Tuesday, October 26, 2010

US Jews Go Right

Despite the assumption that American Jews traditionally vote for Democrats and not Republicans, there is a shift in the Jewish vote already taking place at the state level.

Politico points out that nationally, Jews make up only about 2 percent of the American population but are heavily represented in big cities and have disproportionately high voter turnout rates. While Democrats do get the lion’s share of the Jewish vote, some Jewish groups such as the Orthodox Jews have shifted to the Republicans, as seen in the 2004 elections, when 70 percent of Orthodox Jews supported George W. Bush.

At the state level, the Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attracted 38 percent of the Jewish vote in 2009. As a result, Republicans who can be competitive in the Jewish community, gain an edge against Democratic opponents, who have been taking the Jewish vote for granted.

With only a week before historical mid-term elections, it is worth paying close attention to the Jewish vote in close Senate races in states with significant Jewish populations.
For example, Politico points to "the complicated Pennsylvania race,” where Republican-turned-Democrat Jewish senator, Arlen Specter was defeated in the primaries. In Philadelphia, Democratic nominee Joe Sestak signed the “Gaza 54 letter,” which called for Washington to pressure Israel to end the Gaza blockade. This fact alone might cause the Jewish voters to vote Republican.

Other examples where Jews might vote for the Republican candidates include Florida, where former Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist, who is being endorsed by Jewish former Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler, might split the traditionally Democratic Jewish vote with Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek, causing a boost for Republican Marco Rubio.

Closer to my heart, New Jersey’s 12th district is another important area. Scott Sipprelle is challenging Rush Holt, another "Gaza 54" letter signer. While neither candidate is Jewish, a “Rabbis for Sipprelle” group is seeking to raise awareness of Holt’s actions, another move which could help bring the district back to the Republicans.

The 9th Congressional District in Illinois is also an area to watch, as Republican Joel Pollak - who has won the endorsement of Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz - is challenging Democrat Jan Schakowsky, another Jewish candidate. Israel has become a central issue in the campaign, with Pollak claiming that Schakowsky does not do enough for Israel.

One reason for the apparent fluidity of the Jewish vote could be Obama’s perceived tough stance on Israel. The Jewish vote in America is evolving. Instead of it being monolithically Democratic there are signs that at the local and state level Jews can shift their vote enough towards Republican candidates that Democrats are forced to play defense. Jewish voters care about issues such as the economy, the deficit, and health care. “Jewish voters in state elections across the country could significantly change our political landscape in November,” according to Politico.

The Associated Press reported that both Israelis and Palestinians are closely watching the upcoming midterm race in the United States, sensing that its results could affect both the peace talks as well as Obama's ability to coax concessions from Israel.

The report said that the Arabs are hoping that Obama’s mild reaction to Israel’s refusal to continue the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria has been due to political consideration, and that he would be freer to apply pressure on Israel after the vote November 2.
An adviser for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told AP that if Congress tilts Republican, it could have what he termed a "positive impact" on Israeli concerns, meaning there would be no pressure on Israel to make concessions.

“Settlements are not an obstacle to peace in the Middle East,” says Rev. Michael Faulkner, ex- New York Jets lineman, an evangelical minister and candidate for Congress. When asked about President Obama's plans to compel the Netanyahu government to extend the freeze on settlement construction in Judea, Samaria and parts of East Jerusalem, Faulkner replied, “I am tired of hearing the words 'occupation' and 'return to 1967 borders' when it comes to defining Israel because that simply is not the case. Israel is not an occupying power and thus anyone who says that Jewish settlement construction is an obstacle to peace in the Middle East is just using that as a smokescreen. The real obstacle to peace in that region are terrorists such as Hamas, Hizbullah and other Iranian proxies."

Expressing anger at the view of the Obama administration as it pertains to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Faulkner stated, "Obama has participated in the delegitimization of Israel through his maltreatment of our best friend and stalwart ally in the region. By doing so he helps to fuel feelings of anti-Semitism."

Rev. Faulkner is fighting to unseat Charles Rangel, a Democrat and a political icon in Manhattan's 15th congressional district, which includes the upper West Side, Harlem and Washington Heights. Rev. Faulkner's candidacy has received endorsements from Fox TV commentator Sean Hannity, National Right to Life parties, Newt Gingrich. the New Era Democrats, the Black Republicans PAC, the Frederick Douglass Foundation and more than a dozen Christian churches, ministries, clerics and community groups.


Laura said...

Hi PinkFloyd, :) great news about the American Jews. I hope and pray more Jews will wake up by 2012 and will vote the "right way".

Hussein Obama must be out. He did too much harm for America already. What a dangerous man in the White House!!

Your friend, Laura (FairLady).

PinkFloyd said...

You must all that we can in order to spread the message and open eyes, ears and minds about the disaster that Hussein Obama is for this country and for Israel. With G-d's help Hussein will be defeated in 2012 and a real patriotic American will be President. All the best Laura.