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Israelis Shift Gears on Obama

The White House is atwitter after a new poll revealed a dramatic shift among Israelis regarding the administration’s policies towards Israel. The poll, conducted by Smith Research and commissioned by the Jerusalem Post, shows that only 6% of Israelis consider Obama “pro-Israel,” while 50% see him as “pro-Palestinian.” Compare this with the same poll from a month earlier, in mid-May, which had 31% responding that the Obama Administration is pro-Israel, and just 14% saying pro-Palestinian. What has changed in the last month? Not much, other than Obama’s dramatic Cairo speech, which described Israel as the product of centuries of Jewish suffering and the Holocaust; and Netanyahu’s no less dramatic response, which described Israel as the product of thousands of years of Jewish attachment to their ancient homeland.

There is a political calculus for the President here: As much as American Jews may have supported Obama without caring too much about his record on Israel, at the end of the day, American Jews tend to care deeply about Israel, and their sense of what’s happening with Israel is highly informed by what Israelis think (or, at least, Israeli elites). In other words, so dramatically lopsided a view of American policy towards Israel will not be lost on American Jewish voters. Midterms are not that far off.


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