Poltical Brief September 13, 2011: Upset, Jewish Vote Speaks — Republican Bob Turner Wins New York’s 9th Congressional District Seat in Special Election over Democrat David I. Weprin — Referendum & Rebuke on President Obama & Israel Policies in Democratic District

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Damon Winter/The New York Times

Bob Turner, center, spoke to supporters in Queens on Tuesday.

ELECTIONS: REPUBLICAN WINS NEW YORK’S CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 9 IN SPECIAL ELECTION

G.O.P. Gains House Seat Vacated by Weiner, AP Reports: A little-known Republican businessman from Queens, channeling voter discontent with President Obama into an upset victory, on Tuesday won election to Congress from the heavily Democratic district in New York City last represented by Anthony D. Weiner, according to The Associated Press.
The Republican, Bob Turner, a retired cable television executive, defeated Assemblyman David I. Weprin, the scion of a prominent Democratic family in Queens, in a nationally watched special election.

With 84 percent of the precincts counted early Wednesday, Mr. Turner was leading Mr. Weprin by 54 percent to 46 percent, according to The Associated Press.

Turner recently polled 6 points higher than Democrat opponent David Weprin, who is actually Jewish, and narrowed Weprin’s lead among Jewish voters by 15 points. The Turner campaign sent out 5,000 letters to registered voters in Israel, asking them to register for the ballots and place them in time.

“We congratulate Bob Turner on his historic victory.
This Republican win in an overwhelmingly Democrat district is a significant indicator of the problem that President Obama has in the Jewish community. While party leaders scramble to deny and try to stem the erosion of Jewish support for Democrats, the real issue is this President’s policies on Israel, on jobs, and on the economy. Jewish voters are coming to see that Republicans offer real solutions to our economic crisis, are resolute friends of Israel, and represent a way forward to a better future.
Bob Turner’s win tonight has huge implications for 2012 races in states with large Jewish communities, such as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The RJC took a proactive approach in this race, reaching out to Jewish voters in the district, and we will be a leading voice driving the debate in the Jewish community nationally through 2012 as well.” — Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks statement on the results of the special election in New York’s 9th congressional district — RJC: Jewish Defections Hurt Obama, Democrats in Queens Race

“His [President Barack Obama] hostility should concern Jews, Christians, and other supporters of Israel. Many believe the president has conveyed by his actions and demands on that state that he is willing to throw it under the bus and end the special relationship which has existed between the U.S. and Israel beginning with Harry Truman and continuing through the administration of George W. Bush….
While President Obama has made demands upon Israel that affect its security, no comparable demand — indeed, no demands — have been made upon the Palestinian Authority before entering the peace talks….
On the other hand, the election of Bob Turner in a normally safe Democratic district running against President Obama’s position on Israel and against his own party’s positions on the three entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would send a message to his own party leadership, as well as to President Obama.” — Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch

“No matter who wins in the special election in New York’s 9th congressional district on Tuesday. This race highlights the serious problems that President Obama has in the Jewish community because of his policies regarding Israel. Without question, Obama’s policies are causing significant numbers of Jewish voters to re-examine their loyalty to the Democratic Party.” — Matt Brooks RJC executive director

