Does Obama still have the ‘kishkes’ problem?


On yesterday’s one-year anniversary of Barack Obama’s last trip to Israel, the Orthdox Union’s Nathan Diament, on his organization’s blog, wrote that the president still has the problem he had back then:

On the eve of this critical and historic trip, I wrote that Obama’s task on his trip was "to convey convincingly" to Israelis and Jewish voters in the U.S. "that he is…committed to Israel in his kishkes."

Well, Barack Obama was elected president, with a majority of the Jewish vote to be sure, but he is still struggling with the "kishkes test."

The President continues to speak of his "unshakable commitment to Israel’s security," yet he does not have the confidence of Israelis, even those on the Israeli left.

The President told American Jewish leaders with whom he met last week that he intends to recalibrate how his policies are presented in the public sphere, but there was little indication of substantive policy changes.

Meanwhile, OU president Stephen Savitsky tells the Jewish Tribune in Canada that he might have been able to defend Israeli settlements if the meeting had lasted longer:

Savitsky might have defended the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and their right to natural growth, “if there was time, if we’d been there a little longer,” he said. “There was not a lot of time to get into some of those issues.

“The conversation really focused more on the perception that there’s not an even-handed policy…. It looks and appears to us that Israel is asked to freeze natural growth and there’s nothing being asked of the other side,” he continued. “I haven’t seen it, but he [Obama] said that hopefully in the coming months or the near future, they’re going to recalibrate their message [to the Arab side].

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