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Democratic Convention Proceedings Expose Rank and File Split on Israel

Jerusalem Fight Underscores the "Israel Gap" in this Election

(September 5, 2012) The Republican Jewish Coalition notes with grave concern that delegates to the Democratic Convention voiced significant opposition to efforts to amend the party platform so as to reinstate pro-Israel language from previous years.

Rank and file Democrats expressed strong opposition to a resolution to reinstate pro-Israel language that had been removed from the 2012 platform, forcing convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa to call the voice vote three times. Each time the "No's" were noticeably stronger; in fact, CNN reporter Dana Bush was quoted as saying, "It seemed pretty to clear to me that the 'No's' had it." (1)
There were loud boos from the convention floor when the chairman overruled the delegates and announced that the resolution passed.

See video of the vote and response here.


RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "This is a very sad day. To hear delegates on the floor of the Democratic convention strongly voice their opposition to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then boo when the chairman passes the resolution to adopt that language, is a shock.


Brooks continued, "This unfortunate incident highlights the split among rank and file Democrats when it comes to the critical issue of Israel, something we've seen for some time. Gallup polling has shown that Republicans have been consistently more likely to support Israel than Democrats for over a decade.(2) It is painful to see that demonstrated so clearly in this national forum."


Notes:


(1)  https://twitter.com/RalstonFlash/status/243459182169309184


(2) According to a Gallup poll released on March 2, 2012, "Republicans continue to be far more likely than independents or Democrats to sympathize with the Israelis."  In that poll, Republican support for Israel was 78 percent while Democrat support was at 53 percent, a 25-point difference. The graph at the link shows the deep split in Republican/Democrat support for Israel over time. http://www.gallup.com/poll/153092/americans-continue-tilt-pro-israel.aspx

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RJC Releases Ad, Blasts Democrats for Stripping Jerusalem and Pro-Israel Support from Platform

Going back to 1972*, Democratic Platform Affirmed Jerusalem as Capital of Israel


Washington, D.C. (September 5, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition announced today the release of a print ad asking, "What is Missing from Obama's 2012 Democratic Platform?" The ad shows that several pro-Israel provisions in the 2008 Democratic platform are missing from the 2012 document.

The ad will run as a full page in Thursday's Charlotte Observer and then in Jewish papers next week in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.

This year, Democrats stripped out language that appeared in their 2008 platform saying that Jerusalem "is and will remain the capital of Israel" and language saying the issue of Palestinian refugees should be resolved by their settlement in a Palestinian state, not in Israel. The Democrats also removed language from 2008 calling for the isolation of Hamas and weakened the provision about ensuring that Israel retains a qualitative edge for self defense. The platform also stripped out language, which had previously been included, calling Israel "our strongest ally in the region."

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

This will run as a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer on Thursday, so that we can send a special message to Pres. Obama and the Democratic Party during the Democratic National Convention. Then it will run in Jewish newspapers in Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and Pennsylvania next week.


The changes to the Democrat Party platform raise serious questions about Pres. Obama's and the party's commitment to Israel. It is clear from the platform that the Democrats are backing way from Israel at a critical time. This is yet another reason why Jewish support for Democrats continues to erode.


Click the image below to see a full-size pdf of the ad.



 

* With the exception of 1988. (Details here).
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RJC: Democrats Strip Critical Pro-Israel Language from Platform

RJC Calls on Top Democrats to Reinstate Pro-Israel Language





Washington, D.C. (September 4, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition today expressed its outrage that the Democrats' 2012 platform strips recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel from the party's official policy document.
In 2008, the Democratic platform read, "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel." Shockingly, the 2012 platform does not mention Jerusalem at all. (1)


RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "In 2008, candidate Barack Obama flip-flopped on Jerusalem, telling a pro-Israel audience at the AIPAC policy conference that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel, then backtracking the next day.(2) Last July, the White House press secretary was unable to say whether Tel Aviv or Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. (3)



"Now we see the full expression of Pres. Obama and the Democrat Party's policy on Jerusalem - they don't even mention it.

