RJC: "Israel Gap" Widens: More Republicans Than Democrats Support Israel in Current Conflict

Washington, D.C. (July 15, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) responded to the release of a Pew Research Center poll today on the partisan gap in Israel-Palestinian sympathies.

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RJC Stands with Israel

Israel is under fire, once again, from terrorists who seek her destruction. Hamas has sent hundreds of missiles from Gaza against Israeli civilians in recent days. These attacks are warfare against the Jewish state. The RJC unequivocally stands with Israel in this conflict.

Israel has the right to defend her citizens and is justified in taking action against Hamas. Israel targets the terrorists who attack her and makes every effort to protect the lives of non-combatants. In contrast, Hamas operates out of residential areas and encourages Palestinians to act as human shields, endangering their own brothers and sisters in their quest to destroy the Jewish state. Negotiation and accommodation with such an enemy is impossible.

We are inspired by the courage of the Israeli public and the determination of their leaders. Israel has the fortitude, the means, and the right to defend its citizens. We offer our support and our hopes for their safety and security.

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RJC Mourns the Deaths of the Three Israeli Teens

Washington, D.C. (June 30, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition is deeply saddened to learn that the three kidnapped Israeli teens are dead. RJC National Chairman David Flaum said:

On behalf of the leaders, members, and staff of the Republican Jewish Coalition, I offer our sincere condolences to the Frenkel, Shaar, and Yifrah families. Along with Jews around the world, we shared in the hope that Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal would return home safely. We are deeply saddened by the loss of the three young men.

The Israeli government made every effort to find the boys after they were kidnapped on June 12. We hope that the people responsible for their kidnapping and murder will be swiftly found and brought to justice.

May the Frenkel, Shaar, and Yifrah families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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RJC Congratulates New House GOP Leaders

Washington, D.C. (June 19, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition congratulates the new House Republican leaders, House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

We congratulate Rep. McCarthy and Rep. Scalise on their new leadership roles in the House Republican caucus. They join Speaker of the House John Boehner in the important tasks of unifying House Republicans and guiding legislation through the House.

We are confident that the GOP leadership team in the House will continue to move forward on important issues, including showing support for Israel in the face of the growing threat of a nuclear Iran. House Republicans have taken the lead in proposing and supporting measures to strengthen the sanctions against Iran. They have also led efforts to fully fund U.S. aid to Israel, including the military aid that Israel spends here in the U.S.

The RJC has a unique role as the national grassroots organizations of Jewish Republicans, working with the Jewish community and Republican elected officials on the issues that matter to Jewish Republicans. We look forward to continued good relations with the House Republican leadership in the months ahead.

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RJC: We Are Proud of Cantor's Record

Washington, D.C. (June 10, 2014) -- RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks responded to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss in today's Republican primary election in Virginia:

We are disappointed that our friend Eric Cantor lost his primary race tonight, but we are proud of his many, many accomplishments in Congress. He has been a hardworking representative of his district and a trusted leader in the House. Eric's efforts have been invaluable in passing important legislation on matters of concern to his constituents and the nation. He rose quickly to a top position in the House, having earned the trust and respect of his colleagues.

Eric has been an important pro-Israel voice in the House and a leader on security issues, including Iran sanctions. We deeply appreciate his efforts to keep our country secure and to support our allies around the world.

The RJC represents the unique viewpoint of the Republican Jewish community and acts as the bridge between the Jewish community and Republican elected officials. We are proud to have worked with Eric Cantor for the last 14 years.

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Right Hand Man: Phil Rosen

RJC Board of Directors member Phil Rosen is profiled in the current issue of Mishpacha Magazine.

Rosen manages the real estate, hospitality, and infrastructure divisions of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, one of the nation's top law firms. But he also works to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Israel, as when he served as a top foreign relations advisor to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. As one friend described him, "His mind is always thinking about what more he can do to help people and to make a difference in the world."

Read the full article here.

Courtesy of Mishpacha - Jewish Family Weekly, Issue #511, May 28, 2014.
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2014 Elections Preview: The Battle for the Senate

Monday, May 12, 2014
By: RJC Congressional Affairs Director Noah Silverman

Democrats did very well in 2008’s Senate elections – expanding their Senate margin of control from 2 (51-49) to 10 (60-40). As a result, they must defend more terrain in 2014.

