Mitt Romney is trying to cut into the considerable lead President Obama had among Jewish voters by showing that he is even more of a supporter of Israel than his rival.
Romney is hardly the only one who believes that the Jewish vote swings to the candidate in presidential elections who is the most fervent supporter of Israel. The same position was given voice in a 2007 book by two highly regarded political scientists, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, which suggests that Jews have undue influence over U.S. foreign policy by making campaign contributions, pressuring members of Congress, and by casting their votes to support Israel.
For the vast majority of Jews, Israel ranks surprisingly low in their considerations as voters. Among self-identified Jewish adults, 51% of those registered to vote cited the economy as the most important issue driving their voting decision. Fifteen percent cited the growing gap between the rich and the poor, while 10% cited health care and 7% the deficit. Only 4% cited Israel as the most important issue to their vote.
All this is not to question that Jews care about Israel — although many liberal Jews are very critical of its policies, and there are many liberal Jews — just as Irish, Polish, Armenian and other Americans care about the nation they or their forefathers are from and to which they feel an ethnic affinity.
However, to jump from noting such sentiments to the conclusion that therefore members of these groups will put these concerns above their commitment to America or allow these concerns to determine their vote must be supported by data.