United States President Barack Obama
Photo: AFP
Obama meets Netanyahu (Archive)
Photo: Photo: Avi Ohayon, GPO
Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod
Photo: Pete Souza

Obama assumes the offensive in Jewish vote race

Following heavy criticism from Jewish community over US president's stance on Mideast, his advisers initiate new image campaign ahead of 2012 elections

United States President Barack Obama plans to take a more assertive stance against his critics with his approach towards Israel, the Washington Post reported this weekend.


The US administration has assembled a special team composed of senior Jewish figures and advisers who will tackle criticism against Obama in the media.



Obama's policies towards Israel have raised harsh criticism among many members of the Jewish community in the US.


Obama's frequent political wranglings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as his policy towards the Arab world, quickly raised concern that the US president wishes to confront Israel on issues related to the peace process in order to appease the Arab countries and change the regional balance of power.


This situation affected relations between the White House and Jewish lobbies in Washington, causing them to turn turbid.


With the upcoming 2012 elections, it has been assumed Obama will try to win the Jewish democratic vote once again. However the Washington Post stated the White House is prepared for battle.

Obama meets with Jewish leaders in Poland (Photo: AP)


Washington's new strategy is designed to address the overwhelming criticism by Jewish voters – something which can no longer be ignored. It will include opinion pieces, banners and an attempt to emphasize past presidential decisions which did not receive media attention.


Many Jewish figures have already spoken with senior Obama adviser David Axelrod, the Washington Post said, to form a proper modus operandi to handle intensive criticism. The campaign will probably mention the growing security cooperation between Israel and the US during Obama's term.


Expressing Doubts

Alan Solow, the former head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said: “We will have highly credible spokespeople and surrogates speak out in a general manner in support of what this administration has done, and articulate it in a way that we think will resonate with voters who care about this issue.”


"We got close to 80% of the vote among Jewish Americans in 2008, but we had to aggressively bat down efforts to divide the community and to inflame,” said Axelrod.


According to reports in the US, senior figures and Jewish donors have expressed their doubts over the effectiveness of Obama's policies in the Mideast.


Meanwhile, a recent US poll suggests that many Americans who consider themselves Israel supports believe Obama's policy in the region is a balanced one. In addition, experts and commentators have previously predicted the Jewish vote would go to the Republican Party even before the 2008 elections.


The core difference between 2008 and the upcoming election, according to Obama's team of experts, is that despite the harsh criticism he has suffered, people are willing to take notice and listen.


Some Conservatives have succeeded in creating an atmosphere of fear amongst Obama's political advisers.


The US president's call to return to 1967 lines and his avoidance from clearly stating he will not agree to talks with Hamas have put Obama in the political hot seat.


Now Axelrod is trying to minimize the damages and set things straight. "The president does not believe that any country can be asked to negotiate with a terrorist organization that is sworn to its destruction and unwilling to abandon that goal or embrace a peaceful settlement of the conflict,” he said. “He could not have been clearer about that.”



פרסום ראשון: 07.03.11, 12:54
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