Tags: GOP | Israel | support | donors

NYT: Pro-Israel Donors Fuel GOP's Rising Support for Jewish State

By    |   Monday, 06 April 2015 10:44 AM

Republican lawmakers are perhaps more emboldened in their support of Israel because of the increasing support many have received with wealthy pro-Israel donors, The New York Times reports.

Donations from those deep pockets to Republicans outpaced similar contributions to Democrats — the first time in more than a decade — leading many from the GOP to speak out against the ongoing Iranian nuclear negotiations as Israel registers its fears of a dangerous deal, the Times said.

"Republicans currently in the Senate raised more money during the 2014 election cycle in direct, federally regulated campaign contributions from individuals and political action committees deemed pro-Israel than their Democratic counterparts," the Times added, citing data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Among the most outspoken Republicans is new Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, whose election bid was financed heavily by several pro-Israel sources, the Times said, including The Emergency Committee for Israel, led by Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, which spent $960,000, as well as $250,000 that came from New York Hedge Fund billionaire Paul Singer through the group Arkansas Horizon. 

Cotton also got big funds from a PAC run by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton — $825,000 — and $100,000 from Boston-based billionaire Seth Klarman, the Times said.

At least one observer says such donors are now getting their money's worth amid the nuclear debate, as GOP lawmakers snap back against President Barack Obama's tepid embrace of Israel's concerns.

"Absolutely, it is a factor. They are trying to cater to people who are ultimately going to support them," noted Marc Felgoise, of the campaign-fundraising group Philadelphia Israel Network, in an interview with the Times.

In February, The Washington Post cited a recent Gallup survey on support for Israel, and its divide along party lines. Republicans, said Gallup, have contributed significantly.

"A key reason Americans' sympathy for Israel has solidified at a sizable majority level is that Republicans' support for the Jewish state has increased considerably, rising from 53 percent in 2000 to more than 80 percent since 2014 — with just 7 percent choosing the Palestinian Authority," Gallup wrote. "A particularly large jump in GOP sympathy for Israel occurred in the first few years after 9/11 and at the start of the 2003 Iraq War. Democrats' support is now at 48 percent."

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz, however, called the Times' story of contributions responsible for influencing GOP attitudes toward support of Israel a "deeply cynical view."

"It is plain to me that it's not a shift in political contributions that is deepening the Republicans' support for Israel," writes Seth Lipsky in an opinion piece published Monday. "Rather, it is the emergence of the Republican Party as Israel's more ardent supporter that is inspiring any shift in political contributions."

Lipsky noted that Obama, a darling of Jewish voters during his first term, lost plenty of those voters in his second White House bid. He also noted the demographic shift among the nation's Jews "as the Orthodox community grows faster than the more liberal, secular Jewish population."

He added: "Some is substantive, which is the danger the Democrats face in the presidential election next year. The majority of Jews are still liberal. But what they expected when President Obama vowed he'd have Israel's back was not the kind of scorn he's been showing for Israel and the kind of warmth he has been exuding for the Iranian mullahs."

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Republican lawmakers are perhaps more emboldened in their support of Israel because of the increasing support many have received with wealthy pro-Israel donors, The New York Times reports.
GOP, Israel, support, donors
Monday, 06 April 2015 10:44 AM
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