It’s no coincidence that the day before the special election in New York, with an upset in the making, there is an incendiary ad on the New York Times website hitting Obama on Israel. It links to the website “Not Pro Israel.”
A Times editorial on Palestinian statehood runs today:
A United Nations vote on Palestinian membership would be ruinous. Yet with little time left before the U.N. General Assembly meets, the United States, Israel and Europe have shown insufficient urgency or boldness in trying to find a compromise solution. The need for action is even more acute after alarming tensions flared in recent days between Israel and two critical regional players – Egypt and Turkey.
There is nothing more incendiary in American politics than the Who Is More Pro Israel? fight.
There is simply no evidence that Pres. Obama is less a friend of Israel than any other establishment politician or any Republican presidential candidate vying for his job.
But that didn’t keep New York Republicans from utilizing the kitchen sink strategy in tying Weprin to Obama, while on the weekend of the 10th year commemoration of 9/11 also invoking the Ground Zero mosque to try to score political points.
Needless to say, this foreshadows what I’ve warned about for 2012, which is the painting of Obama as anti-Israel, whether it’s true or not. It’s not.
UPDATE 2: Wanted to also put up the PPP poll for those who hadn’t seen it:
The issue of Israel does appear to be having a major impact on this race. A plurality of voters- 37%- said that Israel was ‘very important’ in determining their votes. Turner is winning those folks by an amazing 71-22 margin. With everyone who doesn’t say Israel is a very important issue for them Weprin actually leads 52-36. Turner is in fact winning the Jewish vote by a 56-39 margin, very unusual for a Republican candidate. This seems to be rooted in deep unhappiness with Obama on this issue- only 30% of voters overall approve of how he’s handling Israel to 54% who disapprove and with Jewish voters his approval on Israel is 22% with 68 of voters disapproving. That has a lot to do with why Turner’s in such a strong position.
UPDATE: Good post over at DK on this race:
It’s not necessarily over for Weprin, but if one-time Obama voters are now showing up to vote Republican, that’s a pretty brutal sign. Coming on top of Siena’s poll which also had Turner up by six, it’s hard to see much cause for optimism.