(Photo: REUTERS/Vivek Prakash)
Sheldon Adelson’s mark on the 2012 presidential election just got a little bigger.
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) has launched a campaign to attempt to peel away Jewish voters in swing states unhappy with the Obama administration’s Israel policy. Adelson sits on the RJC’s board, and has pledged big bucks for the campaign.
The group, the Republican Jewish Coalition, plans to begin a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in the coming weeks called “My Buyer’s Remorse,” targeting voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, aides said. The campaign uses testimonials from people who say they regret supporting Mr. Obama because of his economic policies and his posture toward Israel, in hopes of cutting into the wide advantage Democrats have held over Republicans among Jewish voters.
It is the latest foray into the election by Mr. Adelson, a staunch supporter of Israel who has vowed to spend as much as $100 million to defeat Mr. Obama. It marks an escalation of the partisan politics over Middle East policy and represents an emerging Republican strategy of highlighting voters who supported Mr. Obama four years ago but are now expressing disappointment, while signaling to others that they are not alone in shifting their allegiances.
Adelson is a major funder of right-wing Zionist and anti-Muslim causes, and a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Watch the RJC’s first ad below, where Jewish Democrat Michael Goldstein announces that he will be voting GOP this year over Obama’s policy towards Israel.
Goldstein also says that Netanyahu represents Jews around the world: “When he had the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, to the White House, he wasn’t just the prime minister of Israel. He really represented all of us–Jews, Israelis, people throughout the world who believed in the state of Israel. And he was disrespectful to him to a point I had never seen.” (That line on “disrespect” is an apparent reference to the disputed report that Obama walked out on Netanyahu during a White House meeting after becoming frustrated with the prime minister’s intransigience on Palestine.)
Of course, the notion that Obama has been hostile to Israel is a farce. Even Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak recognizes that Obama has only strengthened the US-Israel relationship. He told CNN last year: “The Obama administration is backing the security of Israel for which I’m responsible in our government in a way that could hardly be compared to any previous administration.”