Wednesday, May 15, 2024

If You Vote for Biden, You Ain’t Jewish: Joe Biden and the Jewish Vote (Judean Rose)

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are solely those of the author, weekly Judean Rose columnist Varda Meyers Epstein.

Joe Biden, if he hadn’t already lost the Jewish vote, lost it for sure last week. First, Joe spilled the beans to Erin Burnett: he’d already held up a weapons shipment to Israel. 

Three days later, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed that an arms shipment had been delayed. "We have paused a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs because we don’t believe they should be dropped in densely populated cities," said Sullivan according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to the "pause" on arms shipments, the Biden administration let slip, one day earlier, that intelligence, too, had been withheld from Israel—intel that might already have led Israel to Sinwar and to the hostages as well, some of whom might still be saved, among them Americans. The Washington Post had the report:

“The Biden administration, working urgently to stave off a full-scale Israeli invasion of Rafah, is offering Israel valuable assistance if it holds back, including sensitive intelligence to help the Israeli military pinpoint the location of Hamas leaders and find the group’s hidden tunnels, according to four people familiar with the U.S. offers.”

The electorate knew what it was seeing. Joe Biden had betrayed an ally and a people. Biden was withholding arms and information. He had concealed critical intelligence for later leverage, and was now using it—carrot and stick—to force Israel to stand down from Rafah.

It was/is not a good look. And it has cost Joe Biden the Jewish vote.

Everyone knows why Joe Biden betrayed Israel—he did it to swing the swing state of Michigan, the state that voted Rashida Harbi Tlaib into office. But if Joe thought that betraying Israel would serve him well in Michigan, he thought wrong. As of this writing, Trump is ahead of Biden in Michigan by 7 points, with Trump at 49 percent, and Joe with 42 percent of the vote. And that’s without looking at how many of those voters are Jews.

But, for argument’s sake, let’s look at that. The Jews are only 2.4 percent of American adults of voting age. Does it really matter if the Jews don’t vote for Biden? Could such a small number of votes make any appreciable difference to an election outcome?

Biden may have weighed this in his mind: the small number of Jews versus the loud clamor of the left, perhaps confusing “loud” with “many.” This would be a grave miscalculation. In Why the Jewish vote matters (2020) Jonathan Sarna writes: "[In] Lincoln’s day, only about five out of every thousand Americans were Jews and today that number may not exceed 20 per thousand, one wonders why anybody cares about Jews’ political proclivities. The 'Jewish vote' would seem far too small to matter."

Sarna says that the answer to this question says much about how American politics work. For one thing, elections are often “dramatically close”:

Tilden vs. Hays (1876), Nixon vs. Kennedy (1960), Bush vs. Gore (2000) – these and other razor-tight presidential elections demonstrate why small groups, like the Jews, often hold considerable sway. When every vote counts, especially in the electoral college, hundreds of thousands of Jewish voters suddenly take on disproportionate significance.

Also, says Sarna, most of the Jews are concentrated in the areas a presidential candidate would want to carry:

Some 85% of Jews live in 20 critical metropolitan areas; the four states with the largest Jewish communities (California, New York, Florida and New Jersey) carry 128 electoral votes of 270 needed to win an election. In addition, numbers of Jews also dwell in historic swing states that often decide American elections, particularly Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. This dramatically elevates the significance of the small Jewish vote.

Sarna puts Jews showing up at the polls in third place (I would have put it first): 

Third, Jews are known to turn out and vote in high numbers on election day — more than almost any other ethnic and religious group. Some 85% of Jews vote in key presidential elections. Asian Americans and Latino Americans, by contrast, turn out at a rate of less than 50%. As a result, although they are but 2% of the population, Jews may approach 4% of the electorate.

Money comes in at last place, from Sarna’s point of view. Maybe it seems a little unsavory, too much like an antisemitic trope to mention it, but campaigns don’t run on air, and the Jews are, in fact, generous:

Finally, Jews contribute to political parties in totally disproportionate amounts. An estimate published in 2016 proclaimed that “as much as 50% of all monies raised by Democratic presidential candidates are from Jewish funders; similarly, 25% of the Republican donor base is comprised today of major Jewish contributors.” So far this year, according to a recent Jewish Telegraph Agency report, 15 of the top 25 political donors in the U.S. are Jewish or of Jewish origin. The Democrats among them have donated over $165 million to their party’s candidates, the Republicans almost $88 million.

Sarna concludes that Jews “punch above their weight in American politics.” Biden would have done well to heed the author's words: “Small as the number of Jewish voters may be, savvy politicians woo them intensely, as they have done since the days of Abraham Lincoln.”

In Six Months Out: The U.S. Presidential Election and America’s Jews, Dr. Steven Windmueller elaborates on the significance of the Jewish turnout: 

Jews vote in exceedingly high numbers; somewhere between 72% to 85% of Jewish voters live in “purple states” (states neither “red” nor “blue”) where the 2024 contest for the control of the Office of the President, the Senate, and the House will be determined, along with several state and local contests. As a reminder for non-American audiences, the Electoral College, not the popular vote, determines the outcome for the White House, where the winner must secure 270 Electoral Votes out of 538 electors.

Approximately 1.8 million Jewish adults, just under one-third of the total Jewish electorate, live in 25 congressional districts. Of the top 25 districts by Jewish population, nearly half are in New York, with ten districts. The remaining districts with large Jewish populations are found in seven states: Florida, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Florida’s 21st Congressional District, with 152,000 Jewish voters, and New York’s 17th Congressional District, in the Lower Hudson Valley, representing a significantly high percentage of Orthodox voters, constitute the nation’s two largest centers of Jewish voters. Identified below are some key states where the 2024 campaign may play out.

