Follow the money, stupid

Israel/Palestine
on 26 Comments

When US journalists assert that Romney is playing up the Israel issue to win Jewish votes from Obama, I’ve repeatedly said that they are hiding the more important battle, for cash. James Besser in the Jewish Week agrees with me:

So why are Jewish Republicans spending millions portraying Obama as a threat to the Jewish state?

The reason is money. While Jewish voting isn’t very Israel-focused, Jewish campaign giving is — and especially the mega-giving that is playing a bigger role than ever in Election 2012.  Tarring Obama as anti-Israel, while not influencing many Jewish votes, galvanizes the growing base of wealthy pro-Israel givers and provides a platform for their generally hard-line views, one more front in the internal Jewish debate over Israel’s future.

Jewish Republicans aren’t indifferent to the possibility of picking up some extra Jewish votes, especially in critical states like Florida, but few are naive enough to believe there’s a chance of winning over enough to make a real difference in the final vote tally. Jewish votes — a drop in the huge electoral bucket — are much less important than Israel-focused campaign cash.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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26 Responses

  1. Citizen
    August 15, 2012, 7:21 pm

    Yep, the Jewish mass vote is trivial; it’s all about big Zionist bucks. It it was not so horrifying how America’s foreign policy in the key ME has been hi-jacked, it would be really amusing how our mainstream media plays up the importance of Jewish votes but not the much more important Zionist mega campaign donations. Even when our intrepid objective journalists and media news stars feel compelled to bring up donor stars such as Sheldon Adelson–beginning with when he was showering plump frog Newt with cash to such an extent it even leaked down to Dick and Jane–while they will bring up Adelson, even on Fox News, they never discuss his sole agenda, even though he publicly declared it–Israel. Imagine watching some craft show episode where the guy with the tool belt is building a bird house, and he cuts, saws, drills, planes, paints, grabs some nails–then presto! Here’s our beautiful birdhouse! And we never got to see Mr Crafty use his hammer to pound in even one of those nails.

    • RoHa
      August 15, 2012, 9:50 pm

      It isn’t just the money. The Zionists control the US media as well.

  2. Fredblogs
    August 15, 2012, 7:30 pm

    Enough Jewish voters in Florida accidentally voted for Buchanan to throw the election to Bush. After all the talk about chaos theory and butterfly wings, it is funny that the fate of the world was so different because of a butterfly ballot.

    Don’t discount the effects of a small percentage of votes in our (mostly) winner takes all electoral votes system.

    • MarkF
      August 16, 2012, 8:50 am

      “Don’t discount the effects of a small percentage of votes in our (mostly) winner takes all electoral votes system.”

      I think you’re right. While the overall number is small, there’s a concetration of Jews in potential swing states. You mentioned Florida – there’s PA and OH too, yes? Not sure it’s enough to “swing”, but it’s enough to put it on a candidate’s radar.

  3. Jeff Klein
    August 15, 2012, 7:36 pm

    But what was the article’s headline. . .

    Eyeing Jewish Vote In U.S., Romney Goes To Israel

  4. ritzl
    August 15, 2012, 8:20 pm

    Kathleen posted a link the other day to a pie chart at Informed Comment that showed that Adelson represents about 15% of the total 501(c)(4)/SuperPAC giving this cycle.

    http://www.juancole.com/2012/08/your-election-is-being-bought-by-47-billionaires-and-they-are-buying-war-climate-change.html

  5. Keith
    August 15, 2012, 9:16 pm

    “While Jewish voting isn’t very Israel-focused, Jewish campaign giving is — and especially the mega-giving that is playing a bigger role than ever in Election 2012.”

    This is an area that needs much additional discussion and analysis. Why are so many Jewish fat cats such pro-Israel Zionists? Why so much money involved? What is in it for them? In the past, I have suggested that organized Zionism provides some power-seeking advantage to these guys. Alas, I seem to be talking to myself.

    • libra
      August 16, 2012, 3:56 pm

      Alas, I seem to be talking to myself.

      Well Keith, it may surprise you but I’m prepared to listen to such ideas.