"This administration is painfully out of touch with the mainstream of the Jewish community, which knows that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and that it must remain the undivided capital of the Jewish State of Israel."

In addition, the 2012 Democratic platform drops language from previous platforms to:

  • demand the isolation of Hamas until that organization renounces terrorism and accepts other requirements of the peace process;

  • insist that any settlement of the so-called "refugees" question in a final settlement make a future Palestinian state, not Israel, the destination for Palestinian "refugees";

  • note that it’s not realistic to expect outcome of negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.





Brooks continued: "We call on Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and any Democratic leaders who value the party’s traditionally firm pro-Israel stance to restore the missing pro-Israel language to their party’s platform - and especially to bring back the language declaring that Jerusalem is and will be the capital of Israel.

"This should not be a partisan issue. The vast majority of American Jews support Israel and recognize Jerusalem as its capital. It is unconscionable that the Democrat Party does not see fit to do the same."


# # #





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Reflections on the 2012 GOP Convention

Tuesday, September 3, 2012 
By: Matt Brooks, Executive Director, Republican Jewish Coalition

The Republican National Convention this year was more than a ceremony to nominate Mitt Romney for President of the United States. It was a great opportunity for the GOP to showcase the tremendous talent and passion of its leaders and the deep bench the party has developed. The nation heard from rising stars like Mayor Mia Love, from great governors like Brian Sandoval, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, and Susana Martinez, as well as a host of House and Senate members who are committed to turning this country around.

The core principles of the Republican Party were also on display. The ideals of individual freedom, economic liberty, our shared responsibility for our neighbors who are poor, elderly, or suffering, the vital importance of strong families and strong communities – all of these resonate deeply with Jewish voters and were prominent elements of the convention.

For Jewish Republicans, it was a wonderful time to gather with like-minded members of the tribe from all over the country and talk politics. The RJC has had a presence at every GOP national convention since 1988 and this year was the best. Large, enthusiastic crowds came to our events to hear from top GOP officials.

The caliber of speakers and the size of our events say a great deal about the place of Jewish Republicans in the GOP and how welcome our community is in the party of Lincoln.

Of course, now the Democrats are taking note of the warm relationship between Jewish Republicans and the party, and worrying that even more Jewish voters may make themselves at home in the GOP this year. They are worried about President Obama's loss of Jewish support and about the wedge of victory represented by Jewish voters in swing states. They are right to worry, because more than ever, Jewish voters are seeing the clear and significant differences between the two parties.

All in all, this convention was a great start for the big push to November – we were inspired and energized by the events in Tampa last week, and we are ready to go out and make a difference. The RJC will bring that energy to Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania on September 9 and 10, when hundreds of RJC volunteers will engage in a massive grassroots outreach effort including sign waving, literature drops, and phone banking. We are going all out to make sure that Jewish voters are educated, aware, and focused on the most important issues facing our country and our community. We'll make sure that our community "remembers in November!"
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RJC Condemns California Democratic Party Chairman's 'Goebbels' Smear Against GOP



Washington, D.C. (September 3, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition today condemned California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton for likening Republicans to infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels and urged the party's elected leaders to repudiate the offensive remarks.

RJC Executive Director Matthew Brooks said,


"John Burton ought to know better than to bring the Nazis and their victims into our current political debates, but apparently the offense such remarks cause to Holocaust survivors and their families are of less concern to him than the prospect of partisan gain.


"Jewish Americans expect more from political leaders and it is incumbent on elected Democrats, starting with Governor Brown, Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer, to unequivocally reject Burton's outrageous and offensive remarks."




