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Trump team campaigns hard for votes one place it stands to do well — Israeli settlements

US Politics
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After falling behind Hillary Clinton in the polls, Donald Trump and his campaign are looking to the one corner of the world where he stands to sweep come November — Israel. In an effort to bolster Republican voter turnout in the country, Republicans Overseas has hired a team of noted political operatives from the Israeli right-wing, and are campaigning hard for votes in the Jewish state and West Bank settlements. 

Their focus is Jewish American-Israeli dual citizens, with no visible outreach to Palestinian-Americans. The campaign team is comprised of seasoned public relations experts from Israel’s ruling government coalition and organizations that back the settlements. They have traded the candidate’s iconic, “Making America Great Again” slogan for an obvious reference to a presumed Jewish voter issue, “Trump. The Israeli interest.”

"Trump. The Israeli interest." (Photo: Trump campaign)

“Trump. The Israeli interest.” (Photo: Trump campaign)

In July the Trump staffers in Israel opened centers in Ramat Gan, Jerusalem and in the Jerusalem suburb of Modiin “with a fourth location to be opened over the Green Line in Samaria,” reported Arutz Sheva.

There are no campaign offices for Clinton in Israel, although there is a volunteer committee promoting her candidacy with Democrats Abroad.

Heading Trump’s campaign in Israel is a career journalist and one-time Likud city council member Tsvika Brot. Although he “is not an American citizen,” reported the Jewish Week, Brot is a sought after advisor who turned down an offer to work for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu most recently.

Aiding Brot is Dana Mizrachi, previously a representative for Naftali Bennet’s Habayit Hayehudi party, and a public relations director for the “proto-fascist” group Im Tirtzu responsible for releasing a series of videos to blacklist left-wing organizations, according to Haaretz.

Before becoming a staffer for right-wing groups, Mizrachi was employed by Israel’s center-left Labor party.

According to Brot voters in Israel are single-issue. They back whoever supports the Jewish state the most. As of June Trump clarified his initial ambiguous statements about Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory for more pro-Israel terms.

Israel affairs consultant to the Trump campaign David Friedman told Haaretz Trump would not support the creation of a Palestinian state, unless the Israelis decided to pursue it. In true Trump fashion, the policy talking-point was delivered by the Trump advisor and not the candidate himself.

“If the Israelis don’t want to do it, so he [Trump] doesn’t think they should do it. It is their choice. … He does not think it is an American imperative for it to be an independent Palestinian state,” Friedman said.

(Image: Carlos Latuff)

(Image: Carlos Latuff)

Friedman is also a former spokesperson to the settlement of Beit El outside of Ramallah.

Brot told the Week the approach is convincing to American-Israelis. “They believe that Trump will be much more friendly,” he said, making the Trump strategy in Israel simple: voter registration.

Republicans Abroad notes on their website, “Israel is home to approximately 300,000 U.S. citizens, making Israel one of the largest populations of non-resident US citizens,” adding, “Because election margins are often extremely narrow absentee votes are critical to the election of many Republican candidates.”

Of the 300,000 Americans in Israel, nearly 60,000 are said to live in settlements–twice the total number of Americans who voted in absentee ballots from Israel in the 2014 mid-term elections.

Leading the quest to increase religious turnout, the Trump campaign hired Yerach Toker who worked as a press advisor for the religious Israeli faction United Torah Judaism, and Roni Arzi, once the spokesperson for the settler organization the Yesh Council—often referred to as the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the settler movement” for its lobbying efforts that include bringing delegations of American officials to tour the settlements.

Of those potential voters, Trump’s crew is forging a precision effort honing in on Ultra-Orthodox voters, as they tend to elect Republicans, standing in contrast to the majority of American-Jewish voters who overwhelmingly cast ballots for Democrats, and generally are the party to push to increase voter turnout.

Israel is home to more than twice the number of Jews who identify as Ultra-Orthodox than in America. According to a Pew study published in March, 22-percent of Israelis are religious. Of this group, nearly two-thirds favor the GOP.

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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21 Responses

  1. Kay24
    September 1, 2016, 3:27 pm

    Think about it, Drumpf will be well received over there, the bigotry, the threats, the arrogance, and the viciousness we have seen in him, will easily make him one of them.

