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November 8, 2012 2:41 pm

Ed Koch on Jewish Voting Priorities (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Part 5)

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Former Mayor Ed Koch. Photo: Ruvi Leider.

A political fixture in New York, former Mayor Ed Koch, now 87 years old, has remarkably created new relevance for himself in recent years through vocal activism on national and local issues, most notably centered around President Obama and his relationship with Israel, which is perceived by many to be hostile. Koch was among the President’s most outspoken critics in the early part of his presidency but has since come round to back the President. In an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner days before Tuesday’s presidential election, Mr. Koch addressed a number of pressing issues that are of enhanced interest and concern to Jewish voters.

The interview is published in five separate parts, divided according to subject. The fifth installment below, focuses on Koch’s suggested voting priorities. Part 1 of the interview can be read herepart 2 can be read here, part 3 can be read here and part 4 can be read here.

AJ:  There’s a lot of discussion, especially among Jewish voters, about voting priorities.  There was an exit poll done among Israeli Americans who were voting in the United States, and they had a very different list of priorities from the list that we’ve seen come out of the United States.  What are your voting priorities?  What are your top five issues?

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EK: My voting priorities are that the president has to be supportive of the domestic policies that I support.

AJ:  That’s number one, you say?

EK: Now hold on.

Domestic priorities are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.  Just because a guy is good on Israel but bad on all these other domestic issues, I would not vote for him.  That’s Romney.  He wants to cut food stamps.  He’s against abortion.  If anybody takes that position, even if they’re good on Israel, I will not vote for them.  Now it happens that Obama is good on domestic issues and on Israel, and those are my priorities.

AJ:  What if there was a situation where there was a conflict?

EK: Let me put it this way.  If someone is good on Israel but bad on domestic issues and they were both that way, and they were against abortion and Social Security, privatizing and so forth, I wouldn’t vote.

I would not vote for someone who will destroy the fabric of this country.  Israel is very important to me, but it is not the only issue.

AJ: So do you feel that for Jewish voters that’s how the priorities should be?

EK: Yes, I think that’s the way most Jews vote.  They look at the whole program.  And I think that if they felt that someone were bad on Israel and good on domestic issues, they wouldn’t vote for him.  If they felt that a candidate was good on Israel but, as I say, bad on domestic issues, they wouldn’t vote for him.  If they felt that he was good on domestic issues and bad on Israel, I would hope they wouldn’t vote for him.  I wouldn’t.  You’ve got to be good in both areas. Or I won’t vote.

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