Why Obama Has a Jewish Problem

Misinformation, prejudice swirl in Florida
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2008 11:16 AM CDT
Why Obama Has a Jewish Problem
Barack Obama addresses Jewish community leaders, Wednesday, April 16, 2008, at Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia.    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Why are Jews—especially older Jews, a traditionally liberal Democratic demographic with high voter turnout—reluctant to embrace Barack Obama? The New York Times took the question to Florida’s Jewish voters, who make up 5% of the critical swing state. What they found: Obama has become "a conduit for Jewish anxiety about Israel, Iran, anti-Semitism, and race," with a lot of misinformation thrown in.

He's a Muslim, he's an Arab, he's pro-Palestinian, he’s pals with Louis Farrakhan, al-Qaeda is backing him—the Times heard it all from Democrats who said they were supporting John McCain. South Florida is “the most concentrated area in the country in terms of misinformation” about Obama, said Rep. Robert Wexler, the Jewish co-chairman of the Obama campaign in the state. “His father was a Muslim and you can’t take that out of him,” said one 51-year-old. (More Obama 2008 stories.)

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