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January 16, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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January 16, 2004

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PAGE 12 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, that will go for plot By Ron Kampe~ the Clinton administration, at- dered why the Democrats tended a series of meetings of weren't on board. WASHINGTON~D.C.(JTA)--- top Democrats in spring 2002 "We were becoming aware of Worried by signs of President to discuss what they saw as a a string of political argument Bush's soaring popularity deteriorating situation with on the other side, which was among Jews, Democrats Jewish voters, that people who disagreed with launched a coordinated cam- ThetriggerwasaMay5,2002, the war on Iraq were somehow paign 18 months ago to win "Solidarity with Israel" vote in softonterrorismorlessreliable back Jewish votes. Congress that drew 21 nay on America being a friend of Inrecentinterviewswiththe votes.---including 18 from Israel," Lewis said. JTA, top Democrats who at- Democrats. Theoutreachinitiativetothe tended the meetings disclosed "Our discussions following Jewish community was seen as the secret strategy sessions for the vote showed we were not as awaytocounteraggressivenew the first time. proactive as we should have Republican tactics to under- The campaign has three been"withJewishvoters, Lewis mine traditional .lewish finan- prongs, according to senior recalled, cial support for the Democrats. Democratic operatives who The congressional vote "The politics were ratcheted were involved in its formula- wasn't the only issue, however, up," said a senior Democratic tion: Stress the Democratic ItwasbecomingclearthatBush leadership aide. Party's commitment to Israel wasgearingupforwarwithlraq Some at the Democratic andraisequestionsaboutBush's and that most Democratic leg* strategy meetings worried that own commitment; remind Jew- islators were less than enthusi* Jews believed the partywas tak- ish voters they are much like- astic about the prospect, ing the community for granted lier to favor Democratic posi- In town-hall type meetings, because of its overwhelming tions on domestic issues, and Jewishcommunityofficialssaid, support in previous elections. marginalize Democrats who it became evident that Jewish That notion was reinforced alienate Jews. Americans saw Saddam byexit pollsafter the2002 mid- Ann Lewis, the Jewish former Hussein's potential downfall as term elections, which showed a directorofcommunicationsfor a blessing for Israel and won- return to Reagan-era numbers Ha?py 90th Birthday1 Joe Wittenstein Family and friends are cordially invited to celebrate Joe's Birthday Please join us for a dessert reception at Mayflower 1620 Mayflower Court qhe Stanish Room Monday, January 26, 2004 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM RSVP by January 20 Nancy Wittenstein 813-962-2240 or Roz Levitt 407-339- 7486 No Gifts. Please. photo courtesy of the Office of Steny Hoyer Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland leads a delega- tion of Democratic house members to Israel in August2003. group of legislators went to Is- doesn't have to worry about re- rael in August"to express soli- election. daritywithIsrael'scause--free- Another pressure point is dom and democracy--as well Bush's perceived warmth to- asherdeterminationtosurvive ward Saudi Arabia. Virtually and succeed as a sanctuary for every Democratic candidate for theJewishpeople."Theprimary president has called for greater lesson of the trip, Hoyer told scrutiny of the Saudi royal fam- AIPAC, was that the West Bank ily and its role in the Sept. 11, security barrier, "which has 2001 terrorist attacks. engendered great controversy, Lewis raised the issue in her whenJewsvotedDemocraticby is viewed by Democrats as a own speech to the AIPAC an- a 2-1 margin, not the 5-1 or 6-1 reasonable and acceptable at- nual meeting last month. ratios of the Clinton era. tempt to reduce terrorist at- Republicans say they're ea- The exit polls had unreliably tacks." Hoyer is at the lead of a ger for a fight on Israel and the small samples, but Democrats group of Democrats who have Middle East. were rattled, blasted Bush for criticizing the "The president and this party '0~/hat we've done since then route of the security fence ap- are significantly head-and- is to be much more conscious of proved by Israel's government, shoulders above anyone run- outreach tothe Jewishcommu- Bush has made clear he wants ning on the Democratic side nity," Lewis said, as well as the West Bank fence to adhere right now" when it comes to "much more explicit" in sup- more or less to the pre-1967 Israel, said Matt Brooks, execu- port for Israel. boundary between Israel and tive director of the Republican Sincethen, DemocraticWhip Jordan. Jewish Coalition. Steny Hoyer of Maryland has Hoyer said he plans to be StoriesaboutBushfamilyties taken the lead in reaching out even more vociferous about to the Sat~dis or threats that to the Jewish community. His Bush's linking of the fence to Bush will emulate his father's campaign keeps a list of 15 pro- loan guarantees for Israel. coolness toward Israel won't Israel actions Hoyer has taken Taking such shots at a presi- work, Brooks said. since March 2003, such as lead- dent who calls Israeli Prime "That's the same thing they ing a delegation of 29 Demo- MinisterAriel Sharon a "man of tried to scare the Jewish com- cratic legislators to the Jewish peace" ,might seem like folly, munity with in 2000," he said. state in August. but Democrats believe Bush is "There is not one leader in the '~Ve needed to articulate our becoming vulnerable. Jewishcommunitywhobelieves case. I wanted to articulate our "Right now, this adminis- that." Some Democrats indeed values," Hoyer told JTA in a trationisperceivedasverypro- arewaryoftacklingBushonthe phone interview. Israel, but that could change," Middle East, and say it's enough The senior leadership aide said Mark Mellman, a top totellJewishvotersthatDemo- saiditwasamatternotofrefor- Democratic pollster. He cited cratsshareBush'scommitment mulating strategy, but of re- pressureoverthesecurityfence to the Jewish state. minding Jewish voters where as well as the administration's "Democrats don't have to be Democrats stand, insistence on adherence to the better than Republicans on Is- Thatmeant, firstofall, allow- U.S.