News / USA

Obama Has High Stakes in Mideast Showdown at UN

President Barack Obama speaking ahead of a potentially destabilizing diplomatic clash between Israel and Palestinians at the United Nations as a potential vote on Palestinian statehood looms, in Alexandria, Virginia, September 16, 2011.
President Barack Obama speaking ahead of a potentially destabilizing diplomatic clash between Israel and Palestinians at the United Nations as a potential vote on Palestinian statehood looms, in Alexandria, Virginia, September 16, 2011.

Palestinian efforts to seek full membership in the United Nations are being closely watched in the United States by two ethnic communities -Jewish-Americans and Muslim-Americans.

Public opinion polls show support for President Barack Obama is down slightly among Jewish-American voters, but is holding steady with Muslim-Americans. Analysts say the president has been hurt by a perception among some Jewish voters that he has not been supportive enough of Israel, and some of the Republican presidential contenders have focused on the issue, as well.

Concern about the Obama administration’s relations with Israel seems to have been a factor in the recent special congressional election in New York City won by Republican Bob Turner.

“We have been asked by the people of this district to send a message to Washington and I hope they hear it loud and clear,” said Turner.

New York Election

He said voter dissatisfaction with the economy and President Obama were the main reasons for his victory.

But Turner got some help from former New York City mayor Ed Koch.

“Mr. President, listen to us!” said Koch.

Koch urged voters, especially the district’s high percentage of Orthodox Jews, to support Turner in the election as a protest against what he believes is Obama’s weakening support for Israel.

It is a theme that also is playing out in the battle for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination where support for Israel is strong among Evangelical Christian voters.

Obama's precarious position

Several of the Republican contenders including the current frontrunner, Texas Governor Rick Perry, say Obama has been too tough on Israel by demanding it make additional concessions to the Palestinians.

"We see the American administration having a willingness to isolate a close ally and to do so in a manner that is both insulting and naive," said Perry.

Jewish voters supported Obama in 2008 and historically vote Democratic in presidential elections.

But sensing trouble, the Obama White House now is making an effort to shore up support among Jewish groups and affirm the president’s support of Israel.

Presidential spokesman Jay Carney was asked about the issue at a recent news briefing.

“So this president’s absolute commitment to Israel’s security is, I think, demonstrated and unshakeable,” said Carney.

Amid differences, desire for peace

Political analysts say Jewish and Muslim-American voters will be closely following the U.S. response to the Palestinian bid for United Nations membership.

Pollster and political expert John Zogby said, “There is a lot more Jewish-American unity around key issues, you know, than there is Arab-American unity around key issues. But the fact is that in many ways, I have seen the development of an Arab-American community where 30 years ago it was very fragmented.”

Polls show strong U.S. domestic support for Israel, but also for the idea of an eventual agreement that would let both sides live in peace, said Harvard University analyst David Gergen.

“But what we do know is ultimately the aspirations of both the Israelis and the Palestinians should be met. They each should be able to live in a state that is at peace with its neighbors,” said Gergen.

The domestic political stakes for President Obama are significant as he looks to retain the support of both Jewish-American and Muslim-American voters in next year’s presidential election.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid