Is President Obama good for the Jews? For more and more Jewish-Americans, the answer is no.
In a Pew Research Center report issued on Thursday and entitled "Growing Number of Americans Say Obama Is a Muslim" (tragic in its own right), there was another bit of bad news for Obama: the number of Jews who identify as Republican or as independents who lean Republican has increased by more than half since the year he was elected. At 33 percent it now stands at the highest level since the data have been kept. In 2008, the ratio of Democratic Jews to Republican Jews was far more than three to one. Now it's less than two to one.
This is no doubt a reaction, at least in part, to the Obama administration having taken a hard rhetorical stance with Israel, while taking "special time and care on our relationship with the Muslim world," as Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, put it in June. If that sounds like courtship, it is.
(It should be noted that the Pew poll was taken before Obama's bold support for the right of Muslims to build a community center and mosque a few blocks north of ground zero.)
Some of the president's most ardent critics and some of Israel's staunchest American defenders — two groups that are by no means mutually exclusive — have seized on what they see as the administration's unfair and unbalanced treatment of Israel and have taken their denunciations to the extremes.
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