Campaign Finance

New ads from conservative Jewish groups

Rachael Marcus Jul 30, 2012

 With GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Israel over the weekend, the “Emergency Committee for Israel,” a conservative political group with neoconservative ties, released a series of ads on Thursday, Friday and Sunday opposing President Barack Obama.

Among them:

  • print ad in 26 Jewish newspapers at a cost of $54,000;
  • Postcards,” which shows Obama traveling the Middle East but not stopping in Israel, and;
  • O Jerusalem,” which highlights the Obama administration’s reluctance to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

In addition, the Republican Jewish Coalition released “Renie” and “Bruce,” ads that include the personal stories of two Jewish voters who chose Obama in 2008 and plan to vote Republican this year.

The Emergency Committee for Israel’s website lists William Kristol as a board member. Kristol is the founder and editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard and a noted neoconservative, a political movement that played a critical role in the administration of President George W. Bush.

The organization consists of three entities: a nonprofit, a political action committee and a super PAC. Through the end of June, the most recent Federal Election Commission filings available, all of the super PAC’s contributions had come from the nonprofit, which is not required to disclose its donors.

The group’s director, Noah Pollack, told the Jerusalem Post that its mission is to address three issues: Iran’s nuclear program and support of terrorism, the “campaign to de-legitimize and isolate Israel” and the “hostility” of the Obama administration to a close alliance between Israel and the U.S.

Martin Indyk, the ambassador to Israel under former President Bill Clinton, is quoted in the print ad as saying Obama “only made things worse” in Israel. Indyk told Politico that the organization’s portrayal of his position is inaccurate and that he plans to vote for Obama.

“It’s a low and odious attempt to twist some words for the purpose of politicizing an analysis I was doing,” he said.

J Street, a progressive Jewish organization, also released an ad Thursday, “Where Does Mitt Romney Stand?” It calls on Romney to side with past Republican leaders, including Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush.

In 2008, Obama took 74 percent of the Jewish vote, but with pro-Israel super donor Sheldon Adelson spending tens of millions on super PACs and Romney’s wooing of conservative Jews, the GOP hopes to peel off some of Obama’s Jewish supporters.

On Friday, the same day Romney arrived in Israel, Obama announced he was releasing an additional $70 million in military aid to Israel to help expand a short-range rocket defense system, the Associated Press reported. The announcement coincided with his signing of a bill to expand military and civilian cooperation with the country.

In other outside spending news:

  • The Republican National Committee spent $3.7 million on Friday for ads opposing Obama: “Again,” “It’s Okay” and “It Worked?”
  • Restore Our Future, the primary pro-Romney super PAC, spent $887,000 on ads supporting Romney and opposing Obama.
  • End the Gridlock, a super PAC, spent $315,000 on TV and radio ads opposing surprise Republican nominee Deb Fischer of Nebraska who is running for U.S. Senate. This is the super PAC’s first independent expenditure. 
  • Nonprofit Crossroads GPS reported spending $472,000 on TV ads opposing Rep. Shelley Berkley’s run for U.S. Senate in Nevada.
  • Super PAC Club for Growth Action spent $505,000 on TV and online ads supporting tea party favorite Ted Cruz in Tuesday’s GOP Senate primary in Texas. Cruz faces Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the establishment favorite.
  • Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC connected to Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, also helped Cruz with a $157,000 ad buy. The group released “Three Years” on Friday, which also criticizes Obama. The ad marks Ricketts’ return to the news following a blowup over leaked plans for a controversial anti-Obama ad.
  • New Directions for America spent $132,000 on TV ads to further aid the U.S. House campaign of Democrat Dan Roberti in Connecticut. The New York City-based super PAC has spent all its funds in support of Roberti, a public relations executive. “Not the Change We Need” began airing July 26 and criticizes Roberti’s Democratic opponents Elizabeth Esty, a former state representative, and Chris Donovan, speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives. All of the super PAC’s contributions have come from out-of-state donors, according to FECfilings.
  • Two new super PACs, Cascadia PAC in Portland, Ore., and America Shining in San Francisco, registered with the FEC.


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