By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Republicans jumped on the Democrats’ Tuesday loss of the congressional seat given up by disgraced U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner as a sign of eroding Jewish support for President Barack Obama and his party.
New York’s heavily Democratic 9th Congressional District, centered on Brooklyn and Queens, is one of the most Jewish in the nation, and the Democratic candidate was an Orthodox Jew.
"This Republican win in an overwhelmingly Democrat district is a significant indicator of the problem that President Obama has in the Jewish community,” Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks said after Republican Bob Turner won Tuesday’s special election, an outcome that few had predicted a couple of months ago.
“While party leaders scramble to deny and try to stem the erosion of Jewish support for Democrats, the real issue is this President's policies on Israel, on jobs, and on the economy,” Brooks said in a statement late Tuesday. "Bob Turner's win tonight has huge implications for 2012 races in states with large Jewish communities, such as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.”
Turner, a former cable television executive who faced a steep fundraising disadvantage against Democrat David Weprin, framed the race as a referendum on Obama. He continually blasted the president’s posture toward Israel as insufficiently supportive.
Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a Jewish Democrat, endorsed Turner for Congress, citing Israel as the primary reason.
“My support for Mr. Turner is intended to send a message to President Obama that he cannot throw Israel under the bus with impunity,” Koch wrote recently, explaining his endorsement.
At Turner’s Tuesday night victory party, where there was a heavy Orthodox Jewish presence, Koch said: "I like President Obama. ... I helped get him elected.”
"But he threw Israel under the bus," Koch said.
Recent surveys from the Siena College Research Institute suggested that Weprin suffered from a sharp decline in Jewish support over the course of August, with a 21-point lead among Jewish likely voters dwindling to 6 points last week.
Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said the Democratic candidate's falloff in Jewish support came at the hands of defecting Jewish independents and Republicans. Greenberg estimates that New York’s 9th District is about a quarter Jewish.
A Wednesday polling memo from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not mention the role of Israel in the New York race, but said that “Republicans used the Karl Rove playbook to scare small, discrete groups of single-issue voters in a low turnout election.”
“For example, Tea Party Republican Bob Turner played on New Yorkers fear and anxiety around the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks,” the memo said. “Turner’s TV ads and mailers included images of the TwinTowers burning and the so-called Ground Zero mosque. Republican outside groups targeted Republican voters, Italian and Irish Catholics, and Orthodox Jews.”
Some Orthodox Jewish rabbis criticized Weprin during the campaign for supporting same-sex marriage as a New York state assemblyman. The National Organization for Marriage, a group opposed to same-sex marriage, spent $75,000 to defeat Weprin, including through mailers to Jewish voters.
“NOM played a major role in this election, helping to organize the Jewish and Hispanic communities to coalesce with Republicans, conservative and other pro-family voters,” the group said in a statement Wednesday. “We mounted the first and largest independent expenditure campaign in the race to make marriage a key issue, and we succeeded.”
A Siena poll earlier this month found that 76% of Jewish likely voters in Weiner’s old district said the country is headed in the wrong direction and that just 42% had a favorable view of Obama.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, enjoyed a 76% approval rating among Jewish likely voters in New York’s 9th District.
Democrats have traditionally enjoyed overwhelming levels of Jewish support.
Greenberg said that Obama is suffering among Democratic voters more broadly and that “Jewish voters are no different than all the voters in the district.”
In a May speech, Obama said that Israel's 1967 borders should be a starting point for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and land swaps, provoking criticism from some Jewish leaders.
But a July poll from Gallup found that Obama had a 60% job approval rating among Jewish Americans, and that the speech was "not a watershed in Jewish views toward Obama.”
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut and an Orthodox Jew, endorsed Weprin over the summer and came to his defense on Israel.
"While David Weprin can be counted on to fight for the safety and security of the State of Israel, we can also rely on him to protect the seniors and working families of Brooklyn and Queens," Lieberman said in July.
These voters might say it is about something else, but this really has mostly to do with Obama's race, I am sorry to say.
But they voted for him before, so I doubt that.
Yes they voted for him before, but that was before they realizaed he is black.
If Obama backed Israel 100% and never even considered an opposing view he would be loved by most jews in the United States. It is not a racial issue, it is an Israel Jewish issue.
If Jews are so concerned about Israel, then move back there! This is no different than Mexicans carrying on about Mexico, while enjoying what the US has to offer.
gaucho, This very behavior has long been both protected and encouraged by the left in the name of tolerance! Why the change of view here and now?
It's time they started voting for what is in the best interest in this country. Did you catch my lobsters yet?
what branch of the KKK are you with? maybe i'll see you at a meeting, i'll be the one hiding behind a hood!
