The Obama re-election campaign reportedly is assembling a team to fight back against conservative critics of the president’s position on Israel, and a visit to Israel may soon be in the works.
The campaign is assembling a group of high-profile figures who are respected in the Jewish community to counter criticism against Obama and to push back against attacks, Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent reported Saturday in his The Plum Line blog.
The plan comes as the campaign acknowledges that Jewish voters and donors have defected to the Republican Party following conservative attacks on Obama’s Israel stance, Sargent said.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel James B. Cunnigham has told Knesset Speaker Moshe Rivlin that the president will soon make his first visit to Israel, Rivlin told The Jerusalem Post. A time frame was not specified.
"Israelis sense that the atmosphere in the White House has changed for the worse," Rivlin said he told the ambassador. "The feeling is that Obama views Israel as a burden more than as a strategic asset."
Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod reportedly has led discussions with Jewish leaders on how to respond to the criticism.
“We will have highly credible spokespeople and surrogates speak out in a general manner in support of what this administration has done, and articulate it in a way that we think will resonate with voters who care about this issue,” Alan Solow, the former head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told Sargent in an interview. “We will meet with supporters who have expressed concerns or want to be briefed on these issues on a one-on-one basis.”
The effort will include having Obama surrogates publishing Op-Ed pieces that represent the White House’s viewpoint.
Conservatives in their two major arguments against Obama contend that the president called for Israel to return to 1967 lines and that he has not stated publicly with enough clarity that Israel will not be expected to negotiatewith a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, a terrorist group that has not recognized Israel’s right to exist.