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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Post-Election Webinar

The 2020 U.S. Elections and the Jewish Vote

Priorities and Concerns of American Jews, Implications for Israel

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Full recording

Amb. Dore Gold – President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

  • A critical election comes around and things change. A lot of the commentary about this election – including in the Jewish community but not just the Jewish community – was that different groups in American society were going to alter their orientation. So you’re in a new reality all of a sudden that you have to understand.
  • If we can get a sense at the very beginning of where America is going, it will help us in Israel operate intelligently in the period ahead. Being cognizant of what is going on, of the debates in different communities and geographic parts of America, will help Israel understand its most important ally.
  • Read the transcript

MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh – Member of Knesset (Blue and White party):

  • The United States has to hold Iran to task for the need for accountability and safeguards, which were not assured and which we know were ignored. Our role in our relationship and engagement with the U.S. is to bring this to the fore and expose the double standards that have thus far enabled and empowered the culture of impunity of the Iranian regime.
  • It is an imperative for the State of Israel to rise from the docket of the accused by reaffirming international law and utilizing the language of rights, the lingua franca of the rest of the world, and making accessible the case and cause of the State of Israel. Two deceased soldiers and two Israeli civilians are being held by Hamas in Gaza in standing violation of international law and morality, under a ceasefire which the U.S. brokered.
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Prof. Steven Windmueller – Jerusalem Center Fellow and Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies at the HUC-JIR, Los Angeles

  • In the 2020 election, American Jews did not place Israel as a central theme in much of their thinking. As long as Israel is not in crisis, American Jewish voters will not bring that issue forward in the same kind of intensity as we have possibly seen in the past.
  • The core issue for American Jews is the issue of anti-Semitism. Every poll prior to this election pointed to a strong sense of insecurity and concern by American Jews. For the first time in their history, American Jews are weighing the pressures of having threats from their political right and their political left.
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Dr. Irwin Mansdorf – Jerusalem Center Fellow specializing in political psychology

  • In our polling, when we took people’s primary and secondary issues together, over 70% of Biden voters felt that character and trust was the most important issue, and 60% of Trump voters said the most important issue was left progressive extremism.
  • Our polling showed that there was a lot of unfamiliarity among the American Jewish community about three issues that we think are very important: Palestinian financial support for terror, Nazi-themed anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial within the Palestinian media, and the same thing in terms of Iran.
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William Daroff, J.D. – CEO, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

  • President-elect Biden has been a friend of the Jewish state throughout his long political career and the incoming 117th Congress will be comprised of members – both leadership and rank and file – the vast majority of whom are steadfastly pro-Israel. His administration will likely be very accessible and responsive to our community.
  • Iranian aggression in the region must be countered and the ayatollah’s nuclear development cannot be allowed to continue unabated. It is our hope that any new Iran deal be more far-reaching and comprehensive regarding Iran’s actions in the region and its nuclear ambitions for the long term.
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Dr. Liel Leibovitz – Senior Writer, Tablet Magazine

  • Donald Trump improved his performance over 2016 in every single category except for white men, which teaches us a lot about how fervently Americans rejected the narrative of racial divisions and a perspective of looking at the world through the small, narrow lens of identity politics.
  • If you travel, as I did before we were all quarantined, and talk to people and get people to share their own Jewish journeys, you see not just how passionate so many people are about discovering their own paths into Judaism, but also how passionate they are about making these paths their own.
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Questions and Answers

Moderator: Howard Weisband – Jerusalem Center Fellow and Board Member, former Secretary General of the Jewish Agency for Israel