President Obama’s U.N. speech managed to win over some of his the most outspoken Democratic critics of his Israel policies.
Former New York City mayor Ed Koch — who previously urged voters to support the Republican victor, Bob Turner, in special congressional election in order to send a message of dissatisfaction with Obama’s Israel policies — kvelled.
The New York Post reports:
“I told the president the speech was magnificent,’’ said Koch, who met Obama at a White House-sponsored UN reception at the New York Public Library Wednesday night.
Koch, who had even threatened to campaign against the president, was invited to the reception by the White House.
“The president is on the right track! It was wonderful,” Koch said. Last month, I would not approve. This week, I’m ecstatic!’’
Obama also got praise from New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a right-winger on Israel and a former follower of the slain anti-Arab militant Meir Kahane. The Post reports:
“I was thinking of issuing a press release claiming credit for the Israel speech. Two weeks ago, the speech would have been different,’’ said Hikind, an Orthodox Jew who backed Turner over Democrat David Weprin — also an Orthodox Jew.
"The speech by President Obama indicated that he read the results of the special election in the 9th Congressional District. Clearly, the election had an effect. The speech leaves little to complain about."
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat-turned-independent, who has also strongly criticized Obama’s Israel policies, praised the president’s speech on Twitter:
Thought it was strong & encouraging, identifying with Arab spring, supporting Israel, urging Palestinians to come be back to negotiations.
Though in a follow-up tweet, the senator had a minor kvetch:
I wish he had spoken more about the threat of Iran, but you can’t do everything in one speech.