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The Cross of Bethlehem

The Cross of Bethlehem II

Romney, Obama, and the Israeli Vote

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American news networks don’t reach Bolivia easily; the Spanish version of CNN is the only exception to this rule. In the last few months, this network is deeply engaged in the self-appraisal of Latin-American communities in the USA. Their program is named “Voto Latino 2012.” It claims that “the largest minority in America” (oddly mixing up Mexicans, Chileans, Cubans and others in one tepid dish) will be the force deciding the result of the 2012 USA Presidential Elections.

President Romney | Hebrew media worries about 2015

President Romney | Hebrew media worries about 2015

Their creativity is astonishing, their analyses always creative and fascinating. Terms like “key states,” “immigration,” “employment” and similar ones fill up truly pretty charts. I watch them and see the naivety of newcomers; they still think America is a country where the president is elected by majority vote. Yet, in the elections of 1876, Samuel J. Tilden—the losing candidate—received an absolute majority of the popular vote! In 1824, 1888, and 2000, the losing candidate received a plurality of the popular vote. The latter event was remarkable for another issue, the president was decided then by the vote of one person; that person was a judge appointed by the winning-candidate’s father. It is difficult to see CNN Español and not to feel sympathy; how many years will take them to wake up into the American reality?

 

Jewish Vote

 

Brooklyn

Brooklyn

A similar claim—though impossible to justify on the community’s size—is that the Jewish vote decides the fate of America’s presidential elections. It appears regularly on Israeli and Jewish media, and—in a less explicit form—in the American media. Yet, it is a highly overestimated statement. It holds true for local elections in areas with a substantial Jewish population, but when checked on a national level, the correlation drops.

Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 won substantial majorities of the Jewish vote—both over 75%!—but lost the elections. Obama and Clinton won with the Jewish vote in 1992, 1996, and 2008, but not because of it. This analysis can be shown to hold pretty well for about a century. As a collective of votes, the Jewish community has a non-critical role in the American presidential elections. Unless two leading candidates are in an almost tie and the Jews vote overwhelmingly for one of them, they won’t be felt as a major force, not even in the almost-tie 2000 elections. On March 19, 2012, I commented in Obama Bluffs Netanyahu, how A. B. Yehoshua—a well-known Israeli writer—called American Jews to emigrate to Israel in a formal speech; according to him “this is so urgent that if possible, they should do that as of yesterday, leaving homes and jobs behind.” Israel doesn’t care anymore about having a substantial Jewish community in the USA at its service.

This claim may be logical and well-based, Yet, many will feel it doesn’t represent the American reality. If that were true, then presidential candidates would be less careful with their statements and policies regarding Israel. Moreover, if that were true, the Anti-Defamation League wouldn’t be one of the most feared political-police organizations in the world. Finally, if that were true, the Israeli lobby wouldn’t be often referred to as the strongest lobby in Washington DC. Here is the divide; it is not the Jewish Vote, but the Israeli Vote, which heavily influences the American presidential elections. In the last week of July 2012, both candidates made that clear. Romney by visiting Israel, Obama by approving the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act.

 

The Descent into Hell | Tintoretto

The Descent into Hell | Tintoretto

 

Israeli Vote

 

The visit of Mitt Romney in Israel is irrelevant except for its taking place. Nothing of value would be said, no formal agreements would be signed. Romney was so cautious in his initial statements given while still in London that Hebrew media made fun of him: “…the presumptive Republican presidential candidate immediately becomes tense. He is careful not to say anything superfluous. He refrains from making any commitments. Like a diligent student at an oral exam, he carefully weighs every word he is about to utter. But the interviewee is even more focused on what he is not allowed to say than on what he is about to say.” Romney explained later that this was “because we are on foreign soil; I will refrain in this interview from being critical of the president or opening up new avenues of foreign policy that might be seen to be in contradiction to that of the current government.” What he was not allowed to say here, was that it didn’t matter what he said, he had just came for a nice picture with his old friend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On April 8, 2012, The New York Times published on its front page an article by Michael Barbaro named “A Friendship Dating to 1976 Resonates in 2012” (see Obama’s End? Israel Supports Romney). The long article emphasized the personal links between the two: “But in 1976, the lives of Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu intersected, briefly but indelibly, in the 16th-floor offices of the Boston Consulting Group, where both had been recruited as corporate advisers. At the most formative time of their careers, they sized each other up during the firm’s weekly brainstorming sessions, absorbing the same profoundly analytical view of the world… The relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Romney — nurtured over meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem, strengthened by a network of mutual friends and heightened by their conservative ideologies — has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East.”

Moreover, Barbaro stated: “The ties between Mr. Romney and Mr. Netanyahu stand out because there is little precedent for two politicians of their stature to have such a history together that predates their entry into government. And that history could well influence decision-making at a time when the United States may face crucial questions about whether to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities or support Israel in such an action… Mr. Romney has suggested that he would not make any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Mr. Netanyahu — a level of deference that could raise eyebrows given Mr. Netanyahu’s polarizing reputation, even as it appeals to the neoconservatives and evangelical Christians who are fiercely protective of Israel.”

In other words, Israel has all the reasons in the world to support Romney; especially since Barack Obama is one of the less popular American presidents in Israel ever. I have often commented here on wild attacks—including in racist terms—against President Obama in the Hebrew media. Supporting the thesis of this article, President Obama clearly didn’t give up on the Israeli vote. He promised to visit Israel if he is reelected, but this is not the candy he threw towards Tel Aviv. While Romney flew eastwards, Obama signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, which approves and expands the military cooperation between the two countries, including the sale of F35 fighters. The text (download here) is unprecedented in the American concessions to Israel. The USA assures there that it would help Israel to develop missile systems, refueling tankers, and specialized munitions, as well as provide Israel with training air-space on American soil and strengthening Israel’s links with NATO. Life is easy for Netanyahu; he can see and watch the candidates playing their tricks. There is an Israeli vote in America; however, it doesn’t work through voters.

 

Israeli Intervention

 

After many years of close work with American administrations, Israel has become very efficient in its act through what is known as the “Israeli Lobby in Washington,” an informal network of semi-independent agents representing Israeli interests at the American administration. The ADL—the Anti-Defamation League—is probably its better known arm; public sources openly claim that every political figure and candidate in the US must actually be interviewed and approved by the ADL. Candidates promoting Israel will subsequently get generous donations to their campaigns from third parties, not officially linked to the “interviewers.” However, Israeli intervention goes much deeper than that. Almost three months ago, I published Israel Military Censor hits the USA, which analyzed an incredible Israeli intervention on American media. On April 24, 60 Minutes aired a segment entitled “Christians of the Holy Land” that offered an unprecedented look into the Christian reality in Holy Land, under Israel’s occupation. Acting as Israel Military Censor in the USA, Israel Ambassador in the USA—Michael Oren—called the Chairman of CBS News and the Executive Producer of 60 Minutes and protested the report before it was aired. 60 Minutes reporter, Bob Simon, said that he had never received such a call in his many years as a journalist. The red-faced Israeli ambassador shamelessly accused Christians of being anti-Semites. The American viewers could witness first hand an extraordinary example of censorship and blatant lies by those who claim to be the “only democracy in the Middle East.” The astonishing video is attached below, courtesy of CBS:

The Spanish version of the CNN may be living a delightful delusion of democracy and equality. They analyze numbers and show you—with no room for doubt—that the “Latino Vote” will be the most influential in the upcoming 2012 Presidential Elections. Yet, to those who bother reading news, reality looks different. To presidential candidates, voters have no weight; citizenship is a curse, the constitution a mere piece of paper. The only thing that matters is whether the masters in Tel Aviv like their new trick or not.

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