+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Obama reaffirms support to Israel, most "important" US ally

Obama-the-candidate is back, and so, too, is the Israel lovefest. Speaking to “Jewish donors” in Manhattan on Wednesday amid a house call at the home of Jack Rosen, the president of the American Jewish Congress, President Obama reassured wary Jewish Americans that he’s the best friend Israel’s got.

“….[T]his administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration,” Obama noted, adding, “”No ally is more important than the state of Israel.”

These are, of course, nervous times for “friends of Israel,” as a spam recruitment message sent to me on facebook referred to them. The outcome of elections in neighboring Egypt are uncertain, Hamas has re-energized in Gaza, and Iran is just a downright hot mess. So hearing the American leader make promises about security, friendship, cooperation and any other cliche one can think of is music to their ears.

Mine is bigger than yours
Just one week earlier, Republican presidential hopefuls engaged in a televised debate chose, naturally, to tout their own Israel credentials. The former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum effectively offered his own version of reality in stating that all people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, not Palestinians. (He’s making Netanyahu look like the leader of Meretz!) And Herman Cain, caught amid sexual assault allegations, showed off a bit of machismo, declaring his support of preemptive strike on Iran. The crowd ate it up.

Rule number one: know your audience
Obama shall not be outdone. In an election year, rhetoric is important. And the President can make claims just like the next guy. But though the voters may want blood, Obama’s doesn’t necessarily have to give it to them. Jews, afterall, vote Democrat, by a margin of at least 4:1. (In the 2008 elections, 8 out of 10 Jewish American voters cast their ballots for Barack Obama, despite his middle name “Hussein.”) But the support of American Jews is important not because of their vote, but rather because of their pocketbooks. Jews rank among the highest political donor bases in the country. Their contributions can often make or break a campaign. So even though Democrats took a heavy beating in a heavily Jewish area in September in a special election to replace Anthony Weiner, the democrats will never lose New York. Obama knows that. But if he loses the cash flow that comes from those places, then his team’s operating budget will tighten. In such a case, cuts would have to be made that may eventually affect on-the-ground work in key swing states. Admittedly, there might not be many Jews in Virginia, for example, and Israel might be the furthest thing from their agenda. But Virginia has 13 electoral votes next November, and getting them will require lots of greenbacks. Maybe that’s why Obama is preaching to the choir, hoping they’ll remember the collection box on the way out of church.

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Lauren

      I wish O-Bomb-A would support America instead of foreign countries like wealthy Israel. Our infrastructure is crumbling, schools are closing, people are losing homes, jobs and now 15% of Americans need food stamps. The highest number in history. Unemployment is close to 20% (the media lies about the numbers)and here we are sending money to ungrateful people who don’t care how many Americans must suffer on the battlefield, in our own homes and families. All this to support an “ally” who has done nothing but slap us in the face over and over again. Americans are beginning to wake up and the People will begin to make our leaders listen to what we want….. and that’s an American government that looks out for the US first, sencond & third.

      Reply to Comment
    2. aristeides

      And they’ll keep slapping Obama in the face over and over again, no matter how much AIPAC ass he kisses.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Edithann

      Maybe we’ll see the ‘real’ Obama after the election. Let’s hope he’s as avenging as Israel and Israeli’s.

      What would the US be without Israel?


      Reply to Comment
    4. Most important ally?
      On what terms?
      Does Israel secure Americas energy needs?
      Is it a crucial economic partner?
      Does it support Obamas aims towards the muslim world (see Cairo speech)?
      Can it help Washington in the UN?
      Does it fight beside America in its wars (like Britain does)? So what is he talking about?
      Of course it’s not about the real relationship. Its about elections.

      Reply to Comment