      It’s when you (and a few others) talk about Big This and Big That controlling the American Empire and Israel merely being a client state that I close my ears (and roll my eyes).

      • Keith
        August 18, 2012, 1:57 pm

        LIBRA- “It’s when you (and a few others) talk about Big This and Big That controlling the American Empire and Israel merely being a client state that I close my ears (and roll my eyes).

        Israel is an integral part of empire, hardly “merely a client state.” Thanks to Zionism, the relationship is both perverse and unique, much more complex than the simplistic and erroneous ‘tail-wagging-the-dog’ false analogy. As for the empire, concentrations of domestic and international power set the broad outlines of imperial power-seeking. Or do you think that Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex are without influence?

        “Well Keith, it may surprise you but I’m prepared to listen to such ideas.”

        I was more interested in a meaningful discussion on this important issue than in an audience for my pontifications. However, I do get the hint that if I were to change my views to match yours, you would look with favor on my future comments.

    • Mooser
      August 17, 2012, 1:05 am

      “Why are so many Jewish fat cats such pro-Israel Zionists?”

      Can you imagine the potential for development in “annexed” areas, once the “facts on the ground” are in your favor? If you can’t, study up on George Washington.

      • Keith
        August 18, 2012, 1:37 pm

        MOOSER- “Can you imagine the potential for development in “annexed” areas, once the “facts on the ground” are in your favor? If you can’t, study up on George Washington.”

        It strains credulity to suggest that Jewish Zionist fat-cats are primarily motivated by development opportunities in the West Bank. Do you see any significant consequences of Jewish Zionism in the US, besides unintended blowback? How about organized American Jewry’s (Council of Presidents, etc) conversion to Zionism following WWII?

    • ColinWright
      August 17, 2012, 3:07 am

      “This is an area that needs much additional discussion and analysis. Why are so many Jewish fat cats such pro-Israel Zionists?”

      I won’t say it’s a sufficient or universal explanation, but I’ll advance the theory that they’ve got ‘Carnegie’s Disease.’

      Andrew Carnegie wasn’t the only example of it, but he was the most spectacular. Greedy little creature grabs with both hands, ruthlessly crushing everyone who stands in the way of his getting more still, and keeps it up for forty years.

      He finally comes up for air, and discovers he’s got all this money — and a lot on his conscience. So he tries to buy his way into heaven. In Carnegie’s case, that took the form of endowing public libraries and universities. In the case of at least some Jews who decidedly did not follow the refined intellectual career path, it takes the form of heaping money on Israel.

      • Keith
        August 18, 2012, 1:27 pm

        COLLIN WRIGHT- “I won’t say it’s a sufficient or universal explanation, but I’ll advance the theory that they’ve got ‘Carnegie’s Disease.’”

        I agree that is part of the explanation. What big-shot can resist the temptation to buy esteem from his reference group? But, anything else? Are all of these Jewish Zionist big-shots just some successful individuals who are giving back to their Jewish community? Did organized Jewish Zionism somehow contribute to their success and to Jewish power in general? Did Sheldon Adelson increase his fortune from about $2.5 billion to about $25 billion in just four years because he is one smart cookie, or was something else involved? It seems to me that we live in an age of organized corruption in which organized Jewish Zionism is comparatively more effective. Perhaps not.

  6. Henry Norr
    August 15, 2012, 9:52 pm

    The following is from an op-ed by Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director Jewish Voice for Peace, just posted at the L.A. Times website:

    Of course, the great unspoken is the role not of Jewish voters but of campaign donations by Jewish voters. This is an extremely sensitive topic, and rarely discussed openly, but Ron Kampeas, the Washington bureau chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, has cited estimates over the last few years that Jewish donors give between one-third and two-third of the support for the Democratic Party. Especially in the era of the “super PACs,” to whom donors can give virtually unlimited funds, a few big-money donors can have an enormous impact. Exhibit A: casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who, as Thomas Friedman sharply observed in a recent New York Times column, was the primary audience for Romney’s recent trip to Israel (and occupied East Jerusalem).

  7. DICKERSON3870
    August 15, 2012, 10:47 pm

    RE: “So why are Jewish Republicans spending millions portraying Obama as a threat to the Jewish state? The reason is money. While Jewish voting isn’t very Israel-focused, Jewish campaign giving is — and especially the mega-giving that is playing a bigger role than ever in Election 2012.” ~ James Besser

    MY COMMENT: This helps to illustrate why I fear that Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment ! ! !

    • ALSO SEE: ‘Israelis are helping write US laws, fund US campaigns, craft US war policy’, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 6/30/12
    LINK – http://mondoweiss.net/2012/06/israelis-are-helping-write-us-laws-fund-us-campaigns-craft-us-war-policy.html
    • AND SEE: “America Adopts the Israel Paradigm”, by Philip Ghiraldi, Antiwar.com, 7/05/12
    LINK – http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2012/07/04/america-adopts-the-israel-paradigm/
    • AND SEE: “Report: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police”, By Muriel Kane, Raw Story, 12/04/11
    LINK – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/04/report-israeli-model-underlies-militarization-of-u-s-police/

    • P.S. AND HERE’S YET ANOTHER THREAT TO THE VALUES OF “THE ENLIGHTENMENT”: “US Religious Right Propelling Homophobia in African Countries”, by Common Dreams, 7/24/12
    LINK – http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/07/24-7

  8. Edward Q
    August 15, 2012, 10:48 pm

    This is new. Back in 1992, Martin Indyk wore a tee shirt with “85%” written on it just to make sure Bill Clinton never forgot 85% of the Jewish community voted for him.

  9. radkelt
    August 15, 2012, 10:57 pm

    inadvertent consequence of Diebold machinations. A well known FL. anomaly .

  10. David Samel
    August 15, 2012, 11:38 pm

    This theory is strongly supported by an AJC survey of Jewish opinion this year just referenced by Peter Beinart at Open Zion: http://www.ajc.org/site/c.ijITI2PHKoG/b.8073029/k.B021/2012_AJC_Survey_of_American_Jewish_Opinion.htm. Very low numbers cited US-Israel relations and Iran’s nuclear threat as the most important issue, or even one of the three most important issues. The actual numbers of Jewish votes is far less important than Jewish fat-cat money. There doesn’t seem to be any counterweight. Wish I had a hundred million bucks to throw around.

  11. American
    August 15, 2012, 11:49 pm

    “The reason is money. While Jewish voting isn’t very Israel-focused, Jewish campaign giving is — and especially the mega-giving that is playing a bigger role than ever in Election 2012. Tarring Obama as anti-Israel, while not influencing many Jewish votes, galvanizes the growing base of wealthy pro-Israel givers and provides a platform for their generally hard-line views…”

    He’s writing for Obama.
    But regardless of how many or whether Jews base their vote on candidates Israel position… what matters is someone(s) ( and we know the whos) TELLS the politicians that Israel affects the ‘majority’ of Jewish votes.

    All that matters in politicians platforms on Israel and in US policy on Israel is what politicians and the parties ‘Think’ will get the votes.
    If that wasn’t the “Political Perception” in Jewish voting the Dems for instance would just make their backroom deals with the Zio money men.
    And not make Israel a centerpiece of their campaigns for whatever % of 2% and some Christian zios who aren’t going to vote for them anyway.

    Perception is everything, Walt called Israel the Third Rail of American politics.
    To ever bust thru it we’d have to hire someone like the Raging Cajun to figure it out.

  12. upsidedownism
    August 16, 2012, 6:17 am

    In some districts, the ‘jewish vote’ is crucial in elections In general, American politicians have found its convenient to to mask how they’ve betrayed their country to the Israel lobby by emphasizing the ‘jewish vote.’ While the ‘jewish vote’ is usually small and usually doesn’t decide elections, but ‘jewish money’ always matters.

    This site has already noted the example of the film http://mondoweiss.net/2007/12/charlie-wilsons.html, where a Congressman acknowledges that ‘jews’ control his middle eastern policy, even though to his knowledge the number of jews in his district is only seven. The film is something of a parody but its brief admission that money from pro-Israel supporters controls american foreign policy in the middle east is spot on.

