Republican Jews Hone Message in Tampa

Look To Win Over Bigger Slice of Jewish Vote for Romney

Gathering GOP: Delegates at the Republican Convention watch a video about Mitt Romney as the gathering came to life.
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Gathering GOP: Delegates at the Republican Convention watch a video about Mitt Romney as the gathering came to life.

By Nathan Guttman

Published August 28, 2012.
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Another issue that could potentially hurt Republicans among Jewish voters is the renewed discussion on women’s rights following Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s remarks on rape and abortion. Jewish Republicans are considered to be on the moderate end of the party on social issues and are likely to take offense of such remarks.

A widely-ignored but formally required part of any convention is the adoption of a platform for the party. In discussions leading up to the convention, Republican moderates have managed to revise some of the language in the proposed platform which sought to change the party’s support for two state solution for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The GOP has long supported a two-state solution, although its leaders in recent years have made a point of not pressuring Israel to compromise on this issue.

With all the discussion on policy issues, domestic and foreign, the single most important moment for Jewish voters expected in GOP convention could be the participation of Sheldon and Miriam Adelson at the gathering. The Jewish power couple, a casino mogul and his Israeli-born wife, have emerged as the most significant donors on the Republican side, vowing to give up to $100 million through their Super PAC in order to defeat Obama.

Sheldon Adelson, who is also a key supporter of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has made no secret of the importance he sees in having Republican candidates display hawkish views on issues relating to Israel.

Conventions are also a wonderful opportunity for activists of all sorts to show their force and gain some attention. The new progressive Jewish alliance, Bend the Arc: Jewish Partnership for Justice, will try to make itself noticed with a stop in Tampa of its eight-state tour titled “If I were a rich man.” The group activists are targeting 11 members of Congress, most of them Republican, who oppose allowing the Bush-era tax cuts expire for families earning more than $250,000.

The American Jewish Committee is hosting several panel discussions focusing on issues dear to the group such as interfaith relations (with a panel on Jewish-Mormon ties), Jewish–Latino relations and a discussion on American interests in the Middle East.

The convention is a prime arena for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the largest pro-Israel lobbying organization. Top AIPAC officials are out in force in Tampa, meeting with elected officials and delegates. But the group has decided to maintain a low profile and did not respond to Forward inquires regarding its activities.


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