Dems vs. GOP: Who gets the Jewish vote?

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch explains


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 25, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Well, President Obama has made a lot of trips overseas during his term, but, you know, to date, not Israel.

Despite that, the most recent poll shows an overwhelming number of Jewish voters supporting the president over Mitt Romney.

To former New York Mayor Ed Koch on why.

Why, Mayor?


Jews are liberals overwhelmingly and interested in the social progress, not only of themselves, but of others. And there's no question but that the domestic policy of the Democratic Party historically has attracted Jewish support.

In the area of foreign affairs, I think that both Democratic and Republican parties are quite similar, regrettably. I would like to get out of Afghanistan today. Both the Democratic and Republican parties...

CAVUTO: It makes no sense, Mayor.

I mean, George Bush, say what you will of him, could not have been a better friend of Israel, and yet...

KOCH: Well, he did better than any other Republican.

CAVUTO: Well, maybe, but by and large...

KOCH: I was there supporting...


CAVUTO: But, by and large, they did not. There were not that many who were with him.

KOCH: No, I think that they thought getting I think about 26 or 27 percent of the vote was...

CAVUTO: That's a big deal?

KOCH: Well, normally, they get about 23 percent of the vote.

I, myself, I thought George Bush was a wonderful president. The Republicans don't think so today, regrettably. I think he understood terrorism like no other president. And that's why I supported him. But I'm for President Obama's reelection. I think he's done a good job.

CAVUTO: I remember when you did -- you were very critical of -- this is the post-Netanyahu ill will treatment...

KOCH: Yes. Yes.

CAVUTO: ... the tension convention and all that. And you were questioning the administration's commitment to Israel.

KOCH: I was. In fact, I sent them a message by changing the outcome of a district here in New York City.

CAVUTO: Yes, you did.

KOCH: And it voted Republican. I think they got the message.


CAVUTO: You believe that they got the message?

KOCH: I believe that President Obama is an honorable man. I believe...

CAVUTO: He did a 180 on this, Mayor.

KOCH: I don't care what he did. I believe he's an honorable man to his commitments.

CAVUTO: I know, but I’m just saying, people who do a 180, you can call it a lot of things. I don't know...

KOCH: Listen, he doesn't have to like Bibi Netanyahu personally.

CAVUTO: Right.

KOCH: But when Ehud Barak says there's never been as close a relationship in terms of sharing of intelligence and the shipment of military supplies between the United States and Israel, that's what counts.


CAVUTO: But didn't this start out with the president saying that Israel has to do more in this process, not so much others, and that's what got your goat?


KOCH: And that is what got my goat, when he said they have to go back to the '67 lines.

CAVUTO: Right.

KOCH: But he has changed on that.

And I said to him, Mr. President, that's what got my -- upset. You can have that position, but people have to understand that Israel has to worry about its lines of defense. Those are not defensible lines. He has said to the Palestinians; go back to the peace table without conditions. He has said that.

He prevented the Palestinian Authority from becoming a state at the Security Council. I believe him. I trust him. And, once again, both Romney and Obama are good on Israel. I wouldn't attack Romney on Israel. I attack him on his domestic programs.

CAVUTO: Right.

Let me get your reaction to this very quickly. As you were speaking, Mayor, and Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, of course, had just entered the Senate chamber a short time ago to weigh in on this vote that would be the Democratic plan to extend all the Bush rates, minus those for the upper income. What do you think of that, real quick?

KOCH: Yes.

Oh, I am for the Democratic proposal, which is keep the taxes high on the rich. I'm one of those rich.

CAVUTO: And everyone else is OK?

KOCH: And the middle class should get the lower taxes.

CAVUTO: So you're perfectly fine just sticking it to the rich?

KOCH: I think that the Obama administration should put the Republicans...

CAVUTO: We just heard Joe Lieberman just say a few minutes ago this is not the time to raise taxes on anyone.

KOCH: I think that the Obama administration should put the Republicans against the wall.


KOCH: And that means that you keep the taxes if you don't change the law and put them back on the rich.

CAVUTO: Interesting.

Mayor, it's always a pleasure, sir.

KOCH: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Thank you very much.

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