The flirtation of the American Jewish voter with the Republican party over the past quarter-century has been, like all great flirtations, a lure and a torment. Both were in evidence again throughout 2008. Barack Obama was dogged throughout the year by questions about his close associations with Rashid Khalidi, an academic profoundly hostile to Israel who served as an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1980’s; with Jeremiah Wright, the pastor whose church issued flagrantly anti-Semitic literature; and with several aides and advisers who laid the blame for the failure of the Arab-Israeli peace process almost exclusively on the Jewish state. The controversy over these ties and Obama’s offer to meet without precondition with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President who sponsored a conference denying the fact of the Holocaust and whose aggressive nuclear program may pose an existential threat to Israel, together suggested that the 2008 election might prove a watershed for Jews and the GOP.
Click here to read the rest of this SPECIAL PREVIEW from the February issue of COMMENTARY.