    He can even help them build more illegal abodes.

    • inbound39
      September 1, 2016, 6:30 pm

      So Trump is openly engaging in subterfuge to gain votes and ensure he is elected. The reality here is he is using the services of a Foreign Government to undermine the American Electoral system. He is serving Israeli illegal interests. Subterfuge. This Election in actuality should be declared invalid due to Foreign interference, namely by Israel….it cannot be ignored or denied.

      • Kay24
        September 1, 2016, 7:43 pm

        I guess even the Congress use the services of a foreign government to win elections – AIPAC helps them. Surely there must be laws that prohibit such dangerous tactics – it prevents American leaders from being loyal to their own country and puts the needs of the alien nations over their own – in this case the zionistas who will always control our leaders. It is strange just how much the zionistas have control over the US, while we don’t seem to have any clout over them, or their political system, for that matter we cannot even stop them from stealing lands or make them end the occupation. Unbelievable.

      • inbound39
        September 1, 2016, 9:12 pm

        Absolutely bewilders me that Americans have allowed it to happen but more astounding is they allow it to continue Kay24…..It flies in the face of Sovereignty laws and the sanctity of an independent nation.

      • RoHa
        September 2, 2016, 3:30 am

        A politician using subterfuge to gain votes? I’ve never heard the like!

  2. Citizen
    September 1, 2016, 5:21 pm

    Who knows what Trump would actually do once he is POTUS? Nobody. With Hilliary, her record speaks for itself. That’s why Haim Saban and Soros et al are funding Hillary, while Sheldon Adelson’s cash is still on the fence. Noteworthy, many GOP Zionist neocons have decided to back Hillary. Israel’s “special relationship” with America is actually the most important long term issue in the 2016 November elections, yet it goes right over the heads of Dick and Jane Voter. Thank You, mainstream media!

    • inbound39
      September 1, 2016, 6:31 pm

      Sad but true Citizen…someone needs to prise open Dick and Jane’s eyes.

  3. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    September 1, 2016, 5:53 pm

    OT: Here’s some Zionist propaganda from Germany.
    Descendants of Nazis Sing Hatikvah (partly in German)

  4. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    September 1, 2016, 7:54 pm

    American citizens who are Jewish are being courted in israel as part of a general campaign to increase trump support among orthodox jews living in america.

    Electorally, this vote is most relevant in Florida.

    The supporters of Israel who are most passionately opposed to the iran nuclear pact, are portrayed as devoted to the settlement enterprise. The leftover anger at Obama and overflow to hillary, has very little basis on issues (compared to rhetoric which was wobbly from Cairo til more recently) for Obama (although questionable re: attitude during the war against gaza), in fact gave israel steady support. Regarding the iran treaty, not so. (This is the perspective of most israel supporters who have studied the pact. As for me, a 10 to 15 year respite from the “iran is a danger” drumbeat is welcome and I accept the logic of the world view of the pact as representing the interests of America as seen through the eyes of Obama’s voters/supporters. But to those who are preoccupied with- good deal, bad deal, among those for whom israel is a major concern, the bad deal opinion of the pact is widespread.)

    As a population vulnerable to supporting trump out of hatred for hillary, the orthodox community is a primary target. They hate hillary. In part because they love the settlements and she doesn’t, but I think mostly out of the attitude towards the iran pact.

    Have to mention immigration. Israel supporters are not gung ho regarding a wall between here and mexico, but limiting immigration of Muslims and thus limiting their electoral power, ( as embodied in the terrorist attacks of San Bernardino and orlando, the physical danger is a fear tactic regarding low probability events (relative to 300 million, less than 70 killed in those two events is low probability), but changing demographics and voting patterns are high probability.

    • Mooser
      September 1, 2016, 8:38 pm

      Another report from the nerve-center of the American-Jewish world, “Yonah’s” head. A regular prostate Messiah, that one.

    • RoHa
      September 2, 2016, 3:34 pm

      Yonah, I don’t know whether English is your first language or not, but here are two rules you should know. They apply to British, American, Australian, and even Canadian English.

      First rule. There are two kinds of relative clause in English – defining and non defining.

