Barack Obama voiced confidence that American Jews will turn out for him come Election Day.
The U.S. senator said in an interview published Thursday that while polls show he enjoys around 65 percent support among American Jews – less than previous Democratic presidential candidates – he expects better results at the ballot boxes in November.
“In my opinion, the Jews will come around by Election Day,” Obama told Yediot Achronot.
“If you take into account how concerned the Jews are about Israel and other foreign-policy issues, you can understand why many of them have taken a ‘wait and see’ position. However, two out of three supporters is not so bad for a new candidate.”
Asked whether Jews might regard him with suspicion, Obama cast the community as a natural ally of African-Americans such as himself.
“Both we and you know the meaning of exile. Both we and you know what discrimination is, what it means to be a minority. Both we and you have known tragedy in our pasts,” he said. “Those common experiences have to bind us together. They are stronger than any difference.”
In what was his first campaign interview to an Israeli newspaper, capping off a whirlwind visit to Jerusalem, Sderot and Ramallah, the senator said achieving stability and peace in the Middle East would be top of his agenda if he succeeds President Bush.
“I think it is very important to adopt a broad-based regional approach – to deal with terrorism, extremists, the proliferation of nuclear weapons,” he said, reiterating that he favors diplomacy for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program but also wants the military option to remain available.