As Rahm Emanuel hits the campaign trail in Chicago, he is finding his association with (some would claim, his authorship of) Obama’s Israel policy to be a handicap:
“There are questions about his positions on Israel,” said Chesky Montrose, 32, who was wearing a skull cap and pushing one child in a stroller while keeping an eye on two others bicycling down Devon. “It’s not logical that international policy would influence a race for mayor. But there is some resentment here, no doubt.” … Obama got a huge percent of Jewish voters, many of whom assumed Emanuel would give voice to their concerns as chief of staff, noted Cheryl Jacobs Lewin, Chicago co-chair of Americans for a Safe Israel.
“That has not happened, judging by the White House’s heavy-handedness toward Israel,” Lewin said in an e-mail. …
Another person leery of Emanuel on the Israel issue is Norm Levin, who said, “I used to be a devout Democrat.”
Levin is president of the Great Vest Side Club, an alumni association of the West Side neighborhood that was once the epicenter of Chicago’s Jewish community. (The pronunciation “vest” commemorates the immigrant accent of members’ parents.)
“I like to vote for Jewish people,” Levin said. “But if they’re sort of negative on Israel, they lose me.”
On the other hand, Emanuel seems to have sewed up the swank Soros Street set — leftist Jews who hate Israel:
Yet that very quality [Israel-animus] could be a plus for Emanuel among lakefront liberals, many of them secular Jews uncomfortable with a right-leaning Israeli administration.
“I’m sort of hostile to Israel,” said James Alter, a founding father of independent politics in Chicago.
Well, good to know that there is agreement on Emanuel’s contribution to U.S.-Israel relations. It should serve as a warning to other Obama advisers who enjoyed solid reputations with the Jewish community prior to their tenure in the administration. After a couple of years with Obama, should they choose to resume their political careers, they will now have to explain why they participated in and facilitated the most anti-Israel administration in history.