63% of American Israelis believe Obama is unfriendly toward Israel
According to iVoteIsrael, a grass-roots organization registering American Israelis to vote in the upcoming U.S. elections, while the congressional vote is split pretty evenly between Republicans and Democrats, the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney leads by a 2:1 ratio.
Expats against Obama. "We want to see a president in the White House who will support and stand by the American citizens living in Israel," the iVoteIsrael website says.
Photo credit: AP
According to a statement on its website, "iVoteIsrael is a diverse group of Americans who currently reside in Israel. We come from all over Israel, and all over the U.S. We are deeply concerned about the safety, security and future of Israel. Most importantly, we want to see a president in the White House who will support and stand by the American citizens living in Israel in absolute commitment to their safety, security and right to self-defence."
In an interview with the Israel Hayom English edition, Elie Pieprz, iVoteIsrael national director, says the group has research showing that 63% of American Israelis believe U.S. President Barack Obama is unfriendly towards Israel.
Israel Hayom: How do you see American citizens in Israel voting in past elections, and will there be anything different this time? What evidence do you have to support this?
Pieprz: The biggest difference will be not in who they vote for, but in how many are voting. iVoteIsrael is registering voters every day, with a sophisticated grass-roots effort with teams knocking on doors, making phone calls, and going to English-language events to register voters on a daily basis. We also are running a sophisticated online and social media campaign to attract Americans to register to vote. The campaign has been so successful that the U.S. Embassy has already made some changes to streamline the process to accommodate the high volume of registration forms that iVoteIsrael delivers to the embassy on a weekly basis. They are currently planning new policies to deal the high volume of ballots that they anticipate to process in October, as the procedure that they have used during previous elections is not expected to be sufficient to handle this year’s volume.
What makes American Jews living in Israel different, politically, demographically, or religiously, from American Jews in America, and how does that affect their voting for U.S. presidential elections?
"In the outset of the campaign, iVoteIsrael did commission extensive public-opinion research from Shaviv Strategy and Campaigns — a political consultancy — so we do have some numbers on our electorate's leaning: While the congressional vote is split pretty evenly between Democrats and Republicans, the Republican presidential candidate leads by a 2:1 ratio [both this year and in 2008]. Similarly, 63% believe President Obama is unfriendly towards Israel, compared with 33% who believe he is friendly.
"As American citizens living abroad we are naturally very acutely impacted by the president, since Congress and the Supreme Court have very limited abilities to check the power of the executive when it comes to foreign affairs. So the direct effect that the White House can have on U.S. citizens in Israel is quite dramatic in terms of the White House’s applying pressure on Iran, on Israel vis-a-vis Iran, and on U.S. allies throughout the world — the impact of all of these actions will likely be felt very directly by U.S. citizens living in Israel.
"On top of that, issues such as combating the delegitimization of Israel, maintaining a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, basic security concerns for Israel, as well as the safety and security of America are all issues that the U.S. government has been intimately involved in for years, and which directly impact the many U.S. citizens who reside in Israel.
"However, more traditional issues such as the overall U.S. economy directly affect many of us who still work for U.S.-based companies or still have clients or customers in the U.S. Tax policy affects us as we are just about all taxpayers. The value of the dollar also has a dramatic impact on us, in a way that many U.S.-based citizens are not fully aware of.
"A goal of the campaign is for U.S. voters in Israel to behave just like any other group of U.S. citizens — that both parties should actively compete for their votes and that they should have the ability and the voice to impact the candidates/parties. But the direct overall focus of the campaign is to significantly increase the amount of Americans participating in the elections."
iVoteIsrael presentation on American Israeli voters: