"Is President Obama good for the Jews?" asked New York Times columnist Charles Blow Saturday.
His answer was quite surprising: "For more and more Jewish-Americans, the answer is no."
In his piece marvelously titled "Oy Vey, Obama," Blow referred to Thursday's Pew Research Center report finding "33% of Jewish voters identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, up from 20% in 2008."
From there, Blow went where a liberal columnist for the New York Times typically dares not:
This is no doubt a reaction, at least in part, to the Obama administration having taken a hard rhetorical stance with Israel, while taking "special time and care on our relationship with the Muslim world," as Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, put it in June. If that sounds like courtship, it is. [...]
Some of the president's most ardent critics and some of Israel's staunchest American defenders - two groups that are by no means mutually exclusive - have seized on what they see as the administration's unfair and unbalanced treatment of Israel and have taken their denunciations to the extremes.
After addressing some recent events - the Administration's denunciation of Israeli settlements last September, the White House urging Israel to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in April, and May's Gaza flotilla incident - Blow shared with his readers some more data on this issue:
Fair or not, these criticisms are crystallizing into a shared belief among many: Obama is burning bridges with the Jewish community in order to build bridges to the Muslim world.
There is very little independent polling, aside from Pew's party identification polling, to help us understand how American Jews see the president, his stance toward Israel and the political implications. So in that vacuum, pollsters with partisan leanings have been spinning their findings like dreidels.
In April, the Republican polling firm McLaughlin & Associates released a survey that they said showed that only 42 percent of American Jews would vote to re-elect President Obama. He captured 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008.
Recently, the democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg and the Israel Project, a nonprofit in Washington, conducted a poll that they said found American support of Israel was dropping like a rock.
Wherever the truth lies, it is fair to say that it doesn't bode well for Obama.
Indeed it doesn't, although it's quite shocking to read such a conclusion in a column by one of the Times' most liberal contributors.