As Jake Tapper joked on twitter, “There have now been more stories written about Obama and Jewish voters than there are Jewish voters.” If you want to read another one, click here for the HuffPo’s coverage of J Street’s new poll.
What’s interesting about the poll isn’t what it finds about Jewish public opinion, because what it finds is pretty neatly in line with what most polls find about Jewish public opinion. What’s interesting is that J Street, three years after its founding, still doesn’t seem to understand something very basic about Jewish opinion. The poll found that while Obama has a 60 percent approval rating among Jews,
Some 56 percent of respondents to the J Street poll disapproved of the job he was doing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while 44 percent approved.
This is not surprising; as poll after poll has shown, American Jews are indeed quite liberal — but they do not share the left’s antipathy to Israel. Yet J Street was founded on a syllogism that denies this nuance: Jews are liberal; liberals want to criticize and pressure Israel; therefore, Jews will support criticizing and pressuring Israel.
Pressuring and criticizing Israel has been pretty much the sum total of Obama’s approach toward Israel, although his hostility actually hasn’t been nearly as brutal as J Street would have liked (after all, Susan Rice vetoed that UN Security Council resolution on settlements).
Yet even with Obama’s J Street-lite approach to Israel, he’s underwater among American Jews. J Street was founded to represent what it always says is the majority of Jews who share the left’s hostility to Israel, but don’t have anyone to “give voice to their values” (as J Street’s last conference was billed). Now J Street’s own poll shows American Jews don’t support President Obama’s hostility to Israel. So whose values, exactly, does J Street represent?