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 The RJC enewsletter will not be published on March 28.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

Gallup: Americans' Sympathies for Israel Match All-Time High
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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:

See the RJC's 2012 exit poll data here:
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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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RJC Responds to Hagel Confirmation: Hagel Choice Sends Wrong Message to Our Allies and Adversaries

Washington, D.C. (February 26, 2013) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition released the following statement about today's Senate vote on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense:

We are disappointed that Chuck Hagel's nomination won confirmation from the Senate. Respecting the President's prerogative to name his Cabinet members does not outweigh the Senate's duty to examine nominees and withhold consent from someone who is not qualified for the office.

Chuck Hagel's statements on Israel and the "Jewish lobby" raised serious concerns about his fitness to serve. His views on Iran are also deeply troubling. Hagel's appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee showed that he lacks an understanding of the issues facing our defense forces and national security leaders. And he does not have the experience in running a large and complex organization that would make him an effective secretary of defense.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "Sadly, we continue to believe that the choice of Chuck Hagel for this post sends the wrong message to the American people, our allies, and our adversaries."
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Hagel Reportedly Said US State Department Under the Control of Israel

RJC: Hagel must respond - before the Senate votes

Washington, D.C. (February 14, 2013) -- The Washington Free Beacon reports that former Senator Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, allegedly said in a 2007 speech at Rutgers University that, "the [U.S] State Department is an adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister's office."

In response, Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matthew Brooks said:

"This new information shows why Senate Republicans are right to insist that final action on this nomination not be rushed. We need to fully investigate this allegation, and that means Senator Hagel needs to be heard from directly. Did Chuck Hagel really tell this audience - or any audience - that 'the State Department is an adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister's office'? That is what a pro-Hagel blogger, who says he was 'taking notes as [Hagel] was speaking,' reported at the time. It should go without saying that claiming Israel controls our State Department is absurd and outrageous.

"Unfortunately, if true, this is part of a very troubling pattern with Chuck Hagel. Hagel told Aaron David Miller that, 'The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here [in Congress].' In elaborating on that offensive remark, he cast doubt on other government officials' integrity in a way that fits all too well with this newly-reported remark about the State Department, saying, 'I'm not an Israeli senator. I'm a United States senator.' Hagel's weak and ambiguous responses when confronted about these egregious remarks at his nomination hearing were among the low points of an appearance Senator McCain called, 'the worst he had ever seen by a nominee at any level.'

"We continue to believe that America can do better than Chuck Hagel and that the Senate should reject this nomination, but at the very least, Senator Hagel needs to address this report before the Senate can responsibly vote whether to confirm him."

The Free Beacon report is here:
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RJC Mourns Passing of Ed Koch

Brooks: "He was a patriot and we will miss him."

Washington, D.C. (February 1, 2013) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition notes with deep sadness the passing of former New York Mayor Ed Koch.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "Mayor Koch was a passionate and principled leader and an outspoken defender of Israel and the Jewish community. He chose principle over politics and didn't engage in partisan bitterness. In a long and controversial public career, he remained true to his commitment to do what was right for his constituents, his community, and his beloved State of Israel.

Brooks added, "The RJC was honored to work with Mayor Koch over the years. He was a patriot and we will miss him."
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