The American Jewish community has a well-documented history of supporting Democratic administrations and 78% of Jewish voters pulled the lever for candidate Barack Obama last November. In the first few months of our new administration, the latest poll of the Jewish community shows that American Jews continue to support President Barack Obama. This should come as no surprise to those who closely follow the political temperature of our community. However, a few activists on the far right of the Jewish community still refuse to accept this reality.
A new poll sponsored by J Street puts the President's personal favorability at 74% and his job approval rating at 73% among the American Jewish community. To put this in context, according to this poll, Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's favorable rating is 58% and the rating for former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is 76%. Those polled also perceive Obama to be honest and trustworthy by 76% and the same percentage believe that the President supports Israel. Furthermore, the Jewish community's approval rating for Obama is nearly ten points higher than that of the general public.
Despite this level of support for our President among American Jews, Republicans continue to spend their time "desperately looking for ways to smear our President." This has led GOP leaders, including Senator John Kyl (R-AZ), to propose legislation and pen opinion pieces based on widely debunked anti-Obama email rumors. The Jewish community's far right wing continues to assert, "President Obama's concerned pro-Israel critics were right, and his defenders, who denied all the warnings...were wrong." Some of President Barack Obama's critics go further and claim that this administration has boosted "[a]nti-Israelism and other forms of latent anti-Semitism." That's only what they say publicly. In private, the anti-Obama rhetoric from this small minority in our community is worse.
These anti-Obama attacks have no basis in reality, and the hysterical accusations represent a very small, albeit outspoken, number of American Jews. Have no doubt, despite this vocal few on the right, the Jewish community overwhelmingly supports our President.
These tactics of smear, distortion and spreading falsehoods can only be used when polemicists have a low regard for their readership. It seems they are not the least bit embarrassed by spreading blatant falsehoods and believe that the citizens of a democracy can be misled with impunity. Let us hope, for the sake of our republic, that these demagogues have misread both our gullibility and our tolerance for the politics of deception.
With the Republican Party, Governor Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh all garnering favorable ratings of 23%, 23%, and 22% respectively from the Jewish community, the President's right wing critics in our community ought to realize that they are not only wrong, but they are wholly out of touch with the values of the vast majority of American Jews.