      The rule is that a defining relative clause has no commas at all, and a non-defining relative clause has two, one preceding and the other following. If “who are most passionately opposed to the iran nuclear pact” is defining, then it should not be followed by a comma. If it is non-defining, then there should be a comma after “Israel” as well as after “pact”.

      Second rule. A subject clause is not followed by a comma.

      “The cat sat on the mat.”
      No comma between the subject (“the cat”) and the verb (“sat”).

      “The cat with curly whiskers sat on the mat.”
      No comma between the subject clause (“the cat with curly whiskers”) and the verb (“sat”).

      “The cat with a tendency to sneeze violently on Thursdays sat on the mat.”
      No comma between the subject clause (“the cat with curly a tendency to sneeze violently on Thursdays”) and the verb (“sat”).

      The punctuation rules in other languages may well be different, and I can only hope the poor benighted souls who have to use those languages are well versed in the punctuation rules of those languages. However, when you are writing English, it is the English rules that are to be followed.

      They are not difficult.

      • Mooser
        September 3, 2016, 6:46 pm

        “RoHa” I think only right to warn “Yonah” about the dire consequences of adopting the rules for punctuation. Using punctuation correctly will make his posts easier to read and understand.

      • RoHa
        September 4, 2016, 5:14 am

        Curses! Foiled again! You have exposed my cunning plan.

  5. Boomer
    September 2, 2016, 9:50 am

    I suspect this is more about signaling to U.S. voters and campaign contributors than it is about the American citizens in Israel, though of course every vote helps.

    It is interesting to compare this with Mr. Trump’s recent “outreach” trip to Mexico. There are almost certainly more American citizens living in Mexico than in Israel (though estimates do vary quite a bit). Some of them are retirees, others are there for jobs or school or family reasons. Presumably most of them have positive feelings toward Mexico, since they live there by choice.

    And there are far more American citizens living in the U.S. who have strong ties to Mexico. Yet Trump’s performance ended up alienating rather than attracting support among these groups. That may have been calculated, I suppose, as a way to solidify support with his base, but I don’t pretend to understand his thinking. I’m not a political expert.

    We have become accustomed to the reality that there seems to be a unique relationship between the U.S. and Israeli political and business elites, such that, from the American side, there is no distinction. In the 20th century it became common in some circles to speak of a “special relationship” between the US and the UK. Those who wanted the US to enter both World Wars cultivated that notion. But it seems that in the 21st century the truly “special” relationship is with Israel. Indeed, from the perspective of some U.S. elites, it isn’t even a relationship. That word implies two people or entities in relation, but where there is no distinction, no separation, “relationship” isn’t possible.

    I see things from an American perspective, of course. I suspect things may look a bit different from the Israeli perspective. It is, after all, dedicated to being “special.”

    • Mooser
      September 2, 2016, 11:25 am

      “but I don’t pretend to understand his thinking. I’m not a political expert.”

      Use Josh Marshall’s “Trump’s Razor”, a formula which has not failed yet. It says: When deciding what is true about Trump’s campaign, the stupidest explanation which fits the facts will most probably be correct.

      • Boomer
        September 2, 2016, 2:18 pm

        re: “Use Josh Marshall’s “Trump’s Razor”

        Thanks Mooser, I didn’t know about this useful tool. I used to check Marshall’s site regularly, but haven’t done so for quite a while.

      • Mooser
        September 2, 2016, 7:02 pm

        “about this useful tool.”

        Marshall has been getting good results with it. Here’s the exact wording:

        “Ascertain the stupidest possible scenario that can be reconciled with the available facts.”

  6. James Canning
    James Canning
    September 2, 2016, 1:20 pm

    60,000 people with US passports are illegal settlers in the West Bank? Will this fact be brought to the attention of the American public?

    • RoHa
      September 2, 2016, 3:37 pm

      It would be interesting, and perhaps even useful, to know how many are British, Australian, and so forth.

      • Mooser
        September 2, 2016, 7:06 pm

        It would be interesting to know why so much is wasted on enough people to fill two suburban towns. So overall, there’s probably less than 100,000 settlers?

  7. Mooser
    September 3, 2016, 4:59 pm

    “Trump team campaigns hard for votes one place it stands to do well — Israeli settlements “

    I have to wonder if that is related to this:

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