Athiest, I did, and cold craft brew on ice to go with them!!
It's not like I go to the polls thinking about the US support for Scotland.
Ben, The very best and greatest years of this nation was when people not only wanted to come here they wanted to become an American and be a part of the dream, learn the languge and customs, and honor the laws and rules of the nation. Now they want to come here and say to hell with assimilation, not learn the languge, thumb their nose at our laws if they don't like them, and complain incessantly about being offended by every thing under the sun. Maybe in your world this is all a great thing, but for many this is a major problem in the declining state of life here at home. Basically many of us feel that if you want to come here legally and contribute and assimilate you are most welcome. On the other hand if you desire to come here and try to change this to what you left behind, well Houston we have a problem!
Athiest, The light went on a while back and caused a pause and a grin!
If this is true then shame on Jews for picking Israeli interest over the United States.
Athiest, the very condition of the country speaks volumes as to his love or lack thereof of this country. As a couple of examples that come to mind immediately I would offer his continued dogged determination to keep Boeing from opening their new factory in South Carolina putting many fine Americans to work in good paying jobs Instead he has directed his hit man Holder to keep his boot on their neck for as long as possible! After all no union control means no kickbacks to his campaign coffers! Number two, he essentially took over GM also known as Owe-bama Motors to the point of exercising his power to fire the CEO. Yet here we are a year and a half after the tax payer picked up the tab for the gross mismanagement of this company getting an anouncement that they have opened a new state of the art plant in Thailand. And guess what? Not one peep out of your boy wonder, it's OK to allow corporations we bail out to take massive amounts of investment money and jobs over seas but not OK for Boeing to simply open shop and put people back to work here! I find it most incredible that you and those like you swallow this whole charade and never bat an eyelash. Makes some of us question as to exactly what is wrong with you to either not see these things or even worse to see them and condone their behavior!
The Boeing plant in Charleston, Israel?
Athiest, Thanks for pointing out your level of inteligence for all on the board. At lest it explains the hollow rhetoric of most of what you have to say!
I know it's hard to get your brain around it, but I was poining out that you were off topic. But would you mind catching me a couple lobsters for dinner?
Athiest, Interesting that I reply to your questioning as to why we think Obama does not like this nation and bingo a reoply to your question is off target to you?? ADD in the family or what??
Athiest, Interesting that I reply to your questioning as to why we think Obama does not like this nation and bingo a reply to your question is off target to you?? ADD in the family or what??
We must support Israel and this is a necessary message to the president. Israel is our only true ally in the Middle East. It is the only true democracy in the Middle East. Israel understands the Middle East better then then most people on the left, and Israel knows that it has to play hardball to survive in the Midle East. Israel is surrounded by enemies. Israel hasn't done anything that its neighbors haven't done and have done to a much worst degree. Notice Palestinian Christians are leaving Gaza in droves, guess why. A safe and healthy Israel is vital to American security. People who think that if Israel would go away that peace would emerge are dreaming.
Thanks Hannity, but sorry Israel is a leach, and they are not our friend. The cold war is over.
Cronus is exactly right. There is so much propaganda being passed off as news- here on CNN and on NPR it is rampant- and the BBC is worse. People who don't bother to find out the facts are not getting the facts and therefore are supporting the "underdog"- the "plight of the Palestinians". I encourage people to watch the following video on you-tube: Danny Ayalon's "truth about the peace process". As far as this recent election is concerned, as a liberal democrat, I welcome this win. Supporting Israel is CRUCIAL to our national security. Israel is a vibrant, tolerant, open society surrounded by countries who are working to destroy it and who have massive PR campaigns that paint Israel as the villain when what they are doing is defending themselves.
Israel is a great ally in helping us against Muslim terrorists, but their sh-t still stinks. I think we should bomb the hell out of all the Muslim countries surrounding Israel and extend Israel's borders. Then they can shut up about being surrounded.
And their sh-t still stinks.
The Jewish faith has been hijacked by Darkness pretending to serve the Jews best interest, and the wise Jewish people can see through the lies and betrayls of their Faith by these monsters, who only manipulate and use the good people.
How can you say that the Jews have been "Hi-jacked" by darkness? Dude your own Teleprompter and Chief threw the Jews under the bus himself, the proof was in the news. obama did nothing but diss the Israelis and Benny. obama and his stupid anti-American liberal's deserve everything they get. How dare this administration and the liberal media stand for and defend everything islam but abandon our only real middle eastern allies in Israel....
Nah, it's just Shade, which isn't nearly as bad, honest.