Background:

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RJC Runs Ads Critical of Radical Rabbi

Washington, D.C. (August 29, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition today announced a print ad highlighting "Rabbis for Obama" member Lynn Gottlieb and her radical views. The ad will run nationally in Jewish newspapers next week, with a particular focus on Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Lynn Gottlieb, a rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement, was among 600 people touted by the Obama campaign as "Rabbis for Obama." That list includes eight members of the left-wing fringe group Jewish Voice for Peace, which the Anti-Defamation League has named one of the "top ten anti-Israel groups." Lynn Gottlieb sits on the board of that group. She was also the first U.S. rabbi to travel to Tehran since the Iranian revolution and has dined with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Rabbi Sam Gordon, co-chair of "Rabbis for Obama," not only refused to remove Lynn Gottlieb from the list but, in fact, came to her defense and accused her critics of "demonizing" her.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "Anti-Israel activists like Lynn Gottlieb are far outside the mainstream of the Jewish community, yet the Obama campaign touts them as supporters of the President."

Brooks continued, "The Obama campaign remains tone-deaf about the issues that concern American Jewish voters and naming radical anti-Israel rabbis as 'Rabbis for Obama' is one example of this. This is one reason for the strong sense of 'buyer's remorse' we are seeing among Jewish voters who cast their ballots for Barack Obama in 2008. This is why the Republican Party is making inroads in the Jewish community in 2012."

This print ad is part of the RJC's $6.5 million issue advocacy and grassroots outreach effort in 2012, which includes the MyBuyersRemorse.com site, web ads, extensive TV ads, print ads, mail and phone efforts, and a massive two-day grassroots campaign with volunteers on the ground in key communities on September 9-10.
Click the image to see a full-size PDF of the ad:

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RJC Praises Republican Party Platform

Washington, D.C. (August 28, 2012) —The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today praised the 2012 Republican Party platform, entitled "We Believe in America."

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

The 2012 Republican platform is a forward-looking document that celebrates American exceptionalism and focuses on the most pressing issues facing our nation: rebuilding our economic strength, providing for a strong national defense, and demonstrating leadership in the international community.


The Republican Party remains unwavering in its commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel alliance and its rejection of pressuring Israel to negotiate with those intent on her destruction.


This is the party of Lincoln and the party of Reagan, carrying their principled commitment to freedom and opportunity into the 21st century.


In particular, the RJC notes the following provisions in the platform:

  • History proves that the best way to promote peace and prevent costly wars is to ensure that we constantly renew America’s economic strength. A healthy American economy is what underwrites and sustains American power. The current Administration is weakening America at home through anemic growth, high unemployment, and record-setting debt. We must therefore rebuild our economy and solve our fiscal crisis. In an American century, America will have the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. (http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_Exceptionalism)



  • We must deter any adversary who would attack us or use terror as a tool of government. Every potential enemy must have no doubt that our capabilities, our commitment, and our will to defeat them are clear, unwavering, and unequivocal. We must immediately employ a new blueprint for a National Military Strategy that is based on an informed and validated assessment of the potential threats we face, one that restores as a principal objective the deterrence using the full spectrum of our military capabilities. (http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_Exceptionalism/#Item8)



  • The United Nations remains in dire need of reform, starting with full transparency in the financial operations of its overpaid bureaucrats. As long as its scandal-ridden management continues, as long as some of the world’s worst tyrants hold seats on its Human Rights Council, and as long as Israel is treated as a pariah state, the U.N. cannot expect the full support of the American people.(http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_Exceptionalism/#Item12)



  • Israel and the United States are part of the great fellowship of democracies who speak the same language of freedom and justice, and the right of every person to live in peace. The security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States; our alliance is based not only on shared interests, but also shared values. We affirm our unequivocal commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that it maintains a qualitative edge in military technology over any potential adversaries. We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states – Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine – living in peace and security. For that to happen, the Palestinian people must support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law. We call on Arab governments throughout the region to help advance that goal. Israel should not be expected to negotiate with entities pledged to her destruction. We call on the new government in Egypt to fully uphold its peace treaty with Israel. (http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_Exceptionalism/#Item25)



  • The U.S. seeks a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, negotiated between the parties themselves with the assistance of the U.S., without the imposition of an artificial timetable. Essential to that process will be a just, fair, and realistic framework for dealing with the issues that can be settled on the basis of mutually agreed changes reflecting today’s realities as well as tomorrow’s hopes. (http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_Exceptionalism/#Item25)



