The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is pouring $500,000 into the NY-9 race to try to rescue Democrat David Weprin. Meanwhile, the Emergency Committee for Israel, a conservative pro-Israel group co-founded by Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer, has stepped into the NY-9 special election with this ad, jabbing at President Obama’s Israel policy:
I asked Kristol why he thinks the NY-9 race is significant. He responded, “Whatever the outcome Tuesday, the message of the campaign and of both candidates is clear: You can’t be pro-Israel and pro-Obama.” According to ECI’s executive director, “The 60-sec NY-9 spot — titled ‘The Uniter’ — is a significant buy that will run on Monday and Tuesday during news broadcasts on local New York news channels NY1 and News12, and during primetime in New York on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, and MSNBC.”
But this is only one part of a bigger effort by ECI. As soon as the rain lifts, ECI will be putting up jumbo-sized billboards in New York — on tunnels, in view of JFK airport and elsewhere — featuring the “Obama not pro-Israel” theme. Those will presumably be up to greet the delegations coming into New York for the U.N. General Assembly meeting that will vote on the Palestinians’ demand for a resolution that the PA will trumpet as “statehood.” ECI will also run print ads in Washington, D.C., targeted to the Hill, and a large ad on the New York Times’s Web home page that will be seen by millions of Americans.
Kristol tells me it’s important to focus on the U.N. confab: “It’s good that we’ll veto the unilateral Palestinian declaration in the Security Council. But it’s an indictment of Obama’s policies — of his actions and inaction — that we let things get to this point. We’re further from an Israeli-Palestinian agreement — and further from a peaceful Palestinian state — than we were when Obama became president.”
Meanwhile, Democrats are feeling the heat and trying to abate any erosion in Jewish support for the president. The New York Times reports:
It’s no surprise that the Democratic National Committee meeting in Chicago on Friday will include briefings on jobs and health care, issues critical to President Obama’s re-election. But “Jewish messaging” will be the third topic presented to top party donors and fund-raisers, according to a schedule obtained by The New York Times.
The session, led Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the committee’s chairwoman, and Ira Forman, the Obama campaign’s director of Jewish outreach, underscores a real but unexpected challenge for Mr. Obama. While Jewish voters generally still give the president high marks, some Jewish donors — a major fund-raising constituency for Mr. Obama and other Democrats — are resisting the campaign’s appeals over unhappiness with the administration’s approach to Israel.
Such issues are also playing a pivotal role in an unexpectedly close special election in New York, where the Republican candidate, Bob Turner, has used the administration’s Middle East policies as a potent attack issue against the Democratic candidate, David Weprin, once considered a shoe-in.
Whether Jewish voters and donors will begin to abandon Obama is still an open question. What is not, however, is whether both parties see Obama’s Israel policies as potentially damaging to his domestic standing.