Earlier this week Marco Rubio gained the support of a top neoconservative bundler of cash, Phil Rosen of the Republican Jewish Coalition, because Rubio has said the right hawkish things on foreign policy. Megadonor Norman Braman, a Florida auto dealer, will support Rubio to the tune of $10 or $20 million, for the same reason; Braman got Rubio to Israel in 2010 when he was first elected. And I’ve heard rumors that Jeb Bush is having trouble raising cash because he is associated with Jim Baker, who spoke to J Street and once put pressure on Israel over the illegal settlements.
Hillary Clinton is in the same game as the Republicans: She is trying to raise money from Jewish hawks. Here is excellent reporting from Politico‘s Kenneth P. Vogel and Tarini Parti: “Hillary Clinton signals to Jewish donors: I’ll be better for Israel.”
The piece is frank about where money comes from for a race that could cost over $2 billion, pro-Israel Jews.
The [Iran] negotiations are of intense interest for some Jewish donors whose political giving is animated by their support for Israel. They’re being counted on by Clinton’s allies to donate huge sums for a campaign and a pair of supportive super PACs that, taken together, are expected to raise $2 billion or more.
Last summer, Clinton distanced herself from Obama in her book, saying that she only came out against settlements because she was Obama’s “designated yeller” as Secretary of State; and now she distances herself in raising money.
Hillary Clinton is privately signaling to wealthy Jewish donors that — no matter the result of the Iranian nuclear negotiations — she will be a better friend to Israel than President Barack Obama.
The piece suggests that Clinton is waffling on Iran to raise money from a handful of megadonors:
But, even as donors increasingly push Clinton on the subject in private, they have emerged with sometimes widely varying interpretations about whether she would support a prospective deal, according to interviews with more than 10 influential donors and fundraising operatives…
[One donor tells Politico that] Jewish donors who oppose a deal and favor military intervention in Iran “are going to put her in a box.”
Clinton’s allies are carefully monitoring the sensitivities of a handful of hawkish Democratic mega-donors for signs that the Iran talks may be influencing their willingness to write million-dollar super PAC checks. Chief among that group is billionaire Hollywood entrepreneur Haim Saban, who sources say has spoken multiple times with Clinton and her top aides about the deal.
at a Manhattan fundraiser last week featuring a largely Jewish group of donors, Clinton defended Obama against charges he had weakened the U.S.-Israel relationship, asserting that such criticism stemmed from a “perception” problem, according to a donor who was present. But she also suggested that if she were elected president she could correct that problem and bring the two nations closer.
“Diplomacy is all about personal relationships, and I’ve got my own relationships,” she said, referencing her two-decade association with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The piece shows that the same pressures coming to bear on the Republicans bear on Clinton: neoconservatives. They can play both sides of the aisle, because neoconservatism transcends party, as we discovered during the Iraq war, and the Israel lobby covers both sides of the aisle:
“If there’s a deal, and she comes out in favor of it, you can be sure there will be a great deal of fire trained on her,” said Noah Pollak, the executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel. The conservative group has worked to rally opposition to the talks and this week began airing an ad pressuring New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is considered a key vote on the deal, to oppose it.
Remember that Chuck Schumer has signalled that he does not like the Iran deal, but also said that Jewish and American interests differ on the deal. Jewish interests being Zionist ones; the Senator is not reading Mondo.
Notice that both Leon Wieseltier and Rabbi Eric Yoffie in expressing contempt for Michael Oren’s new book for driving a wedge between the US and Israel have said, But I share his concerns re Iran. Wieseltier:
I share his opposition to Obama’s hallucinations about Iran
American policy on Iran may be well-intentioned, but it is profoundly mistaken and dangerous for all parties.
That is to say, even US centrist/liberal Zionists are hawks when it comes to Iran. These are the forces that Barack Obama contended with throughout his presidency, and that defeated him on illegal settlements and his opening to the Arab world. The Jewish community has become profoundly conservative because of the Israel issue. And as for Jews and the presidential sweepstakes, well, Politico agrees with bankrobber Willie Sutton: that’s where the money is.
(Though I would argue that all these folks are in for a surprise next year, in the shape of a diverse Democratic base and younger Jews who don’t share Schumer’s definition of the Jewish interest.)