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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Republican Jewish Coalition’

Christians United Launch ‘Attend Bibi’s Speech’ Campaign, What about Jewish Groups?

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

The Christians United for Israel organization posted the message on its website and sent emails to its two million members, urging its followers to send e-letters imploring their elected representatives to attend Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress on March 3.

The short sample letter explains that Netanyahu was invited by Speaker of the House John Boehner, and the issue about which Netanyahu will speak, Iran, is of critical importance. CUFI seeks to reach all congressional members, and hopes to persuade even those members who disagree with Netanyahu’s position to consider their constituents’ views.

The text of CUFI’s short sample letter is clear: “I can think of no issue more important for America, Israel and the West than our response to Iran’s nuclear efforts. And I can think of no voice on this issue more important than the Prime Minister of our front-line ally, Israel.”

The CUFI sample letter ends with a poignant plea: “Please don’t let partisan politics and petty excuses keep you from fulfilling the most basic of responsibilities of your office.”

The website links to the email accounts, by zip code, of letter writers’ congressional representatives.

SUPPORT OF JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS?

What about the Jewish organizations?

The head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, and the head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rick Jacobs, said it was a bad idea for Netanyahu to speak before Congress in March.

The American Jewish Committee has nothing on its website about the speech, nor does the Jewish Federations of North America, or the Conference of Presidents.

Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America. blasted the ADL and Reform Judaism leadership for criticizing Netanyahu’s acceptance of Speaker Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He also called out the leadership of the American Israeli Public Affairs Council and the American Jewish Committee for remaining silent on the speech issue.

The ZOA is pleading with its colleagues to support Israeli PM Netanyahu, Democratic Senator Menendez, Majority Leader John Boehner, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, Democratic Ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee Elliot Engel, and so many others to provide PM Netanyahu with this major forum to move us, to edify us, to inspire us to do more to stop this Nazi-like radical Islamic Republic of Iran from achieving weapons that could murder millions of Jews, Christians, Americans,  Europeans and others.

By not supporting Israel’s Prime Minister and Congress, we are sending a terrible message to Iran that we are not unified and strong in our resolve against this deadly enemy.

The ZOA’s Klein was focused on the leadership of other organizations; his group did not send out an action alert on the topic or call on its members to make their views known to Congress.

It appears that of the Jewish pro-Israel organizations, only two have done what CUFI has. The Washington, D.C.-based Endowment for Middle East Truth sent out action alert emails and placed on its website a request for members to call their congressional representatives to ensure they attend Netanyahu’s March 3 speech.

The New York-based Americans For a Safe Israel not only called on its members to urge their representatives in Congress to attend Netanyahu’s speech, but also to contact representatives who have said they will boycott the speech to express their outrage.

That’s a pretty short list.

UPDATE: The Republican Jewish Coalition also had a petition calling on its members to join in supporting “Bibi and Boehner to stand up to Iran.”

Obama Urges Resistance to ‘Donors’ (i.e. Jews) Pushing for Iran Sanctions

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

“Neocon” used to be the code word for Jews, now it appears to be “donors,” at least when used by certain politicians, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama attended the Democratic Senate retreat Senate Democratic Issues in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday, Jan. 16.

During a discussion about Iran sanctions, the president urged senators to resist imposing additional sanctions against Iran. He vowed to veto legislation being drafted by Mr. Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and Senator Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, that would trigger sanctions after multiparty talks are set to end this summer.

Obama said pushing for sanctions would undermine his authority and might derail negotiations with the Iranians. Mr. Obama also said if the U.S. were to enact increased actions it could lead international observers to blame the Americans, rather than the Iranians, if the talks collapsed before the June 30 deadline.

But then the president made what was interpreted as a veiled reference to Jews, which triggered a heated exchange in the otherwise courteous debate.

He said, according to the New York Times, that “he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others.”

As Matt Brooks, the president of the Republican Jewish Coalition pointedly erupted: “What exactly was President Obama suggestion when he said opposition to his Iran policy is due to ‘donors’? No one would say opposition to his Russia policy is due to ‘donors,’ or his Cuba policy is due to ‘donors,’ or his general foreign policy is due to ‘donors.’ So why did President Obama single out those who seek tougher sanctions on Iran and ay their viewpoints are based on ‘donors’?

