It’s no secret that President Barack Obama has struggled — at least in the eyes of some critics — to maintain his image as a president who is highly supportive of the Israeli state. From his flap last year over Israel’s 1967 borders to a convoluted view regarding where he stands on issues surrounding Middle Eastern politics, it hasn’t been an easy road for Obama.
In the past, The Blaze reported that the president sees the need to ramp up his efforts to court Jewish voters. Now, following ongoing questions, there’s evidence that some major Jewish donors to Obama’s 2008 campaign have been doling out cash to Romney’s super PAC. The Jewish Forward reports that a small group of Jewish private equity investors happen to be playing a major role in the Republican contender’s fundraising efforts.
Romney’s PAC has benefited a great deal from these individuals, with 10 percent of the total $36 million raised coming in from them. Of course, Republican-leaning Jewish donors have long supported Romney, as the Forward reports. But there may be a changing dynamic here, as some of those Jewish donors providing Romney’s super PAC with funds were major individual donors to Obama’s historic 2008 campaign (or to Democratic campaigns and causes more generally).
“It sounds like these guys, they have a personal vested interest in making sure [Obama] gets beat,” said Fred Zeidman, a fundraiser for the Romney campaign.
The Forward continues, providing more on those individuals who have a background in Democratic politics:
…some of the Jewish givers to the Romney super PAC have a history of giving to Democratic candidates and Democratic Party groups. Steven Roth, chairman of the real estate investment firm Vornado Realty Trust, gave $100,000 to the Romney super PAC. But he and his wife were among the top donors in the country to Democratic candidates and party groups in the 2006 election cycle, according to [CRP. Roth raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for John McCain in 2008, though he and his wife were also top individual donors rated “solidly Democratic” by CRP.
Paul Fireman of the private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, former chairman of the shoe company Reebok, gave $250,000 to Restore Our Future. He made individual donations of a few thousand dollars to Obama’s campaign in 2008 and made donations of $30,000 and $22,000 to Democratic Party groups in 2008 and 2009, respectively. But Fireman also gave to a pro-Romney PAC in 2007.
There are plenty of others who join these individuals in now pledging support to Romney’s electoral efforts. Considering past questions about Obama’s viability among American Jews, these movements are noteworthy. Still, one must operate with a healthy level of skepticism, especially considering the fact that anecdotal happenings are not necessarily indicative of greater patterns of behavior.
“In every election cycle there are individuals who, for personal reasons or financial reasons or business reasons, move from one party to the other, and it’s hardly surprising that a couple people end up in the Romney camp who have given to Democrats in the past,” says Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster.
Regardless, it’s likely these movements, especially considering ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and a Jewish cohort that continues to hammer away at Obama’s purported lack of support for Israel, will concern some Democrats.
(H/T: Jewish Forward)