The reaction to the reports that Ron Lauder is the money man behind iVoteIsrael
should be a resounding “So what?” Does it really matter whether Lauder, Sheldon
Adelson (who was rumored to be fueling the tight-lipped organization), Rahm
Emmanuel or Yisrael Beytenu is behind the effort to register American citizens
in Israel to vote in the upcoming presidential elections?
To be sure, the forces
behind iVoteIsrael hope that those who registered will cast their ballots for
Mitt Romney and oust President Barack Obama – whom they perceive as being no
friend of Israel – from the White House.
But once the organization
achieves its goals of signing another US expat up to vote, its influence ends,
even if its website posts videos that come across as endorsements of Romney.
Only the voters have control over what they do with their ballots.
series of debates that The Jerusalem Post, iVoteIsrael and the Association of
Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI) have conducted around the country
recently (with the last one due October 28 in Jerusalem), there has been free
and robust discourse between representatives of Democrats Abroad in Israel and
Republicans Abroad in Israel. No one besides those Democratic and Republican
representatives has lobbied attendees about their votes, and the attendees have
been provided with both sides of the issues facing voters on November
It’s not only the candidates’ stand on Israel-related issues that seem
to matter to the attendees, either – they also care about the economy, whether
it’s implications for the future of their Social Security checks or changes in
healthcare. And that’s what really counts in the elections.
matter what some would like voters to believe, some things are not likely to
change. Whether Obama returns for four more years or Romney takes over, the US
is not going to move its embassy to Jerusalem, the administration is not going
to suddenly embrace settlement expansion or legalization of outposts, nor will
it likely drop a bomb on Iran.
Every president in recent decades – from
Ronald Reagan and George Bush father and son, to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton –
has shown us that.
So whether its motives are the stated goal of
increasing American-Israelis’ clout, or the more clandestine endgame of booting
out Obama, the results of iVoteIsrael’s campaign have been increasing awareness
of the issues among potential voters in Israel. And informed citizens make for
better voters, no matter whom they vote for.