  • In a season of upheaval, it is necessary to be prepared for anything. That is true on the ground in the Middle East, and it will be equally true in the next Administration, particularly with a new President unbound by the failures of the past. We welcome the aspirations of the Arab peoples and others for greater freedom, and we hope that greater liberty – and with it, a greater chance for peace – will result from the recent turmoil. Many governments in the region have given substantial assistance to the U.S. over the last decade because they understood that our struggle against terror is not an ethnic or religious fight, and that violent extremists are abusers of their faith, not its champions. (http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_Exceptionalism/#Item26)



  • Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability threatens America, Israel, and the world. That threat has only become worse during the current Administration. A continuation of its failed engagement policy with Iran will lead to nuclear cascade. In solidarity with the international community, America must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We express our respect for the people of Iran, who seek peace and aspire to freedom. Their current regime is unworthy of them. It exports terror and provided weapons that killed our troops in Iraq. We affirm the unanimous resolution of the U.S. Senate calling for “elections that are free, fair, and meet international standards” and “a representative and responsive democratic government that respects human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law.” We urge the next Republican President to unequivocally assert his support for the Iranian people as they protest their despotic regime. We must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the safety of our friends. (http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_Exceptionalism/#Item26)


 
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Paul Ryan offers solutions, a brighter future

Friday, August 24, 2012 
By: Matthew Brooks

Mitt Romney made a bold and serious move in his choice of a running mate. With the naming of Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney turned this election into a referendum not only on Pres. Obama's past three years, but on the future freedom, prosperity, and strength of our country.

President Obama will add more to our national debt in just 3 1/2 years than all the presidents before him have done since 1789. Obamacare, his signature piece of legislation, will raise taxes for most Americans, gut $700 billion out of Medicare permanently, raise the cost of health care, and reduce the quality and accessibility of care to millions of Americans, while limiting patient choices.

Romney and Ryan have a different vision of America, and a serious plan for taking us to a more prosperous and secure future. Paul Ryan's budget plan has been honed over the last couple of years and has earned the bipartisan support of Democrats like Sen. Ron Wyden and former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles (of the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform).

As expected in a campaign year, Democrats will try to demonize Ryan and scare Jewish voters, claiming that he will "end Medicare as we know it" or "push bubbe over a cliff." They'll accuse of him of wanting to shred the social safety net. Well, here are the facts you should know about Ryan's plan:

• No one over the age of 55 will be affected at all, in any way, by the changes to the Medicare system.

• Medicare's traditional fee-for-service plan will remain an option that anyone can choose - Medicare will continue to operate and no one will be forced out of it.

• The introduction of "premium support" - a way to increase competition and reduce costs while maintaining the same level of benefits - will not "privatize Medicare" but will add the option for today's younger workers to choose the same benefits of Medicare at lower costs.

Medicare "as we know it" today is unsustainable, impossible, and deadly to our children's economic future - it must be reformed, and soon.

Ryan is a protege of Jack Kemp, whose pro-growth, pro-trade ideas came from a profound belief that free markets benefit minorities and the poor by enlarging the economic pie. Ryan's efforts on the House Budget Committee (which he currently chairs) have been focused on reforming areas of ineffective or bloated government spending and making the tax system more coherent and less burdensome - all in order to grow the economy and create jobs. Jobs and growth are vital to ensuring that the U.S. avoids the kind of economic crisis facing much of Europe.

On Israel and foreign policy, Ryan has a solid record as a member of Congress and, more importantly, a solid understanding of America's role in the world, our alliance with Israel, and the terrible threat that Islamist extremism and terrorism pose for us and for the free world. In fact, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren said of Ryan that he's "very supportive" of the Jewish state.

Democrats will try to have you believe that Ryan voted against sanctions measures on Iran. In fact, Rep. Ryan has supported every single Iran sanctions measure supported by AIPAC and co-sponsored many of them. The Democrats' bogus charge is based on Republicans having voted as a bloc to reject Democratic procedural motions - motions whose only actual effect would be to torpedo unrelated legislation. Those votes were never about Iran; they were all about partisan politics.

