BY BUDDY NEVINS
By now almost everybody has seen the pro-Mitt Romney ads aimed at Florida Jews.
They basically have one theme: President Barack Obama is bad for Israel.
Romney wears a yarmulke in Jerusalem
Let’s set aside that this is nauseating pandering. Let’s set aside that these ads stoke the age-old bias held by bigots that Jews have duel allegiances.
Statistics printed in Forward, the national Jewish newspaper, indicate that the tactic is just plain politically wrong.
Jews are expected to vote like others in this election. Economic issues and particularly Medicare and Social Security will be the issues foremost on their minds, according to the Forward article by University of Miami demographer Ira Sheskin.
It is not that Israel doesn’t matter. It just won’t determine the vast majority of Jewish votes.
Sheskin quoted a national survey done four years ago. Israel ranked eighth among Jewish concerns. Only 15 percent of Jews chose Israel as one of their top three issues.
I would bet that those 15 percent are already Romney supporters.
But it is another statistic in Sheskin’s article that stands out: Half of all Jewish voters in Florida are over 65.
Medicare and Social Security are the BIG issues for them, like other seniors. On this issue, Romney and Ryan are at a disadvantage with their proposed voucher system, which would throw future senior medical care at the mercy of private insurance companies.
Anybody who has dealt with health insurance companies knows how that will work out!
How about the GOP’s plan to privatize Social Security? Seniors, including Jews, are worried that will leave their futures subject to the whims of Wall Street.
I believe it will be tough for Republicans to hide the fact from Jews that their base consists of far right conservatives.
It is a base opposed to a woman’s right to choose, birth control, stem cell research, immigrants and much of known science.
It is a base of Christian zealots and Jews have a suspicion of Christians zealots based on 2,000 years of history.
Latest polls from the American Jewish Committee and Gallup found 7 out of 10 Jews are backing Obama. That’s a slight drop since 2008.
True, Romney only has to prod only a few more Jews to vote for him to make the difference in a close race.
But by emphasizing Israel he and his supporters are using the wrong tactics.
A recent anti-Obama ad by the Republican Jewish Coalition, a pro-Romney political group (click to enlarge):