U.S. midterms: AIPAC lauds re-election of pro-Israel stalwarts
Pro-Israel group hails success for supporters on both sides of the political divide, as well as election of three new Jewish members of Congress; polls shows 66 percent of U.S. Jews voted Democrat.
America's largest pro-Israel lobby group on Wednesday hailed the results of midterm elections in the U.S. which saw staunch supporters re-elected to Congress on both sides of the party political divide.
"Many of the strongest friends and supporters of the U.S.-Israel relationship were reelected on Tuesday," the group said in a statement.
These included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Reps. John Boehner (R-OH), widely tipped to be named Republican majority leader in the lower House of Representatives, which his party seized from Democratic control.
Other pro-Israel successes cited by AIPAC included outgoing House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as well as Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
"It is abundantly clear that the 112th Congress will continue America's long tradition of staunch support for a strong, safe and secure Israel and an abiding friendship between the United States and our most reliable ally in the Middle East," AIPAC said.
Israel's Washington embassy also expressed satisfaction with the results.
"Support for Israel at the Congress is strong and bipartisan,” an embassy spokesman told Haaretz.
AIPAC also welcomed the election of three new Jewish members of Congress: Senator-elect Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Congressman-elect David Cicilline (D-RI), and Congresswoman-elect Nan Hayworth (R-NY).
Cicilline becomes the fourth openly gay member of Congress – and third Jewish gay member of Congress.
Some Jewish incumbents lost out, however – among them Florida Democrat Alan Grayson, who ran a controversial campaign in which he labeled his opponent, Daniel Webster, “Taliban Dan”. Another incumbent, Ron Klein lost to the republican Allen West, in Florida.
In Wisconsin, Republicans picked up two seats, ousting Jewish Democratic incumbent, Steve Kagen, who lost to Reid Ribble. Another Jewish Congressman to leave the House is John Adler of New Jersey.
According to an election day poll by J Street, another lobby group that sees itself as AIPAC's more liberal rival, 66 percent of U.S. Jews voted Democrat.
Only 7 percent of Jews polled identified Israel as a decisive issue, with 62 percent citing the economy and 31 percent mentioning healthcare as a major concern.
Sixty percent of U.S. Jews approved of the way President Barack Obama is handling his job, while 53 percent approved of the way he is handling the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A decisive 83 percent of American Jews supported an active U.S. role in resolving the conflict. Seventy-one percent supported a U.S. policy involving “publicly stating disagreements with” Israel and the Palestinians, while 65 percent said they were prepared to see America "exert pressure” on the sides to push them toward peace.
The poll, conducted by conducted by Gerstein Agne Strategic Communications, surveyed 1000 Jewish voters across the U.S. and 600 Jewish voters in Pennsylvania on the evening of November 2nd. A separate poll, conducted before the election from October 20-24, surveyed 400 voters in Illinois’ Ninth Congressional District.