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RJC Applauds Florida Families First Budget

Governor Scott Signs into Law Historical, Cultural, and Business Items Important to Floridians and the Jewish Community


Boca Raton, FL (May 31, 2013) -- Today the Republican Jewish Coalition of Florida and Board of Directors member Ambassador Mel Sembler applauded Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature for completing a budget that included initiatives important to Florida's Jewish community and all Floridians.

The following statement was released:

On behalf of the members of the Republican Jewish Coalition, I applaud Governor Rick Scott and his partners in the Florida Legislature who included three key items in the final budget signed into law. The Florida Families First Budget includes:

  • $950,000 for the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, to continue the important mission of educating our youth to remember and respect the Holocaust, its victims and survivors.



  • $1 million for Space Florida R&D which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Israel, to support innovative research for the economic benefit of both nations.



  • $100,000 to establish a Tel Aviv office of Enterprise Florida. This will provide an Enterprise Florida location in Israel, focused on facilitating joint economic development between Florida and Israel.


These three items benefit all Floridians and are important to the Jewish community. They demonstrate a deep understanding for the struggle of the Jewish people and an appreciation of Florida's unique position in the business and cultural alliance between the United States and Israel.
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RJC Releases "Blueprint for Victory" Video

RJC's outreach in 2012 is a model for Republicans


Washington, D.C. (April 26, 2013) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today released a video, made in cooperation with our creative partner, Jamestown Associates, that highlights the RJC's successful outreach effort in the Jewish community in 2012, how it was accomplished, and the insights it offers for Republican Party outreach to other "non-traditional Republican voters" in the future.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "The RJC's experience offers some ideas for how the Republican Party can effectively reach out to Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, women, younger voters, and other voters.

"We believe that by promoting an inclusive, conservative vision and adapting the RJC's strategies, the GOP will once again be the majority party in this country," Brooks said.

See the video on the RJC web site and on YouTube.
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RJC: Kerry's Remarks Must Not Stand

Brooks: Unconscionable to equate IDF self-defense with terrorist murders


Washington, D.C. (April 22, 2013) — The Republican Jewish Coalition strongly objected to Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks likening some Turks' anger over Israel's self-defense in the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident to Americans' outrage over last week's terrorist attack on innocent spectators at the Boston Marathon.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "Secretary Kerry should retract these remarks as soon as possible. It's unconscionable to compare the loss of life resulting from an act of self-defense to the results of cold-blooded, premeditated murder by terrorists."

Brooks added, "We understand that Secretary Kerry has reason to be deeply worried by the disappointing results to date from the President's push to end the rift between Israel and Turkey. But he needs to correct the record so that our allies and critics around the world don't get the idea that the world's most powerful democracy has lost its moral bearings."

Background:
During a press conference in Istanbul yesterday, Secretary Kerry said the following about Turkish anger over the 2010 incident, "I know it’s an emotional issue with some people. I particularly say to the families of people who were lost in the incident we understand these tragedies completely and we sympathize with them. And nobody – I mean, I have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you. It affects a community, it affects a country. We’re very sensitive to that." (Emphasis added) http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/04/207813.htm
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Republican Jewish Coalition Hires New Florida Director

Washington, D.C. (April 10, 2013) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), the nation's only grassroots organization of Jewish Republicans, announced the hiring of Matthew Bogdanoff as the RJC's Florida regional director. Bogdanoff, a graduate of the Florida State University, comes to the RJC with extensive experience in political campaign management. Bogdanoff has worked on races including city commission, school board, the Florida House of Representatives, the Florida state Senate, and most recently the 2012 presidential campaign.

In addition to his campaign experience, Bogdanoff has worked in the Florida House as a legislative aide. During the 2012 presidential election, Bogdanoff worked as a Florida field representative for the RJC. As part of the RJC team, he assisted in delivering the RJC message to the Florida Jewish community and was instrumental in making the RJC's Florida outreach a huge success.

"The RJC is excited and fortunate to have Matthew Bogdanoff as our new Florida regional director," said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks. "As a native Floridian, Matt understand the community and the state and we look forward to working with him to expand the RJC's outreach efforts in this critical part of the country."
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RJC Mourns Passing of Margaret Thatcher

Washington, D.C. (April 8, 2013) - The Republican Jewish Coalition mourns the passing of Margaret Thatcher, one of the pivotal figures of the late 20th century fight against tyranny.

As prime minister of Great Britain, Thatcher saved that country's economy, fought terrorism, and stood firmly with Israel. She was a fierce Cold Warrior who helped bring an end to the Soviet empire and proved that conservative principles - free markets, personal freedom, and personal responsibility - could indeed change the world for the better.

She was a remarkable woman and an inspiration to people around the world. Her strength, her leadership, and her clear-sighted approach to policy will be sorely missed.
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Happy Passover!

The officers and staff of the Republican Jewish Coalition wish you and your family a happy Passover, a chag kasher v'sameach.

All RJC offices will be closed on the first two days and the last two days of Passover, March 26-27 and April 1-2 . The RJC enewsletter will not be published on March 28.
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Democrats Want Obama to Put More Pressure on Israel; Republicans and Independents Disagree

New Poll Highlights Continued Move of Democrats Away from Historic Bipartisan Support for Israel


Washington, D.C. (March 19, 2013) - A new Gallup poll shows a striking difference of opinion between Republicans and Democrats on how to handle the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Democrats want President Obama to put more pressure on Israel to make compromises to end the conflict, while Republicans and Independents want the U.S. to put more pressure on the Palestinians.

According to Gallup, 64% of Republicans would like the President to put more pressure on the Palestinians, while just 15% say to put more pressure on Israel. 48% of Independents say pressure the Palestinians and 22% think the U.S. should pressure Israel. In contrast, only 34% of Democrats support more pressure on the Palestinians, but a larger share, 38%, think the U.S. should put more pressure on Israel.

This follows another Gallup poll last week showing that American support for the State of Israel is at an all-time high overall, but 78% of Republicans expressed more sympathy for Israel than for the Palestinians, while Democrats did so only 55% of the time.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "The 'Israel gap' between Republicans and Democrats is deeply troubling for pro-Israel Americans who appreciate our country's historic bipartisan support for Israel. As rank-and-file Democrats move to the left on issues related to Israel, the divide between the two parties will widen. Pro-Israel Democratic leaders must work to rebuild stronger support for Israel within their community."


Gallup: Americans Favor More Pressure on Palestinians Than Israelis
http://www.gallup.com/poll/161405/americans-favor-pressure-palestinians-israelis.aspx?version=print

Gallup: Americans' Sympathies for Israel Match All-Time High
http://www.gallup.com/poll/161387/americans-sympathies-israel-match-time-high.aspx
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RNC Report Praises RJC Outreach Efforts

Washington, D.C. (March 18, 2013) - The Republican Jewish Coalition released the following statement today:

The Republican National Committee has released its report on how the Republican Party must improve after its 2012 election losses. In the section on outreach to minority groups, the report praises the significant accomplishments of the Republican Jewish Coalition. It states: "One outside group that has been particularly successful at engaging its community and increasing its Republican support is the Republican Jewish Coalition. We should incorporate some of its tactics in our efforts."

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "The RJC is proud and honored to receive this acknowledgement of our hard work. In 2012, a very challenging year for Republicans across the board, the Jewish vote for the Republican presidential candidate jumped almost 50 percent, from 22 percent in 2008 to 32 percent in 2012. That ten-point gain was the largest gain since 1972."

Brooks said, "Republicans have increased their market share in the Jewish community in five of the last six national elections. The RJC believes that our Republican message, coupled with our aggressive and effective outreach and education efforts, will continue to bring the Jewish community into the Republican Party in greater numbers in the future."

See the RNC Growth and Opportunity Project report here:
http://images.politico.com/global/2013/03/17/rnc_growth_opportunity_book_2013.html

See the RJC's 2012 exit poll data here:
http://www.rjchq.org/2012/11/rjc-releases-results-of-jewish-exit-polling/
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Foreign Policy Priorities Must Include Pro-Israel Actions

Thursday, March 14, 2013
By: RJC Executive Director Matthew Brooks

The strong ties between the U.S. and Israel find expression in the traditionally bipartisan support for Israel in Congress and in public opinion polls showing that the majority of American voters consistently support Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance. However, President Obama's relationship with Israel has been rocky; his first term included a series of diplomatic snubs, policy statements, and actions regarding Israel that caused serious concern in the pro-Israel community.

The Republican Jewish Coalition has publicly raised questions about the Obama administration's policies toward Israel in the past. Most recently, we strongly opposed the President's nomination of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, given Hagel's record regarding Israel and Iran. We have also criticized the President for pressuring Israel to halt housing construction in its capital, Jerusalem, his treatment of Israeli leaders, and his administration's failure to stand by Israel consistently in the United Nations and other international forums. Our scrutiny of his policies and our outspokenness will continue, because we believe that how the President conducts his Israel policy is of tremendous importance to America's security.

In the coming year, the RJC plans to focus on three core priorities.

The first is to advocate for full funding for military assistance to Israel. In these difficult economic times, Israel's opponents will try to make the argument that our foreign military assistance to Israel is too much. The facts argue otherwise. The vast majority of that aid comes back to the U.S. in the form of purchases of American technology and equipment, which create jobs here at home. The military and technological cooperation between the two countries is of great benefit to both. Also, given the serious threats Israel faces – Iran's belligerent and genocidal regime, the chaos in Syria and instability in other countries bordering Israel, and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – continued U.S. military aid to Israel, as promised in the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding President Bush put into place in 2007, is essential to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge and maintaining our vital strategic alliance with Israel.

The debate over U.S. policy regarding Iran is another RJC priority. We strongly support enhanced sanctions, increased U.S. diplomatic pressure, and greater international pressure on the Iranian regime. The possibility of a nuclear Iran threatens not only Israel's existence, but also vital American interests and the physical, economic, and political security of our European and Asian allies. President Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary sent an unfortunate message to the Iranians that high-level members of the Obama administration are willing to allow them more time to pursue their nuclear agenda. The U.S. must make it clear to the Iranians that the pursuit of nuclear weapons comes at too high a price to pay.

Finally, the RJC will continue to actively support the efforts of Israel's friends in Congress to strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance. We support the recent Senate resolution authored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which says that if Israel is compelled to take preemptive military action in self-defense against Iran, the United States will provide diplomatic, military, and economic support to Israel. On the House side, a similar measure was authored by the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA). Royce is a steadfast friend of Israel and we anticipate that additional measures to enhance and strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship will be considered by the committee.

In the months ahead, the threats to American and Israeli interests will grow unless the United States demonstrates strong, effective leadership. At a time when urgent domestic economic issues are the focus of national attention – and the President seems more concerned with campaigning than problem-solving – foreign affairs may get short shrift. But for the pro-Israel community and all those concerned about our national security, it is clear that what happens in the Middle East will have a profound impact on our future. We must not let partisan fights or other priorities prevent us from maintaining America's strength and our vital alliances in the global arena.
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RJC Grassroots Director Stepping Down; New Director Named

Washington, D.C. (March 13, 2013) - Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks released the following statement today:

"After eleven years with the Republican Jewish Coalition, National Grassroots Director Harris Vederman is stepping down to become the executive director of the America Israel Friendship League, a non-profit pro-Israel organization based in New York. Through Harris's leadership and hard work, he has brought the RJC's grassroots efforts to terrific heights. He led our outstanding community outreach program last year, which trained a record number of Jewish activists in outreach and advocacy. The RJC's effort was extremely successful and was hailed by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as a model for other Republican affinity groups. During his 11-year tenure, Harris has made an invaluable contribution to the RJC; we thank him and wish him well in his new role.

"We are very pleased to announce that Deputy Grassroots Director Alex Siegel has been named the new National Grassroots Director. In his time with the RJC, Alex has shown remarkable creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication to expanding our local events and membership growth. We look forward to much continued success."
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