Jews are souring on Obama says prominent Christian Zionist
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 02:07:00 PM EST
Joel C. Rosenberg, a conservative evangelical Christian and a best-selling author, suggests that as U.S.-Israeli relations gets icier, it is likely that Jewish voters will desert Obama in 2012

The hastily arranged White House meeting that was supposed to take place between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week has been canceled. Netanyahu, who was visiting Canada, rushed back to Israel to deal with fallout from a raid by Israeli naval commandos on an flotilla in international waters that was carrying hundreds of peace activists and aid for Gaza. Early reports indicated that at least 9 people were killed and dozens wounded by the commandos. Thus the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu, which might have signaled a step toward healing what to some appears to be a growing rift between the two countries, was cancelled.

Prior to the meeting's cancellation, Joel C. Rosenberg was pretty darned excited. But it had little to do with the meeting.

McLaughlin & Associates poll has Rosenberg's excited-cup runnething over

Usually Rosenberg gets excited when trumpeting stuff like a book of his that's made a best-seller list; a packed crowd that's gathered in a church to hear him speak; an appearance on some right-wing radio program; an address he gave at the Family Research Council's National Pastors Briefing late last month; and news of his upcoming Epicenter Conference 2010 scheduled for Philadelphia in late June.

However, in a recent "Flash Traffic: Washington Update" email newsletter, Rosenberg's excited-cup practically runneth over.  

What caused his unbridled excitement? A recent poll that showed that the Jewish community's support for Obama -- a community that voted solidly (78%) for him in the presidential election -- may be eroding.

In a story headlined "With Jewish Support for the President Plummeting, Obama Launches Charm Offensive: Netanyahu invited to White House," Rosenberg maintained that Obama's standing "with the American Jewish community is plunging due to his administration's hostility towards Israel over the past year." And, according to Rosenberg, Obama's plunge was the main reason the Israeli Prime Minister was invited to the White House in the first place.'s Gil Ronan recently reported that an April poll ( o_0410.pdf) by *McLaughlin and Associates ( (not to be confused with The McLaughlin Group, the long running television talk show hosted by conservative commentator John McLaughlin) asked U.S. Jews "whether they would: (a) vote to re-elect Obama, or (b) consider voting for someone else." The McLaughlin poll found that "42% said they would vote for Obama and 46%, a plurality, preferred the second answer.... [while] 12% said they did not know or refused to answer."    

According to Ronan, "The poll showed that key voter segments including Orthodox/Hassidic voters, Conservative voters, voters who have friends and family in Israel and those who have been to Israel, are all more likely to consider voting for someone other than Obama."

In his piece, Rosenberg also pointed out that in mid-April, Ronald S. Lauder, the son of Estee Lauder, one of the world's richest men, a longtime supporter of right wing causes and candidates, and the president of the World Jewish Congress, "sent a letter" to Obama "expressing rarely heard before public concern by the Jewish community over the actions of a Democratic President. In it, he expressed `alarm' over `the dramatic deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel.' He also publicly criticized the administration for beginning to turn against Israel, a longtime friend and strategic ally. `Why does the thrust of this Administration's Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks?' asked Lauder. `After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.'"

Despite what Rosenberg termed Obama's "charm offensive" - which included the now-cancelled meeting with Netanyahu, the first-ever White House reception to honor Jewish Heritage Month, separate White House visits with rabbis, and author Elie Wiesel, and a special meeting with Jewish Democratic members of Congress - "there are no indications that President Obama has decided to change his policies," Rosenberg wrote. "He still wants to force Israel to divide Jerusalem. He still wants to force Israel to give away the strategically critical West Bank and Jordan Valley to the Palestinians who still refuse to sit down and negotiate with Israel face to face. He is still doing nothing decisive or effective to stop Iran from getting the Bomb. He still wants to force Israel not to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear sites. Most recently, he has begun trying to force Israel to disclose and then dismantle its (thus unacknowledged) defensive nuclear weapons, which would leave the Jewish State naked and vulnerable against genocidal enemies."

