White House hopefuls pursue the Jewish vote

FROM JOHN CARLIN

in Washington

If the Jerusalem question has suddenly seized the imagination of leading US politicians, it has less to do with a concern for peace between Israelis and Palestinians than with next year's presidential election.

The United States was the sole member of the United Nations Security Council to vote against a resolution on Wednesday criticising Israel's decision to confiscate land in east Jerusalem.

Last week Senator Bob Dole, Mr Clinton's likely Republican opponent next year, joined the fray when he proposed legislation to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The gallery that Mr Clinton and Mr Dole are playing to is America's Jewish constituency, unparalleled providers of political influence and campaign funds.

Mr Dole announced his proposal on 8 May at the annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the single most powerful lobby in Washington. The senator, tapping into emotions surrounding Israel's historic claim on Jerusalem as its capital, received a standing ovation.

While his proposal endeared him to the group within the Jewish community with the greatest political and financial clout, sectors of America's Jewish population with a less metaphysical perception of the Middle Eastern problem viewed the move as cynical and ham-fisted.

The Forward, a Jewish newspaper based in New York, said Mr Dole's efforts "to emerge as the greater champion of Israel" - an American David to Mr Clinton's Goliath - "would be laughable were it not so blatant a play for positioning in the coming primaries". Gary Rubin, the president of a Jewish body supporting the Middle Eastern peace process called Americans for Peace Now, said that Mr Dole's initiative was grossly ill-timed in that it could only disrupt the delicate balance of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

"It's another expression of the constant competition between presidential candidates to win Jewish support."

Accordingly, as Washington insiders observed yesterday, Mr Clinton's eagerness not to be outdone in visible expressions of support for Israel left him with little choice but to order his ambassador at the United Nations to veto the resolution condemning the planned Jerusalem land confiscations. Not least as Mr Clinton rejects Mr Dole's call, viscerally appealing as it is to many American Jews, for the prompt transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral