Comment: Do the motives matter?

Informed citizens make for better voters, no matter whom they vote for.

October 19, 2012 03:30
2 minute read.
Romney, Obama point at each other during debate

Romney, Obama point at eachother during debate 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mike Segar)

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.

In the 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 6.

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.

Because no 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.

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