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President Obama's renewed push for Mideast peace talks has angered prominent Jewish leaders, prompting some of them to reconsider their support for Obama's 2012 re-election bid. Obama said last week that the borders that were in place before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war should be the starting point for negotiations on establishing a Palestinian state, but Israel says that is unrealistic, as it would make it harder for the country to defend itself. "He has in effect sought to reduce Israel's negotiation power, and I condemn him for that," former New York Mayor Ed Koch told Reuters. Will Obama's Middle East policies hurt his campaign?
Yes, this is a setback for Obama: Prominent Jews have to be wondering whether Obama is an ally when it comes to Israel, says Jim Hoft at Right Network. His "lethal plan would give the Hamas-Fatah terror alliance the Old City of Jerusalem." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a visit to Washington, was forced to lecture the president on "the realities of the Middle East." Unless the president comes around, people will wonder whose side he's on — and with good reason.
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No, the phony outrage will blow over: The "Right Wing Noise Machine" is trying to whip up a frenzy, says Glenn Greenwald at Salon, to make it seem like Obama is "trying to destroy Israel." But anyone who knows anything about the issue is fully aware that his "call for a peace deal ultimately 'based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps' is not even arguably a change from past American policy." Obama should be given credit for at least trying to pull peace talks out of the mud.
Obama did lose some Jews. But most will still vote for him: There's little doubt Obama will win the votes of most people in the heavily Democratic Jewish community, says Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post. But there are plenty of dissenters. On Sunday, the president tried to reassure the Jewish lobbying group AIPAC of his commitment to Israel's security after his controversial Middle East speech, and part of the crowd remained convinced he's taking the Palestinians' side. Clearly, "Obama has divided the Jewish community like no other president."
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