Editor’s note: This piece was written in response to “How nonpartisan is the campaign to encourage Israeli-Americans to vote in November?” by The Times of Israel’s diplomatic correspondent, Raphael Ahren.
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It strikes me that Raphael Ahren seems more convinced that iVoteIsrael is a front for something (what?) than anyone he interviewed – including the heads of both Democrats Abroad Israel and Republicans Abroad Israel – both of whom we work with closely.
But his basic premise is in fact correct: iVoteIsrael is more than just a Get Out The Vote effort – we do have an agenda, and we are proud of it. Our legal status does not allow us to endorse a specific candidate – for Congress or President – but it does allow us to endorse an issue: Israel. In that respect we’re guilty as charged – on Israel we’re as partisan as it gets, and we’re proud of it.
We don’t care who you vote for – Republican, Democrat or Independent – as long as you have taken the time to vet the candidates on their position toward Israel. We know through intense public opinion research that while Jewish-American voters in the US vote primarily on domestic issues (jobs, healthcare, economy), an overwhelming majority of Israeli-Americans vote on Israel-related issues.
This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. There are as many Israel supporters as there are detractors on both sides of the isle. Take this video we just put out:
I am sure there will be those who will jump up and hold this video to be a smoking gun. But our message is clear: The New Jersey 9th district is traditionally a safe Democratic seat (Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is challenging it on the Republican ticket this election cycle), and hence a case where mobilizing Democrat voters in Israel to take part in the Democratic Primaries could have made a real difference.
This is an important lesson for Israeli-American voters: Many voters from New Jersey, New York, California and other non-battleground states don’t believe their vote will make a difference.
Well, it does.
An important note: New absentee voting laws are in effect for the 2012 elections. All US citizens who want to vote by absentee ballot in the 2012 general elections must renew their registration this year. Even if you’ve voted in the past, and even if you have already received your ballot in the mail, when your ballot is received by your county clerk in November it will be checked against the 2012 voter registry – if you haven’t registered this year your ballot will be thrown out.