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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘RJC’

Russian Jewish School Teacher Freed

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Prison authorities in Russia released a Jewish schoolteacher whose controversial bribery conviction triggered protests by leading politicians.

The teacher, Ilya Farber, was released Friday from the Tver correctional prison after serving three years of a 7-year sentence for accepting $13,000 in bribes.

“The campaign to resolve the issue of [political] prisoners just got another devoted activist,” Farber, 40, told RIA Novosti after his release.

Farber, who took money from a contractor in need of Farber’s signature, has denied any wrongdoing and claims he was set up. He was initially convicted in 2011 and sentenced to nine years. He was retried in 2012 amid claims that his prosecutor made anti-Semitic comments in court. The retrial resulted in a seven-year sentence.

Protests did not abate and opposition figures and Russian Jewish leaders said the case was typical of miscarriages of justice under President Vladimir Putin.

The prosecution petitioned the court to reduce Farber’s sentence in September, days after Putin told a television network that the sentence was “egregious.”

Matvey Chlenov, deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress, told JTA that while his organization was pleased to see Farber set free, the trial also showed that “the old prejudices are very much alive.”

He added that Farber’s first trial “demonstrated that idealism by a Jewish person is still perceived with hostility and mistrust by the local population” and that this “created a profound outcry and mobilization among the Jewish community of Russia.”

Witnesses said they heard the prosecutor ask the jury during the first trial: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” The statement was interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

Chlenov also said that more than 700 people donated money to the Russian Jewish Congress to help Farber’s family.

Russian Court Orders Jewish Teacher’s Early Release

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

A Russian court ordered the early release of a Jewish teacher whose bribery trial was marred by anti-Semitic statements and whose lengthy prison sentence was criticized by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Tver Regional Court last week reduced Ilya Farber’s sentence from seven years to three for accepting bribes and abusing his position while working as a teacher in the village of Moshenka, the FirstNews.ru website reported. He is expected to walk free early next year.

Leading opposition figures in Russia rallied around Farber’s case, presenting it as a miscarriage of justice and pleading for his release.

The prosecution petitioned the court to reduce Farber’s sentence in September, days after Putin told a television network that the sentence was “egregious.”

Putin made the statement as the Kremlin’s human rights council was looking into the case because of irregularities in the trial and claims that it had been tainted by anti-Semitism.

Farber was arrested in 2011 and convicted that year for accepting $13,000 in bribes paid to him by a contractor who needed Farber’s signature to collect money from the government.

Farber has denied any wrongdoing and claims he was set up.

A higher court scrapped the earlier conviction in 2011 because of irregularities, including the judge’s instruction to the jury to “not to pay attention to the words of the defendant, and gave Farber a retrial. In the retrial, the higher court sentenced Farber to seven years in jail — two years shy of what the prosecution had sought during the retrial.

Witnesses said they heard the prosecutor ask the jury during the first trial: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” The statement was interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

Jewish Support for Obama Dropped, Just Not Far Enough

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

In a series of exit polls conducted during Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the Republican Jewish Coalition found that Jewish support for the President dropped from 78% in 2008 to 69%.

Matt Brooks, the executive director of the RJC said, “The results demonstrate that President Barack Obama and the Democrats saw a significant erosion of support from 2008, while Republicans continued their trend of the last several decades of making inroads in the Jewish community.”

According to the RJC, there was an increase by nearly 50% of the number of Jews choosing the Republican candidate to run this country.  The percentage of Jews voting Republican jumped from 22% to 32% nationally.  This ten-point gain is the largest leap from the Democratic party by Jews since 1972.

In a call today to members of the media, former White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer pointed out that while the percentage of young and of Blacks voting for Obama dropped by three or four percentage points, the 10 % drop amongst Jewish voters is conspicuously large.

The survey, a national sample of 1000 Jewish voters, as well as a 600-person sample of Jewish voters in Ohio and a 600-person sample of Florida Jewish voters.

