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Bloomberg donates $250,000 to boost Jewish support for Biden in Florida

Donation to Jewish Democratic Council of America's Super PAC seeks to reinforce American Jews' support for Biden and fellow Democrats
Michael Bloomberg's $250,000 donation to go toward Jewish Democratic Council of America’s digital outreach campaign targeting Florida (AFP/File photo)
By in
Tampa, Florida

Billionaire businessman and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $250,000 to a Jewish Super PAC in Florida to support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden just weeks before the November election. 

The Jewish Democratic Council of America's (JDCA) Super Political Action Committee, which represents Jewish Democratic Party supporters, announced the sizable donation on Thursday. The $250,000 is to support the group's digital outreach campaign targeting in Florida.

Bloomberg, who briefly ran for president during the Democratic primaries, vowed in September to spend $100m in Florida so that the Biden campaign could focus spending in other states. 

"Every vote will matter in Florida, and Jewish voters in Florida have the chance to vote for a president who will unite us, not divide us," Bloomberg tweeted on Thursday. 

While the donation was welcomed by the JDCA, the American Jewish community needs little persuading to vote Democrat. 

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A Pew Research poll released on Tuesday found that 70 percent of US Jews plan to support Biden, compared with 27 percent who plan to vote for Trump - in line with American Jews' historic support for Democrats.  

"We know Jewish voters overwhelmingly support Democrats and we know they turn out to vote. We also know how to reach them in order to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and we won’t stop until we ensure victory in November," JDCA chairman and former US Democratic congressman from Florida Ron Klein said of Bloomberg's donation. 

With 29 electoral votes, Florida is one of the key swing states during presidential elections and is turning into a fierce battleground this year. 

The state has a large Jewish population in comparison with others, making up about 4.2 percent of the electorate, but it is also home to one of the largest concentrations of seniors, who were a major force in Trump's first win. 

In 2016, exit polls showed more than half of all voters over 65 supported Trump; this year, support among seniors is lagging, according to polls. 

A CNN poll earlier this month showed Biden with a 21-point advantage over Trump among voters 65 and older. Trump won Florida by less than 113,000 votes in 2016, so even a slight dip in support could cost him the state and perhaps the election - something Bloomberg is counting on. 

"I'm glad to support the Jewish Democratic Council of America PAC as they reach Jewish voters online throughout the state of Florida and encourage them to vote for Joe," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Inaccurately linking US Jews to Israel

Earlier this month, the Republican Jewish Coalition launched a $3.5m advertising buy in South Florida as part of the party's push to gain support from minority groups.

Despite Republican efforts, Trump has proven to be out of touch with the Jewish electorate, not always displaying an understanding of the difference between American Jews and Israeli Jews.

Last month, in a call with American Jewish leaders, Trump spent much of his time making the case for more American Jews to vote for him, and ended his remarks by equating Jewish Americans with Israelis.

"We really appreciate you," Trump said as he signed off the call, an annual pre-Rosh Hashanah presidential tradition. "We love your country also."

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There were also several other instances during the call in which Trump equated American Jews with Israelis. 

"Although many people are somehow still struggling to wrap their minds around this, foreign policy is demonstrably not a priority issue for American Jewish voters," the group IfNotNow, a youth-led anti-occupation Jewish group, told Middle East Eye in an email this week. 

"Frankly it's an antisemitic" assumption that Jewish voters "should" support Trump because of decisions he has made regarding Israel, the group said. 

"The foreign policy decisions that are inaccurately thought to be 'for' Jews are widely opposed by our community: 63 percent of Jews disapproved of Trump's decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, 70 percent of American Jews disapproved of the decision to withdraw from the Iran Deal, and 62 percent disapproved of cutting off diplomatic relations with the Palestinians."

For his part, Biden has said that he does not plan to roll back Trump's policy changes in Israel, such as his status-quo-breaking embassy move or the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He did say he may consider installing another US embassy in occupied East Jerusalem, where Palestinians envision their future capital. 

Biden has also said that, unlike several of his progressive colleagues, he is against attaching conditions to military aid to Israel.