Wednesday, July 28, 2010

AIAC launch "Get out the Vote" among Americans in Israel - 'Our Campaign is Not Anti-Obama, Just Pro-American Israeli'

(INN).Every vote counts.With that in mind, the American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC) kicked-off of its “Get out the Vote” campaign among Americans living in Israel for the November 2010 U.S. Congressional elections. AIAC held a press conference in Jerusalem.

AIAC Chairman Harvey Schwartz explained the initiative. "It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 potential American voters living in Israel. They have a right (and an obligation) to vote in – and can have a significant impact on -- the upcoming U.S. Congressional elections."

The congressional elections are viewed by many in Israel and America as a possible turning point which could swing the American government away from the policies of Barack Obama, who many say is anti-Israel. Scwatz insisted, though, that the AIAC campaign was not levelled against Obama. "This is most definitely not an anti-Obama campgain," he said emphatically. "This is a pro-American Israeli campaign."

AIAC plans to conduct a major campaign to register as many American voters living in Israel as possible to exercise their right to participate in the U.S. electoral process. "In these critical times," said Schwatz, "it is incumbent upon all Americans to vote for their choice of elected officials – and that includes the Americans living in Israel as well."

Schwatz noted, that in the past, many American Israelis have not voted in U.S. Congressional elections for a number of reasons:

1. They do not know that, as American citizens living in Israel, they have the right to vote in U.S. Congressional elections;

2. Even if they know that American Olim can vote, they think that their personal status – for example – children born in Israel to American parents, or lone soldiers – does not permit them to vote;

3. They do not know how to participate in the absentee voting process; or

4. They think their vote will not count. (make a difference)

AIAC has identified various groups of Americans in Israel who have never been targeted before for this type of campaign. One example is American post-high school students who come to Israel to study for a year or two. Another example would be American students attending Israeli colleges, such as Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and Bar-Ilan University. A third example is children born in Israel to American parents. Depending on state law, they may be eligible to vote in Congressional elections even if they have never set foot in the United States.