“The RJC is encouraged by the gains we made in 2012 and by the continuing movement in the Jewish community toward the GOP. Despite the discouraging election results, we’re pleased by the gains we have made in the Jewish community,” said Matt Brooks.

Of the 1000 voters in the national poll, 48.9 % said they are Reform Jews, and only 11.9 % are Orthodox, while about 20 % said they attend synagogue at least once every week.  Almost 14 % said they never attend synagogue, even for the high holidays.
For 21.5% of those polled, a full 21.5 % said that Israel is of no importance to them, while 76.5% said they consider Israel to be either very or somewhat important.
Only respondents who said they were Jewish were included in the poll results.

Ari Fleischer, Norm Coleman, Expose Obama’s Record on Israel, But Leave Too Much Hidden

Monday, November 5th, 2012

To paraphrase Shoeless Joe Jackson: If you hold it, they will come.  The Republican Jewish Coalition held a Town Hall-style meeting to promote a Romney candidacy in northern suburban Philadelphia last week, and boy did they ever come!  The event was held on Thursday, November 1, at Gratz College, in Melrose Park, PA.  There wasn’t a parking space left across the entire campus, and cars lined the street surrounding the entrance.

The event, “The Jewish & Pro-Israel Community at a Crossroads – Critical Issues & Choices Facing the U.S. & Israel,” featured Senator Norm Coleman (Republican former U.S. Senator from Minnesota), and former White House Press Secretary and political pundit Ari Fleischer, with RJC executive director Matt Brooks as the host. They pulled together three big, deep-red easy chairs and two small tables to hold their water bottles.  The three spoke for an hour and a half in what seemed like a relaxed, and not overly rehearsed (although, clearly, it was) conversation about why Governor Mitt Romney is the better choice for president of the United States for Israel-supporters, especially  – but far from exclusively – Republican Jews.

Former Senator Norm Coleman (R. Min.) at the event Thursday.

Former Senator Norm Coleman (R. Min.) at the event Thursday. Photo: Richard Chait.

The pro-Romney event was the belated second half of a series held by a local synagogue.  The first event was in July, hosted by American Jews for Obama.   Headlining the July event was Democratic National Committee Chair Cong. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl) as well as several local Democratic party politicians.  Thursday night’s event was moved to Gratz College because power was not yet fully restored, following the brutal lashing by Hurricane Sandy earlier in the week.

Not surprisingly, much of the discussion focused on Israel, with additional attention paid to the tragedy of the murders in Benghazi, Libya, and, to a lesser extent, domestic issues.

The evening began with a “preview” of a new RJC ad featuring Bryna Franklin, an American who now lives in Israel and who was, until recently, chair of “Democrats Abroad, Israel,” and was a past Democrat National Convention delegate.   Franklin explained why she is voting for Romney, even though “she’s never voted for a Republican before in my life.” Franklin’s words seemed to resonate for many in the audience.

This was the RJC traveling trio’s ninth stop in 5 days.  They had already appeared in Denver, Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, Reno, Las Vegas, Detroit, Boca Raton and Miami, Florida, with Philly as the caboose.

President George W. Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer re-introduced the theme of an earlier RJC ad campaign, the one called “Buyer’s Remorse,” which featured voters who had voted for Obama in 2008, but who were voting against him in 2012.  Fleischer obviously was already a Republican, but he talked about why “Buyer’s Remorse” was such an apt meme for this campaign.

Why?  “Because,” Fleischer said, “Obama earned it, he earned it by his actions, he had the Jewish community,” but he lost it.  He ticked off a litany of missteps, including the President’s reversal of the commitment he made to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2008, when he called Jerusalem, “Israel’s undivided capital,” but on which he reversed himself.  Fleischer said, “he caved, within 24 hours, he caved because of the pressure of ‘Palestinians.’”

Fleischer pointed out something that had been lost on most listeners.  As someone whose job it was to manage the message coming out of the W. Bush White House, Fleischer realized what it meant when Vice President Joe Biden in March, 2010, used the word “condemned” when he criticized Israel for building in Jerusalem. “That word is the most severe word in the political lexicon,” Fleischer said.  To put as fine a point as possible on it, he said, “during the Bush administration, we used the word ‘condemned’ to criticize terrorist attacks,” not the building of homes in Jerusalem.

