Donald Trump keeps trying to inject Israel into the presidential race, but indications are that he’s not making a big impact on voters: polling shows that his many actions in support of Israel have moved Jewish support to 30 percent from his 25 percent support in the 2016 election. But Biden still wins 67 percent which is pretty close to the usual Democratic mark.
In a campaign ad aimed at pro-Israel voters, including evangelicals, Trump trumpeted the peace deals he cut at the White House last week, saying they were the first deals in “decades.” And Trump repeatedly mentioned Israel during his Rosh Hashana call last week to Jewish leaders.
“We really appreciate you, we love your country also,” he told them, according to the JTA.
Trump called Jared Kushner, whose family are keen supporters of Israel, “an unbelievable leader for Israel,” and said Democrats put Israel at risk.
[I]f we don’t win, Israel is in big trouble… We’re in the Middle East because of Israel… This is really a time that’s very important in the life of Israel and the safety of Israel. And we will do a great job. If the other side gets in all bets are off. I think it’ll be a whole different story. I think it’ll be exactly the opposite.
(That’s the second time in a few days Trump said the U.S. is only in the Middle East because of Israel.)
The group “Democratic Majority for Israel” said Trump is trafficking in an antisemitic trope of dual loyalty used to persecute Jews for centuries. And he’s misrepresenting Biden’s record on Israel. Look at all Biden has done to arm Israel:
Equally absurd is Trump’s suggestion that “Israel is in big trouble” if Democrats win in November. Thanks in large part to @JoeBiden‘s leadership, Israel now has the Iron Dome, its Qualitative Military Edge [QME], & the 10-year MOU, the largest US-Israel security agreement ever.
Biden surrogate Dan Shapiro says:
“[Trump’s] been trying every day for four years to turn Israel into a wedge issue with American Jewish voters, and he can’t even move it out of the margin of error.”
Nathan Hersh, an American-Israeli writer, says those older Florida Jews are different.
[H]e only has to win over Jewish voters in Florida. Combined with Repub efforts to cast young House Democrats as antisemitic, this effort may have an impact. (And the normalization agreements are likely to continue, staggered, in advance of the election.)
Biden’s Israel lobbyists say he is the most pro-Israel nominee ever. But if Trump can get to 35 percent of the Jews in Florida, he could take the state, argues the Republican Jewish Coalition.
The Republican Jewish Coalition is posting stories that as VP Joe Biden lobbied Ukraine to vote against Israel in the UN Security Council in 2016, the famous resolution condemning Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation” of international law. The Obama administration abstained on that resolution, allowing it to pass 14-0, even as Trump’s administration-in-waiting lobbied to defeat the resolution, which Kushner called a “disaster.”
Not just voters are at stake. The RJC is funded in part by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who have already given $50 million to Republican causes and are reportedly committing as much as $50 million to the Republican cause in the final stretch. The Adelson money helps explain why the Trump administration is acting bellicose toward the Iranians. Sheldon Adelson called on Obama to nuke Iran.
Meantime, Haim Saban, an ardent pro-Israel megadonor on the Democratic side, is all-in for Biden, because he trusts Biden on Israel. CNBC:
Saban… said he and his wife [Cheryl] are backing Biden in part because of his track record on supporting Israel and its alliance with the United States. Saban, an Israeli-American, said he also sides with Biden’s support of a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Saban can raise a lot of money– surely including many Israel supporters: