Obama and the Jews, 2012


You know the 2012 presidential race has started when… you start seeing stories about whether President Obama has to worry about losing Jewish votes and Jewish money.

Check out this headline from The Wall Street Journal: "Jewish Donors Warn Obama on Israel."

The story is short on any examples of one-time major Obama supporters who have or are considering pulling their support.

That said, it quotes at least one major Obama backers who have warned that campaign that it may have a problem:

One top Democratic fund-raiser, Miami developer Michael Adler, said he urged Obama campaign manager Jim Messina to be "extremely proactive" in countering the perception in the Jewish community that Mr. Obama is too critical of Israel. He said his conversations with Mr. Messina were aimed at addressing the problems up front. "This was going around finding out what our weaknesses are so we can run the best campaign," said Mr. Adler, who hosted a fund-raiser at his home for Mr. Obama earlier this year. …

The WSJ also reports that top Friend of Obama Penny Pritzker has been tapped to look into the issue — though it’s unclear if this is a well-run campaign doing its homework or reflects a "Houston we have a problem" mode:

The Obama campaign has asked Penny Pritzker, Mr. Obama’s 2008 national finance chairwoman, to talk with Jewish leaders about their concerns, Ms. Pritzker said. So far, she said, she’s met with about a half dozen people. She said the campaign is in the process of assembling a larger team for similar outreach.

Ken Solomon, an Obama fund-raiser and CEO of the Tennis Channel, told WSJ that "any problems were minimal and that most Jewish voters were concerned about many issues, not just Israel."

Meanwhile, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is quoted as saying Obama could face a problem with unhappy Jewish donors sitting on their hands and their wallets:

"It’s that people hold back, people don’t have the enthusiasm and are not rushing forward at fund-raisers to be supportive,” he said. "Much more what you’ll see is holding back now."

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