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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Republican Party’

Cantor Loss Leaves Republican Jews Bereft

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Eric Cantor’s defeat in one constituency, Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, triggered mourning among another: Republican Jews.

Since 2009, Rep. Cantor (R-Va.) has been the only Jewish Republican in Congress. After the 2010 GOP takeover of the House, he became the majority leader. He is the highest-ranking Jewish lawmaker in congressional history.

But the meteoric rise of Cantor, 51, came to a screeching halt on Tuesday when he was trounced in a major Republican primary upset in his Richmond-area district by a poorly financed Tea Party challenger, Dave Brat, an economics professor.

“Obviously we came up short,” Cantor told his stunned followers in a Richmond hotel ballroom. “Serving as the 7th District congressman and having the privilege of being majority leader has been one of the highest honors of my life.”

The defeat, with Brat garnering 55 percent of the vote to 44 percent for the incumbent, was a shock to Cantor and especially to Republican Jews for whom Cantor was a standard-bearer.

“We’re all processing it,” said Matt Brooks, the president of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “He was an invaluable leader, he was so integral to the promotion of, to congressional support of the pro-Israel agenda. It is a colossal defeat not just for Republicans but for the entire Jewish community.”

Cantor also was a natural ally for socially conservative Orthodox Jews who at times have been at odds with the Obama administration on religion-state issues.

In a statement, Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union, called Cantor a friend who has “been a critical partner for the advocacy work of the Orthodox Jewish community on issues ranging from Israel’s security and the security of Jewish institutions in the United States, to religious liberty to educational reform, and opportunity to defending the needs of the nonprofit sector.”

Cantor was elected to Congress in 2000, at the age of 37, after having served nine years in the Virginia legislature. From the start he made clear that he had three bedrocks: his faith, his state and his conservatism.

His first floor speech, on Jan. 31 2001, was in favor of making the Capitol Rotunda available for Holocaust commemoration, and in two minutes Cantor wove together the importance of Holocaust education — a nod to two Virginia founding fathers and an embrace of the foreign policy interventionism that would guide the George W. Bush administration.

“The remembrance of this dark chapter in human history serves as a reminder of what can happen when the fundamental tenets of democracy are discarded by dictatorial regimes,” a hesitant and nervous Cantor said.

“While we in the United States, the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, have experienced years of peace and prosperity, we must not forget that genocide and human rights abuses continue to occur elsewhere around the world,” he said. “As the leader of the free world, the United States must use its power and influence to bring stability to the world and educate people around the globe about the horrors of the Holocaust to ensure that it must never happen again.”

Cantor’s popularity in his district, his ability to garner supporters in the Republican caucus and his fundraising prowess soon caught the eye of Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who in 2003 was set to become House majority whip. Blunt named Cantor his chief deputy, a stunning rise for a congressional sophomore who had not yet reached 40.

Cantor’s Jewish involvement deepened as his days grew busier. Raised in a Conservative Jewish home, he started to keep kosher and take private classes with Orthodox rabbis. His three children with wife Diana, whom he met at Columbia University, were active in Jewish youth movements.

Confidants say his commitment to Israel intensified after a cousin, Daniel Cantor Wulz, was killed in a 2006 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

For Jewish leaders, Cantor was a critical address within the Republican Party for the Jewish community’s domestic agenda, said William Daroff, the Washington director of the Jewish Federations of North America.

“When there was a need for a heavy lift for much of our Jewish federation agenda, we could count on being able to call Eric and have him help us get to the finish line,” Daroff said.

Cantor at first seemed to be riding the Tea Party wave. During the 2010 midterm elections, he joined with Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Kevin McCarthy of California, calling themselves the Republican Party’s “Young Guns”  in setting up a political action committee that championed younger conservatives in a GOP that they said had become too moderate and complacent.

In a book co-written by the three at the time, Cantor welcomed the Tea Party wave.

“They saw that the powers in charge here are ignorant of what the people want and frankly arrogant about it,” Cantor said in the book, referring to the protests against President Obama’s health care plan that had sparked the Tea Party movement.

In the book, he again rooted his conservatism in the South and in his faith.

