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January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Republican Jewish Coalition’

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.

Which Jews Choose (Samantha) Power, Which Won’t

Friday, June 7th, 2013

At least three leading pro-Israel American organizations have come out early and with vigor against the nomination of Samantha Power to become the next United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

The non-partisan Washington D.C.-based Endowment for Middle East Truth, a self-described think tank and policy shop, issued a statement deploring the nomination on Tuesday, June 4,  the same day that the Republican Jewish Coalition did.  The Zionist Organization of America, the oldest Zionist organization in America, was the first out of the starting gate with its long, detailed, public opposition to Power’s nomination on Monday June 3.

And on the other side of the ring we have perhaps the most famous and famously wealthy Jewish organization, the Anti-Defamation League, Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz and rabbi to the Stars and former congressional candidate Shmuley Boteach, all of whom are publicly placing their heckshers on Powers.

The Republican Jewish Coalition said Power “has a record of statements that are very troubling to Americans who support Israel.”

“In 2008, as an academic who taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Samantha Power suggested  that the U.S. should invade Israel militarily to impose a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and protect “a new state of Palestine.” Her writing and public appearances reflected her views that special-interest lobbies in this country (read, the “Israel lobby”) have too great an impact on our foreign policy in the Middle East,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a written statement. “She must respond to the strong doubts about her views raised by that record. Senators should also examine her tenure as head of the President’s Atrocity Prevention Board to see what results, if any, came out of her time there.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is deeply concerned about and opposed to the nomination of Samantha Power as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The overwhelming evidence of her entire record causes us great fear and concern as to her appropriateness for this post. Ms. Power’s record clearly shows that she is viscerally hostile to Israel, regards it as a major human rights abuser, even committing war crimes, and would like to see the weight of American military and financial power go to supporting the Palestinian Authority, not Israel. In contrast, she has spoken of Iran as though it scarcely poses a problem. She also strongly suggested that the U.S. cease worrying about alleged Jewish power and money which allegedly forces the U.S. to support Israel and which allegedly is not in the national interest.

“Samantha Power is clearly the wrong choice for UN Ambassador, particularly at this sensitive juncture in history,” EMET’s President and Founder Sarah Stern wrote in a press release.

“Considering  Power’s openly hostile positions  on Israel as well as her deep seated resentment for the United States, and her biases in favor of the Palestinians despite their continued incitement to hate and to kill Israelis, our one true democratic  ally in the region,  and on the Iranian nuclear program, “she continued, “this appointment shows supporters of Israel that the Obama Administration’s worst instincts are coming to the fore in its second term. It’s deeply distressing.  We  oppose her nomination in the strongest terms possible.”

There are those in the public eye who are frequently considered to have strongly Jewish, pro-Israel positions, who have expressed support for Power.Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the prolific author once known as the “rabbi to the stars” because of his close-relationship with singer Michael Jackson, was won over by Power during a closed meeting between her and “40 Jewish leaders held in the offices of Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt.

Boteach described that meeting and his conversion to Power-lover and defender of Power in an article published in the Huffington Post:

Typical of her erudition and brilliance, Samantha presented a sweeping view of American policy in the world’s most dangerous region. Then, she directly addressed the accusations that she harbored animus toward Israel. And in the presence of the leaders of our community, she suddenly became deeply emotional and struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her.

Tears streamed down her cheeks and I think it fair to say that there was no one in the room who wasn’t deeply moved by this incredible display of pain and emotion.

And the ADL’s national director Abraham Foxman and Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, had this to say:

As the world is sickened by the images of slaughter in Syria and as Israel faces an ever more volatile Middle East, we are heartened that the U.S. will be represented by an individual whose moral resolve and fierce pragmatism will serve our country well.

Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, strongly recommended confirming Powers’ nomination, but the words he chose and the way he used them are worth parsing carefully.  He wrote:

      To be sure, Samantha has said some things she now regrets — about Hillary Clinton, about Israel and about other controversial matters. She says what she thinks when she thinks it.
As the United States representative to the United Nations, she will articulate the policy of the Obama Administration.        She will have to be more diplomatic than she was while in private life. I am confident that she will make our country proud.
I have discussed the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Samantha on many occasions. As a strong supporter of Israel’s security, I have a high level of confidence that she will do and say the right things.
Indeed, because of her sometimes critical attitude toward certain Israeli policies — some of which I agree with, others of which I do not — she will bring added credibility to her positions at the most anti-Israel location in the world other than perhaps, Tehran.

In other words, she has a loose mouth, she’s said things she shouldn’t have, she will need to learn to be a diplomat, but she will be the voice of the Obama administration at the United Nations.  And by the way, her being perceived as anti-Israel is really kinda good for the Jews, right?

Mainstream Jewish Institutions Honor Anti-Zionists

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Major Jewish institutions show a marked propensity to promote and celebrate the enemies of Israel and even anti-Semites. Here are some examples, working backwards chronologically:

* Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University: Plans to give its International Advocate for Peace Award to Jimmy Carter, author of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, on April 10.

* The 92nd St. Y: Scheduled (but then postponed) a talk by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, leading exponent of artistic boycotts of Israel and purveyor of antisemitic canards.

* San Francisco Jewish Film Festival: Showed Rachel, a film hailing anti-Israel activist Rachel Corrie, and had Corrie’s mother speak at the showing.

* Brandeis University: Bestowed an honorary degree on Tony Kushner, who says “it would have been better if Israel never happened” and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” Palestinians.

* Republican Jewish Coalition: Invited Christopher Hitchens to address it, despite his calling Ariel Sharon “vile” and Zionism a “false messiah for the Jews.”

* Cardozo Law School: Gave its International Advocate for Peace Award to Desmond Tutu who has said that “Israel is like Hitler and apartheid.”

These examples hardly exhaust the list: last month, for example, the Barrack Hebrew Academy in Philadelphia hosted Abdulaziz El Sayed Nosair, the son of El Sayed Nosair who killed Meir Kahane in 1990.

What is it about Jewish organizations that they acclaim their opponents? A belief that treating opponents generously will inspire reciprocity, even though this almost never works.

Here is a more serious example of this same impulse, concerning the Israeli government in 2000, as explained by David Wurmser in an article published a few days ago, “The Geopolitics of Israel’s Offshore Gas Reserves”:

To help the development of the Palestinian economy – which was seen as key by Israeli and American leaders to politically moderating the Palestinian population and solidifying peace – and lay to rest any potential arguments in the future over the resource, Israel carved from within the demarcation of its proposed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between itself and Gaza an indentation rather than run the demarcation line straight from the coast as is done in every other EEZ demarcation across the globe. Israel agreed to allow the line to be indented to Israel’s disadvantage so that the entirety of Gaza Marine will be included in the Palestinian Authority area. The gas, which was to be used both inside Gaza for electricity production and exported to Israel, was to help the Palestinian Authority fund itself, have resources to build up its stature among Palestinians, and by stimulating development, to encourage political stability and moderation.

Comment: One watches and waits in vain for a recognition that being nice to enemies does not solve problems.

Originally published at DanielPipes.org, April 8, 2013.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/the-lions-den-daniel-pipes/mainstream-jewish-institutions-honor-anti-zionists/2013/04/09/

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