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Thursday, August 05, 2004

American Jews: Before and After 9/11

In January, 31% of Jews surveyed said they would vote for the president's re-election

Jewish World Review:

Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York who is as partisan as a Democrat comes, is a Bush man this year.

I do not agree with President Bush on a single major domestic issue," he says, "but in my view those issues pale in comparison with the threat of international terrorism. The stated goal of al-Qaida and its supporters is to kill or convert every infidel, and that means Jews, Christians, Buddhists and everyone else who will not accept Islam's supremacy."

. . . Ed Koch, like a growing number of his co-religionists, doesn't think a President Kerry could withstand the pressures from the left-wing radicals of his party, no matter how hard they bit their tongues in Boston. These lefties are hostile to Israel, and cultivate strong links to anti-American partisans in Europe, especially in France and Britain.

John Kerry tells Jewish audiences what they want to hear, and when he imagines he's safely out of their sight, flip-flops. During the primaries, in a speech to the Arab-American Institute, he denounced the fence Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was building on the West Bank. "We don't need another barrier to peace," he said.

Eight months later, with the Democratic nomination safely tucked away, he sang a different tune: "The security fence is a legitimate act of self-defense erected in response to the wave of terror attacks against Israeli citizens."

He suggested that he might send Jimmy Carter, the rare evangelical Christian who is not a friend of Israel, to work on Middle East peace negotiations. When that idea bombed, he blamed the "mistake" on his speechwriters. It's not clear whether John Kerry would encourage negotiations with Yasser Arafat, whom he described as a "role model" and "statesman" after the signing of the Oslo accord. How he really feels apparently depends on where he is, and who's listening.

The Republicans count on Jews in America to spot the Kerry weakness as it affects Jewish and Israeli interests. They are actively courting the 500,000 Jews who live in Florida, where a small shift could make a big difference.

Only one in 10 Jews in Florida are thought to have voted for George W. in 2000, but that was before Sept. 11. . . .