Berman, Miller: Ossoff Is 6th’s Pro-Israel Choice
OpinionGuest Column

Berman, Miller: Ossoff Is 6th’s Pro-Israel Choice

Two guest columnists argue that the Democratic candidate matches Jewish voters' values.

Jon Ossoff faces questions after qualifying for the special election Feb. 13 at the state Capitol
Jon Ossoff faces questions after qualifying for the special election Feb. 13 at the state Capitol

For pro-Israel voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, Jon Ossoff is the clear choice in the upcoming election. We’re confident he will win the overwhelming support of our district’s Jewish community.

Why? Once you understand how American Jews vote, it’s obvious that Ossoff is the right candidate to represent our values and core convictions.

First, it’s important to clear up a common misconception: Contrary to conventional wisdom, American Jews don’t vote primarily on Israel. In fact, just 8 percent of us vote on Israel as a top one or two issue. American Jews, just like Americans across the country, vote on health care, the economy and immigration.

Steve Berman

On these domestic issues, Ossoff is a clear match. For example, the Jewish community is committed to standing up for immigrants and refugees and fighting back against Islamophobia. That’s in no small part because of our own experiences with persecution and discrimination.

Like so many American Jews, Ossoff comes from a family of immigrants. He recognizes firsthand the importance of welcoming strangers into our midst. He believes that if newcomers to our country work hard and play by the rules, they have every right to build better lives in America.

If Ossoff is our community’s clear choice on domestic issues, what about foreign policy and Israel?

Charles Miller

American Jews may not primarily vote on Israel, but if we did, we would vote for Jon Ossoff.

American Jews are committed to Israel’s security, and so is Ossoff. His travels to Israel, his education under former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren and his tenure as a congressional staffer imbued him with an abiding concern for Israel’s future and a keen sense of its security needs.

On the campaign trail, he has vowed to prioritize the maintenance of Israel’s qualitative military edge. It’s a promise we have no doubt he’ll live up to. As a congressional aide, he worked on defense authorization bills that helped fund the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems, which have saved countless Israeli lives.

Indeed, it was these convictions about American and Israeli security that led him, as well as 60 percent of American Jews, to support the 2015 Iran agreement.

Scores of Israeli security and intelligence officials, including Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israeli military intelligence, and Ephraim Halevy, a former Mossad director, have expressed support for the deal, which has prevented Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Ossoff, moreover, has repeatedly committed to pushing for strict enforcement and uncompromising monitoring of Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. In fact, he has already gotten started. While working in Congress, he drafted a congressional resolution demanding the inspection of Iran’s secret nuclear facilities.

Ossoff also has vowed to fight back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities by pledging to support sanctions against Iran in response to ballistic missile tests and to prevent the flow of Iranian arms to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Crucially, American Jews overwhelmingly support a two-state solution. So does Ossoff. Like countless Israeli security experts, we recognize that it is the only way to guarantee Israel’s future as the secure, democratic homeland of the Jewish people. Ossoff, unlike his opponent, is clear-eyed about what it will take to build a secure, peaceful future for Israel.

Ossoff embodies everything our community could hope to see in a candidate. He’ll vote in Congress as we vote for Congress. He shares our most fundamental values. He is possessed of a deep understanding of Israel’s security needs and knows what it will take to ensure that it remains secure, Jewish and democratic for generations to come.

What more could we ask for? We hope you’ll join us both in voting to send him to Washington on June 20.

Steve Berman is the founder of OA Development, and Charles Miller is the president of CenterPoint Properties.

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