After pledging at the AIPAC conference this week that Jerusalem would remain the undivided capital of Israel, a poorly executed bit of catering to the crowd, Barack Obama was forced to back up, kinda, sorta restoring his position to well, I think the parties to negotiations should decide this question (which is, officially at least, Bush Administration policy). But Obama added that "'as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute' a division of the city. 'And I think that it is smart for us to -- to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city.'"
At his blog at the Christian Broadcasting Network, David Brody calls Obama's wavering "Obama's Looming Jerusalem Problem," which Brody forecasts will be a problem for Obama with Jewish and evangelical voters:
First of all, he needs the Jewish vote. They are skeptical of him for a number of reasons including what some believe are strong ties to the Palestinian community. Secondly, if he’s looking to make an impact with Christians across the country, he needs to be strong on Israel because of Evangelicals strong support for the country. The Obama campaign SHOULD NOT underestimate how Israel and the Christian community are linked. In addition, the issue of national security is at play here too along with the judgment and experience factors it takes to be President. This is a major tight rope for Obama and you can bet the McCain campaign will be quick to bring it up.
But Obama shouldn't overestimate how many evangelicals or Jews reflexively respond to the undivided Jerusalem rhetoric either. Secret Muslim rumors or not, he can't look like he's pandering to the most conservative elements of the Jewish or evangelical vote, or, given the right's fixation on his lack of foreign policy experience, that he doesn't really understand the issue at stake.