We're going to see more of this shameless pandering for the Jewish vote next year. Or more accurately stated, the use of Middle East unrest and the continuing Israel-Palestinian problem by politicians to further their own ends. Nothing new in that either. But few are going to go as far as Michele Bachmann in declaring that the fall of Arab dictators is a bad thing and not in the interests of either the United States or Israel.
LOS ANGELES – Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on Friday decried the “Arab Spring” that has toppled three dictators and given rise to pro-democracy protests across the Middle East for promoting the “rise of radical elements” across the region.
In a speech to about 400 Republicans gathered for the state party’s fall convention here, the three-term Minnesota congresswoman blamed President Obama for “the hostilities of the Arab spring” and expressed regret that “we saw (Egyptian) President (Hosni) Mubarak fall while President Obama sat on his hands.”
She got her biggest applause line of the evening when she accused Obama of asking Israel to return to its “indefensible” pre-1967 borders. Obama in May said a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians should be based on the borders -- with land swaps --before the Six-Day War in 1967 between Israel and its Arab neighbors, a position that angered some in Israel and Israel's conservative supporters in the U.S.
Popular uprisings have forced the ouster this year of longtime strongmen who ruled Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, but some conservatives are worried that the movement has cost the U.S. key allies in the region and is in danger of being hijacked by Islamic fundamentalists hostile to American interests.
Republicans suddenly see an opportunity to make inroads among Jewish voters, long a core Democratic constituency: Earlier this week, voters in a New York City congressional district that includes one of the heaviest concentrations of Jews in the country gave an upset victory in a special congressional election to a Republican candidate who made an issue of Obama’s Israel policy.