“I pray on Saturday with a Southern accent and Paul and Kevin go to church on Sunday and talk to God without dropping their ‘G’s,” referring to his colleagues.

At the time, Cantor seemed to think he could harness the Tea Party insurgency.

“Tea Party individuals are focused on three things: One, limited, constitutional government; two, cutting spending, and three, a return to free markets,” he told JTA in an October 2010 interview on the eve of the midterm elections. “Most Americans are about that, and the American Jewish community is like that.”

As majority leader, Cantor stayed to the right of Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), and many believed he would soon challenge Boehner to become the first Jewish House speaker.

Cantor and Obama have not had a good relationship — Cantor has not attended a single Jewish event at the White House during Obama’s two terms, although he has been invited to all of them.

Until two weeks into the October 2013 shutdown of the federal government, Cantor resisted agreeing to a deal, and he conceded only when it became clear that the shutdown was damaging Republican electoral prospects.

Heeding a Republican establishment that believed the Tea Party had gotten out of hand, Cantor more recently tilted toward the center, championing job creation programs, criticizing foreign policy isolationists within the GOP and expressing a willingness to consider elements of the 2013 Senate immigration reform bill, although until now he has resisted bringing it to the House floor.

That tilt and, according to some local news reports, a perception that Cantor was not sufficiently invested in his district helped contribute to his defeat. Brat especially focused on criticizing Cantor’s tentative embrace of a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors.

Hadar Susskind, the director of Bend the Arc, a Jewish group that is a leader on immigration reform, said it was bizarre to accuse Cantor of being overly accommodating on immigration.

“He has been the single largest obstruction in the effort to reform our immigration laws, so those efforts lose nothing with his defeat,” Susskind told JTA.

Democrats immediately seized on Cantor’s loss as evidence that the Republican Party is becoming increasingly extreme.

“When Eric Cantor, who time and again has blocked common sense legislation to grow the middle class, can’t earn the Republican nomination, it’s clear the GOP has redefined ‘far right,’ ” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement.

Steve Rabinowitz, a publicist who represents Jewish groups as well as liberal and Democratic causes, said he was conflicted about Cantor’s departure. On the one hand, he couldn’t help but be amused that Cantor’s flirtation with the Tea Party came back to haunt him. On the other, Rabinowitz suggested that Cantor’s defeat was a minus for the Jewish community.

“Wearing my mainstream Jewish skullcap, it’s clear the community needs people like Eric Cantor,” Rabinowitz said. “This is a loss for the Jewish community. I have my disagreements with him, but he’s been there for the community.”
 

Sen. Rand Paul Takes Aim at US Aid to Palestinian Authority

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Republican Sen. Rand Paul intends to introduce legislation next week that would prohibit aid to the Palestinian Authority if it does not explicitly recognize Israel and renounce violence.

The Kentucky senator, who is a strong proponent of cutting foreign aid, including that to Israel, was quoted by The Washington Post as saying, “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity that does not believe it should exist, and has used terrorist tactics to seek its end.”

Referring to last week’s announcement by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas that his Fatah faction is reuniting with the rival Hamas terrorist organization, Rand added, “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity that does not believe it should exist, and has used terrorist tactics to seek its end.”

His bill would give the Palestinian Authority five weeks after formal re-unification  to renounce violence and recognize Israel, two conditions that are counter to Hamas’ charter. Abbas has said he does not have to recognize Israel because his predecessor Yasser Arafat supposedly did so. Arafat actually simply acknowledged that the entity of Israel exists.

Abbas, with his miraculous two-tongued mouth, has said he is against violence but backs the right of “resistance,” which is the English translation of the Arab code word for violence.

Abbas also has increasingly praised Palestinian Authority suicide bombers and other terrorists, known to him and his cohorts as “martyrs.”

And why should he go through the motions of recognizing Israel when it is clearly stated on official Palestinian Authority maps that all of Israel, including Judea and Samaria, exists – as Palestine?

But for all of Sen. Rand’s grand plans, his bill might carry as much weight as a Palestinian Authority  agreement since it would take effect only after a Fatah-Hamas unity government is formed, and that will take place anytime between six months and never.

It doesn’t matter because Paul’s real intention is to win support from the Jewish voters, especially those with money.

