Koch: NY Race Proves Obama Can't Take Jewish Vote for Granted

Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 11:52 AM

By Martin Gould

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The stunning Republican victory in New York’s special election Tuesday should make President Barack Obama realize that Democrats no longer can rely on the Jewish vote, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch tells Newsmax.

ed koch, new york, weiner, turner
Ed Koch
Koch, who was elected mayor three times and remains an influential Democrat locally and nationally, crossed party lines to endorse Republican candidate Bob Turner in the 9th Congressional District election. He did so, he said, because he wanted to send a message to Obama to take a stronger position in support of Israel. The election between Turner and Democrat David Weprin is to fill the vacancy created when disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned.

“I hope this result makes the president change his position,” Koch said shortly before midnight — and before The Associated Press projected Turner as the winner.

Obama “should make it clear to both Turkey and Egypt that, if you engage in a war against Israel, you are engaging the United States,” Koch said.

Both Turner and Weprin are strong supporters of Israel, but Koch said he felt that the national picture made it important for him to take a stand and go against his party.

And his position clearly worked. “I’m looking at about a dozen trucks with TV antennae parked outside the catering hall. This is a national story,” he said. “The eyes of the nation are on this election.”

The 9th District, one of the most solidly blue in the country, spans parts of the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. It has a large number of Orthodox Jewish voters who heeded Koch¹s call to vote for the Roman Catholic Turner against the Jewish Weprin.

“This result has come about because of a partnership of Italians, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Jews. It is a very diverse district,” Koch said.

“We should never forget that there are more Christian supporters of Israel in this country than Jewish supporters. We are a small number, but fortunately for us we live in the right states, Florida being one of them.”

The 86-year-old Koch said he is proud of the role he has played in the special election.

“What I did was define the issues and explain to the public here how important it is to vote rather than stay at home in a special election, and there seems to have been a large turnout.

“I do believe I had some effect, but in any election, it is the candidate that counts, and in Bob Turner, we have a man of courage and vision, and intelligence.”

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