Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Obama’s Last-Minute Jewish Outreach

Yes, we’ve heard this all before (and before that), but President Obama is once again taking up renewed outreach to Jewish voters. This time, his problems are much more palpable than during his clash with Prime Minister Netanyahu in May. NY-9 voters roundly rejected Obama’s Israel policy, his polling numbers have been sliding with Jewish voters, and he’s heading into a city where his face is plastered on billboards under the words “Not Pro-Israel.”

So he’s pushing back, both from the campaign and the White House, reports Lynn Sweet:

On Tuesday afternoon, I have learned, the Obama team reached out to leaders and activists in the U.S. Jewish community in two conference calls: one organized by the Obama 2012 campaign, the second by the White House.

The campaign call was put together by Ira Forman, the Obama 2012 Jewish Outreach Director, featured Democratic National Committee Chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), and former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), the president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace.

The campaign has launched a new website (as it tends to do in these situations), and this one even features a video of Obama being praised by Danny Ayalon, of all people. Can’t wait to see how the anti-Israel groups on the left react to that.

Ben Smith also reports Obama has invited Ed Koch to a UN reception he’s hosting this week, a sign the White House isn’t completely ignoring the lessons of NY-9:

Mayor Ed Koch, his longtime aide George Arzt confirmed, received an unexpected invitation to a gathering of dignitaries the American president typically hosts during his New York visit. This is far from a private audience, but it does seem to be the beginning of a courtship of the former New York mayor, who emerged as a real thorn in Democrats’ side this summer. Koch had not, Arzt said, been invited to the event in Obama’s first two years, and the invitation is hardly a reward for loyalty.

Of course, Smith notes that “[n]either Koch nor the White House suggested any private meeting with the president tomorrow” – which raises the question of how much Obama has taken away from his past failed attempts at outreach. Obama’s engagement with the Jewish community has usually come when his relationship with the community has reached a crisis point. Then he’ll slap together a website, reassure Jewish leaders, and stage the necessary photo ops. But once the moment passes, he has no follow-through. If Obama really wants to improve his image with Israel supporters in the long-term, he needs to actually work with critics like Koch and make fundamental changes to his policies. Symbolic outreach might generate publicity, but it won’t help him in the long run.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.