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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 26, 2003

Politics vs. the roadmap

Robert Novak, who is not my favourite pundit, wrote an interesting piece in which he reports "that the times, they are a changing" as the Republicans and Jews get closer together.
An unpublicized Israel Bond dinner .... conveyed good news for the expanding Republican majority and bad news for the endangered roadmap that supposedly leads to a Palestinian state.

What made it politically significant was that six politicians were among the approximately 250 people in attendance, and all six were conservative Southern Republicans. Five were Alabamans, led by Gov. Bob Riley, and the sixth was former Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour, who is running for governor of Mississippi this year.

An all-Republican political roster for such an event signified progress for serious GOP efforts to end absolute Democratic domination over the small but important Jewish constituency. The question is whether that constrains President Bush's pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace. The private assessment by important Republicans is that it should and that it does.

[...]Their presence reflects George W. Bush's post-2000 popularity in the Jewish community, thanks mostly to his staunch support for Israel. While a small minority nationally, Jews are disproportionately influential. That is partly true because of fund-raising, but what is really important is their potentially decisive role in Florida, New York, California, Illinois, Michigan and Maryland. They conceivably could spell the difference between victory and defeat in the 2004 presidential election.