    • G.O.P. Gains House Seat Vacated by Weiner: Bob Turner, a little-known Republican businessman from Queens, beat Assemblyman David I. Weprin in an upset victory seen as a message to Washington…. – NYT, 9-13-11
    • GOP Takes Anthony Weiner’s Seat in Congress: Republican Bob Turner, a retired media executive, bested Democrat Assemblyman David Weprin. With about 70 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, Turner had 53 percent of the vote to Weprin’s 47 percent when the Associated Press called the race…. – ABC News, 9-13-11
    • Republican wins Weiner’s former seat: In a blow to Democrats, a Republican candidate captured the heavily Jewish New York City congressional district previously represented by Rep. Anthony Weiner.
      The race was closely watched as a measure of attitudes toward President Obama, with the Jewish vote a particular focus of attention. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, urged voters to support the Republican, Bob Turner, in order to send a message of dissatisfaction to President Obama over his policies toward Israel…. – JTA, 9-13-11
    • Why Obama Is Losing the Jewish Vote He doesn’t have a ‘messaging’ problem. He has a record of bad policies and anti-Israel rhetoric: New York’s special congressional election on Tuesday was the first electoral outcome directly affected by President Obama’s Israel policy. Democrats were forced to expend enormous resources to try to defend this safe Democratic district, covering Queens and Brooklyn, that Anthony Weiner won last year by a comfortable margin.
      A Public Policy Poll taken days before the election found a plurality of voters saying that Israel was “very important” in determining their votes. Among those voters, Republican candidate Robert Turner was winning by a 71-22 margin. Only 22% of Jewish voters approved of President Obama’s handling of Israel. Ed Koch, the Democrat and former New York mayor, endorsed Mr. Turner because he said he wanted to send a message to the president about his anti-Israel policies.
      This is a preview of what President Obama might face in his re-election campaign with a demographic group that voted overwhelmingly for him in 2008. And it could affect the electoral map, given the battleground states—such as Florida and Pennsylvania—with significant Jewish populations. In another ominous barometer for the Obama campaign, its Jewish fund-raising has deeply eroded: One poll by McLaughlin & Associates found that of Jewish donors who donated to Mr. Obama in 2008, only 64% have already donated or plan to donate to his re-election campaign…. – WSJ, 9-13-11
    • Koch Played Key Role in GOP Victory: The Republican victory in New York’s solid blue 9th Congressional District seat in Tuesday’s special election came largely with the help of an influential Democrat: former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
      Koch was arguably the one single factor in helping the GOP win the battle to succeed disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner in the U.S. House.
      The thrice-elected former mayor, who remains a powerful force in New York and national politics, had backed Obama strongly in the 2008 election.
      A self-describer “liberal with reason,” former Congressman Koch holds a hawkish view on U.S. foreign policy and national security matters.
      In 2004, he cited the war on terror to cross party lines and back George Bush over John Kerry for the presidency. Koch campaigned for Bush’s re-election in Florida and Ohio.
      In the special election, the 86-year-old Koch urged fellow New Yorkers, and disaffected Democrats like himself, to send a message to President Obama that they give him a thumbs down for his domestic and foreign policies.
      Koch, a staunch supporter of Israel, has been dismayed with Obama’s lukewarm support for Israel.
      The former mayor’s message appeared to resonate in the congressional district that straddles the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn and is home to many Jews, including many Orthodox ones. Newsmax, 9-13-11
    • Republican Bob Turner wins special election in New York: Democrats suffered a stunning blow Tuesday as voters in New York’s 9th Congressional District handed the seat to Republican Bob Turner, reversing a nearly 90-year tradition of electing Democrats to represent the district. … – LAT, 9-13-11
    • Republican Bob Turner wins New York special election: Businessman Bob Turner (R) defeated state Assemblyman David Weprin (D) in the special election for the House seat held by former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D)…. – WaPo, 9-13-11
    • A referendum on Obama and Israel: Bob Turner vs. David Weprin is really about: In deciding between Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin, the 9th’s large percentage of Jewish voters may provide an important clue about what a part of President Obama’s base in 2008 will do in next year’s presidential contest…. – New York Daily News, 9-13-11
    • Republican wins Democratic New York House seat: Republican Bob Turner won the race to succeed Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th congressional district. By Paul Kane, With his outcome of his own reelection effort 14 difficult months away, President Obama suffered a sharp rebuke…. – WaPo, 9-13-11
    • GOP Wins in Race to Replace Weiner: AP Democrats suffered a setback Tuesday in a congressional election in New York City, where a district they have held for nearly a century elected a Republican who framed his candidacy as a rebuke to President Barack Obama. … – WSJ, 9-13-11
    • Republican wins in New York Democratic stronghold: Republicans won an upset victory in a Democratic stronghold in New York Tuesday in a special US House of Representatives election for the seat vacated by former Representative Anthony Weiner, who resigned after a Twitter sex scandal…. – Reuters, 9-13-11
    • GOP wins in NY House race, seen as Obama rebuke: Republicans have scored an upset victory in a House race that started as a contest to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner after he resigned in a sexting scandal but became a referendum on President Barack Obama…. – Forbes, 9-13-11

“The idea is telling Obama, we’re not just in your pocket because we’re Democrats and we’re ticking off Democrat all the way down the list. We are holding you responsible for your policies, and we’re telling you we don’t want them…. If Obama looks at his always historically blue district … if he gets this message from this Democrat district, this can affect his policies–again, both on fiscal and Israel — in the next year.” — Ruth Lieberman, a veteran political consultant

