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May 22, 2008
Obama supporters worried about the Jewish vote
After dismissing concerns about Obama and Israel policy, Jewish advocates of Barack Obama's candidacy are starting to be openly concerned. An article by Ami Eden carried by the JTA news service reports:
The New York Times echoes these concerns among Jews in Florida, providing attempts ar rebuttal, of course. Richard Baehr writes, "All you need to know from this article, designed to argue that the Jews who will not vote for Obama are probably racists, is this: those who support Obama are quiet about it among friends. Those who support McCain are open about it. This is a total reversal of the half century history of Jews Jews quietly voting Republican. There is enormous opportunity here."
The anxious mood was easy to detect Sunday night at the annual dinner of the New York chapter of the National Jewish Democratic Council, especially during a speech by one of the night's five honorees, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
"We need to convince Jewish voters that" Obama will "stand by Israel," said Engel, who with four other pro-Clinton Jewish congressmen from New York -- Gary Ackerman, Steve Israel, Jerrold Nadler and Anthony Weiner -- was recognized for working to bolster the U.S.-Israel relationship. [....]
Even the NJDC's executive director, Ira Forman, who in past years was quick to dismiss any talk of a pending Jewish crossover to the GOP, raised the alarm.
Borrowing from Charles Dickens, Forman told the crowd that it was the "best of times," with Democrats poised to make "huge gains" in Congress. But it is also the "worst of times," he added, citing a recent Gallup Poll showing Obama winning 61 percent of the Jewish vote in a match-up against U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) taking 67 percent against the presumptive Republican nominee.
AT's Ed Lasky was among the first and most thorough who raised these concerns-- for which he has been branded a "smear artist", "previously unknown", and "right wing blogger" among other insults by major left publications. But time has vindicated his early concerns.
The longer term question is what effect the love affair between the Democrat Left and Obama will have on the longstanding commitment of many Jews to liberalism and the Democratic Party.
Update -- Sabrina Leigh Schaeffer on National Review Online further reports
on the concerns among Jewish voters.
But with the Democratic nomination all but secured, Jewish voters are likely to start thinking less about the senator's speeches and more about the company he keeps. As the last two elections reveal, when it comes to the Jewish vote, actions speak louder than words.
While Reverend Wright's anti-American and anti-Semitic ravings captured the attention of the public for weeks, it's simply his theatrics that appear to make him the most repellant of Obama's friends. The senator has tried to dismiss Wright as a "crazy uncle," but if you take a closer look at the crowd the senator runs with, it appears he has a whole lot of crazy relatives to disinvite from dinner.
It was widely circulated that Wright supported - and even publicly commended - radical black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan. Yet little has been said about Sen. Obama's relationship with Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Catholic pastor at St. Sabina, also on the South Side of Chicago. In 2004, Obama told the Chicago Sun Times that Pfleger was one of his three spiritual mentors.
Pfleger's name became more widely recognizable two years ago when Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed a Farrakhan aide to serve on a hate-crimes commission. When the appointee, Sister Claudette, refused to denounce Farrakhan's racist and anti-Semitic remarks, three Jewish members on the commission resigned - a situation that prompted Pfleger to respond, "good riddance."