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Israeli American Voters Could Be Numerous as Ballots Cast by Corporations

by Pini Herman

August 2, 2012 | 4:13 pm

The elections are growing closer Mitt Romney and Howard Berman have something uncomfortably in common. The don’t seem to be doing their demographic research as to whether the voters they are pursuing actually exist.

Romney wasn’t warned by Jewish Republicans in time to prevent raised eyebrows about reports that he intended to attend a $50-60 thousand a plate fundraiser in Jerusalem on the day of the Tish’a B’Av fast.  That should have been Romney’s first clue about his Jewish supporters.

The Republican Jewish Coalition head Ari Fleischer and his entourage traveled 5,683 miles to Israel, more miles than there are potential American Republican voters which I estimate to be around 2,500, in Israel.

The Republican Jewish Coalition has created estimates that roughly 150,000 U.S. citizens and eligible votersare living in Israel, including many from key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. So the RJC is organizing a registration drive in Israel.

The 2011 Statistical Abstract of Israel shows 154,000 originating from North America and Oceania, meaning primarily the U.S., Canada and Australia, of which 59 percent are Israeli-born, thus not likely to have registered to vote in the U.S.  That leaves about 64,000 of which 86% are Americans, leaving 55,000, if similar rates of registration and voting occurs as in the U.S. for Jews, then about 81 percent would vote in the best case, which would leave 45,000.

45,000 potential voters is optimistic because of another hurdle to voting. Americans don’t vote directly for U.S. president, we vote for Electors from each state.  Therefore, American citizens ages 18 and older can register to vote. To register, voters must meet the residency requirements of their states, which vary, and comply with voter-registration deadlines.

It would take a truly rabid political Israeli American political animal to maintain after a number of years registration in their last state of residence.  So if an optimistic 10 percent of Israeli Americans did so, only 4,500 might vote.  Let’s say Israeli Americans buck the Democratic voter trend and half vote Republican, that translates to 2,500 potential votes for Romney.

Romney has lost a lot of credibility for his missteps on this foreign foray. He changed the scheduled Tisha B’av fundraiser and didn’t have time to travel a three-quarters of an hour by car and visit the Palestinian Authority’s leaders as well as gratuitously insulting them with insensitive remarks.  Actually, Palestinians are sometimes called the Jews of the Arab world because of their parallel emphasis on education, entrepreneurship and economic achievements in the Diaspora.

Now more locally to Congressman Howard Berman

I can’t understand why Howard Berman is not pursuing the Latinos in the newly configured West San Fernando Valley Congressional District 30. Unfortunately Howard Berman is endangering his re-election by efforts to curry favor with Israeli American voters who actually don’t exist in enough numbers to elect him even to the LA City Council if the race was close. As of the 2010 U.S. Census the average population of a congressional district was 710,494. Israelis by the widest definition constitute less than 30 thousand living all over Los Angeles.  There are roughly 76 thousand Latino citizens of voting age who have the choice between two Jewish congressman.  Berman is beloved by Doris Huerta, organizer along with Cesar Chavez, of the United Farm Workers, when I met her urged me to work to support Berman and was fearful of losing him in Congress. 

As a California state legislator, Berman authored the landmark legislation that established agricultural collective bargaining in California in 1975. That law helped Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the United Farm Workers achieve unprecedented successes in agricultural union organizing.  Rep. Berman co-authored the agricultural worker “legalization” program in the 1986 immigration legislation, providing one million farmworkers with the opportunity to become full-fledged members of our society.  He has been a major Congressional supporter of publicly-funded legal services for farmworkers and other poor people. Rep. Berman has defended farmworkers’ rights during the as agricultural employers have lobbied strenuously for rollbacks in farm labor laws.

There are lots of congress members on the Israel train. With Berman, I’d like to be able to continue to brag about that kind of forty-year record of a Jewish congressman to every Latino I know.

Pini Herman, PhD. has served as Asst. Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography,  Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work,  Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following Bruce Phillips, PhD. in that position (and author of the “most recent” 15 year old study of the LA Jewish population which was the third most downloaded study from Berman Jewish Policy Archives in 2011) and is a past President of the Movable Minyan a lay-lead independent congregation in the 3rd Street area. Currently he is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research. To email Pini: pini00003@gmail.com To follow Pini on Twitter:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Bruce Phillips is Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. He has conducted Jewish population...

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