  • NY-9 Could Affect White House Israeli Policy: This afternoon, Ruth Lieberman, a veteran political consultant who has been helping Republican Bob Turner in his special election race to win former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat in New York, spoke with Townhall about the dynamics between Turner and the Jewish vote in this race and broader implications for 2012. The district shows 1/3 registered Jewish voters, but of last year’s participation in the election, a large percentage were Jewish voters, according to Lieberman.
    The conversation with Lieberman revealed voters in the very blue district seem interested on two issues: jobs and Israel. Turner’s message to constituents has been that if they’re not happy with the Obama economy or with the administration’s stance on Israel, Turner is their man. Turner also picked up major Jewish Democrat endorsements along the way — local Assemblyman Dov Hikind (who has been campaigning with Turner) and former New York Mayor Ed Koch. Lieberman emphasized that these two Democrat politicians are telling voters to cross over and that this isn’t about party, but a referendum on Obama and jobs and Israel…. – Townhall, 9-13-11
  • Is Israel Policy an Election Problem for Obama?: President Barack Obama’s weakened standing with voters has helped put a safe Democratic House seat at risk of tipping to the GOP in a special election Tuesday in New York City…. – WSJ, 9-13-11
  • Shocker: White House Spox Says NY-9 Special Is Not A Referendum On Obama’: It is worth reiterating that PPP found 54% of those polled said they disapproved of Obama’s policy on Israel, but voters were split on whether Israel matters in the NY-9 election…. – New York Daily News, 9-12-11
  • Polling Israel in NY-9: Republican Bob Turner’s unusual lead in last night’s PPP poll among Jewish and pro-Israel voters in Anthony Weiner’s old district has drawn its share of attention, but a reader points out that it may be a bit of a local anomaly. … – Politico, 9-12-11
  • GOP Jewish group yokes NY-9 results to Obama: The Republican Jewish Coalition, which sent mailers to 30,000 Jewish homes in NY-9 in advance of the special congressional election this week, is trying to pre-frame the results as negative for President Obama, regardless of whether Democrat David Weprin wins or loses.
    Weprin is locked in a tight race against neophyte politician and Republican Bob Turner, in a heavily Jewish district where Obama’s approval numbers are now underwater…. – Politico, 9-9-11
  • Gaming the Catholic vote: In a brief interlude into NY-9, which appears poised to go for the Republican Bob Turner tonight and will be sifted-over for national implications, veteran New York strategist Hank Sheinkopf said one takeaway for the Democrats next year is the Catholic vote…. – Politico, 9-13-11
  • Boehner on N.Y. special election: Republicans don’t have ‘any right to think we can win”: But if businessman Bob Turner (R) does prevail at the polls, Boehner said, the message will be a clear one: Voters are unhappy with President Obama’s leadership on the economy…. – WaPo, 9-13-11
  • NY special election a measure of Obama’s strength: Democrat David Weprin faced an unusually tight race against Republican Bob Turner in a special election Tuesday in New York’s heavily Democratic 9th Congressional District, where voters unhappy with President Barack Obama could elect a Republican for the first time.
    The contest to replace disgraced Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner has become too close to call, with public opinion polling showing a slight edge for Turner, a retired media executive with no previous political experience…. – AP, 9-13-11
  • Outside groups spend $1.65 million on House races in Nevada, New York: In Nevada, Kate Marshall (about $748000 reported) has out-raised Republican Mark Amodei (about $659000), while in New York David Weprin (about $684000) has more than doubled the campaign cash of his opponent Bob Turner (about $323000)…. – iWatch News, 9-13-11
  • 6 NY Assembly seats up for grabs in NYC, upstate: The race getting the most attention is the special election in New York City’s 9th Congressional District, where Democrat David Weprin faces Republican Bob Turner in the contest to succeed replace disgraced Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner…. – Houston Chronicle, 9-13-11
  • Former Mayor Ed Koch Supports Bob Turner YouTube, 9-12-11
  • Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D) Endorses Bob Turner (R) for US Congress in NY-9 YouTube, 9-9-11

Josh Haner/The New York Times

Assemblyman David I. Weprin had hoped to keep the Ninth Congressional District seat in Democratic hands, but failed.

Full Text September 13, 2011: Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs Statement on Cameron Johnson’s Anti-Semitic Remark at York University Lecture

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Statement on the Recent Controversy at York University

Source: Newswire, 9-13-11

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs was recently made aware of a lecture given by Professor Cameron Johnston yesterday at York University, which reportedly included an anti-Semitic remark.