Senator Norm Coleman is a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney.  With his pompadoured hair and rail-thin physique, Coleman looks like a Saturday Night Live caricature of a politician, but somehow when he speaks from the stage, his personality fills out the hollows.  Like Fleischer, Coleman is also a former Democrat.  In fact, Coleman grew up in Brooklyn and said he “never met a Republican or a Lutheran until he went to college.”

Coleman got off one of the best lines of the evening when he told the standing-room crowd, that the “Buyer’s Remorse” theme goes beyond the Jewish community.  He said that after two wars and an economic downturn, “Americans wanted to change Washington . . . but they didn’t want to change America.”

Brooks asked Coleman, what about the phrase we keep hearing, that “Obama is the best friend for Israel’s security?”  “We’ve heard it from [Israeli President] Shimon Peres, [Israeli Defense Minister Ehud] Barak?”

Coleman disposed of the softball question with the obvious answer, “every Israeli leader is going to say every current American leader is ‘the best,’ because to do otherwise is not only unprofessional, it’s political suicide.”  In other words, anyone who quotes a sitting Israeli politician saying anything flattering about a sitting American politician has nothing of substance to offer.

The evening hit the high notes of the Romney campaign, bemoaning President Obama’s “leading from behind” lack of leadership which has led to a “less safe, less secure America, which, in turn, will only increase the need for boots on the ground” at more advanced, less opportune moments of international engagement, such as in various parts of the Middle East and elsewhere.

A recurring note was the dangers inherent in the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the resurrection of Al Qaeda, including in Syria, Lebanon and Mali.

Fleischer took the oar on the domestic front.  He reminded the audience that America was already on its way out of the recession by the spring of 2009.  “But,” he said, “the actions of the anti-growth, anti-capitalism administration, through its ill-advised stimulus, the cash for clunkers program, the home-buying credits and the auto bailouts have actually steered us deeper into debt, and more firmly into the red.” He said we are “now in the slowest recovery since the Great Depression,” while pointing out that the President had “two full years with a veto-proof House of Representatives and a filibuster-proof Senate.”

ON IRAN SANCTIONS

Coleman said that this Administration originally opposed sanctions against Iran, it later opposed increasing the sanctions, and it opposed placing sanctions on the Bank of Iran, all of which the Obama campaign now claims are accomplishments of his administration.  Coleman also pointed out that even with the current level of sanctions – which is having an impact on Iranians, even if not on the Iranian regime’s efforts to acquire nuclear weaponization – there are too many exemptions.  But Sen. Coleman suggested there are additional measures that could be taken, and should already have been taken, to actually achieve a biting impact on the Iranian regime. He suggested treating a pariah-like nation like a pariah. “For example,” he said, “Iranian diplomats should not be able to travel freely.”

ON BENGHAZI

In what some see as akin to a Watergate-level presidential failure, Ari Fleischer said of the Benghazi tragedy, “as someone who was behind the podium on September 11, 2001, I initially refused to criticize the president or his administration for their performance, and instead insisted on ‘waiting for the factual information to come in.’”

Fleischer reminded the audience that Cong. Peter King (R-NY) immediately called for US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to be fired, after she appeared on five different talk shows blaming the violence on a cheap video, when it turned out there was evidence long before that the violence was a planned terrorist attack and had nothing to do with the movie.  Fleischer had publicly disagreed with King.

But, Fleischer said, what changed his mind was learning that the CounterTerrorism Security Group was never even convened while the attack was on-going. (According to CBS News, “The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies.”  A high-ranking government official told CBS News, “they were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”)

When Fleischer continued, “and yet the president blamed it on a video,” he was interrupted by the first and only major heckling incident of the evening.  A man stood up, shouting, “on the first day he said ‘terrorist!’” and walked out of the event.