His anti-foreign aid policy has won praise from Americans fed up with Uncle Sam for going deeper into debt while spending their tax dollars for little things like the failed war in Iraq, the failed war on Taliban and the general failure of trying to buy Muslim love with money, which has brought nothing but trouble to the Middle East.

In a visit to Israel last year, he said the time has come to stop chasing bad investments with bad investments, even if it means cutting aid to Israel.

“It will harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process,” he said in Jerusalem. “I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits … you destroy your currency by spending money you don’t have.”

He added, “I’m concerned that some of the weaponry that we are currently giving to Egypt may one day be used against Israel.”

Isn’t it weird that President Barack Obama never thought of that?

Paul’s theory is that cutting military aid to Israel actual is good for Israel since it will make Israel more self-dependent, especially when it comes to responding to attacks.

“I don’t think you need to call me on the phone to ask permission for what you want to do to stop missiles from raining down on you from Gaza,” he said.

Paul also made it clear that that the first targets of foreign aid cuts would be Pakistan, Egypt and other peace-hating countries where Obama his “reached out” to engage them, although it is not clear in what he actually is engaging them except in Russian Roulette with a weighted ball.

Adelson to Host Jeb Bush at Jewish Republican Event

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Sheldon Adelson will host a dinner featuring former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the eve of a conference of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Adelson, the casino magnate seen as a kingmaker in the Republican Party because of his willingness to spend tens of millions of dollars in an election, will host the dinner Thursday night in Las Vegas, where he is headquartered.

Bush, the brother of President George W. Bush and the son of President George H. W. Bush, is said to be considering a presidential run in 2016.

Other likely contenders appearing at the RJC Spring Leadership Meeting include governors Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio.

The RJC event in 2010 was among the first stops for Mitt Romney after he launched his successful bid for the GOP 2012 nomination.

Texas Congressman Says Obama Must Apologize to Israel on Iran

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

President Barack Obama should apologize to Israel for putting “Israel in a position of having to defend both of us” from Iran, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News.

Israel strongly opposed the Obama administration’s recent relaxation of sanctions against Tehran, which continues to develop its nuclear program without international supervision.

Gohmert said the United States should send Israel the new F-35 steal fighter jets as soon as possible and “give them our best bunker-busters because I think Bibi [Benjamin] Netanyahu has the will and the credibility to be a threat.”

“If the United States were a credible threat to attack Iran, we would not have to attack them. But Iran knows we’re not a credible threat to attack them,” said Gohmert. “If Ronald Reagan were president, Iran would’ve stopped a long time ago. Just like Iran released our prisoners the day he took office, they knew Carter was not a credible threat but they knew Reagan was. They know Obama is not a credible threat.”

 

Mike Huckabee: How Can a Democrat Support Obama as ‘Pro-Israel?’

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Fox News talk show host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is already looking ahead to 2016 when he thinks American Jews who care about Israel will support him if he makes another stab at becoming the Republican party presidential candidate.

“I’m looking at it very seriously” he told JNS.org when asked about 2016, adding that he is having exploratory meetings to determine “whether people who I trust, and people whose views I have confidence in, believe that there is a pathway forward for me through the primary.”

Presidential candidates always have their eyes beamed on the “Jewish vote,” which includes “Jewish money.” One lesson from the 2012 election was that money cannot buy an election. Just ask Sheldon Adelson who GOP fundraisers said was $150 million poorer, in a virtual way, after President Barack Obama handily won re-election.

Most of the dough went to super PACs. Adelson also spent a few million dollars to prop up Newt Gingrich’s efforts to go head-to-head against Obama, but the money could have been better spent on supporting a yeshiva or some soup kitchens in Israel.

But Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, must view the American Jewish vote as something spiritual with roots in the Holy Land and an ear in the Heavens.

“Israel could have no greater supporter than Mike Huckabee, and as far as any concerns we have about the safety and security of the state of Israel, we couldn’t ask for better than Mike Huckabee,” Fred Zeidman, a Houston businessman and major donor to Republican presidential campaigns, told JNS.

President Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008 and “only” 69” percent in 2012. Republican pounced on the drop as indicative of a trend of Jews fed up with the President’s attitude towards Israel in general and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in particular.

“I would certainly hope” that the downtrend in Jewish support for Obama will continue in the next election, no matter who the Democrats nominate, Huckabee said.

He understands that Jews traditionally vote Democrat because of a liberal socio-economic orientation.

But if Israel is a factor, why would anyone committed to the safety and security of the future of Israel “be supportive of the policies of Barack Obama, which you can call the most frighteningly non-supportive [U.S.] policies on the state of Israel since its inception,” he asked.

“I can’t imagine that somebody could look at those policies and say, ‘Boy, [Obama has] really got the Israelis’ back’—because he doesn’t,” Huckabee added. “If that’s a priority, and that becomes a defining factor in how people vote, then it’s inconceivable to me that they could give their support to someone who supports the current administration’s policies toward Israel.”

The key to Huckabee’s mistake is that for most American Jews, Israel is not a factor.

Huckabee does not understand that the majority of American Jews supports their own concept of Israel, not Huckabee’s, and not mine and probably not yours.

This theme has been hammered over and over again in books on Americans and Zionism, but it bears repeating: The existence of Israel makes most American Jews feel good to be Americans, especially when Israel is considered something like a 51st state with kosher food and lots of synagogues open for Yom Kippur. Most American Jews have a good conscience so long as Israel exists, and they don’t care where the borders are so long as no one, God forbid, criticizes Israel.

“Oy, the United Nations says Israel is illegally letting Jews live in Judea and Samaria? The put them back in Tel Aviv where they belong

“Oy, The New York Times condemns Israel for maintain the Western Wall as an orthodox religious site? How Un-American! Let the Women of the Wall make the rules.”

And don’t forget to wave the Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, during the seventh inning stretch.

Huckabee forgets one important point. Sorry man, but most American Jews are not orthodox. Most American newlyweds do not even marry other Jews, unless the term “Jew” is widened to include anyone who decides for himself, ”Yeah, I think I will be Jewish.”

Regarding those who consider Israel a factor, Huckabee certainly has the backing of American Jews, most of them Orthodox, who know that the “peace process” is a bunch of baloney, but dangerously poisonous, and that Judea and Samaria is just as much a part of Israel as is Tel Aviv.

He forgets that most of the remaining real Jews – those who are Jewish according to Jewish law –  are “armchair Zionists.” They buy Israel Bonds on Yom Kippur, pushing down a tab with enough zeros after the “1” so that their name can be announced from the pulpit.

Israel Has ‘License’ to Act without US on Iran, Says Mike Huckabee

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Now that the U.S. and other P5+1 powers made an interim nuclear deal with Iran without involving Israel, the Jewish state is free to act as it sees fit on the Iranian issue without consulting America, former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told JNS.org.

“I think now [the Israelis] have really a license to act without having to be scolded for not having consulted the U.S. for their plans,” Huckabee said. The United States “has indicated that they are going to act independently of Israel as it relates to Iran,” Huckabee continued, calling that a “very foolish policy.”

“I think now [the Israelis] have really a license to act without having to be scolded for not having consulted the U.S. for their plans,” he said.

When asked about the possibility of making another presidential run in 2016, Huckabee, the runner-up to U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the 2008 Republican primary, said, “I’m looking at it very seriously.” Huckabee—an ordained Southern Baptist minister who currently hosts the talk show “Huckabee” on Fox News—said he is having exploratory meetings to determine “whether people who I trust, and people whose views I have confidence in, believe that there is a pathway forward for me through the primary.”

Presidential Bid coming? Rick Perry Says He’ll Visit Israel

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, in what observers see as a move signaling a possible White House run, said he is planning to visit Israel in October.

Perry, who has announced that he will not run for a fourth term as Texas governor, told the Washington Times in an interview last Friday, “We will be going to Israel to bring together Arabs, Christian and Jews in an educational forum.”

Political analysts believe the trip to the Jewish state shows that Perry is considering a campaign for the 2016 presidential election. He dropped his bid for the 2012 Republican nomination during the primaries.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — reported to be potential presidential candidates for 2016 — have made trips to Israel this year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/presidential-bid-coming-rick-perry-says-hell-visit-israel/2013/07/16/

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