In response, Sheldon Goodman, the GTA Co-Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs issued the following statement:

“Upon hearing of this incident, we immediately contacted York University as well as Professor Johnston directly. While York is currently looking into the matter, it appears that a very unfortunate misunderstanding has taken place. We believe Professor Johnston’s use of an abhorrent statement was intended to demonstrate that some opinions are simply not legitimate. This point was, without ill intentions, taken out of context and circulated in the Jewish community.

“Professor Johnston, himself a member of the Jewish community, may regret his wording but should not see his reputation tarnished. This event is an appropriate reminder that great caution must be exercised before concluding a statement or action is anti-Semitic.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is now the spokesperson for all issues concerning the organized Canadian Jewish community, including those formerly handled by the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canada-Israel Committee, and the Quebec-Israel Committee.

Statement from Professor Cameron Johnston
September 13, 2011

In lecture, I discussed that the course focuses on the texts and not “opinions”.  In fact, I stated that for this course opinions are not relevant and I questioned the common idea that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I pointed out that everyone is not entitled to their opinion by giving the example of someone having an anti-semitic opinion which is clearly not acceptable. This was an example of the fact that opinions can be dangerous and that none of us really do believe that all opinions are acceptable.

For the record, I am also Jewish which undoubtedly influenced my choice of this example of a reprehensible opinion.

Regards,
Cameron Johnston

Israel Brief September 13, 2011: Noam Shalit Takes Gilad’s Case to UN

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Noam Shalit Takes Gilad’s Case to UN

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 9-13-11

Noam Shalit, the father of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, wants his son’s plight to be part of the discussion of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations in September.

In his view, Shalit’s release should be a precondition of any vote at the United Nations on recognition of a Palestinian state.

Shalit was in New York last week meeting with U.N. ambassadors from various nations, including pro-Palestinian ones, noam shalitto make his case that .

Whether or not they’ll take his view into consideration is an open question. But in at least one corner, Shalit won considerable sympathy: The City Council of New York proclaimed Sept. 7 Gilad Shalit day.

The point of Shalit’s trip was to keep the issue of his son’s captivity from being forgotten amid world events, and to use those events as a lever to secure Gilad’s release.

“We hope he’ll be home for Rosh Hashanah,” Shalit told a meeting of the New York City Council, saying a prisoner-exchange deal between Israel and Hamas is “the only way.”

In a 30-minute interview with JTA last Friday, Shalit talked about the need to put pressure on all sides using whatever tools are available. In the more than five years since Gilad Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid on the Israel-Gaza frontier in June 2006, the Shalit family has done all it can to make sure the plight of the captive soldier remains high on Israelis’ minds.

Shalit and his wife, Aviva, set up a protest tent opposite the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem that has not budged in more than two years. They’ve held nationwide marches, disrupted Independence Day ceremonies and prompted myriad campaigns to pressure the Israeli government to cut a deal with Hamas, including a recent one for Shalit’s 25th birthday. There are Free Shalit wristbands, bumper stickers and banners.

Last week, Shalit met in the United States with American Jewish organizations to strategize on how to lobby the Obama administration to put more pressure on the Palestinian Authority, which he believes can pressure Hamas. Shalit dismisses the notion that the Palestinian Authority cannot influence Hamas or does not share responsibility for his son’s captivity.

“How can they say they have no leverage on Hamas?” he said. “The Palestinian Authority is going to the U.N. to appeal for one Palestinian entity, not two. They want one state for the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authority cannot absolve itself of responsibility; it holds responsibility for all the Palestinian people.”

Indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas for Gilad Shalit’s release resumed recently in Cairo, Shalit said, but he remains pessimistic.

“The new Egyptian administration has taken the lead again,” Shalit said. “It is now new people, but Egyptians are the same. We need to urge the Egyptians to move on fast and effectively; we don’t have another three years to spend with negotiations.”

At the United Nations last week, Shalit’s focus was the Palestinian Authority. He said he met with more a dozen U.N. ambassadors to urge them to block any statehood recognition until his son is free. Of particular importance, he said, were his meetings with countries that already have recognized the state of Palestine, such as Argentina.

“We are not dealing with politics,” Shalit told JTA. “We are not asking them to vote for or against a Palestinian state. We just believe that a first step, as a precondition, they should comply with international law.”

The leaders of the world, he said, have to tell the Palestinians, “Look, you cannot go on with this violation of international and humanitarian law and at the same time ask for legitimacy and recognition. It is very basic. They don’t go together.”

via jta.org

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