The Republican party is courting illegal Israeli West Bank Settlers to vote for Mitt Romney in the upcoming presidential elections, and are using Obama’s policy toward Israel as a “cudgel to score political points and woo Jewish voters and donors,” a new article in the AlterNet news source has claimed.
“Critics of the Israel lobby’s influence in US politics often say, tongue-in-cheek, that Israel should be named the 51st state. But this presidential election season, that sentiment comes close to the reality of how the Republican Party is treating the country. Israel, like the 50 states in the US, will be a source for votes and money and a backdrop for presidential campaigning,” the article, written by Alex Kane, continues:
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) has partnered with an Israeli group to encourage Israelis who are American citizens–including West Bank settlers–to vote in the 2012 elections.
The effort is also being promoted by a group called Republicans Abroad Israel. The partnership, and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s plan to visit Israel in late July , makes clear that the Republicans will use President Barack Obama’s policy towards Israel as a cudgel to score political points and woo Jewish voters and donors — though most American Jews vote Democratic.
The politicking about how Obama is an “anti-Israel” president obscures the reality that Obama has not touched the sacrosanct US-Israeli alliance and has continued to lavish aid and diplomatic support to the Jewish state.
Approximately 250,000 American citizens live in Israel–and many of them lean right. According to the Los Angeles Times , 75 percent of Americans in Israel voted for John McCain in the 2008 election, essentially the same share of American Jews who voted for Obama overall.
RJC and a group called iVoteIsrael, whose mission is to encourage Americans who are also Israeli citizens to vote in US elections based on “who will support and stand by Israel,” held a number of events in Jerusalem in early July promoting their campaign. RJC executive director Matt Brooks and Ari Fleischer, an RJC board member and the former press secretary for George W. Bush, were the ringleaders of this effort, and they wasted no time criticizing Obama’s Israel policy.
The choice is between pushing Israel around as President Obama has done, and Governor Romney, who will stand strong by Israel’s side,” Fleischer told an audience of Israeli-American voters . He also told them that “there is a possibility that a large number of absentee ballots coming into Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio can make the difference.”
While RJC and Republicans Abroad Israel are clearly partisan, iVoteIsrael claims that its effort is nonpartisan. But the Times of Israel reported that “key staffers [of iVoteIsrael] have been closely affiliated with right-wing parties in Israel, the US and elsewhere.”
iVoteIsrael’s ideology is clearly right-leaning–you only have to look to where the organization’s “regional directors” and “drop boxes” for registration forms are located to find that out. A number of locations iVoteIsrael works from are in illegal Jewish-only settlements that are seen as violating Palestinian human rights and blocking a contiguous Palestinian state. iVoteIsrael locations include Ma’ale Adumim, a major Jewish settlement outside of Jerusalem, and Gush Etzion, another major settlement.