Many analysts believe that at this point, Florida (3.1% Jewish), Texas (.6%), and Ohio (1.3%) are most likely situated in the Republican column for this year’s election (parenthesis indicate percentage of Jewish voters), leaving several other states that are seen to be in play, among them, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina, collectively these states have 87 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. In several of these critical states (Pennsylvania and Arizona, and to a lesser degree, Georgia), the “Jewish vote” might be particularly significant in determining the outcomes:

  • Pennsylvania – 2.3%
  • Arizona – 1.5%
  • Georgia – 1.2%
  • Michigan – .09%
  • Wisconsin – .06%
  • North Carolina – .04%

Thane Rosenbaum self-describes as a "die-hard Democrat." But no longer. Not that he’s voting for Trump, mind you, whose name does not appear once in So Long, Democratic Party. No. He’s going to vote Independent. What brought about this volte-face?

For me, the breaking point came with Joe Biden’s shameful CNN interview where he made clear that the United States would not support Israel’s incursion into Rafah to route the remaining Hamas terrorists responsible for 10/7.

Let me get this straight: The United States devoted a decade to hunting down and assassinating Osama bin Laden, killing 250,000 Afghani and Iraqi civilians along the way. No condemning U.N. resolutions. No protests. No International Court of Justice proceedings. All throughout America’s War on Terror, Israel provided necessary intelligence and regional backup, and erected a 9/11 memorial—the only one outside the United States listing the names of all victims.

Yet, the Biden administration is withholding from Israel the necessary weaponry (already earmarked by Congress) with which to conduct its wholly justified military operations? Israel does not require Biden’s blessing. And the precision of the Rafah campaign will now be less precise.

Thane makes very clear, that for him, this is a moral problem, that Joe Biden’s behavior toward Israel is immoral. You can almost hear the writer gnashing his teeth in frustration:

Curiously, the president repeatedly acknowledged that 10/7 was an unprovoked attack for which Israel has a moral and legal right of self-defense, and that Hamas presents an existential threat that must be eradicated. Biden’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel has already gone limp. Apparently, unlike the United States, Israel must be denied its moral obligation to bring justice to its people and security to its borders. It can defend against missiles, but not dismantle them at the source.

Biden’s actions have given comfort to Hamas and its patron, Iran. Why should Hamas return hostages (some, Americans), if Biden is singularly focused on constraining Israeli military offenses?

Moreover, Biden just gave a shout-out to those ignorant college students and their Jew-hating, anti-American professors. Sorry, “Genocide Joe,” asserting your mojo and cultivating a youthful antisemitic constituency won’t help you come November.

Rosenbaum is bitter—to my mind, rightfully so—and concludes—as I do—that it’s all about winning Michigan:

For reasons only rabid progressives can explain, Palestinians, who are more like Hamas accomplices than true civilians, are more precious than the world’s other civilians. Is it because Jews aren’t permitted to win wars, especially against brown-skinned people? The Jewish state must always agree to ceasefires, perform humanitarian acts while fighting in self-defense, and sue for peace.

This betrayal has little to do with moral equivocation and everything to do with local politics. Biden will, apparently, do or say anything to woo the 600,000 Muslim voters of Michigan, and stay within the good graces of that dreadful Detroit Motown act, Bernie Sanders and the Squad. . .

. . . In the end, Joe Biden picked the Muslims of Michigan over moral clarity, a coherent foreign policy, and love of country. Yes, he’s increasingly addled. But he well knows that Jewish-Americans, or Jewish-Israelis, are highly unlikely to ever burn an American flag and shout, “Death to America!”

Thane is not alone in supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas. Back in December, a poll commissioned by the Israel on Campus Coalition found that over 80 percent of American Jews support what Israel is doing in Gaza, and wants these operations to continue:

American Jews are overwhelmingly united in support of Israel continuing its ground operation in Gaza and also approve of President Joe Biden’s response to the war, according to a new survey commissioned by the Israel on Campus Coalition.

The poll, conducted by Schoen Cooperman Research (SCR), found that 81% of American Jews support Israel continuing its military operation to “recover all Israeli hostages and remove Hamas from power.” Only 12% of respondents said they preferred “an immediate ceasefire to save Palestinian lives, even if that means “Israeli hostages aren’t recovered and Hamas remains in power.”

“We’re hearing increasing cries nationally for a ceasefire, and examples of American Jews who are against Israel’s retaliation of Hamas. That was the impetus for doing the survey, to hear where American Jews actually are on this,” Carly Cooperman, CEO of SCR, told JI.

By tradition, Jews vote Democrat as a block, but this election will be different. The viciousness of the attacks on October 7, followed by ever-increasing overt antisemitism seemingly in every sphere and in every country, have brought about a radical change. The Jewish people are no longer so divided on the question of Israel, or even on what it means to be a Jew. The Jews have closed ranks, and now they’re turning their backs on Biden. Joe’s latest perfidy against the Jewish state was likely the coups de grâce.

Thane Rosenbaum isn’t the only “die-hard” Dem who has withdrawn his support for Biden. Outspoken Israel supporter, actor Michael Rapaport has declared that not only will he no longer stump for or vote for Joe Biden, he may even vote for Donald Trump, a man he abhors.

In the run-up to the previous election, Joe Biden famously (and offensively) told black people that if they vote for Trump, it means they aren’t black, "If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

This time around, at least one minority will require no ignorant, bigoted declarations to tell them how to vote and who they are. With his latest double-stab in the back to Israel, Joe’s actions speak louder than any words might do. 

The Jews have figured it out. Those who vote for Biden, ain’t Jewish. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

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