AIAC wants olim to vote in US

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
July 29, 2010 01:38

"Americans in Israel should vote in congressional race."

2 minute read.



AIAC chairman Harvey Schwartz (left) meets with fo

aiac huckabee 311. (photo credit: AIAC)

American immigrants to Israel: Uncle Sam wants you to vote in the key congressional race in November for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the 100 in the Senate.

Or at least, Uncle Harvey does.

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American Israeli Action Coalition chairman Harvey Schwartz unveiled a new “get out the vote” campaign on Wednesday at a Jerusalem press conference. The campaign aims to reach some 100,000 residents of Israel eligible to vote in the US.

The effort will utilize the media, the Internet and volunteers to reach out to American Israelis, especially students on post-high school programs and attending university here, as well as children of American immigrants, even if they have never set foot in the US.

“Our votes can have a significant impact on an election that many commentators believe will be a historic one,” Schwartz said. “In these critical times, AIAC believes it’s incumbent on Americans living in Israel to exercise their right to vote. It’s in the best interests of Israel and America. It’s important that Americans know there is a substantial voter population here and that Israelis know that Americans here matter.”

Schwartz said that in the past, many Americans in Israel did not vote, either because they didn’t know they had the right, they didn’t know how, or they didn’t think they could make a difference. But the importance of each vote was proven by the 2000 presidential election that George W. Bush won due to a 500-vote majority in Florida.

AIAC also intends to host debates between Democratic and Republican representatives, as the organization did ahead of the 2008 presidential election, and to provide a forum for candidates who visit Israel.

Schwartz stressed that his organization was nonpartisan and that the drive was not intended to help one candidate or another.

He said the fact that most American Israelis voted for Republican John McCain over US President Barack Obama in the last presidential election did not indicate how they would vote this time.

AIAC has written Obama, asking him to visit Israel for the first time as president.

Schwartz said he would be delighted if the president were to come before the election and participate in the debate that his organization was planning.

“This is most definitely not an anti-Obama campaign,” he said. “It’s a pro-American- Israel campaign. Under American law, every citizen has the right to vote. There is no reason for American Israelis to be discriminated against out of fear that their vote would go one way or another. This is pro-American, not anti-anybody.”


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