
5.8.2008 12:15am
Nathan_M (mail):
I would take this poll with a large grain of salt. Right now a lot of Democrats, especially Clinton supports, say they won't vote for Obama or Clinton if their first choice isn't the nominee. Presumably this number will fade before the election.

I don't see any particular reason to think this poll identifies a particular problem Obama has with Jewish votes rather than the more general divide that has split the rest of the party.
5.8.2008 12:21am
Paul B:
guest123,

The Gallup study doesn't mention how they identified Jewish respondents, but I'm guessing that "Jewish voters" were anyone who identified themselves as such.
5.8.2008 12:22am
Guest123 (mail):
The context of the question is important. Support the Gallup poll asked whether the respondent was "Jewish" as one category among Protestant, Catholic, Non-Believer, etc. In that case, they are going to end up sampling observant Jews. Perhaps another poll, say an exit poll, asked the question in a different context (or with no context at all). They wouldn't be sampling the same population that way.

So I would be hesitant to compare polls as David does, since we don't know if they were identifying "Jewish" voters in the same way.
5.8.2008 12:30am
Herm (mail):
David Bernstein is Jewish? I would have never guessed!
5.8.2008 12:38am
Mark Buehner (mail):
Obama has a far bigger electoral problem than he does a demographic problem (although they overlap). McCain has a double digit lead in Florida vs Obama, leads in Ohio, and its a dead heat in Pennsylvania. And those are polls too... this years polls may be useless as many will not want to feel racist for admitting they are crossing party lines to vote McCain. McCain obviously has Arizona in his pocket, and if that Western regional appeal carries over into New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado this race is practically decided before it begins. Obama is going to have to either cut his losses in places like the above and try to win southern states like the Carolinas and Louisianna, or shuffle to a dozen states running from behind. Mccain just has to not screw up and will have the luxury of taking runners at Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Pacific Northwest. McCain can poach, Obama must play defense or roll the dice completely.
5.8.2008 12:46am
davidbernstein (mail):
Whatever methodology Gallup used to identify "Jewish" voters is probably more or less the same as what is used in exit polling data to figure out the Jewish vote, so we're comparing apples to apples, at least.

Two other points: I doubt it's true that older Jews are more observant religiously than younger Jews. In particular, the younger cohort is more Orthodox than the older cohort, especially if Orthodoxy is defined by actual practice, rather than synagogue affiliation.

Second, there are segments of the Jewish community that are probably less likely to acknowledge they are Jewish to random callers--Holocaust survivors, Israeli emigrants, and Russians spring to mind. The former two groups are disproportionately Orthodox, and the latter disproportionately Republican-leaning. So while secular left-wing Jews are undoubtedly less likely to identify as Jewish, that's not the whole story.
5.8.2008 12:48am
Jim at FSU (mail):
But don't most polls have McCain demolishing Obama by double digits in Florida already? Between the hispanics, conservatives, old people and jews, McCain is not exactly on hostile ground.

Also, isn't the Jewish vote concentrated in 3 places, 2 of which (CA and NY) reliably go for the democrats in every election? While I do remember jews turning on Dinkins in 1992 (after blacks engaged in a huge anti-jewish riot on his watch) I can't really see Jews turning around NY all by themselves unless it was a really close race to begin with.

Is NY really that close that a few percent of the jewish population unexpectedly going for McCain will win him that state? I just don't see it.
5.8.2008 1:33am
Shadow:

Caveat: The Gallup data is based on a sample size of only 588 Jewish Democrats, and Gallup does not reveal its estimate of the margin of error.


For a sample of that size, it's approximately 4%, plus or minus.
5.8.2008 1:33am
Jim at FSU (mail):
I remember this from when I was in HS. This is what it takes to get NYC Jews voting for republicans.

