iVoteIsrael and the Republican Jewish Coalition expand efforts overseas

With 163,395 Americans living in Israel, iVoteIsrael and the Republican Jewish Coalition are expanding their efforts ahead of Mitt Romney's scheduled trip

Mitt Romney speaking at AIPAC
Emily Schrader
On 11 July 2012 09:41

Jerusalem, Israel

In the United States, getting out the vote (GOTV) can be hard work. There are potential voters to register, precincts to walk, yard signs to deliver, and more.

Now imagine expending those efforts several thousand miles away – and that’s exactly what non-partisan organization iVoteIsrael is attempting to do.

iVoteIsrael, a registered political interest group in the United States, held a press conference in conjunction with the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) in Jerusalem on July 10th to define their goals publicly.

The conference featured former White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer, and Executive Director of the RJC, Matthew Brooks, who spoke about the importance of getting the 163,395 Americans residing in Israel to vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney this November.

Brooks emphasized the importance of voters in Israel by citing the 537 votes that decided the 2004 presidential election. Discussing the importance of this year’s presidential election for Israel, he was emphatic. “I truly believe this is the most important election in my lifetime, and the people in Israel are acutely aware.”

Fleischer agreed, noting that, “Americans who live in Israel need to vote and Americans who live in Israel need to vote for Mitt Romney.”

Brooks also praised the steady increase in Republican Jewish voters. “The Jewish community back home has real concerns about the direction we're headed both in domestic and foreign policies…I'm confident that when we come to election day we will have Mitt Romney getting more votes than John McCain did, and [will] increase our inroads with the Republican party in the United States.”

Fleischer backed up Brooks’s comments, citing that the recent percentage of Jews who voted Republican has steadily increased – from 11 percent for Bush Sr., to 16 percent for Dole, to 19 percent for Bush Jr., and then to 24 percent for Bush Jr.’s second term. As for this November, Fleischer predicts “if they get above 30 percent, Mitt Romney will win with a large victory.”

Both Brooks and Fleischer hit President Obama hard on his shortfalls when it comes to Israel’s safety and security. Brooks assured attendees that under a Romney administration there would be no hot-mic gaffes publicly embarrassing the Prime Minister of Israel. Similarly, Fleischer noted Obama’s failure to take initiative on Iran, describing the president has having been “dragged across the line by Congress on sanctions to the Central Bank of Iran.”

Fleischer went on to note that Obama’s initial position was to oppose Congress because he thought they went too far. “It's hard for me to see how someone can argue Obama is pro-Israel,” he added.

A representative from iVoteIsrael explained why Israel is such important campaign ground for Republicans, noting that, according to polling, of the 163,395 Americans in Israel, they will vote for a Republican candidate for president by a ratio of 2:1 (assuming everyone voted) – which could certainly make a difference in a close election.

We’ve already seen Romney host a fundraiser for ex-pats in England – could Israel be next? It will be interesting to see how the candidate spends his time during his upcoming trip to Israel.

iVoteIsrael remains a non-partisan organization and will host a Democrat-oriented event in the near future. However, Fleischer gave the audience a good laugh with his GOTV reminder: “Voter turnout is expected to be so heavy this year that Republicans vote on Tuesday, and Democrats vote on Wednesday.” Advice Mitt Romney would no doubt love all Democrats to heed.

Emily Schrader is a researcher for a pro-Israel education organisation and a blogger at www.danareport.com

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