Ed Koch reverses track, backs Obama
September 27th, 2011
02:01 PM ET
11 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. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    How could anyone with a functioning brain back anybody but Barack Obama. While I am convinced by terry, va, that republicans use approximately 2% of their brain, I know that is better than starfish and teabaggers who lack a functioning brain.

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

    So how much longer are we going to permit U.S. citizens hold our system hostage to their positions on. and perceived treatment of Israel. Seems to me this disgraceful behavior is "un-American" (and I hate that term, but seems to fit in this case). Perhaps Koch should emigrate to Israel and put his money where his mouth is, instead of fouling up our electoral system.

    September 27, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. SecedingfromTexas

    Too little, too late. Nobody needs a back-stabber who has proven he cannot be trusted.

    September 27, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Mike

    Ed Koch? Who? Does anyone care?

    September 27, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. vet in texas

    "ha ha" – Nelson from the Simpsons

    September 27, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Joe M.

    DNC – "Ed, if you don't stop this anti-Democrat binge you've been on and back Obama, we're going to reverse the naming of the Queensborough Bridge after you."

    Ed Koch – "OK, I support Obama in the 2012 election."

    September 27, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. diridi

    Any one who has brain will back Obama. OK.

    September 27, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. FedUp

    Really Ed? The only thing it changed is that Obama will wait until after the elections to do anything.You are a politician. You should know that.

    September 27, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Sorry.........not buying into that, in any way.

    Obama is a complete and total disaster, as a President, and I cannot, and will not support him for another term, no matter who runs against him. Any other option, is a better and lesser risk, to this country.

    September 27, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. dirtygopfleabaggers

    I seen it all now. People say teaheads are a big problem, I agree, but the biggest threat to this country are the supposed wishy dems. The. Democrats are weak and spineless. Obama is much too good for this country. I agree with the terrorist now, America is the problem. 9/11 is a great day for reckoning.

    September 27, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. david

    Its strange that jews vote for a muslim raised socialist man that has yet to do America any good at all.

    September 27, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. cboy619

    Israel SHOULD return to its pre-1967 borders. It's called NEGOTIATING, you have to give something up to get something in return. Israel's definition of negotiating is I take all, you get nothing.

    September 27, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. WTF

    The devil must be wearing ice skates cause hell has truly frozen over - I don't know what to say.

    September 27, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. California Conservative

    Considering all the hatred and discontent from the left about Ed Koch I'm sure they'll turn on Obama now.

    September 27, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. Bill in Florida

    Israel deserves to be thrown under the bus. They're one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. Netanyahoo is as bad a cowboy as W Bush was.

    September 27, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Sequoia

    Eh, obviously Obama will win NYC and New York State...as well as the Jewish vote nationwide, so who cares?

    September 27, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. GOP Robber Baron

    Koch just really doesn't get it any more. I'm sorry but he is getting senile. Obama is consistent with every other U.S. President in asking Israel to respect the old borders established by U.N. decades ago. That's all Obama was saying. America is not here to play favorites. We need to be an honest, unbiased peace broker and not show favoristism.

    Besides it is only in Israel's long term best interests to set aside the aggressive stance against the Palestinians and give them a fair deal. Otherwise even Israeli's will privately admit they will never be peace unless they give them something in return for taking their lands.

    September 27, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. Terry, VA

    This guy needs to be checked for a brain disease.

    September 27, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. Sandy

    Um, Koch, Obama did not change his position on this issue!

    September 27, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Al-NY,NY

    Thanks but no thanks Ed. You obviously care more about US/Israeli relations than any other issue and it showed in your crossing lines to "teach Obama a lesson" in the congressional election. I used to repsect you but no more. Go away

    September 27, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
1 2