It was reported that one Senator in particular, Robert Menendez (NJ), rose to his feet and announced he took “personal offense” to Obama’s statement.

“The threat Iran poses to Israel and the western world is a national security issue. Attributing opposition to his Iran policy to the views of ‘donors’ is an inappropriate statement and it underplays the serious threat that Iran represents,” the RJC’s Brooks pointed out.

Israel’s Gains from US Elections

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The political allegiance of the vast majority of Jewish Americans, even in times of dire emergency for the Jewish State, remains focused solely on the platform of the Democratic party. For this reason, the Republican tsunami in Washington means glum looks around the breakfast table and morning commute for most American Jews today.

But for pro-Israel stalwarts whose allegiance on the issue of Israel is what is actually best for the Jewish State and not what the Democratic party pretends is best for Israel, Tuesday spelled a significant victory.

As already noted, the Republicans in the House increased their majority by a comfortable margin. The Republicans in the Senate rolled over the Democrats, gaining control of this chamber as well. This will have a dramatic effect on what legislation gets advanced, what congressional investigations move forward, and how President Obama’s agenda fares over the final years of his presidency.

JEWISH IRAQ WAR VET, LEE ZELDIN, DEFEATS INCUMBENT IN NEW YORK’S FIRST DISTRICT

One clearly bright star is the upset scored by Jewish Republican Lee Zeldin in New York State’s First District. Zeldin, a pro-Israel, Iraq war veteran upset the incumbent Tim Bishop by nearly ten percentage points. Zeldin’s campaign statement about the US-Israel relationship is telling for what it includes, and what it doesn’t.

Tick off all the major issues of concern to honestly (not the faux-pro-Israels) pro-Israel Americans and Zeldin lines up. He states unreservedly that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, that Israel is America’s greatest friend, and that Israel and America’s values and worldview are the same. According to this major in the reserves, a “secure and free Israel makes the entire Middle East region safer,” a “threat to Israel is a threat to the U.S.,” and ” Israel must have the resources to defend herself from hostile neighbors.”

“Peace will only be possible when the Arab world recognizes the State of Israel, her absolute right to exist, her inherent right to self-defens and her willingness to live in peace with her neighbors. Any peace process that pressures Israel or emboldens her enemies is not constructive. America’s steadfast support of Israel is essential if we are to achieve peace in the Middle East, and I intend to do all that I can in Congress to ensure and to strengthen the US-Israel alliance.”

And Zeldin is unequivocal with respect to Iran: Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear capability. He supports both the expansion and the enforcement of sanctions against Iran. He opposes the 2013 interim deal that eased sanctions, allowed continued enrichment of uranium and does not require the destruction of already enriched uranium. “I will support all necessary efforts to end the threat Iran poses to Israel, America and world peace.”

Wow. An entire statement about Israel and not one word about how Israelis consuming oxygen beyond the Apartheid Green Line is the reason there is no peace on Earth, or how the single goal of the peace process has to be the creation of a Palestinian State.

Of course, it’s one thing to make campaign pledges and a completely different and far more difficult thing to follow through on them. But just knowing these are the words Zeldin used to present himself to voters, this is his vision of the best he can be as a member of the U.S. Congress is more than a mere breath of fresh air. To paraphrase Krauthammer, it’s not a breath of air, it’s a tornado of strength and resolve.

In addition to Zeldin, this upcoming congress will have another new war veteran. This one is the Senate’s first female combat veteran, Iowa’s Joni Ernst. Ernst knocked out incumbent Democrat Bruce Braley by nearly 10 percentage points.

Precisely to Whom is Gov. Chris Christie Pandering?

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Pundits have written about Governor Chris Christie’s recent faux pas at the Republican Jewish Coalition conclave in Las Vegas. The Governor mistakenly called the territories that Israel was forced to conquer in its defensive wars of 1967 and 1973, “occupied.” The fact is that the Palestinians have consistently refused to negotiate in good faith,  refusing to even verbally acknowledge of the existence of a Jewish state.

The reason that the term “occupied territories” is offensive to some is that those facts seem to be glaringly omitted by that particular phraseology.

Certainly, Governor Christie should have been better briefed. It appears that Christie later apologized for the use of the term to Sheldon Adelson, the Jewish philanthropist, major humanitarian, and political benefactor, at whose Las Vegas hotel the event was held.

After the apology, the enlightened oracles of the media began alluding to the fact that the only reason that the governor apologized for the wording was to pander to Mr. Adelson because of his wealth and generosity to political campaigns.

The most odious comment came from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who compared Adelson to Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Khamenei saying they had, “…one thing in common — they are both trying to destroy Israel. Adelson is doing it by loving Israel to death. Khomeini is doing it by hating it to death.”

Not agreeing with a policy for making peace with those who daily demonstrate that they are clearly not ready for peace, by inciting children to blow themselves up in pizza restaurants by teaching them that one day all of Israel will someday be theirs, does not equate with “trying to destroy Israel.”

If Mr. Friedman had spent time speaking to the parents of some of the Israeli children who have been killed by the terrorists lionized by Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, he would understand a bit more of just what the Jewish state is really up against, and how out of touch he is with the reality on the ground.

What the talking heads failed to report is a much more significant remark made in that same speech. This remark indicated whom the governor really panders to, and frankly is a more serious issue for America’s national security interests.

When asked about those who raised questions in their writings about Governor Christie’s support on issues related to Sharia law, he replied by focusing solely on Sohail Mohammed, an immigration attorney. He described Mohammed’s touching history as an immigrant and naturalized citizen before adding:

“Sohail Mohammed knows as much about jihad as I do, being an Irish-American kid from Newark, New Jersey,” Christie said of the Indian-American judge who immigrated to America as a child. “It is ridiculous and insulting, that because I nominated Sohail Mohammed — that people somehow think that means I’m for Sharia Law. It’s crap,” he said to applause. “And I will not ever apologize for making him a judge — in fact, I’m proud of it.”

Almost every American can relate to that beautiful “American dream” and “rags to riches” saga. We are a nation of immigrants, and all of our ancestors came here to make a better life for their children.  But Christie’s description conveniently omits certain facts.

Sohail Mohammad is on the board of the American Muslim Union (AMU), and serves as its attorney. The AMU was founded by a former executive of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is a front group of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sohail Mohammad’s practice has focused on defending suspected terrorists from deportation.

New Jersey is home to a very large mosque, the Islamic Center of Passaic County, (ICPC), which was founded by Mohammad El-Mezain, who in 2008, was convicted for fundraising for Hamas through the Holy Land Foundation.  It is now led by Imam Mohammad Qatanani. The ICPC and the AMU share multiple directors and leaders.

Christie ‘Apologizes’ for Using Term ‘Occupied Territories’

Monday, March 31st, 2014

At a Republican Jewish Coalition event held over the weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, many of the party’s potential contenders for the top of the ticket in 2016 were on display.

Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush paid a visit, Ohio Governor John Kasich was there, as was Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. But there was plenty of buzz around someone who, just a few months ago, would have certainly been considered one of the leading contenders for political and financial backing from the high rollers in the crowd.

Chris Christie came in to this year’s RJC spring leadership meeting with a bit of tarnish on his previously teflon siding. The scandal known as “Bridgegate,” in which members of his inner circle were discovered to have inflicted serious damage on Fort Lee, New Jersey’s (Democratic) mayor for not backing Christie in the election. The revelation that traffic onto the George Washington Bridge was purposefully jammed with unnecessary lane closures just to spite the mayor, led to weeks of humiliation and a shadow over Christie’s hopes for a bigger political future.

Nonetheless, Christie’s gregariousness seemed to smooth over lingering concerns. Until the Big Gaffe.

Christie was describing a 2012 trip he took to Israel, an obvious topic of interest to the Jewish crowd.

“I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across, and just felt personally how extraordinary that was, to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day,” Christie said.

