From an interview yesterday with Karl Rove on the Hugh Hewitt Show:
HEWITT: . . . I talked to John [Podhoretz] yesterday and he said that John Kerry did not mention Israel in his acceptance speech. Will the President and is the Jewish American vote in play?
ROVE: It is very much in play, and I’m not going to get into the specifics of what the President is going to say or not say in the speech, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you were right.
Yes, it is very much in play. They recognize what a -- how important his leadership in the war against terror is for the United States and the world and particularly for Israel for this scourge to be defeated and they applaud his moral clarity.
They also appreciate the fact that he has had the readiness and the willingness to speak the truth about the rise of anti-semitism in Europe. This President has spoken out publicly against the rise anti-semitism and the burning of Synagogues and anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe, and he has also made it a point to talk with European leaders about it which makes some of them distinctly uncomfortable.
The breakdown of the Jewish vote in November will be a portrait of the American Jewish community at least as interesting as the periodic demographic surveys by various Jewish organizations.
Noam Scheiber, blogging from the Convention for The New Republic, spent a day "at one Jewish-themed event or another."
Even from that limited sampling I can state that Rudy Giuliani is the Republican most beloved by the Jewish convention-goers. At an afternoon event at Chelsea Pier, he anchored a lineup that included Michael Bloomberg, Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman (not widely known to be Jewish until a recent appearance in version 16 of Adam Sandler's Hannukah song), and Bill Frist (not a Jew).
Giuliani's meandering pep talk -- the point of which was to connect America's fight against terrorism with Israel's fight against terrorism . . . and to bash Hillary Clinton and John Kerry . . . brought down the house in a way that no other speaker even approached.
But, in what comes as a surprise to me, Jack Kemp probably finishes second in the Jewish sweepstakes -- edging out actual Jews like Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, and Virginia Representative Eric Cantor (all much-beloved in their own right).
Michael J. Wissot, a vice-president at Luntz Research Companies, adjunct professor of communications at Pepperdine University, and former Southern California director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, wrote last week in the Jerusalem Post on "[w]hy should Jews want the re-election of George W. Bush?"
Let's start with the removal of Saddam Hussein, his resolve in fighting Islamic terrorists, his unequivocal support for Israel's government and people, his willingness to confront the appeasers of terror in the United Nations, and his steadfast commitment to the principle of prevention. . . .
With . . . his public declaration that some areas of Jerusalem and the West Bank must remain under Israeli control, the public rejection of the Palestinian "right of return" claims, and the elimination of one of the great sources of evil in the Middle East, this president has earned the support of the Jewish community.
Compare that to a presidential candidate of two minds (before two different audiences) about whether Israel’s security fence is a "barrier to peace," someone ready to nominate Jimmy Carter as his Middle East envoy (followed by a disingenuous "never mind" two months later), a candidate who emails Jewish community leaders a great-sounding position paper on Israel and writes a similar article in a Jewish periodical, but puts neither the paper nor the article on his website . . . .
One candidate, as Wissot notes, has "earned the support" of the Jewish community. The other presumes it can be kept by saying the right words. We shall see.