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Tags: Trump Administration | Barack Obama | Hillary Clinton | Iran | Israel | War on Terrorism | rift

Rift Opens Between Jewish Voters and Democrats Over Israel

By    |   Friday, 03 April 2015 10:12 PM

A longstanding alliance between Jewish voters and the Democratic Party no longer appears very durable.

The rift — aggravated by a nuclear deal with Iran and sour relations between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — will likely have political implications in the 2016 elections, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"At this moment in time, many American Jews who have consistently voted Democratic are beginning to waver in that support, because they've felt the bedrock relationship between Israel and this administration has been severely shaken," Rabbi Howard Buechler, of the Dix Hills Jewish Center in New York, told the Journal.

Republicans think the shift in loyalties could influence key Senate races in Florida and the Philadelphia and Chicago suburbs, the Journal reports.

For example, the Journal notes, a new email petition sent out by the National Republican Senatorial Committee urges people to sign and "tell Obama it's now time to stand with Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu."

Alan Kessler, a longtime Democratic fundraiser based in Philadelphia, told the Journal that Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey might have an easier re-election run because he's a dependable supporter of Israel.

"It could make things more difficult" for a Democratic challenger, Kessler said.

Other Democrats worry that Jewish voters may want to punish some Democratic House and Senate members who boycotted Netanyahu's address to a joint session of Congress last month.

"Many fellow Democrats of the Jewish faith were appalled" that lawmakers didn't show the prime minister "the respect and courtesy of being in the audience," Democratic fundraiser Leonard Barrack told the Journal.

Still, Jewish voters would need to be wooed by Republicans on social issues, too, the Journal notes.

"Some of the politicians who come out very strongly in support of Israel propose certain social legislation and economic legislation that the Jewish community might not be comfortable with," Rabbi Steven Moss, of the B'nai Israel Reform Temple in Oakdale, New York, told the Journal.

The rift could be particularly fraught for Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic frontrunner, the Journal notes.

So far she's voiced tepid support for the Iran deal, saying it's "an important step toward a comprehensive agreement that would prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

New York Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey — at a meeting last week between Jewish Democratic House members and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about the need for the president to "increase his popularity with our constituents," according to one participant — told the Journal she didn't like what she was hearing from the White House after Netanyahu's election.

"I was extremely disturbed by some of the overheated rhetoric that came out of the administration following the [Israeli] election," she told the Journal. "I conveyed directly to the White House that it's time to dial back the temperature and affirm and strengthen the U.S.-Israeli relationship."

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Politics
A longstanding alliance between Jewish voters and the Democratic Party no longer appears very durable. The rift — aggravated by a nuclear deal with Iran and sour relations between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ...
rift, Jewish, voters, Democrats, Israel, Iran, nuclear, deal, Obama, Netanyahu
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2015-12-03
Friday, 03 April 2015 10:12 PM
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