Obama’s top presidential campaign advisers are putting together a plan to go on the offensive against critics of his stance on Israel, I’m told, and are assembling a team of high profile surrogates who are well respected in the Jewish community to battle criticism in the media and ensure that it doesn’t go unanswered.
Obama’s supporters say the plan is in effect an acknowledgment that conservative attacks on Obama’s Israel stance have made defections among Jewish voters and donors a possibility they must take seriously. Obama’s advisers see a need to push back even harder on the attacks than they did in 2008, in part because Obama now has a record on the issue to defend — a record that even Obama’s supporters concede has not been adequately explained.
A group of well-known figures in the Jewish community has been in discussions with senior Obama adviser David Axelrod about how to respond to the criticism, which is expected to intensify as the campaign heats up. Among them: Alan Solow, the former head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; former Congressmen Mel Levine and Robert Wexler; and executive Penny Pritzker.
“We will have highly credible spokespeople and surrogates speak out in a general manner in support of what this administration has done, and articulate it in a way that we think will resonate with voters who care about this issue,” Solow said in an interview. “We will meet with supporters who have expressed concerns or want to be briefed on these issues on a one-on-one basis.”