1:00 PM EDT, September 10, 2012
Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. engages in some wishful thinking about the political leanings of the American Jewish community ("Can Jews be sure of Obama's commitment to Israel?" Sept. 2).
American Jews are the most consistently liberal religious group in the U.S. and have voted solidly Democratic for decades. While President Barack Obama's share of the Jewish vote may decline slightly from the 74 percent he received in 2008, all indicators suggest that he is likely to garner close to the 70 percent on average they have given to Democratic presidential candidates since 1972. Any small decrease will reflect mostly the same domestic factors affecting the overall vote, as opposed to some disproportionate disaffection within the Jewish community.
Nor should anyone pin their hopes on a massive switch based on the president's policies toward Israel. He has been highly supportive of Israel, as numerous high-ranking Israelis have noted publicly. Polling over the last two elections shows that a mere 8 percent of American Jews make voting decisions based on a candidate's Israel policy, making the myth of a single-issue voting block simply that, a myth. Furthermore, 80 percent of American Jews believe that the U.S. should take an active role in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict by means of a negotiated two-state solution. If Jews did vote on Israel policy alone, polls suggest that the community would be looking for candidates to show bold leadership on that issue.
In short, efforts by Mr. Ehrlich and others to turn Israel into a partisan wedge issue in this election cycle misrepresent the interests and the desires of the vast majority of American Jewish voters.
Aaron Levin, Baltimore
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