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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Though it is hardly scientific to brandish a few poll numbers about and claim to know that Democrats lost Anthony Weiner’s once-safe House seat because of Jewish Democratic disillusionment with Barack Obama’s stance toward Israel, the electoral outcome nonetheless portends further collapse of peace efforts, as Obama lacks the political room to continue to push for Palestinian claims and a two-state solution with such a toxic environment back home.

Indeed, while many are quick to point to the district’s having gone 55 percent for the president in 2008 — and argue Obama has no shot at winning a national election if he loses here next November, which may well be the case — the most important outcome of the campaign may be yet another obstacle to negotiations, the president reluctant to make noise or generate coverage for pushing Israel to make concessions when a key element of the Democratic base is threatening revolt.

The irony, of course, is that the Democratic candidate was Jewish and yet was hammered over the Israel issue by his gentile opponent. Orthodox Jews in the district also reportedly soured on him for backing gay marriage in the State Assembly.

Political prognosticators, usually on the right, have for years claimed that “this will be the election” where Jews turn on Democrats, whether for their Israel stances or other reasons.

Time and again, though, Jewish voters have shown their progressive instincts, some 78 percent pulling the lever for Barack Hussein Obama last time around.

So while predictions these voters will turn against Obama next fall are premature, what we do know is that lingering discomfort with Obama has combined with his modest pushes for Israeli concessions to effectively inculcate a narrative that the president has a “Jewish” problem. And that’s a problem not just for Americans, but those in the troubled disputed territories who desperately need a halt to violence.

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