Like Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, Israeli leaders who met Ryan when he visited Israel with a congressional delegation in 2005 have been impressed with his strong support for Israel. In public remarks, Ryan has made it clear that he rejects President Obama's policy of pressuring Israel and he opposes the Palestinians' unilateral statehood efforts.

The Romney-Ryan ticket is ready to tackle the big problems - our debt, our ever-growing federal spending, and the out-of-control entitlement programs that are on track to destroy our economy. Democratic scare-mongering, treating the Jewish community like unthinking children, is an unworthy and failed response to the serious and positive proposals that Romney and Ryan are putting in front of American voters.

Matthew Brooks is the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

This article appeared in the Washington Jewish Week on August 22, 2012
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RJC Calls for Removal of Obama Campaign's Radical Rabbi

Obama Campaign Embraces Radical Rabbi


She meets with Ahmadinejad, travels to Iran, serves on board of organization ADL calls a "top ten anti-Israel group"


RJC Calls for Her Removal from Campaign Group


Washington, D.C. (August 23, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today expressed profound outrage at the inclusion of radical rabbi Lynn Gottlieb on the official list released by the Obama campaign of "Rabbis for Obama." Rabbi Gottlieb has a long and troubling history, which includes dining with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, being the first American rabbi to visit Tehran, and serving in an organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, which the Anti-Defamation League has called one of the "top ten anti-Israel groups."

By promoting and showcasing Rabbi Gottlieb as one of Pres. Obama's supporters, the Obama campaign lends legitimacy and credibility to a rabbi whose extreme views are well beyond the mainstream of the Jewish community and the mainstream of America.

According to RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks, there can be only two explanations for her inclusion in the list: 1) the Obama campaign failed to properly vet the rabbis on their official list, or 2) they did properly vet the rabbis and chose to ignore Rabbi Gottlieb's radical views.

Either way, this speaks volumes about the Obama campaign's judgment and the RJC calls on the Obama campaign to immediately remove her from any formal or official involvement in the campaign.

The fact that the campaign announced Rabbi Gottlieb's participation in "Rabbis for Obama" at around the same time that it was announced that former President Jimmy Carter -- who has met with Hamas and has been a virulent critic of Israel -- will speak at the Democratic Convention, highlights not only the insensitivity of the Obama campaign to the concerns of the Jewish community, but also underscores why Pres. Obama has seen a significant erosion of support among Jewish voters.

 
Background:

Rabbis for Obama list



Rabbi Gottlieb dined with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad



Rabbi Gottlieb is the first American rabbi to visit Tehran




Rabbi Gottlieb serves on rabbinical council of Jewish Voice for Peace




ADL calls Jewish Voice for Peace a top-ten anti-Israel group
http://www.adl.org/PresRele/IslME_62/5875_62.htm
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RJC Rolls Out New Buyer's Remorse Ad: "Brad"

Washington, D.C. (August 22, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today released the next ad in its "My Buyer's Remorse" series, entitled "Brad."

"Brad" is an attorney who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and even donated money to his campaign. But now he says: "I don't think we can afford another four years of an administration that thinks it can create economic opportunity and growth by taxing people into submission.... I wish I didn't have to say it, but where we are right now and the situation we are in, domestically, and in my view internationally, I think we can do better than Barack Obama."

The new video is part of an ongoing series, in which real people tell their stories of why they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, how they became disillusioned with him, and why they won't vote for him in 2012.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "The recession, unemployment, and the lack of opportunity in this economy are serious concerns for voters this year, including Jewish voters. Candidate Obama made a lot of promises about jobs and taxes and economic growth that President Obama has failed to keep. There is an increasing sense in the Jewish community that we're on the wrong track, and the RJC is letting individuals with buyer's remorse express that to a national audience."

The new ad and previous ads in the series can be seen at http://www.MyBuyersRemorse.com.
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