It's not about Jews. I voted Republican just to send a message to Obama. The message is: If you don't get out there and fight for the middle class, if you keep acting as a Republican, we might as well send you a message you will understand. That message is we will vote you and the Democrats out to let them know they have done nothing. Since Obama acts as a Republican, it won't change what government is doing, and hopefully it will shake up the Demcrats to start standing up for middle class Americans.
So our answer was to vote for someone further to the right. I never would have thought of that.
As I cut off my nose to spite my face...
That's a retarded reason to vote. Voting for the other side doesn't send a message when it puts more power into the enemies of America like the Republicans.
How many Jews are in congress, POTUS staff, SCOTUS? I don't know, maybe forty something (4 or 5 times the percentage of the total population).
There are zero atheists. Jeez I wonder who has the power?
Perhaps Athiests are not as motivated because they have nothing to look forward to??
Actually, I'm not convinced that neocon warmongering religious nutcases have much to look forward to either.
No it's because 55% of the population said they would never vote for an atheist, no matter how qualified.
sttk, It must be a wonderful advantage to be a soothsayer in this day and age!!
This wasn't about Jews turning D to R, this was about Jews, and everyone else for that matter, not participating in the election. Turner barely came within striking distance of his 2010 tally against Wiener, and the other guy got a third of the D vote that Rep. Wiener got. People didn't like the options and therefore didn't turn out to vote. Turner just benefited from the Tea Party being more active in this cycle, just like all GOP members did in 2010. As for Jews, this is just another of a VERY long string of articles over the past 50 years or so proclaiming Jews are "finally switching over to the side that truly cares about them," as most Jews in America care about how we run THIS country, not Israel.
Thank you VanBarbee – As a Christian, I am disgusted with a lot of these anti-semitic posts. Living and working in New York, I see what Jews have given to our world – in medicine, arts, entertainment...brilliant scientists and doctors who are working to cure cancer and other diseases..
Please keep telling that to yourself all the way to the ballot box in November 2012!
Yah. Their sh-t doesn't stink. Yah.
I find this argument of shifting votes based on support for Israel to be insulting. Most especially, if one says they support America and our military. Not many people remember that on June 8, 1967, Israeli fighter aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty (an electronic intelligence gathering vessel during the Six Day War.) 34 crewmen were killed along with another 170 crewmen wounded. I sincerely hope that people remember that when pronouncing support for a candidate (either for or against).
Even if that attack hadn't happened, the slavish devotion to one nation is appalling.
An act of terror against the United States for which they were never held accountable.
Even fewer are aware of the 20 year terrorist campaign the Zionists ran in Palestine before the formation of Israel, culminating with the bombing of the King David Hotel, killing 91 people and seriously injuring 46.
They wanted to make sure that no word got out. They were at war. We forgave them because Christians think Jews-sh-t doesn't stink.
Can the Jews have such a huge effect on voting? Naive but I didn't think they could...judging by population with the exception of lobbying power.
In a special election with low turnout, ANY group which is invested can have an out sized impact on the results. If 90% of a group which is only 5% of the population goes out and votes for somebody when only 15% of the population votes, they're gonna be about a THIRD of the people making the choice.
To the Campaigner in Chief: It's Jobs and support for Israel. Get it! The American Jewish community will not accept the PLO and the 1967 borders. We won, they lost, we keep they move to the other side of Jordan River or move to another Arab Country.
I am sick of the American Jews. They should remember, AMERICA, OUR COUNTRY, COMES FIRST!
is it difficult being a bigot? those jews really bother you? let me tell you something, israel is the only dependable friend we have in the middle east. i am not saying they are perfect, but they are all we have. every president knows this, most americans know this. there are some that disagree and some that are ignorant about that. i believe i know which you are
you are retarded.
Israel is not America's friend. They use us constantly, and have cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of lives in wars.
I am sick of anti-Semetic bigots who do not represent the true values of the United States of America. You do not have exclusive ownership of this country. It is my country too, perhaps even more than it is yours.
Republicans believe we all live in the United States of Israel, as witnessed by the destruction of USA under Bush/Cheney and the mostly Jewish neocons. Then there was the wall st. scandal, directed by mostly Jewish Americans.
Why did the Jews need to destroy Usa in order to profit from it ?
You are correct. Unfortunately, the same economic and foreign policies of the Neocons are being carried out today. The Democratic Party is controlled by Jews completely. The Obama Administration is heavily Jewish, at least it was in the beginning.
Americans need to wake up to Jewish influence in our political process. The two single most destructive policies of the last 10 years (Middle Eastern War and Open Borders) were BOTH supported and organized by the Jewish lobby.
