First let me hit the GOP: Every election cycle, the Republican Party makes Israel their key talking point in their effort to reach Jewish Voters. However, after every election the results show that a solid majority of Jewish Voters still went with the Democrats. Pundits on both sides scratch their heads trying to figure it out, but a simple look at polls of Jewish Voters explains it:
A Siena poll taken days before the NY9 vote between Bob Turner and David Weprin found that only six percent, in a district where Jews are 31% – said Israel is the most important issue to them. Indeed, when a different polling firm gave voters the option to say how important a list of issues were, Israel ranked very important to almost all Jews in the district. But when given the option to pick only one issue, few picked Israel.
So much for NY9 sending a message for Obama.
More recently, former AIPIAC Chief Lobbyist Doug Bloomfield lamented “Israel has not been at the top of the Jewish agenda for years. In the last presidential election it ranked eighth out of 15 issues, behind healthcare, gasoline prices, energy, taxes and education.”
That’s an AIPAC guy saying it.
The widely reported AJC poll released late April found that a solid 59% U.S. Jews never visited Israel! (I was there one time.) When asked why they didn’t visit, almost half of the non-goers took a political correct route saying they never had the opportunity to visit, but 31% of this class said openly they are not interested in Israel! This amounts to 20% of overall U.S. Jews who say they are not interested in Israel! According to this poll, Israel is the number one election issue to only six percent U.S. Jews.
The above polls are not my opinion. These are facts presented by pollsters.
Now let me hit the Democrats: Apparently, President Obama and leading Democrats are aware of this poll and as such think there will be no political fallout by snubbing Israel and trying to remove Jerusalem from the Platform. But this is major mistake and here is why:
Many U.S. Jews are not Zionists but they are pro-Israel. Meaning, they don’t subscribe to the religious belief that Jews have an obligation to run Israel and fight for it, but they do want to see Israel succeed and be treated as a key ally of the United States. While these people don’t rank Israel as a priority in their election concerns, they become agitated when Israel gets a third class treatment from Obama and Democrats because it emboldens Israeli’s enemies. By overplaying their hand, Democrats and Obama alienate a larger sector of Jews who would otherwise not give Israel much thought when elections come around.
Despite Obama’s approach to Israel (which Democrats claim is actually friendlier than Bush’s record), the President will still receive a majority of the Jewish Vote because most U.S. Jews are not (and some are anti) religious, so the Dem Party is a perfect place for them. However, as Tevi Troy noted multiple times: If the GOP Presidential Candidate receives 32% of the nationwide Jewish Vote, he is likely the winner because this means that in Key swing states enough Jews voted for the GOP ticket to make a difference.