Obama Campaign Highlights Israel Support in Call

Pushback Against GOP Effort to Peel Away Jewish Support

By Nathan Guttman

Published September 21, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

It could have been a mere coincidence, but the Obama campaign’s conference call on Tuesday with Jewish activists was perfectly timed, just a day before the President’s U.N. speech. And both seemed to carry the same message to Jewish voters – Obama is a great friend of Israel.

In what now looks like a Jewish voter campaign blitz, leading surrogates from the Obama campaign took to the phone for a pep talk with hundreds of Jewish supporters. On the line were DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, former member of Congress Robert Wexler, and the Obama campaign’s Jewish outreach liaison Ira Forman. Their message was that Obama is getting a bad rap on Israel and its time to answer back.

“The purpose of the call was to make sure people have reliable information and to urge them to help the president get the word out,” said Alan Solow, an Obama supporter from Chicago and a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations who was on the line.

Participants got a sneak preview of Obama’s U.N. address, as speakers on behalf of the campaign promised it would “demonstrate again his strong support for Israel.” The speech definitely lived up to this description and won praise from a broad variety of Jewish groups as well as from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During the call, Wasserman-Schultz and Wexler also cited Obama’s views on social and domestic issues, which are close to the views of many Jewish voters, but the focus was Israel and how to counter Republican claims regarding the President’s policy toward the Jewish state. The conference call followed closely on the heels of a recent gathering of Democratic activists at Obama’s presidential campaign headquarters in Chicago, where Wasserman-Schultz devoted a special seminar to how the party can retain Jewish voters and donors. Does this officially mean that Democrats are concerned about the Jewish vote?

“Concern wouldn’t be the right word,” said Solow. “We think these will be close elections and therefore every votes counts.” He added that Republicans think they can make inroads to the Jewish community “and we will fight for every vote.”

Wednesday’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly is now part of this battle. In a press release issued hours after the address, the National Jewish Democratic Council said: “President Obama’s remarks this morning should put to bed once and for all the political chatter about the President’s commitment to Israel.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.