Snap Fact #287
President Obama’s Performance in Office Earns Accolades from Two High Profile Former Jewish Critics – Part 2

Ed Koch, the former Democratic Mayor of New York City had been a critic of President Obama and even crossed party lines against him. Many people followed the Mayor out of Obama’s camp. It was common for Republicans to cite the critical words of Koch and Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard when backing up an argument that the President was not a friend of Israel and that he was not qualified to lead our country.

Perhaps the damage has been done, but any thoughtful person must take pause to consider that not only have Koch and Dershowitz recanted, but virtually all of the top leadership of Israel has spoken of President Obama in the glowing terms that he has earned. Those who are unsure, or who still hold on to the misinformed view that the President is not sincere about our rock solid friendship with our Mid-Eastern ally might come to terms with the fact that those who are intimately involved have come around to view our President as a man of his word and a man of committed action. Below are Mayor Koch’s own words on the subject expressed on the evening of August 6, 2012:

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I've been asked by the Obama campaign to get involved in the Florida campaign. Of course, I will do that and I expect to be in Florida campaigning on the president's behalf after Labor Day.

n an effort to establish his qualifications to be president of the United States, former Gov. Mitt Romney recently visited England, Israel, and Poland. There is now an added interest in the views of the presidential candidates on Israel.

Last year, you may recall that I criticized President Barack Obama after he urged the Palestinian Authority and Israel to resume negotiations and stated that Israel should use the 1967 boundaries, with mutually agreed land swaps, as a template for drawing the lines for the new Palestinian state.

Wanting to send the president a message of opposition to this stance, I supported a Republican candidate in a special congressional election, and he won.

I am now often asked why I am supporting the president's re-election.

In his first presidential race, President Obama received 74 percent of the Jewish vote. Last year, it looked like those numbers might be significantly lower in 2012. However, as last Friday's Gallup poll illustrates, the president's numbers in the Jewish community have almost completely rebounded. Maybe other Jewish voters have seen in the president what I have seen.

I believe the president heard the Jewish community's concerns. His actions, certainly for me, verify that fact. His speech at the United Nations supporting Israel was the strongest statement of its kind ever made by a U.S. president.

Even more important was his personal, and successful, involvement at the Security Council preventing the Palestinian Authority from gaining entry to the United Nations as an independent state.


That action was clear, unambiguous evidence of his commitment to the Jewish state. His urging of the Israelis and Palestinians to engage in negotiations without preconditions was extremely important and his reiterating and demanding that Hamas give up violence, recognize the legality of the state of Israel and all prior agreements, showed real leadership.

The statement of Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the
cooperation between Israel and the U.S. on intelligence gathering and military supplies provided by the U.S. to Israel was the best ever in the long relationship between the two countries. That again was clear evidence of President Obama's commitment to Israel.

Further, President Obama's leading the U.N. Security Council to take much harsher sanctions against Iran and make clear that the U.S. was committed to preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb — not simply to a policy of containment — made clear to me his absolute commitment to the security and defense of the State of Israel.

I have no intention of attacking Governor Romney or the Republican Party for their support of the state of Israel. In fact, I commend them for it. I believe both presidential candidates and parties are committed to standing with Israel if it were to be attacked by Iran.

As a Jew and a supporter of that state, I am grateful.

My commitment to Israel is based on the history of how the world stood by when Hitler and the Nazis waged war against the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. No country stepped forward when Hitler offered to allow them to leave if a country would accept them.

If Israel had existed at that time, it would have taken in every Jew permitted to leave Germany and the rest of Europe where ultimately six million were murdered.

The reason Jews like myself are dedicated to the U.S., a country that has given Jews so much since the days of George Washington, and now support the Democratic Party and the re-election of President Obama is the huge difference in philosophy that the contending candidates and parties have expressed on domestic issues.

Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, given the opportunity, would end the entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare. If they could, they would privatize both and destroy the existing, unshakable contract between the U.S. government and the beneficiaries of these programs.

Instead, they would create a voucher system and private accounts on Wall Street for each Social Security beneficiary. They would give Medicare beneficiaries a voucher and then tell them to negotiate with insurance companies to see how much more they'd have to pay. Medicaid beneficiaries would no longer be protected by the U.S. government.

Instead, the program would be turned into a block grant with states each separately deciding on the limits of the program.

So, I urge Jewish voters who support a U.S. policy of continuing and strengthening the special status Israel has as an ally with the U.S. as well as domestic programs here in the U.S. that protect the elderly, protect the rights of women, protect the rights of minorities, require the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, require responsible regulation of the banks and Wall Street, and protect the middle class, to vote for the re-election of President Obama.

They should also support the candidates of the Democratic Party so as to give President Obama a filibuster free Senate and a majority in the House of Representatives to continue and expand the social programs protecting all, especially the children and the poor.

If you trust my judgment, vote for President Obama. I look forward to voting for our president in November and I hope you will too.

As a 3-term Mayor of New York City Edward Koch served from 1978 to 1989. Before becoming mayor, Koch spent served 9 years as a NYC Congressman.