The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

President Obama, Israel’s Slap-Happy Older Brother


In the Morning Jolt:

I suppose we should give reporter John Heilemann credit for observing that Obama is considered not only not Jewish (duh) but anti-Israel. (I mean, heck, throw in the Jeremiah Wright’s comment that “them Jews” wouldn’t let him talk to Obama, and many would find it hard to believe Obama never heard an anti-Semitic comment from Wright and similarly hard to believe Obama would object at the time.)

He writes:

Obama’s people deny up and down that the loss of a seat last occupied by Anthony Weiner portends, well, pretty much anything for 2012. But the truth is that they are worried, and worried they should be, for the signs of Obama’s slippage among Jewish voters are unmistakable. Last week, a new Gallup poll found that his approval rating in that cohort had fallen to 55 percent—a whopping 28-point drop since his inauguration. And among the high-dollar Jewish donors who were essential to fueling the great Obama money machine last time around, stories of dismay and disaffection are legion. “There’s no question,” says one of the president’s most prolific fund-raisers. “We have a big-time Jewish problem.”

In a way, history has been cruel to Obama, forcing him to succeed the wrong Bush—the one whose support for Israel, unlike that of his father, was uncritical to the point of blindness. Obama’s team has made its share of errors in the conduct of its diplomacy and in allowing misperceptions to take hold: that its tough-love approach to Israel has been all the former and none of the latter; that its demands on the Palestinians have been either negligible or nonexistent. And many Jewish voters, like those Wall Street financiers (and, to be sure, the overlap between those groups isn’t trivial) who flocked to Obama and were then chagrined when he called them out as “fat cats,” have all too often focused more on the president’s words than his deeds—and come away with the impression that he doesn’t seem to “feel Israel” in his bones.

I think my favorite metaphor in the piece was Heilemann’s declaration that “[Obama’s] role here is not that of the callous assailant but of the caring and sober brother slapping his drunken sibling: The point is not to hurt the guy but to get him to sober up.”

Get that, Israel? It’s not that Obama doesn’t like you; it’s that he thinks you’re drunk and he’s slapping you, that’s all. Of course, if the brother isn’t drunk, you’re just slapping him and irritating him and impeding him from whatever he’s trying to do — say, defend himself from hostile neighbors all around him.

Dina Fraioli is . . . not a fan of the article’s argument: “I’m sick to my stomach.”

Stephen Green writes, “It’s safe to say that Jewish voters — and Jewish donors — won’t come out in force in 2012 like they did in for Obama in 2008 . . . The New York cover is just the first of many attempts by the Complicit Media and the White House to shore up the Jewish vote. It remains to be seen if it will work.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Israel


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