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.