Democrats are clear underdogs in races to replace retiring incumbents in West Virginia and South Dakota where Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and former Governor Mike Rounds have emerged as prohibitive front-runners.

In Montana, Democrats tried to give their preferred candidate John Walsh a leg up by engineering the early departure of the retiring Democrat incumbent Max Baucus so that Walsh could be appointed to fill the vacancy and run as an incumbent. But presumptive Republican nominee Congressman Steve Daines, who represents the whole state in the House as At-large Representative, still runs well ahead of Walsh.

Democrats also face stiff challenges retaining incumbents in four other ‘red-state’ seats: Alaska (Mark Begich), Arkansas (Mark Pryor), Louisiana (Mary Landrieu) and North Carolina (Kay Hagan).

Under the leadership of Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has worked hard to expand the playing field into “purple states.” As a result, Democrats now find that they are in dead-heat races in three seats they’d considered safe: the open seats in Iowa and Michigan where long-time incumbents Tom Harkin and Carl Levin are retiring – and the Colorado seat held by incumbent Mark Udall, who faces a vigorous challenge from Congressman Cory Gardner.

Republicans believe that they may also be able to surprise a few more ‘purple state’ incumbents in Minne- sota, New Hampshire, Oregon and Virginia if they end up with the right candidate and headwinds from Obamacare, failed foreign policies and a sluggish economic recovery continue to frustrate the President and his party.

With so few opportunities to go on offense, Democrats hope to steal victories by unseating Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and promoting Michelle Nunn as a centrist in the mold of her father Sam Nunn in the Georgia open-seat contest that will determine Republican Saxby Chambliss’s successor.

The Senate is currently comprised of 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans. With a Democrat Vice President, Republicans will need a net gain of six seats to take control.

In most of the hotly contested states, the Democrats’ Senate leader, Harry Reid, is very unpopular. Senator Moran and his team at the NRSC believe that they stand to gain from making the elections a referendum on Reid’s increasingly erratic and autocratic methods of operating – as well as on the President’s unpopular signature achievements.

This article appeared in the March-April 2014 issue of the RJC Bulletin, our bi-monthly newsletter for contributing RJC members who are current in their dues. To receive the Bulletin, please make your membership contribution or renew your membership here.
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RJC: Obama Must Address Kerry “Apartheid” Comment

Inflammatory Language Casts Doubt on Secretary’s Judgment

Washington, D.C. (April 28, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) demanded that President Obama address an inflammatory comment that Secretary of State John Kerry made during his remarks to the Trilateral Commission on Friday. He raised the prospect of Israel becoming “an apartheid state with second-class citizens,” according to a recording obtained by the Daily Beast.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

Kerry’s language is not just inflammatory and inaccurate, it also jeopardizes American peace process efforts. It will further encourage the Palestinians to act and speak as if only Israel must make concessions in the peace process, even as the Obama administration has stressed that the Palestinians must make “very, very tough decisions” for peace.  [White House Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken on Face the Nation, 4/27/2014]

President Obama must clarify whether Secretary Kerry’s statement reflects his administration’s views and policy.

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RJC: Kerry Testimony Blaming Israel for Peace-Talks Impasse is Outrageous

Washington, D.C. (April 8, 2014) - The Republican Jewish Coalition strongly criticized Secretary of State John Kerry's statements placing the bulk of the blame on Israel for the stalled peace talks in testimony today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

“After almost nine months of negotiations, during which Israel took concrete steps to advance the process, including the release of 78 prisoners - many of them terrorists - it is outrageous for Secretary Kerry to blame the Jewish state for the apparent failure of the diplomatic process undertaken at his insistence.

"The simple fact is that while Israel has supported the peace talks, the Palestinians have consistently undercut them. Most recently, Israel has pledged to continue talks past Kerry's original deadline and the Palestinian side has refused to do the same.

"Secretary Kerry's testimony today is a troubling consequence of the Obama administration's assumption that increasing the pressure on Israel will bring the Palestinians back to a process they have repeatedly rejected."