From Wikipedia:
The Crown Heights Riot was a three-day riot in the Crown Heights neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. ... Historians have described it as "one of the most serious incidents of antisemitism in American history"[1] and a pogrom by Blacks against Jews.[2] The riot was also viewed as a pogrom by members of the Jewish community.[3]
5.8.2008 1:35am
Joey22 (mail):
"Gallup's tracking finds that 61% of all Jewish voters would choose Barack Obama in a general election versus John McCain, only a smidge less than the percentage who would choose Clinton over McCain (66%)." - Mark Ambinder at the Atlantic.

You have an odd definition of "substantially better", my friend, particularly as the numbers you chose to cite about how much better Senator Clinton did against Senator Obama in their head-to-head match-ups tells a very different story than the gallup number you chose not to.

Indeed, the numbers for Sentators Clinton AND Obama were much worse than the percentage of Jewish voters who voted for Gore and Kerry (79% and 76% respectively). The story thus is not about Senator Obama in particular, but more likely about any of:
- general Jewish disaffection with the Democratic Party
- general Jewish satisfaction with the Republican party or
- a particular preference for John McCain in particular
5.8.2008 2:03am
DG:
The other issue is that some reliably democratic Jewish voters will simply stay home rather than vote for Obama. I haven't yet heard anyone mention Israel as the reason, but I have heard concerns that he is too far to the left - there is a real fear of extremes amongst many Jewish voters (which strikes me as sensible). McCain is known for his strong dislike of the hard religious right (which seems mutual) which would appeal to many disgruntled democratic Jewish voters.

If Obama was a moderate, he would sweep the Jewish vote, I suspect. On the other hand, maybe he wouldn't have gotten the nomination? If Clinton is his VP candidate, the whole picture may change.
5.8.2008 2:08am
davidbernstein (mail):
Joey, another way of looking at it is that McCain gets 27% of the Jewish vote against Clinton, 32% against Obama, which means that McCain does about 20% better against Obama than against Clinton, which is substantial. And given that, as I argued, McCain starts with at least the 25% of the Jewish vote Bush got, and 50% or more of Jews would vote for almost any Democratic nominee, you're talking about 25% of the Jewish vote, at most, that's even marginally up for grabs, wich makes the 5% difference, assuming it's real (and as I argued it's probably higher), substantial (1 in 5 Jewish voters who voted for Kerry and would consider voting for a Repubican for president will vote for McCain if Obama, and not Clinton, is the nominee).
5.8.2008 2:15am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
But don't most polls have McCain demolishing Obama by double digits in Florida already? Between the hispanics, conservatives, old people and jews, McCain is not exactly on hostile ground.


In fairness, I think that at least part of McCain’s appeal amongst Latino voters is because some opponents of his comprehensive immigration reform bill began calling him “Juan McCain.”

Although if Barack Obama goes back to being called “Barry” he might do better amongst Jewish voters (and possibly the Irish if they don’t see how his last name is spelled).

(j/k)
5.8.2008 2:26am
DavidBernstein (mail):

I haven't yet heard anyone mention Israel as the reason, but I have heard concerns that he is too far to the left - there is a real fear of extremes amongst many Jewish voters (which strikes me as sensible).
Exactly.
5.8.2008 2:53am
berlet98 (mail) (www):
Mr. Bernstein, what I will never get is precisely why "Jews feel loyalty/obligation" to Blacks? It just seems to me that Blacks/African-Americans have an extreme antipathy to Jews, for reasons I also don't understand. I can understand Jewish empathy but empathy toward a people who despise you?
5.8.2008 3:46am
bradley:
berlet98:

Jews are programmed from youth to fall for guilt trips. You will therefore find them overrepresented in all bleeding heart causes.
5.8.2008 4:38am
who cares?:
Why on earth would either candidate care one bit about the jewish vote in this election? It is so tiny that even winning it 80%-20% would make exactly zero difference in any state.
5.8.2008 4:39am
Asher (mail):
I am not surprised that majority of Jews support Obama. They are on average smart and educated.

Nice stereotyping. A lot of us are just as dumb as you.

