Some prominent Jewish Americans are rethinking their support for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election bid after he effectively called on Israel to give back territory it has occupied since 1967 to Palestinians.
The backlash after Obama’s keynote speech on the Middle East has Democratic Party operatives scrambling to mollify the Jewish community as the president prepares to seek a second term in the White House.
Obama on Thursday called for any new Palestinian state to respect the borders as they were in 1967, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tell him bluntly that his vision of how to achieve Middle East peace was unrealistic.
“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.
Koch said he might not campaign or vote for Obama if Republicans nominate a pro-Israel candidate who offers an alternative to recent austere budgetary measures backed by Republicans in Congress.
Koch donated $2,300 to Obama’s campaign in 2008, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
“I believed that then-Senator Obama would be as good as John McCain based on his statements at the time and based on his support of Israel. It turns out I was wrong,” he said.