Haaretz: "Kerry places blame on Israel for crisis in peace talks"

New York Times: "Israeli Settlement Plan Derailed Peace Talks, Kerry Says"

Times of Israel: "Kerry focuses blame for impasse in talks on Israel"
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Obamacare offers health insurance, not health care

Thursday, March 20, 2014
By: RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks

In March, the Obama administration reported on Obamacare’s enrollment numbers. Fewer people have signed up than the administration had hoped, especially among the young and healthy. For many people, even the previously uninsured, the choices in the Obamacare market are simply not what they’re looking for in a health insurance plan.

It’s easy to understand why.

Obamacare replaces a wide variety of market-determined plans with a limited number of plans containing narrow networks of doctors and hospitals and a required set of items covered. No more cheap catastrophic care plan for the young man in his first job. Families and businesses can’t choose an insurance plan that meets their circumstances and needs. Now the government sets the plans and the networks.

The result is that cancer patients are losing access to the doctors and hospitals they rely on. Parents are losing their trusted pediatricians. And families may not have access to the hospital nearest to their homes.

Consider this: In Georgia, one of the five insurers offering plans on the Obamacare exchanges has just one hospital in the entire state in its network. In California and New York, major plans exclude the world-class Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and New York City’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

For those with serious and chronic illnesses, there is more terrible news. Many people are finding that their expensive, life-saving medications are not covered under their new Obamacare plans.

These narrow plans with narrow networks mean fewer choices, higher costs, and difficult decisions for millions of Americans.

Some families do pay less for their monthly premiums for Obamacare-subsidized plans. Many more working families, who earn too much to qualify for subsidized plans, are paying considerably more each month for their health insurance. But the monthly premium is not the only cost in a health insurance plan.

Families are finding that their insurance won’t begin paying for care until they’ve spent $5,000, $10,000, or more of their own money toward the deductible first. And once the deductible is met, the co-insurance (the amount the plan pays) may be as low as 60 percent, leaving individuals to pay the rest of the bill for their care by themselves.

Most plans in the previous insurance market had an “out-of-pocket” cap to prevent people from losing everything in the event of a serious health problem. But in the Obamacare exchanges, some plans are offered with out-of-pocket protection only for care provided in-network. If you go to a doctor or hospital outside of your network, your insurance plan may pay nothing.

People who rely on an expensive medication—for multiple sclerosis, severe rheumatoid arthritis, or HIV for example—are seeing their medication costs skyrocket. If the medication is covered by their insurance plan, they may still have to pay 40 percent of the cost, or thousands of dollars a year, up to the out-of-pocket limit. If the medication is not covered, they must pay the full price and the cost does not count toward the deductible or out-of-pocket maximum. Their expenses then are literally limitless.

One of the most serious problems with Obamacare is that it mistakes health insurance for health care. Obamacare supporters pretend that if every person has a health insurance plan, then they are getting the health care they need. That is simply not true. As we have seen, a plan that doesn’t include your doctor or your medication doesn’t provide the care you need. But there is another serious problem quickly coming into view.

For decades, poor people in this country have been eligible for Medicaid. The amount the government pays doctors to see Medicaid patients, however, is very low. At some point, when a doctor is not getting paid enough to cover the basic expenses of providing care, he or she will stop accepting Medicaid patients, or get out of medicine altogether. That is why today Medicaid patients can wait months for care, if they can find a doctor who will see them at all.

Obamacare specifically expands Medicaid to a wider segment of the population. Young adults with low incomes and the children of low-income families may have Medicaid as their only choice in the Obamacare exchanges, based on family income. So far, enrollment in Medicaid has been more than half of the signups made under the new Obamacare rules. Who will provide care to those people? How long will they have to wait to see a doctor?

In 2008, about 15 percent of Americans were uninsured. The Congressional Budget office projects that under Obamacare, in the years 2013-2023, the percentage of uninsured will never fall below 11 percent of the population. That’s not much of a change in health insurance rates, at the expense of more expensive, less accessible health care for millions more Americans.

This article was published by on March 16, 2014.
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