Foreign Affairs

Jewish Democrats make their case for Obama

Jewish Democrats make their case for Obama

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Obviously concerned with reports of dismay in the Obama administration among Jewish-American voters and nervous that a drop off in their historically strong support for the Democratic ticket could be fatal in key states this fall, Democratic leaders commenced their week-long convention here with a strong appeal to the Jewish community.

As delegates arrived to register for the convention that will renominate President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, a film was being shown on the president’s strong support for Israel.

“The film showed (Israeli President) Shimon Peres calling Obama ‘the best president for Israel,’” former State Sen. Bob Rovner of Pennsylvania, a leader in the state’s Jewish community and popular radio talk show host, told Human Events Monday. “And it also had praise for the president from (Israeli) Defense Minister Ehud Barack, and noted (Obama’s) hard-line in dealing with (terrorist groups) Hezbollah and Hamas.”

Rovner also quoted Ira Forman, who heads the Jewish outreach program for the Obama-Biden campaign, as revealing to delegates that he “did not support Jimmy Carter for re-election in 1980.” Because of what many Jewish Americans felt was insufficient support for Israel on the part of the 39th president, Carter suffered a major drop-off of votes from the Jewish community and lost to Ronald Reagan.

“Mr. Forman said that will definitely not be the case with this president, no matter what Romney and Ryan say,” added Rovner. He was referring to the strong criticism Romney made of Obama’s support for Israel in his presidential nomination acceptance speech last week and to the Republican platform denouncing the administration for insufficient backing of Israel.

Along with Monday’s events, J Street, a young Jewish-American organization that seeks to promote an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict through a two-state solution, will host two receptions for delegates during the convention. J Street has been characterized as wanting to be “the alternative to AIPAC (the American Israeli Political Action Committee)” and its goal as “wanting to show American Jews that (Israel’s right-of-center Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is not the only political leader in Israel.”

Rovner believes that the Jewish vote could be critical, “especially in a state like Florida, where there are 600,000 Jews, or in Pennsylvania, with 280,000 Jews. Polls say both those states are tight now. Last time, Obama got 74 percent of the Jewish vote. This time, let’s say he’ll get at least 70 percent. That should be enough.”

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