Thursday, December 22, 2011

Obama’s Hanukah Charm Offensive

Tevi Troy

Tablet’s Allison Hoffman has a big piece on Team Obama’s recent desire to improve its standing in the Jewish community. The argument that Team Obama seems to be making is that Obama has lots of Jewish friends — some of my best friends are Jewish — and that there is some kind of nefarious “whisper campaign” against Obama on the issue of Israel. The argument is flawed on several fronts. I don’t doubt that Obama has Jewish friends, but this has not made his Israel policies any more palatable. As for the notion of a whisper campaign, it seems to me that Republicans have been shouting their concerns about Obama and Israel from the rooftops. Nobody seems to be whispering, not the Emergency Committee for Israel, not the Republican Jewish Coalition, not Dan Senor, nor any of the dozens of writers and analysts who have made the case that Obama has exhibited a certain coldness towards Israel and towards Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Debbie Wasserman Schultz seems to be leading the bury-your-head-in-the-sand brigade when she says that “To the extent we have a problem, it’s being created by individuals who . . . are attempting to mischaracterize, distort, and lie about the president’s record.” There is no need to “distort” or “mischaracterize” Obama’s problematic record on Israel. Dan Senor gave the best short summary of the argument in the Wall Street Journal in September, and it is as yet unrefuted in a serious way. Obama and his team can denounce their critics and trot out a host of liberal Jews to say what a great guy he is, but that will not change the fact that many in the pro-Israel community, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, recognize the problem and will be willing to vote accordingly in November.

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