Ed Koch reverses track, backs Obama
September 27th, 2011
02:01 PM ET
3 years ago

Ed Koch reverses track, backs Obama

(CNN) - Just weeks after Ed Koch sought to send a message to the White House on Israel by helping the GOP win a high-profile special election, the former New York City mayor said he's back on course with President Barack Obama.

"I believe the recent vote in the 9th Congressional District in New York affected in a positive way the policy of the U.S. on the Mideast," Koch said in a statement Tuesday, citing Obama's speech at the United Nations last week. "I'm now on board the Obama Reelection Express."

This summer Koch grew upset after the president called for Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders, with land swaps, as the basis of a Mideast peace deal.

In his anger, the Democrat crossed party lines to support Republican Bob Turner in his bid to represent perhaps the most Jewish district in the country, which covers parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

Koch's endorsement was widely seen as a turning point in a race that few expected a Republican to win. The district, formerly represented by ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, is solidly blue, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans by three to one.

As the race headed into the final stretch, Democrats feared the contest had turned into a referendum on Obama's Mideast policies, and both candidates found themselves competing over who was a better friend of Israel.

On Election Day, Turner won in an upset with 54 percent of the vote, as Koch stood next to him while he gave his victory speech.

"I like President Obama ... I helped get him elected," Koch said at Turner's election night party. "But he threw Israel under the bus."

But Tuesday Koch said he was impressed with Obama's handling of the Palestinian bid for statehood last week at the U.N., where the president expressed support for Israel and called for more negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"I congratulated him on his speech to the United Nations in which he acknowledged Israel's presence in a difficult neighborhood," Koch said, referring to a party he attended that was hosted by Obama and his wife, Michelle, in New York.

He also credited Obama with his role in helping Israeli diplomatic personnel escape a hostage situation in Egypt, as well as providing the Israeli military with advanced technology and intelligence.


Filed under: Ed Koch • Israel • New York • President Obama • United Nations
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    We dont need traitors to the party Ed! Neither do we need any of the other "Blue Dog" Republicans claiming to be Democrats

    September 27, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    So Koch's only interest is supporting Israel.

    If he's that in love with the place, maybe he should move there.

    September 27, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. skarphace

    "I believe the recent vote in the 9th Congressional District in New York affected in a positive way the policy of the U.S. on the Mideast," Koch said.

    In other words, Obama caved. Again.

    September 27, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. kayla

    with friends like you, who needs enemy?

    September 27, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Enough is Enough

    If the recent vote gives Israel more confidance that it can continue to keep building illegal settlements on stolen land then there is nothing positive about this ED.

    September 27, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Annatala Wolf

    Lol at "land swamps"! Ah, the era of spellcheck, when the wrong words show up because it's not the content that matters.

    September 27, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Donkey Party

    Eff you, you POS turncoat. What Obama said about Israel returning to it's 1967 borders is the exact same thing EVERY US president has said since 1967. Ed Koch showed he would rather support the GOP-baggers (domestic terrorists), than support the President. And shame on the NY Jews for supporting the GOP-bagger candidate, a representative of a party with striking similarities to Hitler's Nazi Party.

    September 27, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Victor

    doesn't matter, election is like 14 months away and by the look of this picture, i don't think he will make it

    September 27, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. ken

    Ed Koch Flip Flops and decides to support Obama again. Well I wouln't support Koch for the position of "Resident IDIOT" in Hell.

    September 27, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. KatR

    Is this the same Koch behind the Tea Party movement?

    September 27, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Oregon

    Ed Koch is being presumptuous. Israel's priorities aren't automatically the same as America's. Israel should return to its orders, and stop putting pressure on America to support something different.

    September 27, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Me

    Wow. So Koch is willing to throw his nation, party, and President under the bus, for the benefit of a foreign nation.

    Is it too much to ask a former NY city mayor to acti in the best interests of THIS nation?

    September 27, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Oregon

    Ed Koch is being presumptuous. Israel's demands aren't automatically the same as America's interests. Israel should return to its borders, and stop pressuring America to support something different.

    September 27, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    from the article:
    This summer Koch grew upset after the president called for Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders, with land swamps, as the basis of a Mideast peace deal.
    -------------
    The media has been terribly unfair in how President Obama's words were mischaracterized by Netanyahu. What Pres. Obama said was no different from past US policy, and nearly identical to what Netanyahu said to the US Congress the next day to a standing ovation.

    The most extreme groups of Palestinians do not recognize the 1948 borders, which means they do not recognize Israel's right to exist. Requiring that they come to the table recognizing the 1967 borders means they come to the table *accepting* Israel's right to exist *and* the fact that the Palestinians lost land area in 1967.

    The US media has also failed to report that Israel has been undergoing its' own version of an "Arab Spring" as Israelis took to the streets for throwing the leader of Israel's strongest ally under the bus. Despite what US politicians might say, President Obama is very popular abroad, even in Israel.

    Someone paid Koch to endorse the Republican candidate. The man is hurting for some new cash flow.

    September 27, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Whatever next?

    Since he clearly cares more about Israel than his own country, perhaps it's time for Ed Koch to go to Israel.
    The US foreign policy towards Israe is costing American lives and losing America standing. I hope he's proud of himself.

    September 27, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Bwahahaha. I can see the mental midget mind gymnastics the Teatrolls will do with this already: "Ed Koch threw Israel under teh bus!"

    September 27, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Maggie

    With all due respect, Mr. Koch its time for you to retire. I don't think you are thinking clearly at this point. I think you are a bit confused so please retire!!!!!!

    September 27, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. Paul

    Perhaps Israel should have to stand on its own and not have the full protection and monetary support of the USA. After all, what have they done for us lately, or EVER. The only thing that comes to mind is the USS Liberty.

    September 27, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. NYC REPUB

    With allies like these...........sheesh

    September 27, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Little Jimmy Truth

    Okay, Koch. I understood. Obama already became second Dinkins.

    September 27, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Jeff Spangler

    Sounds like "Israel First, then America if I'm so disposed". "How'm I doin'?" Not very well, Your Hanor;.

    September 27, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Ohioan

    He's still alive?

    September 27, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    uh PLEASE go away Judas!

    September 27, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. jerry

    wow...big news. Kock is a tired old liberal who need to go back to his room and shut is big political mouth...for once.

    September 27, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. chuck

    This 9th congressional district is a one policy district – that of the Jewish state of Israel. No other issue seems to affect them.

    September 27, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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