President Obama’s 70 percent of the Jewish vote is down from the 74 percent he received in 2008, but the drop-off is no big deal, spin doctors notwithstanding. Every president suffers a diminution of support the second time around. Mr. Obama’s support among black voters, for example, also showed attrition. It is natural.
What is most gratifying is that Jewish voters demonstrated yet again that they prefer the record to the rhetoric. When it came to Israel, most Jewish voters accepted the president’s record, arguably among the best of any president since 1948, over the rhetoric that painted him as anti-Israel and perhaps even anti-Semitic. Even Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that “the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States is stronger than ever,” a point made often in recent months by his defense minister, Ehud Barak; several former heads of Israel’s Mossad and the Israel Defense Forces; and Israel’s President Shimon Peres.
On January 6, The Jewish Standard published a cover story debunking the many myths surrounding Mr. Obama’s commitment to the State of Israel. In that package of analyses were the following paragraphs:
“The so-called ‘kishke factor’ is not a trivial concern. Assuming Obama is re-elected in November…, he will be freer than he is now to follow his heart rather than his politics – and if his heart is in a different place than where his politics have been, a second Obama term could be a very bad time for Israel.
“No one, of course, can say what is in another person’s heart. Given Obama’s friendships, statements, and actions over the last 20 years or so, it probably is safe to say that he is sincere in his desire to see Israel remain safe and secure behind defensible borders.”
The “kishke factor” on Tuesday favored Obama by a wide margin. Time will tell whether that was justified.
Meanwhile, we urge those who sought to demonize the president in the past to back off, at least for now. It is interesting that some of Mr. Obama’s loudest Jewish critics – such people as the attorney Alan Dershowitz, New York City’s former Mayor Edward I. Koch, and the media mogul Haim Saban – in the end were outspoken on behalf of his re-election, precisely because of the actual record, not any gnawing feeling that even now may lurk in their gut.
Barack Obama won re-election. Let us give him a chance to prove himself as friend or foe.