After the outburst, Sen. Coleman tried to call the protester back into the auditorium, but the man had left, apparently uninterested in dialogue.  Coleman went on to calmly explain that while President Obama said the words “terrorist attacks,” during his talk in the Rose Garden on September 12, he was not referring specifically to the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic outpost, and that the administration continued for weeks to blame what was believed to be an American-made video for the violence that claimed the lives of the four Americans in Benghazi.

Both Coleman and Fleischer repeatedly said that “unfortunately,” the full truth about who knew what, when, and who made which decisions, is not going to come out before the election.  One audience member shouted out, “Fire him!” to which Sen. Coleman retorted, “you can do that on Nov. 6.”

DOMESTIC ISSUES

One woman asked the panelists to comment on whether Mitt Romney wanted to get rid of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Fleischer explained that he had also heard that rumor, and went to the source to see where it came from.  “Actually,” he explained, “while the question Romney was responding to was about FEMA, his answer was a more general response to government agencies which would be handled more efficiently and more expediently at the municipal and state levels, or even by private industry.”

Although Romney was being cast as shortsighted for calling for a change to be made to FEMA shortly before Hurricane Sandy hit, as Fleischer pointed out, it was the mayors and governors who were continually interviewed for information and updates, which was exactly Romney’s point.

On issues that present the ultimate barrier for so many Jews who might otherwise vote for a Republican, the two Republican politicians seemed to reflect the very nub of the issue.  Neither Coleman or Fleischer took a hard line on the issue of reproductive rights.  Fleischer was quick to make the point that on this issue, it is the Republican party that has the “big tent” approach.  He said that other than Pennsylvania’s own Sen. Bob Casey, it is hard to find any Democratic politicians who are pro-life, while there are many Republican pols who are pro-choice.

On the issue of health care, Coleman said that there are sections of Obamacare that are “pretty good,” and specifically mentioned the very real need to take care of those with a pre-existing condition.  The problem, he said, is that the way Obamacare is packaged, you can’t adopt the sensible provisions without being saddled with the ones that make no sense.

ONE BIG PROBLEM – LEADERS OVERESTIMATE THE PUBLIC’S KNOWLEDGE

FUNDING COMES FROM CONGRESS

One reason why so many Jewish supporters of President Obama have stuck with their 2008 choice is that the Democrats’ talking points are so reassuring, and because the Republican officials are so out of touch with what lay people know about how our government works.

Top talking points from the Jews for Obama playbook are that under Obama, Israel has received more financial and military assistance from the U.S. than under any other U.S. president, ever.

Of course that is nonsense, first, because Congress is primarily in charge of passing the budget.  It is in Congressional committees that the numbers get crunched – the President gets to submit a proposed budget, but Congress decides on the final budget, subject only to a presidential veto.

ISRAEL’S MISSILE DEFENSE

But at least as importantly, in this year, when President Obama and the Democrats have crowed so loudly about the enormous funding for Israel’s Arrow systems — two medium- and long-range anti-ballistic missile systems — and David’s Sling, a short-range anti-missile system, President Obama’s proposed budget actually decreased funding for that line item.  Congress ignored the President’s effort to reduce funding for Israel’s defense and instead practically doubled the amount requested by the Administration.  It was because of Congress that Israel received more “financial and military assistance” during this time period – although it was, indeed, technically, a time period during which Barrack Obama was the president – than ever before.

ISRAEL’S IRON DOME SYSTEM – AID AGREEMENT BEGAN IN 2007

At least one other point that bears discussion is the funding for Israel’s Iron Dome mobile defense system.  This system, which uses an interceptor to detonate incoming rockets and artillery shells, is largely credited with protecting much of southern Israel from its’ neighbors’ escalating aggression.   It is a project developed in and produced in Israel, but financed, in large part, by the U.S.  The financial agreement was part of a $30 billion 10-year military-aid agreement signed by the Bush administration back in 2007.