About this poll, doesn't the fact that they only polled Jewish Democrats mean that the real numbers are closer to 50/50? Probably a good 10% of American Jewry's registered Republican.
5.8.2008 4:49am
Oren:
I am not surprised that majority of Jews support Obama. They are on average smart and educated.
Like it or not, demographically, Obama beats the pants out of McCain and Hilary among college grads and even more among those with higher degrees.

Berlet, Bradley, a commitment to social justice runs pretty deeply though the Jewish faith. Interpret it how you will (or, for some helpful comments, and some unhelpful ones, search the volokh archives for tikkun olam).

Also, I have no idea where anyone got the idea that any US President would ever allow any serious material harm to come to the State of Israel. It just inconceivable. Even Nixon, a demonstrable anti-semite, knew when to throw down.
5.8.2008 5:17am
Ted Frank (www):
Jews make up about 4% of the vote in Pennsylvania, so if McCain can pull Reaganesque 40% numbers, that closes half the gap between Bush and Kerry in that state.

But otherwise American Jews are concentrated in states--NY, CA, FL--that do not look to be swing states in the 2008 election.

Also, I have no idea where anyone got the idea that any US President would ever allow any serious material harm to come to the State of Israel.

Clinton, late 2000, bullied Israel into a bad peace deal that the Palestinians were nevertheless foolish enough to reject. And an Obama administration that would permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is effectively "allow[ing] serious material harm to come to the State of Israel," not to mention the US.
5.8.2008 8:39am
Gaius Marius:
The sample group was "Jewish Democrats" and not "Jewish voters." This does not bode well for Barack Hussein Mohamad Obama. It will get even worse for him come this fall when Hamas, Hezbollah, and President Ahmadinejad make known their preference for Obama over John McCain.
5.8.2008 9:25am
yazi (mail):
You say this means "trouble for Obama in Florida." 3% of Florida is Jewish (accdg to Wiki). Even if they make up 5% of the vote, the difference between Obama's Jewish support and Clinton's Jewish support will be maybe 1% of the total. I'm thinking that's not a huge problem for Obama. The whole Jewish vote is getting WAY overblown.
5.8.2008 9:40am
yankev (mail):

While I do remember jews turning on Dinkins in 1992 (after blacks engaged in a huge anti-jewish riot on his watch) I can't really see Jews turning around NY all by themselves unless it was a really close race to begin with.
It didn't help when it was revealed that the police had been ordered not to intervene. And Charlie Rangel didn't help either with his veiled threat at election time that there would be more riots if "the Jews" tried to punish (Rangel's words) Dinkins for the Crown Heights riots.
riots
5.8.2008 11:07am
PLR:
Assuming a normal turnout, Obama shouldn't fare materially worse than Gore among Jewish voters unless either (a) the voters perceive Obama to be less desirable than Gore as a candidate, or (b) the voters perceive McCain to be superior to Bush (the 2000 candidate). I don't see either (a) or (b) applying, and the suggestion that McCain could approach 40% is pretty out there.
5.8.2008 11:32am
byomtov (mail):
Many Jews have a strong dislike of the religious right. McCain is probably seen as less closely associated with that group than Bush, and that will help him a bit.
5.8.2008 11:46am
cvt:

Translation: trouble for Obama in Florida, and to a lesser extent Ohio and Pennsylvania (in the latter state, Hillary crushed Obama 62-38% among Jewish voters). (Bernstein)


Jews make up about 4% of the vote in Pennsylvania, so if McCain can pull Reaganesque 40% numbers, that closes half the gap between Bush and Kerry in that state. But otherwise American Jews are concentrated in states--NY, CA, FL--that do not look to be swing states in the 2008 election. (Ted Frank)

I'm not sure of the percentage of Jewish voters in the different states, but it does seem clear that both NY and CA will go for Obama regardless of how the Jewish vote swings. If FL is in play, it's conceiveable that Jewish voters could make a difference. But it sounds like it would make at most a half percentage point difference in PA and an even smaller difference in OH.
5.8.2008 12:16pm
PLR:
Many Jews have a strong dislike of the religious right. McCain is probably seen as less closely associated with that group than Bush, and that will help him a bit.