-ied"roadmap'peaceplan, rael, they just have to be as ing little light between the which many in the pro-Israel good," said Steve Rabinowitz, a Democrats and Israel. One of community consider mori- Democratic political adviser Hoyer's first tasks as whip was bund. who attended the spring 2002 to retake the Israel solidarity Ira Forman, executive direc- meetings. "So long as Demo- vote. He did so on June 25, and toroftheNationalJewish Demo- crats are competitive, it invari- this time it passed the House by erotic Council, was present at ably shifts to domestic issues, a vote of 399-5. the spring 2002 strategy meet- where we beat them hands In a speech last month to the ings. He says there are signs down.'Thereislittlereluctance, America Israel Public Affairs Bush may well get tough with however, in challenging the Committee, Hoyer said-the Israelinasecondterm,whenhe Bushadministrationondomes- tic issues, a key element of the M BEST DELICATESSEN BEST BROWNIE BEST TAKE OUT BEST LUNCH Reader's CTmice Reader's Choice Readers Choice Reader's Choice Palm Beach Post, 2003 Palm Beach Post, 2002 Orlando Magazine, 2002Stuart News, BEST DESSERT MENU BEST CATERING BEST DELICATESSEN 2002 Reader's Choice Reader's Choice Reader's Choice BEST SANDWICH Palm Beach Post, 2003 Orlando Magazine, 2002 Tampa Magazine, 2003 Reader's Choice BEST DELl BEST HOME COOKING BEST DELICATESSEN Jupiter Courier, Reader's Choice Reader's Choice Reader's Choice 2002 Palm Beach Post, 2002 Orlando Magazine, 2003 Tampa Magazine, 2002 BEST DESSERT BEST CORNED BEEF SANDWICH BEST BREAKFAST BEST DELl SANDWICH Reader's Choice Reader's Choice Palm Beach Post, Reader's Choice Reader's Choice Vero Beach 2002 Orlando Magazine, 2003Stuart News, 2002 Pre. Journa 2002 BEST CHOCOLATE DESSERT BEST DELl SANDWICH Reader's Choice Reader's Choice ReaderBESTPalm DELIBeach 'S Choice Post, 2002 /'7"~I"'~~~" Zagat St.BEST Lucie BUY Survey,Tribu no, 2002 Foodie Awards 2000 Orlando Sentinel, 2002 REAL. GOOD. FOOD. An award winning dell for over 22years. SW ORLANDO The Marketplace at Dr Phillips 407 355-0340 ORLANDO Colonial MarketPlaza 407 894 1718 ALTAMONTE SPRINGS Palm Springs Shopping Center 407 830-1770 LAKE MARY Lake Mary Centre 407 833-0848 EAST ORLANDO Waterford Lakes Town Center 407 249-9475 DOWNTOWN ORLANDO Church Street Station Coming Soon strategy to emerge,from the spring 2002 meetings. Hoyer said that case was an easy sell. "The commitment to the di- versity of our nation, ensuring that we invest in the education and health of our people," Hoyer said, are values that American Jews still hold and issues on which the Democrats will con- tinue to pursue Jewish support. Forman also said Jews natu- rally would vote Democratic. "Look at the demographics of people who vote Democrat: People who don't go to church often, with a graduate level of education, who don't have guns, who live in the inner suburbs or cities," Forman said. "This should be a Democratic con- stituency." John Zogby, a lead- ingWashington pollster, makes the same case. Recent polling shows 75 percent Jewish sup- port for the Democrats, Zogby said. "The thing that comes out loud and clear is that while Is- rael is of tremendous, impor- tance to Jewish voters, they're not one-dimensional, they still stituency, they're anti-Bush on gramsand the~ asticall Zogby said. He cited one his latest national poll. ( he said, 55 percent ofi election legitimatel Florida. are reversed: some 71 believe it was stolen 22 percent think elected legitimately. ButBrooks: would be key in the firstl dential election since 11 attacks. "Those that believe to believe that they're run a campaign on issues are mistaken," said. "This will be a policy election." That's cially true since Bush is l tic issues, Brooks said, the rebounding the president's issues Jews care about education. Some Democrats away from their with Israel. AH be especially challenging,! crats acknowledge, Dean's call several for U.S. continm mont governor, widely ered the front-runner Democratic primaries. Dean has said his were misinterpreted he merely meant i involvement in Israei-Palestini Hoyer mobilized the J tories of a letter to De~ congressional ing the candidate for tion. "I'm not at all being neutral between racy and said. Hoyer says that satisfied with Dean's tion leadership aide says that i wins the nomination, would focus or on Israel. That egy with Democratic ers. In fact, the delegation that ers. Wher aboard on Jewish party has a different of the Democratic the extreme right edge', Republican Party, anti-Semitism and a Israelism it out," Forman said. Two virulently congressmen--Cyr McKinney of Georgia Hilliard( support against the darity vote that new Democrati Jews. ponents defeat them in party primaries, and not shy about reminding! of that success. Asthecam heats up, Democrats are to be busy making Jews--and voters remember