President Obama has not attempted to derail the Iron Dome aid project, but as a binding 10-year agreement, it is not clear that he even has the power to do so. But the project was neither developed during the Obama administration, nor did financial support for it originate with President Obama.

Unfortunately, the RJC trio gave short shrift to those major Democratic talking points that serve to allay the concerns of so many Jewish Americans who might otherwise be apprehensive about voting again for President Obama. Apparently they think “everyone knows” that it is Congress, the stalwart friend of Israel, that is the holder of the purse, and is the source for all U.S. aid, and they likewise think that “everyone knows” the Iron Dome defense system was a project agreed to during President Bush’s tenure in the White House, one which, as with virtually all military spending projects, is shepherded by hawks in Congress, in concert with the U.S. military – almost always a reliable friend to Israel.

But this is where the RJC and so many other political surrogates have lost touch with their audience, and it is a critical gap in comprehension which gives the edge to the Democratic party, when it comes to messaging to Jews and other pro-Israel supporters.

When the event concluded, two teenage boys stood out amidst a sea of late-middle age to decidedly-older audience members. Zach Lipstein and Noam Glanzberg-Krainin, both 13 year old students at a local Conservative Jewish day school, shyly agreed to answer a few questions from a reporter. Both quickly asserted that the panelists made “really good points.” Noam said he had not previously realized “that Iran is such a big threat.” Still, he was undecided about which candidate he favored, as “health care and the environment,” are two of his main concerns. Zach included Israel as amongst his top three priorities. He seemed confident, at least so long as his parents were watching, that he favors Romney.

Bob and Francine Lipstein, both Baby Boomers, thought the event was well worth their half hour ride from Lower Merion township, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. Francine Lipstein was not surprised by the huge turnout, and said she was particularly “impressed by the panelists’ clarity on the issues.”

In particular, she was grateful for the event, as “the American people have not all heard the information, because the mainstream media is so ‘in the tank’ for Obama.” Lipstein didn’t have to be convinced as she already planned to vote for Romney because of his “business acumen, his love for Israel and his passion for helping others.” While she was not a “Buyer’s Remorse” voter, until 2001, Francine Lipstein was a Democrat.

Bob Lipstein was more succinct. He said the event “validated the passion I felt throughout this campaign.”

When was the last time you heard about Republican Jewish passion? Maybe it’s a new trend.

 

New Kids on Campus: Young Jewish Conservatives Are Staking Out Ground

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Last weekend a core group of conservatives got together to learn, strategize and drum up the vote for their political candidate in the swing state of Pennsylvania.  But two characteristics of this group stick out – they are Jewish!  And they are young!

The twenty-somethings were holed up in a hotel outside Philadelphia, spending a traditional Shabbat – new for some of them – and talking about conservative politics – not new for any of them.  The attendees were all members of the appropriately-named Young Jewish Conservatives (YJC), who have come together to promote conservative causes in the United States, infused with Jewish values and in defense of Israel.

YJC was conceived of by two American, Jewishly observant Zionists who deal with college-age Jews: Ben Packer and Yitzchok Tendler.  Packer was a rabbi with Jewish Experience Movement of the South on the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill campus, and at Duke University.  Tendler worked with Jerusalem Fellowships, taking Jewish college students to Israel.  Both recognized something was missing on the campuses: there was nothing available for Jewish students who are politically conservative.

As Packer told The Jewish Press, “we noticed three things: one, politically conservative Jewish students on campus were being treated like outcasts, even within the traditional Jewish campus organizations; two, the trend in the Democratic party was going against Israel, with President Obama being an extreme example; and three, politically conservative college students have the values that are closest to Jewish values.”  The two decided to join forces and create an organization to fill the obvious need.

The first organized effort by YJC was the Yameena Fellowship trip to Israel over last winter break.  There was a second Yameena Fellowship trip this summer.  There were about 30 participants on each trip.  As Packer explained, “when we say young Jewish conservatives, not all of our members are equally, or even especially, conservative on all issues, and religiously they come from across the spectrum, but the single thread that pulls us all together is the pro-Israel focus, that is what solidifies the group.”

