American Jews support Obama with 78% of vote

November 5th, 2008

The verdict is in on the politics of fear when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. It didn't work.

The overwhelming majority of American Jews chose hope yesterday, giving Barack Obama 78% of the Jewish vote, well ahead of John Kerry's 2004 total.  [1]

This is more than an historic electoral victory.  It is our chance to deal a knock-out blow to the politics of fear when it comes to Israel and the Middle East.

That's why we're collecting signatures on a letter to President-elect Obama to demonstrate the breadth of his mandate in our community for far-reaching change. Click here to tell President-elect Obama you chose hope over fear.

To amplify our message, we ran a full-page ad in The New York Times stating that this election carries a promise of change in America and of hope, peace and security for Israel and the Middle East. Click here to view the ad and sign our letter.

With your help, we'll send a clear and powerful message to Washington, the media and opinion leaders that the overwhelming majority of our community says "No!" to the smears, and "Yes!" to hope and a new direction.

The story could have been different. Any one of these well-funded attempts to stoke the Jewish community's worst fears could have succeeded:

  • 28 million copies of the DVD "Obsession" distributed to stoke anti-Muslim fears.
  • Millions of dollars of Republican Jewish Coalition ads tying Barack Obama and other pro-diplomacy candidates to terrorists and President Ahmadinejad of Iran.
  • Slanderous, anonymous emails attacking everything from Barack Obama's name to his heritage and lineage.
  • Last minute, revolting attempts by the Pennsylvania Republican Party, Joe the Plumber and others to link Barack Obama's election and the Holocaust.

There really were no limits to the coordinated, despicable effort to stoke the Jewish community's basest fears and prejudices in this election. 

The morning after the election, those who spread the smears and peddled fear have nothing to show for it.  They must face their own personal reckoning for what they have done, but we must make it crystal clear to the broader world that they did not speak for us. 

Click here to tell President-elect Obama that you chose hope over fear, and to see the ad that we ran in The New York Times.

Unfortunately, the abuse of the politics of fear on Israel is nothing new. The same tactics employed in this campaign are used year-round to stifle open, honest debate about American policy toward Israel and the Middle East.

If we are going to tackle serious problems like advancing real peace and security for Israel and the Middle East, we've got to put these tactics to rest once and for all.

Obama's decisive victory is a great opportunity to show the strong support in our community for a clean break from slash and burn politics on Israel. 

It is critical for the United States and its interests around the world to pursue a rational policy in the Middle East along the lines President-elect Obama has outlined:

  1. Diplomacy as a first, not a last resort;
  2. Pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace and comprehensive, regional Arab-Israeli peace;
  3. Direct engagement with Iran; and
  4. Ending the war in Iraq responsibly.

It is also critical for Israel that we have a rational discussion about these issues. As Israel's own outgoing Prime Minister has made clear, the country's very future as a democratic state and home to the Jewish people is at stake. 

President-elect Obama needs our help if he's to make his mandate for change a reality. I hope you'll take a moment to tell Barack Obama that you chose hope over fear and that you'll support his commitment to bring hope, peace, and security to Israel and the whole Middle East.

[1] MSNBC Exit Polls, United States President, "Religion, combined Protestant and other Christian." 2008 Election results,  Exit polls, November 4, 2008.