I've seen that suggested before, but I'm highly skeptical. Were there really Jewish voters who voted for Gore only because Bush was so close to the annoying evangelical Christians, and not for other reasons related to their enlightened self-interest?
5.8.2008 12:56pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Obama shouldn't fare materially worse than Gore among Jewish voters unless either (a) the voters perceive Obama to be less desirable than Gore as a candidate, or (b) the voters perceive McCain to be superior to Bush (the 2000 candidate). I don't see either (a) or (b) applying, and the suggestion that McCain could approach 40% is pretty out there.
Both A and B apply.
5.8.2008 1:14pm
Oren:
Clinton, late 2000, bullied Israel into a bad peace deal that the Palestinians were nevertheless foolish enough to reject. And an Obama administration that would permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is effectively "allow[ing] serious material harm to come to the State of Israel," not to mention the US.
The Palestinian situation in Israel has never, and will never, amount to an existential threat to Israel's existence. There is just no feasible way anything could result from any of the peace plans that would destroy the State.

Also, if you think that Iran is likely to ask the US President for permission to continue its weapons programs, then you are smoking something very powerful.
5.8.2008 1:43pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
But the Farrakhan thing--that goes not to Israel, but to the status, safety, etc., of American Jews.

I don't want to be presumptuous here, as I am not Jewish. But I doubt that many American Jews-- as much as they may be disgusted at Farrakhan-- think he is a threat to their safety, let alone that Obama is a threat to their safety because of his tenuous links to him.

I am sure that a lot of American Jews do feel (as I do) that Farrakhan is disgusting. But threat to their safety? Come on!
5.8.2008 2:58pm
Stash:
This is fun, but we are looking at a snapshot, not a dynamic analysis.

I think Jews do have a concern with the religious right, and I will say, at least from my own feelings, that much of my affection for McCain stemmed from his attacks on those forces in the 2000 Republican primary. He has, obviously, mended fences in that area, and has made various pandering gestures in that direction. So one question is, will the religious right lay low for the general, or a la Wright make itself prominent and make damaging demands of McCain? For example, the whole "Christian Nation" (used in other than a demographic sense) issue is, I think, a real show-stopper on a visceral level for the Jewish community. Another gaffe of that nature, even by someone loosely connected with his campaign, could cause him problems.

And, McCain is not the only candidate who can mend fences with a problematic constituency. To the extent that the Obama campaign perceives a difficulty, it can address that with influencial surrogates.

Finally, and maybe importantly, these calculations are now being made before we know who the running mates are. Their positions and associations will also have an impact on the vote. While highly improbable, a Huckabee-type VP would change the dynamics significantly. But less improbable might be a significant Huckabee influence on the Republican platform or a Huckabee speech to cheering at the convention, with a snippet suitable for U-tube.

On the other side, an Obama VP, reassuring to the Jewish community, heck, to moderates everywhere, could also has an impact.
5.8.2008 4:35pm
cvt:
For what it's worth, a recent Gallup report says that Obama's support among white voters against McCain is no worse than Kerry's support against Bush was in 2004. So if Obama has lost support among Jewish voters, he must be doing better among other white voters.
5.8.2008 4:49pm
Oren:
I am sure that a lot of American Jews do feel (as I do) that Farrakhan is disgusting. But threat to their safety?
Ditto that. As I've said earlier, I don't believe that any American President (or viable candidate) ever would let any existential harm come to American Jews or the State of Israel (see Nixon, an antisemite that saved our asses big time).
5.8.2008 4:52pm
Stash:
Just read interesting take on this issue in New Republic.
5.8.2008 5:22pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
There is just no feasible way anything could result from any of the peace plans that would destroy the State.



Right of Return?
5.8.2008 6:13pm
byomtov (mail):
Were there really Jewish voters who voted for Gore only because Bush was so close to the annoying evangelical Christians, and not for other reasons related to their enlightened self-interest?