A rising star in the YJC is David Milstein.  A Dickinson College senior who hails from Virginia, Milstein learned about YJC when he saw an ad for a free trip to Israel for politically conservative American Jews.  The last time Milstein was in Israel was when Milstein was 13, and he was eager to go back.  He was especially excited about the idea of having a trip geared to someone with his interests, rather than the typical Birthright trip which doesn’t venture into Judea and Samaria, and which is frequently centrist to liberal, politically.

Milstein could barely contain himself as he described to The Jewish Press the YJC Israel trips.  “We went to the border towns, we went all the way up in the Golan, we had briefings in the Knesset, and we were treated to lessons on diplomacy and Israeli history by members of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”  One of the highlights was a special meeting between the YJC members and former Soviet refusenik and current head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky.

According to Milstein, everyone who has gone on the YJC Israel trips was already interested and maybe already somewhat active.  “But what they leave the trip with is the clear confidence to go back to the campuses and advocate – really stand up for – Israel.”  Milstein finishes: “There’s a real transformation.”

Milstein went on both YJC Israel trips.  The first time, last winter, he went as a regular participant.  This summer, after he was elected student president of the organization, Milstein went as a staff member.

Barely a year into its existence, YJC already boasts members from colleges across the country, including American University, UCLA, Hofstra University, Wellesley College, Brandeis University, Rutgers University, Harvard University, Pittsburgh University, Temple University and more than a dozen others.

In addition to the trips to Israel and this month’s shabbaton in the Philadelphia suburbs, YJC members also participated in two political conventions in Washington, D.C. over the past year.  The first was at the Conservative Political Action Committee which took place in February, the second was at the Faith and Freedom Conference which took place in June.

Dovi Meles is from Philadelphia and he was back this summer.  In the past he has been informally involved with the Republican Jewish Coalition, and was asked by that leadership to help put together a shabbaton for YJC members who might stay and work with the RJC on their swing state focus in Pennsylvania this week.

“They wanted to have interesting content and since I’m from the area I knew who might be available,” Meles said.

The programming Meles put together was heavy both on political content and on Jewish observance and networking.   One presentation was made by a former high-level Pentagon official talking about Iran, another was by Susan Kone, a Dartmouth College and University of Pennsylvania Law School grad who ran against Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) for US Congress.  The YJC members heard from a tea party strategist, a Zionist organization founder and leader, and a Jewish social media guru.

The goal of YJC, according to Packer, “is to make Jewish politically conservative students: better conservatives, better Jews and better pro-Israel activists.”

While David Milstein was already a committed conservative, he grew up in a Reform home and was not especially engaged with Jewish practices.  Due to his involvement with YJC, “where all official events incorporate Jewish traditions such as Shabbat observance and kosher meals,” Milstein told The Jewish Press,” I now try to observe Shabbat regularly, whether or not I am with the YJC, and I certainly will attend synagogue services for the high holidays.”  “This experience,” he says, “is having an impact on my understanding of the importance of my faith.”

Republicans Unveiling Jewish Democrats’ Buyer’s Remorse Ads

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The election season is heating up early, and the video warfare is already sizzling.  The Republican Jewish Coalition has initiated a new campaign in ‘battleground states’ aimed at persuading lifelong Jewish Democrats dissatisfied with President Barack Obama to vote instead for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, titled “My Buyer’s Remorse,” will be aired in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and is slated to begin in the coming weeks.

“For the past three years we’ve been hearing from people who were deeply disappointed and who wish they could have their vote back,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks told The Jewish Press.  “It became self-evident to us that we should take those testimonials and share them with everyone.”

Brooks said the people featured in what he said will be a “significant number” of ads were found through the RJC local offices.  The ad campaign uses testimonials from Jews who voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign and now express regret over that decision, citing what they see as his poor treatment of Israel, and his ineffective economic policies.

