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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid