A thousand-plus packed the auditorium, last night, July 16, at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pa. for a rally sponsored by Jewish Americans for Obama. While the crowd may have been almost all Jewish not all of them were for Obama and things at times got contentious with shouting matches breaking out in the audience. The headline speaker was Democrat National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents Florida's 20th District in Congress. Unexpected heckling to her claims that the President was a strong supporter of Israel visibly upset and flustered her.
No, we didn't hear about that on television nor ready about it in the Times. Although Jews make up only 2 percent of the voting population the value of their financial contributions is more than significant. To the Democratic Party it is the ball game. Obviously the Federal Election Commission does not have boxes to check for race or religion so it's hard to ascertain the percentage of campaign cash that comes from Jewish donors. One informed estimate puts the percentage of Jewish money in Democratic campaign war chests at between 50 and 60 percent. Another puts it at 67 percent.
In April of this year the Obama campaign boasted it would raise $1 billion. Last month the campaign ran a $12 million deficit. Losing the Jewish vote is bad; losing the Jewish money is catastrophic. The special election in New York's 9th congressional to replace Congressman Anthony Weiner of Twitter fame was a tip off something was amiss in the Jewish community, a group so loyal to the Democratic Party that it voted 67 percent for Mondale against Reagan. In the special election former Mayor Ed Koch, a Jew, backed an Irish business man running against a Jewish Democrat and won in a heavily Jewish district. There are a number of reason for the Jewish defections from the Democratic Party but especially from Obama. Perhaps if Obama were gone they would go back to being loyal Democrats but at the present Obama has poisoned the well.
Obama's rhetoric about greedy bankers and the evil 1 percent does not play well among 1 per centers. The fact that Goldman Sachs was made the poster child for corporate greed offended many Jews who saw this as anti-semitism. Ravaging a neutral name such as Citicorp or Bank of America would have been bad enough but Goldman Sachs led by someone named Blankfein does put a lot of Jewish names front and center.
What started out as sympathy for Palestinians on college campuses morphed into a hatred of Israel and from there to blatant anti-semitism and the practitioners of this bigotry are frequently tied to Obama by association. It may be a bit harsh, but after reading several Jewish posts and articles I'm convinced that many Jews rank Obama right next to Louis Farrakhan. Obama's bowing to Saudi King Abdullah as if he were his vassal and his general love of all things Muslim scares most Americans but American Jew in particular.
Obama's shabby treatment of Benjamin Netanyahu aside from reaching a new low in presidential deportment outraged most Americans but it both outraged and deeply hurt some of the Democratic Party's most loyal backers in the Jewish community. Boorishly, Obama left Netanyahu and his party alone in his White House office while he left and dined in another room. His aides quietly spun this as "putting Israel in its place."
Penny Pritzker, an heiress to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, was Obama's 2008 national finance chairwoman. She could write a check to Obama's super PAC that would make Obama's money problems go away but she's sitting on her purse this year. Her reasons may be more personal than ethnic but even George Soros has slammed the lid of the cash box on Obama's fingers. Mort Zuckerman, the publisher of US News and World Reports was an early and steadfast Obama supporter. In April he pronounced Obama's administration a failure and later pushed back against Obama's attack on Mitt Romney's career at Bain Capital.
Didn't Obama's favorite Jew, Saul Alinsky, ever warn not to bite the hand that feeds you?