Activists: Israeli contributions to Trump campaign are in spirit and votes
Marc Zell,chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, gives a speech at the Gush Etzion settlement of Sde Boaz, October 22, 2020
(photo credit: LAND OF ISRAEL CAUCUS)
Adelsons and Bloomberg were biggest contributors to candidates
The US elections voting pattern in Israel may be almost the diametric opposite of the Jewish-American vote in the United States, but on both sides of the pond, Jews have been active in promoting their respective candidates for president during this election.
“We are entirely self-funded,” Marc Zell, chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel (ROI), told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “Even if there were Israelis who wanted to donate heavily to Trump’s campaign, they could not do so, as they are not US citizens.”
Zell said that, to the best of his knowledge, no Israeli-American businesses or person offered substantial funding to the current campaign.
“We offer a spiritual contribution,” he suggested. “We saw a surge among ultra-Orthodox Americans living here who show gratitude and they vote for Trump.”
ROI, he said, had been very meaningful in helping US citizens in Israel to register to vote in their states and file their votes as needed, seeing as the US Embassy is “understaffed” due to COVID-19.
Heather Stone, chairwoman of Democrats Abroad Israel, claimed that “despite the propaganda, Jewish Americans don’t check their values at the airport when they arrive in Israel.”Stone told the Post that roughly 60% of the Jewish-American vote in Israel goes to Biden, only 10% below the Jewish-American vote on average in the US. DAI is funded by Democrats Abroad, the official organization of the US Democratic Party for Democrats outside the US.
“We reach everybody,” she said, pointing out that there are haredi Democrats as well as Jewish-American Biden supporters who reside in the West Bank.
“Members of DAI might give contributions to persons or causes they feel close to,” she explained, “but we, as DAI, don’t raise funds.”
One exception to the rule is when presidential nominees are known, when donation-required events are held.
“We saw a surge of young people (18-25) who came to us and wanted to vote for the first time,” Stone told the Post. “These are people who were born in the US or here to American parents, who feel strongly about global warming or healthcare in the States and want to cast their vote.”
The current US presidential elections cost $14 billion, OpenSecrets.Org reported, making them the most expensive ever.
Democrats spent nearly twice as much as Republicans, $6.9b. to $3.8b.
The biggest contributors in terms of a personal donation out of pocket happen to be Jewish Americans. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who gave over $183 million to the GOP, and Michael Bloomberg, who gave more than $106m. to the Democrats.
Technically, as Miriam Adelson is Israeli-American, that would make her the most significant Israeli contributor to the Republican Party.
Also on the list are Stephen and Christine Schwarzman, who gave roughly $30m. to Republican causes and $8,400 to the Democrats, and Donald Sussman, who donated over $26m. to the Democrats.
Laura Perlmutter, wife of Israeli-born chairman of Marvel Comics Isaac Perlmutter, gave more than $23m. to the GOP. Jewish-American co-founder of Facebook Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, Cari, donated more than $23m. to the Democrats, and Israeli-American entrepreneur Haim Sabag donated tens of thousands of US dollars to various Democratic causes.
Despite the impression that Hollywood supports liberal causes, Israeli actress Gal Gadot and Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman didn’t contribute to either party, the site claims.
The site did note that those working in television, films or music tend to give more to Democrats and liberal groups, a little over $67m., than to Republicans and conservative groups, which received $8.6m.
Top donors to the GOP and conservative groups include the retired, who gave roughly $585m. ($442m. was given to Democrats and liberal groups), the real estate sector, which gave about $124m. (Democrats got $110m.) and the oil and gas sector, which lavished support with $48m. (just $9m. was given to Democrats).
Top donors on the other side of the fence included lawyers, who offered $210m. to Democrats and liberal causes, compared to $40m. given to the GOP and conservative groups; and teachers, who gave a whopping $215m. to the former and less than $20m. to the latter.
Women across America impacted the 2020 elections as well by donating a record sum of $2.5b. by mid-October.
The figure nearly doubled when compared to 2016, when it was $1.3b.
Women who donated more than $200 in personal offerings gave Democrats $1.3b. and those supporting Trump offered $570m. to the GOP.
It’s likely that the recent nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court pushed many women to make a contribution. Deeply conservative, Barrett might end up playing a decisive role in the ongoing US debate over abortion rights for women from a pro-life standpoint.