When Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz proclaimed Obama’s support for Israel in a Pennsylvania synagogue, she was visibly shocked by the loud and vocal dissent from the audience. Unlike the sanitized pro-Obama Jewish events in Florida, where Jews who opposed him were prevented from entering, the Pennsylvania event was open to all.
Wasserman Schultz apparently so believes her own rhetoric and has been so insulated from the political change sweeping the Jewish community that for a few moments she seemed sufficiently shaken to be unable to continue her speech.
One group that has had its pulse on the political leanings of the Jewish community is the Republican Jewish Coalition. Playing on the theme of buyer’s remorse — Jews who voted for Obama but will not again — the RJC has been running ads and videos with Jews who supported Obama in 2008 and are vocal about their intent not to do so now.
The Jewish Democrats will quickly point out that no one expects the majority of the Jewish community to vote for Mitt Romney. But they fail to see that this election will, by all current indications, be close. A predicted near twenty-percent shift in the Jewish vote in critical states like Florida and Ohio can devastate Obama’s electoral vote count.
It is no accident that while Mitt Romney was on his way to Israel, Obama signed a security agreement giving Israel preferential access to American arms and munitions. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quick to note how supportive the Obama administration was of Israel, and liberal Jews immediately seized on that as if it were something other than the expected response of a small country dependent for its military hardware on a large country.
More important to discerning observers of the Middle East has been Obama’s flawed foreign policy in the region. It is no accident that Dennis Ross, veteran Middle East negotiator and 2008 Obama campaigner, will not be on the campaign trail this time. And Ross’ assistant, Aaron David Miller, just published an illuminating article in Foreign Policy noting that Obama’s view of the world does not include the scenario of an Israel surrounded by Arab states bent on its destruction. Rather, Obama’s sympathies are derived from his leftist political socialization, and he does not see a concession that Israel should not be forced to make to the Arabs.