Jul 13, 2012
Romney in Israel
A Guest Post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier - Harold.Goldmeier@gmail.com
I get to vote for the next American President as a new oleh, immigrant, in the November election if I can figure it out by then. That’s important, because my living here solidifies my commitments to Israel. Also, my views of the administration and events change when I watch news reports (in English) on Israeli, Russian, French, Chinese, and Arab t.v. stations that broadcast here but not in America. They have a very different take on stories than the American press.
There is a decidedly anti-Obama thread weaving through the American Jewish community. While Jews love the President's social programs, many are uncomfortable and skeptical about his commitment to Israel. Still others believe Mr. Obama, if not a Muslim himself, has deep sympathies for the Muslim world. Elected to a second term, the President will pressure Israel no end to make life-threatening concessions to the Arabs, in exchange for aid and protection under the American military umbrella.
American citizens living in Israel are more strident in their antipathy for Obama and Sec. of State Clinton. The President made several trips to the region, but never visited Israel. He bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia. His Cairo speech shocked. The reportedly discourteous treatment of P. M. Netanyahu in the White House adds to the anger American Jews in Israel feel; we took that personally. The Palestinian leadership now refuses to negotiate peace with Israel until there is a freeze on new construction in the territories; this never stopped them before Mr. Obama set it as his administration’s policy. IVoteIsrael, a voter registration NGO, believes November will have the largest voter turnout of Americans in Israel ever.
I cringe when I have to tell people I still like Obama's domestic policies, and Romney's scare the hell out of me. America will be weakened by Romney's domestic policies that will divulse the social safety net we built since WW II. The schadenfreude of Romney's supporters scare me even more for what kind of society America will be in the future. A weakened America will not be a reliable superpower.
Why are American Jewish voters in Israel crucial this year? There are 163,395 of them. More than half expect to vote this time, and 66% believe Israel related issues are the most important. Only 63% of them who admit voting for Mr. Obama last time expect to vote for him this election, according to a poll commissioned by IVoteIsrael. The President and challenger are today polling neck and neck among U.S. voters. Think Florida where fewer than 600 votes handed Mr. Bush the Presidency.
On the other hand, "it's the economy stupid,” as his father," Pres. George Sr., was so aptly reminded in his campaign. Americans don't vote for a President for his stellar foreign agenda and achievements. I, like a lot of middle class Jews, sometimes forget we're not white. I am disheartened by the President's failures to fix the economy, still imprisoning captives in Guantanamo, holding Pollard in the face of calls for his release even from Justice and CIA officials. I am disgusted by the first family's penchant for expensive vacations.
My friends ask why I would ever entertain the notion of voting for Obama again? They don't threaten, they are just dumbfounded, and so am I.
I guess I will decide whom to vote for when the ballot and pen are in my hands.
Dr. Harold Goldmeier recently sold his business in Chicago, and moved to Israel with his wife to teach business management in the Jerusalem College of Technology. He is a business development advisor to several start-ups, writer, and ublic speaker on social and business matters.
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