Five Blunders by Obama’s New Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism

Democratic operative Ira Forman, who served as the National Jewish Democratic Council’s (NJDC) executive director before becoming President Obama’s Jewish point man on the 2012 reelection campaign, will become the administration’s Special Envoy on anti-Semitism, according to reports.

Forman is known among insiders for his temper and tendency to commit political blunders. Here are a few of Forman’s most notable accomplishments:

1. Forman helped assemble a list of anti-Israel pro-Obama rabbis.

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As the Obama campaign’s director of Jewish outreach, Forman oversaw the creation of Rabbis for Obama, which included a group of more than 200 rabbis who support boycotts of the Jewish state and regularly criticize Israel.

Many of the rabbis were also supporters of the liberal fringe group J Street, while others "associated with groups that have been described by the Anti-Defamation League as ‘anti-Israel,’" the Washington Free Beacon reported at the time.

One of the pro-Obama rabbis had dinner date with anti-Semitic Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Another blamed the U.S. and Israel for the Sept. 11, 2001 terror, attacks.

2. Forman failed to stop the Obama administration from removing pro-Israel language from the Democratic Party’s platform.


Forman found himself at the center of another campaign-related blunder in September of last year, when the Democratic Party came under intense criticism for eliminating language recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

Also eliminated was a passage in the platform declaring Hamas a terrorist group.

The controversy memorably spun out of control when the majority of Democrats in attendance at the party’s convention could be heard booing Jerusalem and Israel when the platform was changed during a voice vote.

3. Forman failed to stop Mitt Romney from receiving historic support from the Jewish community.


Forman, who has billed himself as one of the nation’s foremost experts in Jewish voting patterns, could not stop failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney from historic support from the Jewish community, which tends to lean liberal.

While Obama had garnered nearly 80 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008, he won just 69 percent in 2012 with Forman’s help.

4. Forman’s NJDC was seen an ineffectual and irrelevant by Democrats.


Jewish Democrats have said that under Forman’s leadership the NJDC failed to have an impact on any major policy issue.

"I just don’t know if he’s someone who can craft a message that will resonate with the average Joe Sixpackowitz," one former Democratic Hill staffer told JTA after Forman was tapped by Team Obama in 2012. "I don’t know if he’s the messaging guru" who’s capable of shifting the tides in favor of the president.

"The Democrat, who spent a decade on Capitol Hill, said that under Forman’s reign, the NJDC was seen as irrelevant by many lawmakers," JTA reported.

"I never saw the NJDC when he was at the helm having that national role, carrying the Democratic message," the longtime Democratic source was quoted as saying. "If you didn’t do it at the organization, how are you going to do it from the campaign? Obama has a problem on Israel issues, but I don’t know if [Forman] is the guy to combat it."

5. Forman stayed silent during nomination of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.


When Chuck Hagel was nominated to head the Pentagon, Jewish insiders and others slammed the pick. Hagel, they said, had a longstanding dislike for the Jewish state.

However, Forman remained silent throughout the contentious nomination process despite having slammed Hagel as anti-Israel in 2009.

"If [Hagel] was taking a policy role, we’d have real concerns," Forman said in 2009, when he was working at the NJDC.