I saw them walking with Satan down by the river! Well, it wasn't all of them, just one guy. And it didn't look like Satan, just a dog. And the guy was walking the dog on a leash and talking to his neighbors. But I just KNOW it was Satan and the Jews, hallellujah! Can I get an Amen while I do the crazy dance? No, I'm NOT crazier than you. Why do you say that?
Let me see, if ANY OF YOU can answer this question...: Why would you EVEN CONSIDER ( ???????? !!!!!!!!!! ) moving to the USA as a muslim........where YOU HAVE TO SEE ,that EVERYTHING you stand for,.... ALL your beliefs....Your religion..... the ENTIRETY of your believe system IS SHARPLY different from 99% of the people ALREADY living there, who CREATED this country......and LAST BUT NOT LEAST....that YOU as a muslim....HATE that system .......WHY ????? WHY ??????
Well, there's ONLY ONE answer......You want to fight that system......You want to spread YOUR religion.....you want to impose YOUR beliefe system ON US ( the majority ).....Well, guess what : THANKS , BUT NO , THANKS !!!!!
GO, HOME !!!!!! And continue to hate there !!!
I came out to this forum as an American Jew looking to protest any poster who spewed anti-Semetic hate. Instead I find anti-Muslim hate (though many Muslims are also Semetic.) OK, I'll stand against that too. How dare you purport to speak for America and Americans in this fashion? You are as opposite of what America stands for as anyone could be. You trample on all of the good values for which America stands. You stereotype Muslims with your biggoted views and say that all Muslims hate America. Crawl back under your rock.
sounds a bit like our christians. other religions are lies to them. the majority of americans are revolting to them. they seem to get their way though. i would say to many christians in positions of power.
@steve, in Phoenix,
Many, if not most, Muslims in America were born here and are as American as you claim to be. If you don't like that, you are welcome to return to your ancestral nation, because that IS America.
They come here because they see the misogynist Christians as fellow ass-holes and see other Muslims living together in little enclaves just like Christian extremists do.
This is where freedom of religion fails. Religious enclaves are illegal under the First Amendment, yet no one will address this because they don't want their own religious enclaves threatened with law enforcement.
Christians want their fascist communities to be protected but don't want the Muslims to have their fascist communities, nor do they want to extend American rights to anyone else.
Hypocrisy. It's what's for dinner.
Lets talk about all the facts. Biden went to Isreal and they anounced new settlements an hour before he was going to meet Bibi. A huge slap in the face. Now your saying Obama has disrespected Bibi? You don't know what you are talking about.
Bibi can kiss my dirty dudu.
CNN is spreading another Jewish Propaganda again. Dems lost the seat because of Weiner incident. This is just an isolated incident. If Jews don't like OBAMA for not killing Palestines & Iranians and not taking orders from AIPAC and like to punish (stop daydreaming!!!) by republican then that is perfectly alright. A small Jewish community elected a republican.....BIG DEAL !!! This doesn't mean anything...NADA!!! OBAMA will continue to do whatever he is doing whether his AIPAC friends like it or not. Not only that....He will WIN and WIN BIG on next election. Jew voters and AIPAC can do nothing about that. Guaranteed !!!!
That's right. they are getting excited over nothing. this won't be a nation wide trend.
Good post, Samir, I would only add that many smart Jewish people would be on our side too, because like all of us, they are tired from all this BS, they want piece and stop this militant politics which would bring all of us to the catastrophe.
We live in America, and if we're citizens of this country, we're Americans. It's time to think that way when we vote. Not about Israel, the MIddle East, Africa, South America, or Europe, to name a few. America. Period. Vote whatever party you think is best for America. If you want to support Israel, Ireland, Italy, Iraq, etc etc etc–go live there.
Couldn't have said it better myself! Since when are we supposed to elect our officials based on what they will do for some foreign country? I don't see Israel paying taxes in the US! Nothing agains anyone, but to cite that as a reason to support a candidate only shows that this person doesn't take his alegiance to this country seriously! Even my 3-year old know what it means!
I totally agree. We're slavishly entangled with the state of israel. But i'd feel the same way about any other nation that seems to exert as much influence as they do.
Nothing against jews or palestinians but the Isreal state does practice their own new form of aparthied against the palestinian people. Also American jews realize that its easier to implement their zionist goals on the republican party, evangilicals and the teaparty as opposed to the more educated Democrats.
I'm all for this. Let's get all the religious nutjobs on the same side. Maybe they'll sort their differences out "battle to the death" style and we can run our country based on the facts we know today instead of based on a book translated from a book translated from scrolls recording an oral history 100 years after the fact of what some people did 2-4 thousand years ago.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.