Holding Israeli elections a day before Super Tuesday in the US

Super Tuesday is the most important day in the US primary calendar when fully 14 states will be holding primaries and selecting their delegates.

Israel elections:time to vote. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel elections:time to vote.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump spent an hour Saturday evening talking to the Israeli-American Council (IAC) national summit in Hollywood, Florida – not to better known Jewish organizations such as AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee and the Anti Defamation League, but to the IAC, an organization much of American Jewry has never heard of.
Why? It probably has something to do with Republican mega donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson being key backers of the group.
Trump did not address this conference because he thinks it will bring him the Jewish vote – polls show that he has no chance of capturing the bulk of the Jewish vote – but he does want to keep the Adelsons’ support.
Which is just one example of how Jews and Israel are playing a role in the 2020 presidential campaign.
The president’s speech came one day after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said at a campaign event in Iowa that his rival Bernie Sanders’ proposal to withhold US aid from Israel was “bizarre.”
That this came up in an event in the state that will hold the first caucuses in just over a month’s time shows that Israel is an issue in the campaign. Biden was setting himself apart from Sanders, who – together with Elizabeth Warren – has staked out very critical positions on Israel in an effort to woo the pro-Palestinian progressive wing of the party.
And on Monday, Hillary Clinton addressed an event in New York organized by the Jewish Labor Committee – an organization even lesser known than the one Trump spoke to – and came out against complacency while referencing what Obama administration officials always loved to talk about in front of Jewish audiences: “tikkun olam.”
On Tuesday, a new poll of registered Democrats had Clinton as their top choice for the Democratic nomination, outpacing Biden. Might her Monday night speech have been a “testing of the waters” in front of a “home crowd?”
With the US primaries just around the corner and the US campaign about to shift into high gear, Jews and Israel are playing a play a bit role in the action.
Now this bit role, with a stroke of calendrical coincidence, may become suddenly more pronounced if Israel goes to elections – as is now highly probable – on March 2. Why? Because this is just a day before March 3, Super Tuesday, the most important day in the US primary calendar when fully 14 states – including California, Texas, Massachusetts and North Carolina – will be holding primaries and selecting their delegates.
That the Israeli election may take part a day before 38% of the convention’s pledged delegates will be chosen ensures two things. First, that the Israeli election results – as well as the campaign itself – will be overshadowed in the US media by the US primaries.
And, secondly, that the Israeli elections are certain to become an issue in the heat of the primary campaign, with the various contenders sure to want to sound off on a topical issue to appeal to the constituents they are trying to woo.
In addition to calling Sanders’ idea of withholding aid to Israel “bizarre” on Saturday, Biden – during that campaign event in Iowa – also said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was an “extreme right” leader and “counterproductive.” If he felt the need to make this remark on Saturday, how much more so will Biden want to articulate that sentiment when it is actually relevant – on the eve of elections in Israel – and when he feels that this position might benefit him with his voters?
Let alone what Sanders and Warren will say during the primary campaign with the Israeli election on the horizon, pandering to the small but very vocal anti-Israel element in their party. Israel’s elections will be a reason for the candidates to sound off on Israel, and they will do so in a way they think will get them the most votes in the states they deem most important.
And in that type of exchange Israel is bound to lose, because rather than being seen as an issue around which all the candidates can agree, it will be perceived as an issue that divides.