Haaretz: The Jewish Community of Georgia Could Decide Who Controls the Senate

December 9, 2020

By Etan Nechin

Ossoff and Warnock spoke at a virtual event that’s part of the Jewish Democratic Council of America’s program to get out the Jewish vote for their elections against Republican incumbents Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler on January 5.

According to JDCA secretary Michael Rosenzweig, there are about 100,000 registered Jewish voters in the state, with some 36,000 identifying as Democrats and a further 50,000 as independents.

“We know that if we successfully mobilize the Jewish vote, we would play a major role in electing Ossoff and Warnock,” Rosenzweig said at the event, which was moderated by the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro.

The stakes for these runoff elections couldn’t be higher, as Georgia voters will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate come January 20.

“I am a staunch ally of Israel and echo Dr. King’s perspective that Israel’s right to exist is incontestable,” he said on Tuesday. “I’ll always affirm the right for people to protest nonviolently. But at the same time, I condemn BDS in its refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist,” he added, referring to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

He also said he won’t condition military aid to Israel on other factors. “I support President [Barack] Obama’s memorandum of understanding [of $38 billion in military aid over 10 years]. It’s the largest commitment made in history. Our aid and support of Israel is something that I would advance as a member of the Senate. And there’s no question: Iran cannot get a nuclear weapon. We cannot allow that to happen.”

Ossoff, meanwhile, discussed his Jewish heritage, including how his grandfather fled pogroms in Eastern Europe and came to the United States. “My family’s story makes me full of empathy and concern for those fleeing, who are oppressed, facing persecution or exploitation,” he said.

He too addressed the subject of Israel. “I look forward to working in the Senate as a Jewish leader to promote strong American diplomacy and to bring about a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, so that ordinary people can go about their lives in peace and harmony without fear and without persecution,” he said.