Monday, March 17, 2008

Did You Know McCain Is Visiting Israel This Week?

I read that he was visiting Iraq, but the fact that he is spending a day in Israel was news to me--but Allison Kaplan Sommer has the leadup to the visit covered for Pajamas Media.

She quotes Professor Reuven Hazan, a political scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who makes an interesting point:
“McCain is relatively unknown in Israel and abroad despite he’s had a long and distinguished career in Senate – little is known about him other than being a war hero, which of course, will help the Israeli public relate to him… What this guy went through is probably similar to what Gilad Shalit is going through. McCain came back, and you can see that his imprisonment affected him every day. He is a changed person – but yet it didn’t break him. That is something Israelis will admire.”
Of course, the fact that Israelis may identify with McCain because of his experience in Vietnam does not mean that McCain will identify more with Israel--McCain has made statements that indicate that he may not be such a good friend of Israel. It also does not mean that Jews in America will leave the Democratic fold to vote for him.

Israelis view Obama very differently:
Israelis look skeptically at Obama, and not only because of the problematic pastor and the unrelenting rumors of his family’s Muslim background, but because he is a neophyte, and Israel has had negative experience with untested leaders.
Clinton on the other hand is known--and known positively--and has the strongest backing among Israelis.

With November approaching, the usual talk of Republicans making inroads into the Jewish vote will begin to surface, but there is no reason to think that the percentage of Jews voting for the Democratic candidate will be any less than in past years.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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