Former New York Mayor Ed Koch vows he will continue to hold President Barack Obama accountable on the issues Koch cares about.
In a two-page Op-Ed splashed across the pages of Sunday's New York Daily News
, the Democratic former mayor and powerful Jewish leader not only laid out his concerns about Obama but also revealed what Obama needs to do to kiss and make up.
On Tuesday, voters in New York's 9th Congressional District elected Republican Bob Turner by 8 percentage points to take former Rep. Anthony Weiner's seat in the House.
The heavily Democratic district encompasses Queens and Brooklyn and has one of largest proportions of Jewish voters. Many deemed the Turner win a wake-up call to Obama, who has not come through on jobs promises and has been openly hostile to Israel.
Koch played a key role in Turner's victory after he endorsed the former television executive and urged fellow Democrats to do so.
But Koch, who endorsed Obama and campaigned for him in 2008, said it's not too late for the president to make amends with his base voters.
Koch writes in the Daily News that, "if he announces, for example, that an attack by Turkey [which is heading toward war with Israel] or an attack by Egypt [which allowed the mob to occupy the Israeli embassy and threaten Israeli diplomats] would be seen as an attack upon the United States — I'd be happy to support him and even campaign in Florida on his behalf in 2012."
But Obama appears unlikely to reposition the United States close to Israel.
Koch said he and other Jews are disturbed by Obama's "special efforts to solicit support in the Muslim world seemed to me to indicate a change in the relationship with Israel that had existed since 1948, beginning with President Harry Truman and continuing to and including President George W. Bush. That relationship with Israel had always been referred to as special, and, rightly or wrongly, supporters of Israel had the feeling he was distancing himself from it. We were astounded that he has never visited Israel on his several trips to the Mideast."
Other points Koch made include the following:
- "Many in the Jewish community became even more concerned when Obama treated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a disparaging way at the White House, ordering that no pictures of the event be taken and leaving the prime minister to stew, announcing he was going upstairs to have dinner with his family — a rudeness described as such by the media."
- "The final straw was Obama's latest call for peace talks, telling Israel it should agree to the pre-1967 lines plus 'mutually agreed upon swaps.'"
- Koch’s endorsement of Turner came after the two met and Turner "told me of his support for my position on Israel. I told him that for me to get involved, there would have to be two messages, mine on Israel and his on social issues —a statement that he opposed the efforts of the Republican national leadership to privatize Social Security and Medicare, and their proposal to turn Medicaid into a block grant." Turner agreed and issued statements supporting Social Security and Medicare.
- "Turner, whom I first met less than 10 weeks ago, has become a friend. He is an intelligent, thoughtful, courageous human being."
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