I suspect there were some. I don't know how many. Lots of things can make a difference to the marginal voter.

I think McCain's weaker association with the religious right will help him with Jews, so I guess I have to believe that some did vote for Gore for that reason.
5.8.2008 6:51pm
Oren:
<blockquote> Right of Return? </blockquote> No Israeli government would <i><b>ever</b></i> accept the right of return, even the US President threatened to cut all ties. No American President would fail to understand that this it would be death sentence, no more.

I can't imagine how anyone could conclude (even the Palestinians) that holding on to RoR is anything but a PR device.
5.8.2008 7:03pm
Oren:
Right of Return?
No Israeli government would ever accept the right of return, even the US President threatened to cut all ties. No American President would fail to understand that this it would be death sentence, no more.

I can't imagine how anyone could conclude (even the Palestinians) that holding on to RoR is anything but a PR device.
5.8.2008 7:04pm
Guest123 (mail):
David said, "Whatever methodology Gallup used to identify "Jewish" voters is probably more or less the same as what is used in exit polling data to figure out the Jewish vote, so we're comparing apples to apples, at least."

Do you have any evidence that this is the case, or is it just your supposition? Absent any evidence, it seems equally plausible that because the two polls were written by different pollsters, they had differently worded questions.

David said, "I doubt it's true that older Jews are more observant religiously than younger Jews."

But while that may be so, it is another assumption built into your argument that does not have any supporting evidence.
5.8.2008 7:48pm
Ted Frank (www):
Were there really Jewish voters who voted for Gore only because Bush was so close to the annoying evangelical Christians, and not for other reasons related to their enlightened self-interest?

I'm quite confident the answer is yes, judging from my conversations with Jewish voters in 2000 (and a number of Jews also remembered Bush Senior's attitude towards Jewish voters). In terms of enlightened self-interest, Bush's tax cuts were superior to Gore's economic plans, but Gore won something like 75-20.

NB that McCain has Lieberman's endorsement.
5.8.2008 7:52pm
Oren:
David said, "I doubt it's true that older Jews are more observant religiously than younger Jews."
Actually, it's (somewhat) the other way around. I'll post a link if I can find it in my history.
5.8.2008 9:19pm
Joey22 (mail):
The Clinton-Obama comparison is still based on bogus numbers.

BD: "another way of looking at it is that McCain gets 27% of the Jewish vote against Clinton, 32% against Obama, which means that McCain does about 20% better against Obama than against Clinton, which is substantial."

She gets 5% more than Senator Obama does, or as we like to call it, 1% more than the margin of error. You can inflate the proportion by playing with the denominator: (to wit: he is in danger of losing 1 in 5 "Jewish voters who voted for Kerry and would consider voting for a Repubican for president") but the reality is that 5% more Jews is any state is not likely to make much of a difference.

To use the example of Pennsylvania, if Jewish voters are 4% of the total electorate there, and she does 5% better than Senator Obama with that group, then she's getting 0.2% more total votes than Senator Obama. Wow! We all appreciate micro-trends, but really now, the man may have bigger fish to fry at this moment.

This is not to say that the Jewish vote is not an interesting demographic in this election, or that the Gallup numbers may not be incorrect. As it is, though, the numbers you have tell a compelling story about Jewish voters generally going more for Senator McCain than they did for President Bush, not their going more for Senator Clinton than Senator Obama.

This is important because much of the discussion above focuses on actions that President Clinton took that were arguably against Israel's interests. If Jewish support has waned considerably since then, and it is not due to a specific Democratic candidate, then you have a different story to explain than if a particular candidate is just doing historically bad with them.
5.8.2008 9:29pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Boy, the TNR piece is weak--partisan Democrats predicting that Obama will get their constituents' votes! The real story is that the partisan Dems are admitting that Obama has a problem in what should be a huge Democratic stronghold--elderly, mostly secular Jews in South Florida, and that Obama is planning to expend precious resources to get them to vote for him.
5.8.2008 9:50pm
Oren:
fake db, please chose a real handle (note, my name is actually Oren, damnit). Masquerading as a conspirator is weak.
5.8.2008 10:01pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Read Lynn Sweet's Sun-Times report on how the Chicago Jewish community feels about Obama's "steadfast, honest and proud support of Israel. " Billionaires like the Crowns and the Pritzkers are not easily fooled.

Obama event invite.......


Renée &Lester Crown
Paula &Jim Crown, Lisa &Howard Green, Sheila &Joe Gutman, Sandy &Jack Levin, Penny Pritzker &Bryan Traubert, Michael Polsky, Nancy &Lee Rosenberg, Norma &Lester Rosenberg, Cari &Michael Sacks, Marcie &Avy Stein, Anne &Marcus Wedner

Dear Friends,
It is now time. It is now our turn.
Our Illinois Senator, Barack Obama, is running to become President of the United States.
On October 1, Renee and Lester Crown are hosting an evening reception with Senator Obama at their home, along with many of the leaders of our community.
The purpose of the evening is to show Barack how appreciative we are of his steadfast, honest and proud support of Israel. In spite of a bruising schedule, Senator Obama has continued to maintain a direct dialogue with the community both here in Chicago and nationally. It is also quite unusual to have the opportunity to deliver a specific policy message of appreciation during the rigors of a presidential campaign. If you have already contributed fully to the campaign, thank you, your support is greatly appreciated. Please consider additional family members and others who can attend/contribute to this special event.
5.8.2008 11:59pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
<i>Boy, the TNR piece is weak--partisan Democrats predicting that Obama will get their constituents' votes! The real story is that the partisan Dems are admitting that Obama has a problem in what should be a huge Democratic stronghold--elderly, mostly secular Jews in South Florida, and that Obama is planning to expend precious resources to get them to vote for him.</i>

Again, what you are missing is <i>timing</i>. Barack Obama, if you haven't notice, has "problems" with lots of voters right now. That's to be expected given that he is still in the process of settling a contested primary which has featured some fairly dramatic splits among Democrats as well as the emergence of the Reverend Wright antics.

So Obama will have to spend money and campaign and get some of these people back on board. That's no different than McCain, who is right now attempting to get conservatives on board his campaign and is spending his money and time doing that.

The question isn't where are we in May, but where will we be in November?
5.9.2008 2:13pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
No Israeli government would ever accept the right of return, even the US President threatened to cut all ties. No American President would fail to understand that this it would be death sentence, no more.


Never is a long word, to quote Treebeard. I think there is a presidential candidate right now that could very well back the Right of Return. Jimmy Carter certainly would have.


I can't imagine how anyone could conclude (even the Palestinians) that holding on to RoR is anything but a PR device.


Let me say this- to the Palestinians it is absolutely NOT a PR device. That is what negotiators have failed to realize for 20 years and why thy always end up looking like idiots. Another administration comes in and sends some blue ribbon negotiator all gung-ho to iron out what they perceive to be the couple of loose ends to make a lasting peace... and BLAMMO, a year later they realize the Palestians best offer is to allow Israel to die a natural death via the right of return rather than being murdered outright. Under no circumstances have the Palestinians ever agreed to anything that didnt include a majority Palestinian entity in what is now Israel. That is the major disconnect the diplomacy minded fail to understand in the peace talks.

Someday another Jimmy Carter is quite likely to buy into their B.S. and back that right of return, and under the correct circumstances its at least plausible that a soft Israeli PM could accept it. Unlikely, but possible.

Thats why the Israelis should withdraw to the Green Line(or closet equivalent) finish their wall and IMPOSE a settlement. The Palestinians are willing to wait til the sun burns out if necessary.
5.9.2008 6:02pm
Oren:
Mark, I don't know what to say except that you are just wrong.

At the very minimum, no Israeli PM could possibly accept such a peace deal. If an alien put a mind-control ray in his brain and forced him to, there would be a vote of no confidence before the ink was dry.
5.10.2008 2:42pm