  13. Denis
    August 16, 2012, 1:47 pm

    As always, the “Jewish generalization” is dangerous, particularly when speaking of the complex and politically diverse demographic of American Jews.

    There is no such thing as “Jewish money” in politics. Neither Adelson nor AIPAC nor the Redstones are any more representative of American Jews than Pollard is. The millions of $$ they control and spend is not “Jewish money” anymore than the millions controlled and spent by some wealthy Presbyterians is “Presbyterian money” or the millions controlled and spent by some wealthy Mexican-Americans is “Mexican money.”

    The problem is, once again, the 2% — the illegitimate power-group that OWS was attacking. This is the group who have enough money to influence elections, and Jews constitute a hugely disproportionate percentage of that small group — these are the individuals targeted by Romney and Obama. This is not “Jewish money;” it is money.

    The vast majority of American Jews are middle-class schlepps like the vast majority of American goyim: second and third class citizens whose individual political power is constrained to the 1-person 1-vote paradigm. Unfortunately, American Jews are not doing a very good job at getting the word out that there is no such thing as “Jewish money” and that Sheldon Adelson and AIPAC do not represent them. Consequently, the 98% goyim population sees the 2% Jewish population as one happy, homogenous, group of Israel butt-suckers, which is a major reason Gellar is winning this fight.

    • Mooser
      August 17, 2012, 1:21 am

      Shorter Denis: ‘All American Jews must act as human shields for the corrupt Zionists among them.’

      And what’s ROTFLMSJAO about Denis’s comment? The word “Israel” doesn’t appear in it once. Nope, that’s got nothing to do with it. Nor does the word “Zionist” Nope, it’s all about “Jews” now, and he’s counting them as fast as he can.

      And listen Denis, you jerk, the word is Gentile, with capital “G”. Goyim is a pejorative, and insult, but I think you know that. It’s just that your Mom never taught you any manners. So, let’s have some fun, Denis? Shall I start using some of the pejoratives for “Jew” that I know to address you?

      That bit about “which is a major reason Gellar is winning this fight” is truly bizarre. Denis. Care to explain it so even I can understand it?

    • ColinWright
      August 17, 2012, 3:12 am

      Denis: it strikes me that you’re trying to fit reality into your preconceived intellectual construct.

      I don’t think it fits.

  14. American
    August 17, 2012, 4:03 am

    http://publicreligion.org/research/2012/04/jewish-values-in-2012/

    Public Religion Research Institute

    Survey | Chosen for What? Jewish Values in 2012

    The Influence of Jewish Experiences and Political Activity. More than 8-in-10 Jews say that the experiences of the Holocaust (87%) and having opportunities for economic success in America (85%) are somewhat or very important for informing their political beliefs and activity. Seven-in-ten (70%) Jews cite the immigrant experience in America, and approximately two-thirds (66%) say that being a religious minority in America has a somewhat or very important influence on their political beliefs and activity.

    Core Qualities of Jewish Identity. When asked which qualities are most important to their Jewish identity, nearly half (46%) of American Jews cite a commitment to social equality, twice as many as cite support for Israel (20%) or religious observance (17%). Fewer than 1-in-10 say that a sense of cultural heritage and tradition (6%) or a general set of values (3%) are most important to their Jewish identity.

    Issue Priorities for the 2012 Election. The most important issue for Jewish registered voters ahead of the 2012 election is the economy, with 51% reporting that this issue would be most important to their vote.
    •Fifteen percent cite the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and about 1-in-10 report that health care and the federal deficit (10% and 7% respectively) are the most important issues to their vote this year.
    •Other issues that fall at the bottom of the priority list are national security (4%), Israel (4%), Iran (2%), the environment (1%), immigration (1%), same-sex marriage (1%), and abortion (1%).