The first ad can be previewed on the RJC website.  It features Michael Goldstein, a 40-something community college administrator and lifelong democrat from New Jersey who voted for Obama in 2008 because he “believed in what Obama stood for.”  Goldstein became disillusioned when he started hearing and seeing things he did not like from Obama once the election was over.  What kind of things?

“That speech about the ’67 borders,” Goldstein explained, “that really changed my mind.” Also very troublesome for Goldstein was the way the president treated the Israeli Prime Minister when Netanyahu visited the White House. “He’s not just the Prime Minister of Israel, he represents all of us, Jews, Israelis, people throughout the world who believe in the State of Israel.”  Goldstein was turned off by what he says was Obama’s incredible disrespect towards Netanyahu.

In a motif the RJC clearly wants to emphasize throughout the remainder of the campaign, the ad hones in on the concern that Jewish American voter has about what will be different if President Obama is elected for a second term.

“I think in the second term we’ll see the real Barack Obama,” Goldstein says, as the video pans over Jerusalem, “when he has no voters to deal with, I think he will change the game when it comes to Israel.  He’s going to put Israel in a position where they’re in danger.”

The RJC appears convinced that, despite the long and largely monogamous relationship between Jews and the Democratic party, there are certain strategic moves it can make that will be sufficient to have Jewish voters be the decisive factor in electing Mitt Romney.

Recent polls suggest that Jewish support for Obama has diminished, with him receiving 67 percent to Romney’s 25 percent – which would be the highest level of support for a republican candidate since George Bush received 35 percent of the vote in the 1988 contest against Democrat Michael Dukakis.

By following RJC polling calculations and concentrating on Jews in certain areas of three key states – Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, the RJC is banking on Jewish votes determining the outcome in those swing states.

Featured prominently in a New York Times story about the “My Buyer’s Remorse” campaign was the role allegedly played by casino magnate and staunchly pro-Israel Sheldon Adelson’s involvement.   When asked about Adelson’s role in this effort, Brooks told The Jewish Press that while Adelson has been an active supporter and member of the RJC board for a number of years, the organization is the form of non-profit that does not have to – and does not – disclose confidential information about donors, so “any stories about Mr. Adelson’s involvement is purely conjecture.”  What Brooks was willing to say is that “there is a large number of people involved in this effort.”

Whether or not Adelson was directly involved in this RJC campaign effort, he has been a strong presence in this year’s presidential campaign on behalf of the Republican party. In the Republican primaries earlier this year, he and his family donated $16.5 million to Newt Gingrich’s campaign, and when Romney came out the victor in the primaries, Adelson gave a $10 million donation to a Super PAC that supports Romney.

Suburban Philly Temple to Feature GOP Speaker after Wasserman Schultz

Monday, July 16th, 2012

A Philadelphia-area Reform temple will feature a Republican speaker to balance an appearance by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is set to speak Monday at the Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pa., on behalf of President Obama.

The synagogue’s senior rabbi, Lance Sussman, told JTA that he is now working with the Republican Jewish Coalition to set up an alternative event.

Sussman said the synagogue had reached out to multiple Republican officials, including at the Romney campaign, at the office of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the Jewish U.S. House of Representatives majority leader, and Republican state lawmakers before announcing the Wasserman Schulz event.

In the absence of a speaker, and with Wasserman Schultz’s appearance approaching, Sussman said the temple had no choice but to go ahead with her event, while noting in the literature that a Republican speaker would also appear at another date.

The RJC’s Philadelphia-area chapter then objected through social media to what it called a one-sided program.

“The RJC presumed – and didn’t check with us – that we are not having another evening with a Republican speaker, which is something we are committed to and announced in our publicity,” Sussman told JTA.

Sussman ackowledged that the RJC had not been “on my radar,” although it has a high profile among political Jewish groups. But he also noted that his other Republican interlocutors had not referred him to the group. He said he would now establish a relationship with the group.

JTA left a message late Sunday with Matthew Brooks, the national RJC director, seeking further comment.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/suburban-philly-temple-to-feature-gop-speaker-after-wasserman-schultz/2012/07/16/

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