Seth Eisenberg
Life, Liberty & Pursuit of Happiness for All

U.S. Jews at a Crossroad

A sitting Democratic president commits the full prestige and authority of his Administration to implement a deal the vast majority of Israelis and every major pro-Israel policy group say will lead to a nuclear armed Iran, an immediate conventional and nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and billions of dollars in new financing for Islamic terrorists already aiming tens of thousands of missiles at Israel’s major cities and infrastructure.

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee, quickly endorsed the deal, while Republican leaders universally condemned it. Hillary clearly believes support for IranDeal will not cost her a supermajority of Jewish voters. If she did, her backing would have been far more ambiguous.

Clinton strategists surely know that with the exception of Jimmy Carter’s 1980 reelection campaign, 60 to 90 percent of American Jews have voted for the Democrat in every Presidential election since 1928. Barack Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008 and 69 percent in 2012.

Until the controversial Supreme Court resolved 2000 Bush-Gore dead heat, every American presidential candidate who captured two thirds of the Jewish vote won the White House. Only then and four years later when Jews overwhelmingly supported John Kerry’s failed campaign against George Bush’s second term bid were Republican candidates able to succeed despite losing a supermajority of Jewish voters.

Clinton’s gamble depends on how her backing of IranDeal is received among voters in Florida and Ohio. Winning both states will almost certainly return the White House keys to Bill and Hillary. Losing Florida, where she still remains highly popular among the Jewish community, could dash her hopes for a 2016 victory.

When Florida’s Jewish voters cast ballots for the November 2016 election, will Hillary’s vocal support for IranDeal have a significant influence? The answer depends on how effective national and local Jewish leadership is convincing voters that Democratic support for IranDeal represents an existential threat to Israel.

Historically, American Jews have been able to take bi-partisan support for Israel as a given, allowing them to vote on domestic concerns such as the economy, health care, social security, medicare, the deficit, government spending, and taxes; each of which traditionally have more influence on which candidates Jews ultimately support than Israel or, in more recent elections, Iran.

If the public campaign against IranDeal is remotely effective, many American Jews will find themselves at a crossroad facing the most difficult political decision since 1948.

With IranDeal now weaving its way through Congress, Democratic leaders appear likely to gamble they can sufficiently obfuscate the betrayal of Israel IranDeal represents to ensure American Jews generally, and Florida’s Jewish voters specifically, support Hillary and other Democratic candidates with a clear conscience.

As we begin the month of Av, when we collectively mourn the destruction of the first and second Temples, there’s ample reason to consider how much we’ve actually learned from the tragedies that have befallen our People.

About the Author
Seth Eisenberg is President/CEO of Purpose Built Families Foundation. Purpose Built Families is a nationally accredited, American nonprofit that advances its mission through evidence-based services to strengthen families as a foundation of resilient homes, neighborhoods and communities. Eisenberg is a former member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
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