    The 2012 Presidential Vote. Eight months before the 2012 election, 62% of Jewish voters say they would like to see Obama re-elected in 2012, more than twice the number who say they would prefer that a Republican candidate win the election (30%).
    •Current support for Obama among Jewish voters is significantly higher than the general population and nearly identical to levels of support for Obama among Jewish registered voters at a comparable point in the 2008 campaign.
    •Among Jewish voters who prefer that a Republican candidate win the 2012 election, Mitt Romney has the greatest support (58%), followed by Rick Santorum (15%), Newt Gingrich (13%), and Ron Paul (12%).
    •Among Jewish voters who say they supported Barack Obama in 2008, an overwhelming majority (86%) say they would like to see the President re-elected; only 7% of Jewish voters who supported Obama in 2008 say they would prefer to see a Republican candidate win the 2012 election.
    •Jewish voters who supported John McCain in 2008 demonstrate similar loyalty in their voting preferences, with 92% reporting that they would prefer it if a Republican candidate won the election.

    Favorability and Approval of President Obama. Although American voters overall are more likely to have a favorable view of Obama personally than to rate his job performance positively, Jewish voters evaluate Barack Obama roughly the same on these two metrics. More than 6-in-10 Jewish voters report having a very favorable (15%) or mostly favorable (46%) view of Barack Obama. Roughly 6-in-10 (58%) Jewish voters also say they approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President, compared to 34% who disapprove.

    Economic Opportunity and Inequality. American Jews are not anti-wealth nor anti-Wall Street, but overall nearly three-quarters (73%) say that the United States’ economic system unfairly favors the wealthy.
    •Nearly two-thirds (64%) of American Jews agree that the government should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, while roughly one-third (35%) disagree.
    •More than 8-in-10 (81%) favor increasing the tax rate on Americans earning more than $1 million a year, compared to 17% who oppose this policy.

    Attitudes toward American Muslims. Two-thirds (66%) of American Jews agree that American Muslims are an important part of the religious community in the United States, compared to 32% who disagree. Similarly, only about 1-in-5 (22%) American Jews believe that American Muslims ultimately want to establish Shari’a or Islamic law as the law of the land in the United States, compared to 76% who disagree.

    Diplomacy and Military Action. By a margin of more than 2 to 1, American Jews say that good diplomacy rather than military strength is the best way to ensure peace (63% vs. 24% respectively). In the case of Iran, if diplomacy and other deterrents fail, most American Jews support military action. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) American Jews agree that the U.S. should take military action to prevent Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon if economic sanctions are unable to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program, compared to 37% who disagree.

    Problems for Israel. More than 8-in-10 American Jews rank the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (90%) and Iran’s nuclear program (83%) as major problems within Israel. A majority (53%) of American Jews also agree that Ultra-Orthodox control of religious life in Israel is a major problem, while only 4-in-10 (38%) cite economic and social inequality in Israel as a major problem.

    Relations between Israel and the U.S. A majority (54%) of American Jews say that relations between Israel and the U.S. are about the same as they have been in the past, while 7% say they are better, and 37% say they are worse.

    The Arab-Israeli Conflict. When asked to describe their opinions about President Obama’s handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict, American Jews are divided. Twenty percent report that they agree with the President’s policies and that they like the way he is executing these policies. Fifteen percent say that they agree with the President’s policies but don’t like the way he is executing these policies. About 3-in-10 (28%) say they disagree with the President’s policies.
    •Notably, over one-third (36%) of American Jews say they are not sure about their opinion of how President Obama is handling the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    •A slim majority (53%) of American Jews say that, generally speaking, they would support the establishment of a Palestinian state, while 42% say they would be opposed.
    >>>>>>>>

    This poll may be as close as it gets to accurate about Jewish voters since it was not done by a political side or commissioned by either a zionist or anti zionist group.

    Jews-Voting-Israel- Iran-Palestine:…Obama vr Romney
    83% cite Iran as a problem for Israel
    59% are in favor of US attacking Iran if diplomacy/sanctions fail.
    42 % oppose creation of Palestine State
    53% are generally for Palestine state.

    Without knowing what policies the respondents were thinking of in Obama’s policy we can’t decipher the section dealing their approval or non approval of them or him.

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