There was little good news for the Democrats in the new American Jewish Committee Survey of American Jewish Public Opinion, released only weeks before critical congressional midterm elections.
While confidence in President Barack Obama’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations continues to drop after a stormy year in U.S.-Israel relations, the most dramatic decline centered on his handling of the economy, with only 45 percent approving — a drop of 10 point since a similar AJC poll in March.
Make no mistake, the wording advocated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that would require non-Jewish immigrants to express loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state before receiving citizenship is more about internal political expediency than ideology. Same goes for the prime minister’s proposal to extend the building moratorium in the West Bank in exchange for a public declaration by the Palestinian Authority recognizing “Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.”
It’s no secret that Americans are furious about an economy mired in unemployment, a federal deficit that will burden our children and grandchildren, big money lobbying run amok and political paralysis in Washington. This year’s Tea Party insurgency reflects those legitimate concerns.
But history teaches that such movements — leaderless, unstructured and built on a foundation of rage — can turn to scapegoating and vilification, with Jews being a traditional target.
Baby boomers are back in the news — have they ever not been? — with new research and case studies suggesting that the organized Jewish community would be wise to invest more thought and programming into keeping this cohort involved in Jewish life, or risk losing them and their support.
The conventional wisdom was that if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allowed the 10-month moratorium on Jewish construction in the West Bank to expire, he would be blamed widely for causing the newly restarted Mideast peace talks to collapse.
Few Jewish organizations have generated feelings — pro or con — as intense as those ignited by J Street, the pro-peace process lobby and political action committee created two years ago to provide a left-of-center address for politicians and activists who support more aggressive U.S. peace process diplomacy.
That intensity took another quantum jump with last week’s Washington Times disclosure that the group has been getting substantial donations from financier George Soros despite repeated denials from its leaders.