President Barack Obama won reelection by a significant majority of the electoral
college. The Jewish, pro-Israel Democratic vote helped him in Florida,
Ohio and even Virginia, but he might have won at least some of those
battleground states without Jewish support.
Even those Jews who berated
Democrats like me for supporting President Obama’s reelection, must now realize
that our support for the president will be good for Israel over the next four
years. Recall what former Secretary of State James Baker, who served under the
first George Bush, reportedly said in the early 1990s: “F––– the Jews, they
don’t vote for us.”
Well that’s no longer true. Today, Jews vote for both
parties. Nobody is ignoring us. Every rational candidate knows that they and
their party must earn our votes in every election.
This is not to suggest
that Jews as a group are single issue voters.
Most Jews care deeply about
Israel’s security – as distinguished from Israel’s settlement policies. They
also care deeply about social and economic issues. The difference is that most
Americans, regardless of religion, are united in support of Israel’s security,
but divided about social and economic issues. It is critically important that
support for Israel’s security remains a bipartisan issue, and never becomes a
wedge issue that divides voters along party lines, as it has in some European
It is true that there is more division about Israel’s security
within the Democratic Party than within the Republican Party.
Democrats than Republicans oppose Israel on a wide range of matters, as was
evident by the loud booing from some delegates to the Democratic Convention when
the Democratic Party changed their platform to include a positive reference to
I, and other Jewish Democrats, helped to get that change made,
just as we repeatedly helped to marginalize those anti-Israel elements within
the Democratic Party.
The fact that those anti-Israel Democrats are
trying to use their influence against Israel is a good reason why Jewish
Democratic supporters of Israel must remain within the Democratic Party to keep
fighting the good fight, just as Jewish Republican supporters of Israel fought
the good fight against Patrick Buchanan and other right wing Israel-bashers
within the Republican Party.
Barack Obama will be the president of the
United States for the next four years. That is the reality. It is also the
reality that I and others who support him will have his ear over the next four
We will not always agree with every position he takes on Israel,
and he will not always agree with every bit of advice we offer him.
is the nature of democracy and governance.
But it is a good thing that he
was reelected with significant Jewish, pro-Israel support. And it is a good
thing that support for Israel’s security remained a bipartisan issue, and that
President Obama’s reelection is not seen as referendum over support for Israel.
A referendum that Israel would have lost if some Jewish supporters of Israel had
been successful in turning this election into a false litmus test over
Israeli political leaders should not try to influence the outcome
of American elections, any more than American political leaders should try to
influence the outcomes of Israeli elections. Both nations, steeped in the
traditions of contentious democracy, should elect leaders who serve the
interests of their people. In my opinion, the interests of both Americans and
Israelis are well served by a strong and enduring alliance between two great
democracies that have common interests in a peaceful and secure resolution of
the Middle East conflicts than endanger the region and the world.
all now join together in helping President Obama in his efforts to assure
Israel’s security, to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and to help
bring about a secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians.