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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs