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!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • 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.