Israel Is The Issue
"(Obama has been) throwing Israel under the bus!" Former Gov. Mitt Romney. (1)
"The Obama administration has appeased the Arab street..." Gov. Rick Perry (1)
These candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination have pounced on one of President Obama's major vulnerabilities: his tepid record of support for Israel. Since Evangelical Christians are strong backers of the Jewish state, both candidates are also appealing to this group, which can play a significant role in GOP primaries.
But are they right about Obama? Although the President has consistently supported and approved aid to Israel (as promised by previous presidents) and gave it the Iron Dome missile-defense system ($200 billion paid by the US), Obama has tilted American policy toward the Palestinian cause three ways:
1. The Cairo Speech. Obama declared American ties to Israel "unbreakable," but also promised the creation of a Palestinian state on land won by Israel in 1967. Since this promise was not contingent upon any concessions by the Arab side, the Palestinians have held out for their maximalist demands, assured as they were of American support.
2. The 1967 Borders. The President called for negotiations based upon the pre-Six Day War borders, with "swaps" of some land. But the Palestine Authority has executed Arabs for selling land to Jews, so it will never voluntarily transfer any land (especially in or near Jerusalem, a city holy to Islam) to Israel---so there will be no "swaps." And Israel will not withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, which the present government deems indefensible.
3. Jerusalem. Eastern Jerusalem was annexed by Israel in 1968, and it includes the Old City and Temple Mount, where Jews intend to rebuild the Beth HaMikdash (Temple) in Messianic times. There is virtually no chance than any Israeli government, now or in the foreseeable future, will cede any substantial part of this city to the Palestinians. In 2008 Barack Obama assured the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that Jerusalem would be the "undivided capital of Israel", but subsequently complained incessantly every time Israel has even proposed building housing in East Jerusalem. This has encouraged the Palestinians to stiffen their demands about "settlements" in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
As a result, Jews are abandoning Obama, who garnered about 78% of their votes in 2008. The Republican victory in Anthony Weiner's former congressional district, perhaps the most Jewish in the nation, is a sign that Jewish antipathy toward Obama is strong enough to sink other Democratic candidates. Without a big Jewish vote, Obama cannot carry New York in 2012, and without New York's electoral votes, Obama cannot be re-elected. (No Democrat since Truman has won the presidency without New York.)
Even if he orders that the US veto a Security Council resolution recognizing the State of Palestine later this month, it may be too late for Barack Obama to win back crucial Jewish support. If he is the Democratic nominee, he will not only lose the presidency, but may also drag down other Democratic nominees for the Senate and House with him. So, if Obama really cares about health care, jobs and taxes, he should decline to seek the Democratic nomination for another term, so that a more popular Democrat (probably Hillary Clinton) can be nominated and go on to win. President Hayes declined to run in 1880, and his party kept the presidency. (2)
Gerald S Glazer
(1) Associated Press, Sept. 21, 2011.
(2) The Republicans nominated James Garfield, who won. Hayes was the last president to decline to seek renomination after only four years in the White House.