The American Debate: Again, false GOP hopes for Jewish support

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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Source: PA Inquirer, 7-17-11

Some things never change. Birds fly south for the winter, the sun rises in the morning, and conservatives persist in believing that Jewish voters will desert the Democratic Party and embrace the GOP.

Yeah, right. And the Beatles will reunite.

Republicans have predicted a mass Jewish Democratic exodus in every election cycle since the ’90s, claiming every time that it’s really going to happen. And I can understand why they would want it to happen. While Jews account for, at most, only 4 percent of the electorate, they are disproportionately concentrated in big swing states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida.

Now the old Republican story line has been dusted off, yet again, in the wake of President Obama’s May 19 suggestion that Israel’s prewar 1967 lines should be the basis for peace talks with the Palestinians. Which means that this time, the long-anticipated exodus is really, really, really going to happen.

Supposedly, Jewish voters now realize that Obama is a threat to Israel, making the GOP their natural home. Mitt Romney stokes this notion by claiming that Obama “has thrown Israel under a bus.” Michele Bachmann said Obama had “betrayed” Israel, and Tim Pawlenty said that “Obama’s insistence on a return to the 1967 borders is a mistaken and very dangerous demand.” Republicans have also excitedly circulated a news story, on the Politico website, that says “many” Jewish Democrats have reached “a tipping point” with Obama….

But it’s never enough. Republicans are excited about a new poll that suggests only 43 percent of Jews will vote to reelect Obama. It turns out that the questions were skewed, by the cosponsoring Republican firm. To wit: “Considering what President Obama has proposed for Israel just over a year before his 2012 reelection campaign – a return to the 1967 borders, dividing Jerusalem, and allowing the right of return for Palestinian Arabs to Israel – how concerned would you be about President Obama’s policies toward Israel if he were reelected and did not have to worry about another election?”

Actually, Obama has opposed a Palestinian “right of return” since 2008. The questioners simply switched his stance, in the hopes of ginning up that Jewish Republican trend.

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