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Why Jews don't vote for GOP presidential candidates [Letter]

Columnist Robert L. Ehrlich Jr's. commentary suggesting that Jews should reconsider their long-standing support of Democratic presidential candidates requires a response ("The GOP supports Israel more than Dems," Aug. 24).

Mr. Ehrlich rightly points out some of the historical reasons Jews have supported Democrats as well as their disagreement with some Republican leaders on such issues as abortion, gay marriage, gun control, prayer in schools and birth control.

But the article left out the invasion of Iraq based on faulty intelligence that led to the death of more than 4,000 young American men and women and ended up strengthening Israel's enemy, Iran. That unnecessary war has yet to be repudiated by the Republican party, which could be another reason Jewish voters cast their ballots for President Obama twice.

Mr. Ehrlich claims the "Obama administration is soft on Israel and Republicans support Israel more than Democrats" judged by its tepid support for the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. You can bet there is a chilly relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama; there's always been a complicated relationship between American presidents and the Israeli government.

Here's something to consider: There was a chilly relationship between President Eisenhower and the then Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion when Ike forced Israel to withdraw from Suez in 1956 after it responded militarily to Egypt's closing of the canal. Yet notwithstanding that episode, Eisenhower's support for Israel remained solid.

Regarding Obama being "soft on Israel", here are some facts: The Obama administration has funded Israel with more money than any U.S. administration in history. The Obama administration has continued to beef up Israel's Iron Dome defense system and Mr. Obama intervened to free Israeli diplomats held hostage in Cairo.

Mr. Obama ordered the raid that killed one of Israel's arch enemies, Osama Bin Laden. And afterward Mr. Netanyahu himself congratulated his American counterpart, saying "Mr. President, you deserve a badge of honor and more world leaders should follow your example." That's a direct quote. If Mr. Obama is good enough for Bibi, he is good enough for this Jewish former Republican.

The article would have better addressed that task of convincing Jewish voters to support the GOP, if it had taken a different tack. It could have encouraged the GOP leadership to repudiate the invasion of Iraq and to jettison the party's lunatic fringe that wants to outlaw all abortions, even in the cases of rape and incest or to save the life of the mother. It should have encouraged the party to disavow candidates who suggest "birth control is when a lady puts an aspirin between her legs."

Perhaps if it did that, the GOP would be able to elect a Republican for president and perhaps achieve its goals of more limited government and other policies it believes would serve the nation better.

Mel Mintz, Pikesville

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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