The Soros-funded group J Street--which claims to be pro-Israel, while frequently opposing Israel in the U.S. Congress and at the United Nations--has fallen silent as Democrat David Weprin has fallen behind Republican Bob Turner in the race to succeed Anthony Weiner in the race to replace Anthony Weiner in New York's 9th congressional district.
[caption id="attachment_159472" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="J Street's last pro-Weprin tweet in the NY-9 race"]
A newly released poll
by Public Policy Polling confirms Turner's 6-point lead over Weprin, with 47 percent support to Weprin's 41 percent in the heavily Democratic Brooklyn district. The poll is particularly significant because PPP is regarded as left-leaning. On Friday, an independent Siena poll
showed Turner leading 50-44.
Initially, J Street appeared to look forward to the race in NY-9 as a political bellweather. In a tweet
on August 25, J Street referred to the special election as the start of the 2012 campaign season.
The next day, J Street seemed to shift course, pointing
to an opinion that suggested Israel was not, in fact, the deciding issue in the 9th district.
As recently as last Wednesday, September 9, J Street was backing Weprin vocally on its Twitter feed, alleging that Weprin has a pro-Israel record and that Turner does not. However, J Street has not apparently commented further on the race since then.
According to PPP, President Barack Obama is dragging Weprin down--and his treatment of Israel is a deciding factor:
The issue of Israel does appear to be having a major impact on this race. A plurality of voters- 37%- said that Israel was 'very important' in determining their votes. Turner is winning those folks by an amazing 71-22 margin. With everyone who doesn't say Israel is a very important issue for them Weprin actually leads 52-36. Turner is in fact winning the Jewish vote by a 56-39 margin, very unusual for a Republican candidate. This seems to be rooted in deep unhappiness with Obama on this issue- only 30% of voters overall approve of how he's handling Israel to 54% who disapprove and with Jewish voters his approval on Israel is 22% with 68 of voters disapproving. That has a lot to do with why Turner's in such a strong position.
On Friday, Democrat state assemblyman Dov Hikind endorsed Turner--and made it clear that Tuesday's special election was a chance for Democrats to send a message to the Obama administration protesting his policies on the economy and Israel. Hikind also decried the negative tactics being used by fellow Democrats in their attempt to save the seat.
Whether pro-Israel Democrats abandon President Obama in 2012 remains to be seen, but it is clear that despite J Street's best efforts to squelch opposition, his policies on Israel have provoked a backlash in New York and elsewhere.
Both candidates resume campaigning Monday after a weekend dominated by observances of the tenth anniversary of 9/11.