web analytics
April 28, 2015 / 9 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Israel Not High Voting Priority for Pro-Israel Student Activists

In the 2012 election, many pro-Israel American college students do not feel that their commitment to Israel must override their other passions.
campus studenrs

Photo Credit: Saint Louis University Madrid

As college students prepare to hit the polls on November 6 – many for the first time – they will be considering a broad array of policy issues and party platforms. What drives young people to vote? How do they consider various issues? Does Israel play a role in the choices they make on election day?

Israel Campus Beat interviewed pro-Israel students on campuses across the country to gauge the impact their support for Israel has on how they are preparing for Election Day.

In RockTheVote’s latest poll of 18-29 year olds, jobs and the economy were the primary issues young people wanted politicians to address, with education and the cost of college taking second place on the priority list. The first issue of foreign policy, the war in Afghanistan, came in fifth. Based on ICB’s interviews with multiple campuses, it seems that these patterns hold true among pro-Israel young adults.

In the 2012 election, many pro-Israel American college students do not feel that their commitment to Israel must override their other passions. When pro-Israel college students were asked which candidate’s positions make them feel more secure regarding Israel, many were ambivalent.

George Washington University senior John Bennet, who interns for the Romney campaign, said he believes that Gov. Mitt Romney understands the vital importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship. In light of continued unrest in Libya and Egypt, Bennet said this understanding will be crucial in the next four years.

“But regardless of who is elected, United States foreign policy really hasn’t changed drastically in the immediate past and I don’t anticipate that it will,” Bennet said.

Many students echoed Bennet’s confidence that America will remain committed to Israel’s security regardless of who is elected.

Professor Gil Troy, who teaches American history at McGill University, stated that although some people may feel that President Barack Obama’s stance on Israel seems less enthusiastic than some of his predecessors, it would be wrong to call him anti–Israel.

Troy noted that each time the President has said or done something that caused some Israel supporters to question his commitment to the Jewish state, he has responded with a reassuring move to strengthen the US-Israel bond.

For example, Troy noted, “When there is a power struggle between Obama and Netanyahu, Obama ensures stronger military cooperation soon afterward.” But Troy had a different rationale for college students prioritizing domestic issues over foreign policy related to Israel.

“In general, college students tend to be a mix of interventionist and isolationist,” he said. “They are anti-war, anti entanglements in foreign lands and interventionist in humanitarian causes like Darfur.”

With so many Americans deeming Israel a peripheral issue, should supporters of the Jewish state be concerned that the pro-Israel base is becoming less passionate about Israel?

Professor Jonathan Sarna, who teaches American Jewish history at Brandeis University, said that this is not the case.

“Were the President to come out against Israel, then American Jews might in significant numbers vote for the opposing candidate,” he said. However, he continued, because pro-Israel voters do not feel that there is a significant threat to Israel when choosing between Romney and Obama, they do not feel they need to consider Israel’s security more than other policy issues that concern them.

Among Jewish voters, a key bastion of support for Israel, the candidates’ policies on Israel may not have as large a role in determining voting preferences as some people think.

According to David Harris, the president and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), support for Israel comes 6th, 7th, and 8th on Jewish voters’ priority lists. He termed this statistic a success story, noting that both candidates value Israel as an important ally and view protecting Israel against Iran’s nuclear threat as a priority. For this reason, he posited, American Jews do not feel they need to prioritize Israel as they decide which candidate to support.

“Only a handful [of American Jews] vote on Israel alone,” Harris said, adding that other issues that figure in Jews’ voting choices include social issues and the economy.

Harris noted that many American Jews put their concerns about social policies and the economy ahead of their concerns about Israel.

Harris called this a “litmus test issue: It would be a top priority if the presidential candidate came out against Israel poll after poll.”

Representatives of the Republican Jewish Council declined to be interviewed.

Sarna noted that some pro-Israel Americans vote based on their views about Israeli security alone. Many of these voters, he added, will cast their ballots for Romney.

“It will be a vote that is more antagonistic to [Obama] than enthusiastic to the man challenging him,” he said.

Historically, American Jews have favored Democratic Presidential candidates by a 3-1 margin, and among all college students the ratio is 2-1.

Visit Israel Campus Beat

About the Author: Visit Israel Campus Beat


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Israel Not High Voting Priority for Pro-Israel Student Activists”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Desperate crowd awaits relief aid at Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.
US: UNRWA Gets Add’l $6M for Yarmouk ‘Palestinians,’ Only $10M for Nepal
Latest News Stories
Desperate crowd awaits relief aid at Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.

The U.S. State Department issued a quiet little bombshell with an unheralded press release dated April 27, which revealed that on April 24, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power announced that an additional $6 million of U.S. taxpayer money is being provided to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near […]

Arab stone throwers lightly injured a person near the Husan Bypass in Gush Etzion.

People  returning from Nepal.

On Monday, 2 El Al planes flew out carrying out more than 200 doctors, sanitation engineers, machinery technicians, as well as medical equipment including oxygen tanks, medical ventilators, X-ray machines, medicines and engineering equipment…

Sen. Rand Paul at the Western Wall in 2013.

“How do you explain your position in a way that they will stop writing that you’re an anti-Semite?” asked the Yated Ne’eman editor-in-chief.

UNRWA is proud because Hamas only stored mortars in their schools, not rockets, according to the UN inquiry.

U.S. officials have acknowledged that Iran-supported Shiite violence in Iraq and Yemen has been influencing the talks between the U.S. and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program

12:46 PM: Now this is interesting: A Syrian army source told the Lebanon news outlet, Elnashra: A number of rockets were launched at IDF positions near the border. Syrian rebel forces then launched mortars at the source of the Syrian rocket fire. The Syrian army is on high alert in readiness for an Israeli assault. […]

German Soccer fans were told to stop waving their Israeli flags.

The UN’s BOI report about the 2014 Gaza War documents the exploitation by Hamas of UN facilities.

The Russian government’s plan to rid the capital Moscow of swastikas and everything else of Nazi origin, in time for Victory Day.

Since 2014, the Border Police have become a favorite target for Arab terrorists.

Miller would like a chance to tell the court it’s time to “put the Jews on trial where they belong.”

Two Israelis were hurt in road terror attacks Monday, and a 16 year old Arab teen was shot while attacking a motorist.

The Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park holds the record for the highest birth rate in New York City in 2013.

The death toll continues to rise following earthquakes in Nepal as rescue workers fight the clock.

Ready for the big news? George W. Bush doesn’t think much of Barack Obama’s foreign policy decisions.

More Articles from Ilana Levinson, Israel Campus Beat
campus studenrs

As college students prepare to hit the polls on November 6 – many for the first time – they will be considering a broad array of policy issues and party platforms. What drives young people to vote? How do they consider various issues? Does Israel play a role in the choices they make on election day? Israel Campus Beat interviewed pro-Israel students on campuses across the country to gauge the impact their support for Israel has on how they are preparing for Election Day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-not-high-voting-priority-for-pro-israel-student-activists/2012/10/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: