BY RON JAGER—
As Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney begins his visit here in Israel, the Obama campaign managers have nothing new to share with the American public or with the Israeli public. In repeating the same discredited allegations and accusations against Mitt Romney for the past months, the Obama campaign hopes to distract voters from the administrations failure to fix the economy and create jobs and of course to re-write history concerning Obama’s abysmal record against Israel during the last 4 years. Romney has been quoted as saying ;”This has been a ‘Groundhog Day’ presidency. He (Obama) keeps saying the same things and we keep waking up with the same things going on. Nothing changes,” Romney said. “He keeps saying these great things he’s going to do and yet it’s the same picture every single morning. It’s been a Groundhog Day presidency and that’s going to end if I’m president.” The goal of hiding Obama’s contempt and hostility towards Israel will not succeed. From the very beginning of the Obama presidency making the infamous Cairo speech spelling out his praise and affinity for the Islamic world while publicly demanding that Israel stop construction in Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel. Ignoring Israel as an American ally by not visiting here at anytime during his Presidency will not be forgotten on groundhog day. Nor will a Groundhog Day campaign make the public forget Obama’s denial of American exceptionalism and America as the leader of the free world.
What seems to be ignored by Obama’s campaign managers is that Israel is not exclusively important to Jewish voters but also to ten’s of millions of Christian supporters of Israel who will also be voting in November. The recent Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conference in Washington D.C. being only a recent reminder. Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel should be seen in the context of Jewish and Christian support of Israel while rejecting Obama’s overtures to the Islamic world. With this in mind, the Republican Party hasn’t surpassed 25 percent of the Jewish vote since 1988, yet let’s not forget that in 1980, President Reagan garnered almost 40 % of the Jewish vote, the high water mark for GOP White House candidates in the modern era. At the time in response to a worsening economy in the United States, Reagan won the election in a landslide, receiving the highest number of electoral votes ever won by a non-incumbent Presidential candidate. There are many in the Republican Party who claim that in this Presidential election, the GOP pro-Israel credentials will translate into crucial gains among Jewish voters and I would also suggest, among Christian supporters of Israel.
Even before Romney’s weekend visit to Israel, a trip highlighted by meetings with President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem reasserting his commitment to the Jewish state, Obama sought to disrupt the GOP nominee’s carefully planned courtship and counter the apparent slippage in Jewish support for Obama’s re-election. “I have made it a top priority for my administration to deepen cooperation with Israel across the whole spectrum of security issues,” the president said Friday in an Oval Office ceremony convened for him to sign into law a measure expanding U.S. financial aid for Israel’s defense and bolstering cooperation between the militaries of both nations. This will do little to change the perception of Obama among Jewish and Christian voters as far as Israel is the issue and woo back Ohio’s and Florida’s most pivotal constituencies.
Republicans are claiming rightly so that there are enough Israel-driven voters in a place like Florida, which both sides believe will be tighter than it was when Obama carried it by less than 3 percent in 2008, to make a difference.
“The Israel issue is just one of many issues that influence someone’s perception of a candidate and I think it’s a pretty small number of people where that’s their top issue,” said Noah Pollak, executive director of the conservative Emergency Committee for Israel. “But in general, I think for Jewish voters and non-Jewish voters alike, it’s pretty puzzling to them why this administration has treated Israel like it’s a problem to be confronted. … That very well, in a state like Florida, could be influential.”
One other constituency group that can very well impact on the coming election and that is the American Jewish and Christian community in Israel which is decidedly anti-Obama. All of us have extended families in America and maintain an ongoing relationship with our former communities, making our impact that much more significant.
For many of us here in Israel, we are skeptical about Obama’s true commitment to Israel. A second Obama term will likely begin with Israel being forced to make life-threatening concessions so as to re-affirm Obama’s deep sympathies to the Islamic world. Needless to say, Sec. of State Clinton’s actions and policies concerning Israel have done little limit the antipathy for the Obama administration. IVoteIsrael, a voter registration NGO, believes that November will have the largest voter turnout of American Jewish and Christians in Israel ever.
Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel will fortify the perception that he truly supports Israel in contrast to the perception of Obama being constantly obligated against his will to show support for Israel. Election day will not be groundhog day, and we the American voters will not wake-up on November 6th reliving another 4 years of the Obama Presidency.
Ron Jager, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psychoeducation programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Today Ron is a strategic advisor to the Shomron Liaison Office