It should be noted that Rosenberg isn't alone in trumpeting the Jews jumping-Obama's-ship poll. Right wing media mogul Phillip Anschutz's Examiner tabloids, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon-owned Washington Times and countless right-wing websites and blogs all reported on the poll's finding.

The Joel C. Rosenberg file

Joel C. Rosenberg ( is one of those conservative evangelical Christians (son of a Jewish father and a gentile mother) that the public knows little about. This, despite the fact that several of his books - he's written seven novels and non-fiction books about the Middle East and Israel -- have been best-sellers, his speaking engagement often fill the pews of churches around the country and, he appears on television programs and right wing radio talk shows - including with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity -- with great frequency.

While Rosenberg doesn't have the political clout of Pastor John Hagee and his Christians United for Israel, the following of Joel Osteen, or the daily television presence of the Robertson family, he does have powerful connections.

Wikipedia points out that after he graduated from Syracuse University in 1988, "he worked for Rush Limbaugh as a research assistant." He then went on to work for U.S. Presidential candidate Steve Forbes as a campaign advisor. He "opened a political consultancy business, which he ran until 2000, advising former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky and then-former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu" and it was those experiences "where he garnered much of his information on the Middle East that he would later use in his books."

Rosenberg is also the founder and President of an organization called The Joshua Fund (, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that seeks to "Bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to Genesis 12:1-3."

Rosenberg has been down the Obama-is-losing-ground-with-the-Jewish-community road many times. As has many conservative Jews. In March, Rosenberg wrote a long piece for National Review Online ( YTQzYzQ3M2VmOWM3ZjA=)
headlined "Are U.S.-Israeli Relations Headed for a Train Wreck?"  

American Jewish Committee-sponsored poll not so down on Obama

Interestingly enough, neither Rosenberg's report nor any of the news outlets that reported on the McLaughlin poll mentioned another recent poll that also measured Jewish attitudes toward Obama. Among the topics asked of participants by the American Jewish Committee-sponsored 2010 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion -- conducted for AJC by Synovate (formerly Market Facts) -- were attitudes toward the Obama presidency, their perception of U.S.-Israeli Relations and the Arab-Israel Conflict and other International Issues.

When the 800 self-identifying Jewish respondents were asked if they "approve[d] or disapprove[d] of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President," 57% approved, 38% disapproved and the rest were not sure. When asked whether they "approve[d] or disapprove[d] of the Obama Administration's handling of U.S.-Israel relations," 55% approved, 37% disapproved and the rest were not sure ( l_Survey_of_American_Jewish_Opinion.htm).

Conservative Christian organizations and conservative Jews have been trying to wrench the Jewish community out of the hands of the Democratic Party for decades. Despite the enormous amounts of money spent and energy put into these campaigns, the Jewish community continues to be a most reliable constituency for the Democrats. So, while recent polls show that Obama has lost some support in the Jewish community which may result in lost votes if he runs again in 2012, it is difficult to imagine that a substantial number of Jews will flock to the GOP, especially if their alternative is Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich.  


* McLaughlin & Associates political clients are almost all associated with the GOP. According to its website, "People and organizations with whom the personnel of McLaughlin & Associates have been involved include" Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, Republican Governors Association, Alabama Republican Party, California Republican Party, Florida Republican Party, Illinois Republican Party, Kentucky Republican Party, Montana Republican Party, New York State Republican Party, New York State Conservative Party, North Carolina Republican Party, Ohio Republican Party, South Dakota Republican Party, Virginia Republican Party, Wisconsin Republican Party, Illinois House Republican Campaign Committee, Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee, Indiana Senate Majority Campaign Committee, New Jersey Republican State Senate Committee, New York Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee, Nassau County Republican Committee, Conservative Party (Canada), Conservative Party (United Kingdom), Likud Party (Israel).


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