Brooks: Democrats, Republicans, and the Jewish Community
Thursday, August 23, 2018
By: RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks, Jerusalem Post
In a recent op-ed carried in the Jewish media, Halie Soifer, the newly-appointed executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), preaches the same talking points we hear from Jewish Democratic leaders every election year: Republicans should give up on the Jewish vote.
Her arguments are not convincing. First she asserts that American Jewish values are Democratic values. Then she claims that Democrats are more pro-Israel than Republicans. Both of those statements are simply false.
The Jewish community may still tilt Democrat, but Soifer conveniently forgets to mention that Republicans have received increasing shares of the Jewish vote over the last 25 years. She also ignores the strong support for Republican policies and candidates among the growing population of Orthodox voters in America. Clearly, Jewish values are not identical with the Democratic Party platform if a significant majority of observant Jews vote Republican.
Jewish voters, like all Americans, want economic policies that promote job growth and unleash the economic power of America. They want national security policies that protect our citizens from terrorism, secure our national borders and stop threats from our enemies abroad.
All of us saw the results of eight years of Democratic values in action under the Obama administration: more regulations, more taxes and higher unemployment at home, along with weakness, concessions and alienated allies abroad. Today, Republican leaders and Republican policies are bringing us back to prosperity, strength and security.
The most distressing part of Soifer’s essay was her attempt to use the Democratic Party’s historic support for Israel as cover for the many anti-Israel Democratic candidates who are rising to prominence in their party.
It’s an undeniable fact that extremist, anti-Israel Democrats have won their party’s nomination for Congress. They include: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Leslie Cockburn (VA), Ilhan Omar (MI), Rashida Tlaib (MI) and Scott Wallace (PA). That’s not to mention Rep. Keith Ellison, the Democratic nominee for Minnesota attorney-general. According to Democratic Party leaders, being anti-Israel is acceptable. Democratic Party co-chairman Tom Perez said Ocasio-Cortez represents the “future the Democratic Party.” She and the others mentioned here have the full support of the Democratic Party and, with the exception of Tlaib, the endorsement of Jewish Democratic groups like J Street. We have yet to hear Soifer or her organization, the JDCA, oppose the rest of these troubling candidates.
In contrast, when anti-Israel, white supremacist candidates run for office as Republicans, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Republican Party are quick to speak out. The Republican Party and the RJC have denounced them and denied them any support. Their ideology is evil and such people have no place in the party of Lincoln.
Unfortunately, Soifer has to contend with the fact that Republicans are overwhelmingly more supportive of Israel than Democrats at the grassroots as well. Polls show that Republican support for Israel is near 80%, while Democratic support is less than 30%. We have seen Democrats shifting away from Israel for years, and the partisan gap in support for Israel is now the widest it has ever been.
The RJC will continue to educate and energize the growing Jewish Republican movement in this country. Jewish voters deserve to have a voice in the party that is pro-Israel, supports economic growth and national security, and reflects their values. And that party is the GOP.
Matt Brooks is the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
This article appeared on the Jerusalem Post site on August 23, 2018.