Perry bashes Obama's Israel policy in op-ed

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is out with an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post and The Wall Street Journal that slams President Obama's Israel policy.

The piece comes just days after Republicans won a Democratic-leaning, heavily Jewish New York City House district and seems designed to reach out to Jewish and evangelical voters.

"Unfortunate errors by the Obama administration have encouraged the Palestinians to take steps backward away from peace," Perry wrote. "It was a mistake to inject an Israeli construction freeze, including in Jerusalem, as an unprecedented precondition for talks. Indeed, the Palestinian leadership had been negotiating with Israel for years, notwithstanding settlement activity."

Jewish voters are only 2 percent of the national electorate but play an outsized role in Florida, a key early primary state that is also a the largest swing state in the country. The community also tends to be politically active, with many active donors on both sides of the aisle.

Recent polling shows that Obama's support has slipped among Jewish voters. After winning nearly four-fifths of the Jewish vote in 2008, Obama is down to a 55 percent approval rating from Jewish voters, with 40 percent disapproving of his job performance, according to Gallup tracking polls.

Perry's appeal on Israel also targets evangelical voters who strongly support a hawkish policy there and consider the state's issues a top priority. Perry has sought to solidify his already-strong evangelical support this week with a speech at the Christian conservative Liberty University. There are large numbers of evangelical Christians in the early-voting states of Iowa and South Carolina.

The Texas governor criticizes Palestinian leaders for trying to get a Palestinian state recognized by the United Nations rather than through a peace agreement with Israel, calling it a "one-sided endorsement ... that threatens Israel and insults the U.S."

"The United States must not condone and legitimize through our assistance a regime whose actions are in direct opposition to a peace agreement with our ally Israel, and in direct opposition to our own vital interests," he wrote.