That’s right. In just about any other setting, no one would have blinked, but Christie was speaking at a Republican Jewish Coalition event. And one of America’s biggest donors to Zionist causes, the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, was present.

Of course, the territories to which Christie was referring are not “occupied,” no matter how often and how many people insist they are. The area properly known as Judea and Samaria may legitimately be referred to as “disputed territories,” but there can be no occupation, under international law, for several reasons, the most prominent of which is that there was no sovereign nation in control of the land when Israel conquered it in a defensive war against Jordan during the 1967 War.

According to several reports there was a serious intake of breath when Christie uttered the words “occupied territories.”

An aide to Adelson told CNN that Christie explained that he “misspoke,” when he used the term, and that he “didn’t believe” the land is “occupied by Israel.”

CNN reported that a senior member of Adelson’s company said his boss was “satisfied” with Christie’s explanation.

 

 

Not Everyone is Charmed by Iran’s Charm Offensive

Friday, October 25th, 2013

In response to many reports in recent weeks that the U.S. government is succumbing to what is known as Iran’s “charm offensive,” the Republican Jewish Coalition issued a release calling on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee to tighten, not weaken, sanctions against Iran.

“When the Senate reconvenes next week, we hope that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson and Majority Leader Harry Reid will press forward on strong sanctions against Iran. We cannot soften the U.S. position on sanctions unless and until the Iranian regime stops talking and takes measurable, concrete action to end the pursuit of nuclear weapons,” RJC executive director Matt Brooks stated in a press release dated Friday, Oct. 25.

In July, the House of Representatives passed a stiff bill to increase sanctions on the Iranian regime unless it demonstrates it has ceased its race to create nuclear weapons. The House sanctions bill would slash Iranian exports almost entirely.

But last month the administration was successful in getting the relevant Senate committee to hold off on its own hearing on similar proposed legislation.  The reason given for the delay was  “the administration wants more time to give negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program a chance,” according to Reuters.

“I don’t understand why you would weaken the sanctions now, or you would not strengthen the sanctions,” Elliot Abrams, an aide on the Middle East to former President George W. Bush, told the Reuters Washington Summit on Thursday. “The sanctions are what brought the Iranians to the table.”

And it isn’t only the opposition that believes strict sanctions have played a big role in forcing Iran to seek relief.

Just a few months ago, U.S. Treasury Under-Secretary David Cohen said that the sanctions were having a significant impact on the Iranian economy.  Many firms have dropped their business relationships entirely with Iran because the cost of doing business there became so great.

But the combination of Iran thus far not having been deterred from moving forward on its quest for nuclear weapons, plus that charm offensive personified by the new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, seems to have convinced this U.S. administration to try to end the stand-off through more negotiations.

The next round of talks regarding Iran’s race towards nuclear weapons will take place in Geneva on November 7 – 8, with the P5+1 group, which includes U.K., U.S., France, China, Russia and Germany.

Israel has repeatedly called for the world to remain firm in its approach to Iran and to maintain and strengthen the current sanctions until Iran demonstrably and definitively dismantles its nuclear weapons program.

GOP Jews Leave Meeting with Rand Paul with ‘Pleasant Surprises’

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul held a conciliatory meeting with the Republican Jewish Coalition in his latest bid to forge ties with the pro-Israel community and left the GOP Jews with some “pleasant surprises,” Matthew Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s director, told the Washington Post.

“While there may be areas of disagreement, he is very, very different — and certainly different with regard to his father,” Brooks said of last week’s meeting between Paul (R-Ky.) and the RJC board.

The RJC has sharply criticized Paul since his successful 2010 run for the Senate, particularly because of his opposition to defense assistance for Israel. Since then Paul, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential run, has visited Israel and taken pains to distinguish himself from his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a perennial presidential candidate who has cast his own opposition to aid for Israel in stinging criticism of the Jewish state.

Brooks told the newspaper that Paul spoke of “putting Israel in a different category” than other nations. Paul earned a standing ovation last month at a meeting of the Zionist Organization of America on Capitol Hill.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/gop-jews-leave-meeting-with-rand-paul-with-pleasant-surprises/2013/06/20/

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