Misreading Turner Win


I believe Democrat David Weprin’s loss to Republican Bob Turner in the special election in the 9th Congressional District by approximately 3,500 votes was due to the Orthodox Jewish community’s false obsession with an issue fueled by former Mayor Ed Koch’s claim that a vote for Turner would be a message to President Barack Obama about dissatisfaction with his Israeli policies. (I am Jewish and a resident of the district.)

There is no substantive evidence to support any claim that Obama is anti-Israel. I do not believe any American president would abandon Israel, the only true ally we have in the Middle East.

There is no reason to assume a national rejection of Obama on the basis of the vote of a geographically small group of Orthodox Jews who do not speak for the vast majority of Jews. Prodding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition to seek an equitable and workable peace does not make one anti-Israel. Indeed it makes one supportive.

Weprin made two mistakes that may have cost him the election. He should have made clear there are constitutional issues with regard to same-sex marriage that cannot be ignored. And he should have taken the Obama-Israel matter head on and with the available concrete evidence shown that Obama is no threat to Israel.