Wednesday, September 14, 2011
How Israel Can Have a Big Impact Via a Congressional Race
The victory of Robert “Bob” Turner in the race to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th Congressional District hands the Republicans a seat that the Democrats would, according to most polls, have held had Mr. Weiner stood for reelection.
The 9th is a district with a three-to-one Democratic edge among registered voters and a heavy Jewish population that can be counted on to turn out in impressive numbers in most elections. Despite this, one Democrat, Mayor Koch, saw this as a unique opportunity to “send a message” to President Obama, who many think is shifting American support away from the Jewish state.
Mr. Koch endorsed the Republican, Mr. Turner, and helped to make him an improbably credible candidate in a district considered impossible for a Republican to win. The result will be felt in Washington, right up to the White House, and could well contribute to a change in American policy.
If so, it couldn’t come at a more critical time for Israel, faced with existential threats from its enemies. And it won’t be the first time that a special election to fill a vacant New York Congressional seat might have had a major effect on American policy towards Israel.