Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Republican Group Conducts Anti-Obama Phone Survey Among Jewish Voters

Politico (9/16/08) reports that the Republican Jewish Coalition has sponsored a poll that asks Jewish voters negative questions about Barack Obama.

According to Matt Brooks, the group's executive director, the poll's aim is "to understand why Barack Obama continues to have a problem among Jewish voters."

Mr. Brooks's disingenuous statement makes it seem as if he's conducting a mere research study. His real aim is to make sure that Obama does indeed have a problem, through the use of loaded questions and innuendo.

Mik Moore, co-executive director of the pro-Obama Jewish Council for Education and Research, stated, "If the RJC is responsible for these calls, which are designed to frighten Jews and sow mistrust, they have forfeited their place at the Jewish table. It is incumbent upon the McCain campaign to speak out forcefully against this and ongoing efforts by his supporters to scare Jews into supporting his candidacy."

With the McCain campaign's stellar record of honesty, I'm sure they'll get right on it.

McCain, after all, remembers how the Bush campaign conducted sleazy, racist polls against him in 2000, suggesting that his Bangladeshi-born daughter was his illegitimate black child. In addition, The Huffington Post (9/15/08) states, "During the Republican presidential primaries, McCain alleged push polling had taken place and asked for an investigation into thousands of calls to New Hampshire voters that disparaged him and supported rival Mike Huckabee."

The Huffington Post recounts the experience of 71-year-old retired college professor Joelna Marcus, who was asked if she were Jewish and whether she "would be influenced if she learned that Obama had donated to the Palestine Liberation Organization." Marcus responded, "'re not polling me. This is un-American. This is unacceptable."

Deborah Minden of Pittsburgh recalled that the pollster stated that Obama's church had made anti-Semitic statements and that the candidate had met with Hamas leaders.

The poll contains half-truths that are easily refuted, according to Politico: "Obama was friendly with pro-Palestinian leaders in Chicago in his early days in politics, but they denounced him years ago for his support of Israel. Obama's church bulletin ran articles sympathetic to the Palestinian cause; [Carter national security adviser Zbigniew] Brzezinski is an informal advisor to Obama; the Woods Fund, whose board he served on, gave a grant to a community center in Chicago founded by Palestinian activists; and he did propose a summit of Muslim nations.

"But the poll – and the Republican Jewish Coalition's material more generally – leaves out virtually all of Obama's recent record, which includes a stance on Israel that has won him praise from the main pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, and attacks from Palestinian leaders."

This view is echoed by the pro-Israel New York Sun, which stated in an editorial, "Obama and Israel" (1/9/08), "New York Republicans...are preparing to attack Senator Obama for his supposed lack of support for Israel... At least by our lights, Mr. Obama's commitment to quite moving and a tribute to the broad, bipartisan support that the Jewish state has in America."

While the poll states that Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef expressed support for Obama, it neglects to mention that Hamas later retracted its endorsement following Obama's speech before the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

During that speech, Obama stated, "I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security... I will always stand up for Israel's right to defend itself in the United Nations and around the world." Obama's statements make it clear  how dishonest and absurd are Republican attempts to raise fears about him among American Jewish voters.

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