Jewish voters may be wary of Palin - Ben Smith - Politico.com Jewish voters may be wary of Palin By BEN SMITH | 9/2/08 6:53 PM EST Text Size: ST. PAUL, Minn. Barack Obama has struggled for 18 months to lock down the support of a traditionally Democratic group, Jewish voters. In the past week, John McCain may have helped Obama with his Jewish problem by choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. McCain and Obama are battling over a portion of the Jewish community: older, conservative Democrats, largely in South Florida, some of whom backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. McCains secular, hawkish credentials appeal to many in that group, who are skeptical of Obamas relatively short record and have been deluged with rumors about his pro-Palestinian leanings. But Democrats hope Palins social conservatism, her paper-thin record on Israel, and perhaps most importantly her cultural roots in evangelical Christianity may be a major turnoff to Jewish voters, just as Republicans have tried to reach women disappointed that Obama didnt choose Hillary Clinton, Democrats have already begun to to capitalize on the choice of Palin over Jewish Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman in South Florida and elsewhere. A prominent Obama backer, Florida Rep. Robert Wexler, has attacked Palin for appearing at a 1999 event with Pat Buchanan who has attacked the influence of the Israeli lobby in America. And the same factors that are rallying the evangelical base to Palin may push away the Jews. There is almost always an inverse proportion between a candidate's popularity among conservative Christians and secular Jews, said Jeff Ballabon, a Republican lobbyist long active in Jewish politics who supports McCain. An illustration of that gap came just two weeks ago, when Palins church, the Wasilla Bible Church, gave its pulpit over to a figure viewed with deep hostility by many Jewish organizations: David Brickner, the executive director of Jews for Jesus. Palins pastor, Larry Kroon, introduced Brickner on Aug. 17, according to a transcript of the sermon on the churchs website. Hes a leader of Jews for Jesus, a ministry that is out on the leading edge in a pressing, demanding area of witnessing and evangelism, Kroon said. Brickner then explained that Jesus and his disciples were themselves Jewish. The Jewish community, in particular, has a difficult time understanding this reality, he said. Brickners mission has drawn wide criticism from the organized Jewish community, and the Anti-Defamation League accused them in a report of targeting Jews for conversion with subterfuge and deception. Brickner also described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity.