Thursday, April 23, 2015
By: Matea Gold
Tension between the Obama administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fueled a fundraising bonanza for a conservative advocacy group that serves as an influential hub of wealthy Jewish donors on the right.Read more
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks was interviewed by Seth Leibsohn on February 5, 2015. The topics discussed included the relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the growing shift among voters away from the Democratic Party and the President's policies, the clash of civilizations that we see in the West's fight against radical Islam, and the threat of a nuclear Iran.Read more
Friday, February 6, 2015
By Edward-Isaac Dovere and Jake Sherman
Now comes the backlash to the Bibi backlash.
Republican and conservative Jewish organizations are threatening shaming campaigns against Democrats who skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to a joint meeting of Congress next month. Even talking about not showing, they say, is forsaking America’s relationship with Israel.Read more
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks was interviewed by Gil Hoffman on Voice of Israel radio, January 26, 2015.Read more
A report on the successful first meeting of the RJC in Sarasota, Florida, written by a participant, Jane Lewit.
Washington, D.C. (November 18, 2014) — Reacting to today’s horrifying terrorist attack in Jerusalem, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s 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 families of those murdered in this horrifying evil act. It is our heartfelt hope that they will be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
“We offer our prayers for peace and healing to the injured, to their families, and to all Israelis confronting the scourge of vicious terrorism.
“And we call on American policy-makers to offer appropriate support and solidarity at this solemn moment. Secretary of State Kerry was right to place a heavy measure of responsibility for this horror on a Palestinian leadership that has tacitly and explicitly encouraged terrorist violence. We urge members of the Obama administration to adhere to this standard of moral clarity in all their statements and actions during the difficult days ahead.”
By: RJC Executive Director Matthew Brooks
The Republican Jewish Coalition was recently honored to have several prominent Republican elected officials, including Governors Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Scott Walker, address RJC leaders at our spring leadership meeting in Las Vegas. This meeting of Jewish Republican activists from around the country was convened at the Venetian Resort, of which RJC board member Sheldon Adelson is the majority shareholder.
Judging by the way some in the mainstream media covered the event, you would think the meeting took place in a one-man phone booth. Some wrote that Adelson “summoned” the governors to town. NBC’s Chuck Todd said, “A single billionaire (Sheldon Adelson) held a cattle call, and potential Republican presidential candidates showed up.”
The reason these governors and other speakers came to the RJC meeting is the same reason they and other Republican elected officials have come to the RJC’s meetings for nearly 30 years, regardless of where the meeting is held and regardless of whether Sheldon Adelson is there – it’s because we invited them and they want to talk with hundreds of Jewish activists who are proud supporters of a strong US-Israel relationship and the GOP.
Because of their obsession with one man, the media’s depiction of our meeting was exaggerated and ignored the real news story here: the warm relationship between the GOP and the American Jewish community.
Since 1985, the RJC has been the Republican Jewish voice in both the broader Jewish community and in the Republican Party. Our members are intensely active in both communities.
That’s because the Jewish community is regarded as an important and valued constituency within the GOP. Republican candidates at every level are committed to reaching out to the Jewish community. Republican decision makers and the grassroots support the core issues that matter to the Jewish community. To give just one example, Gallup and Pew polls over the last few years have consistently shown that Republicans are far more supportive of Israel than Democrats are.
Jewish voters are responding. In 2012, a very challenging year for Republicans overall, the Jewish vote for the Republican presidential candidate jumped almost 50 percent, from 22 percent in 2008 to 32 percent in 2012, a ten-point gain. Republicans have increased their share of the Jewish vote in five of the last six presidential elections. The bonds between the Republican Party and the Jewish community are strong and getting stronger over time.
The RJC leadership meetings over the years have been the venue for many prominent Republicans to get to know the Jewish community. Gov. Mitt Romney addressed our March 2006 meeting in Palm Beach, Florida. Senator John McCain spoke at our May 2006 meeting in Washington, D.C. Gov. Haley Barbour spoke at our March 2010 meeting in Las Vegas. Senator Rick Santorum spoke at our October 2010 meeting in Washington, D.C. Wherever we meet, party leaders regularly join us, not because of any one man, but because of their strong support for Israel and because our thousands of members are knowledgeable activists whose support for these leaders is important.
Any of the governors who attended the RJC meeting in Las Vegas could have met privately with Mr. Adelson at any time they chose. Those governors came to the RJC meeting to speak to 400 active, committed Jewish Republicans, because the Jewish community is an important part of the Republican Party. To portray the event as all about one Jewish man and his money is unfair to the governors, the GOP, and most of all, the Jewish community.
Matthew Brooks is the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
This article was published in the New York Observer on April 9, 2014.
Watch this local news coverage of the RJC 2014 Spring Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, March 29, 2014.
By: Bryan Schwartzman, Jewish Exponent Staff Writer
Jewish Republicans and many local pro-Israel advocates said they were stunned and disappointed by the surprise announcement that U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, a Republican from Chester County, won’t be seeking re-election.
The 58-year-old, six-term congressman was considered a pro-Israel stalwart. He was a frequent target of Democrats and had survived several close contests that drew national attention to the Pennsylvania suburbs.
“The news that Jim Gerlach is leaving is a tremendous loss to the Southeast Pennsylvania congressional delegation,” said Robin Schatz, director of government affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Gerlach has “always been great on Israel,” Schatz said, but he’s also been open to Federation’s concerns on a range of social issues, even if he hasn’t always backed the organization’s stance. She cited Gerlach’s vote in September to cut $40 billion from the federal food stamp program as an example where Gerlach heard the organized Jewish community’s concerns but ultimately voted the other way.
In a prepared statement released Monday, Gerlach, who previously spent 12 years in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, said: “It is simply time for me to move on to new challenges and to spend more time with my wife and family, who have been extremely supportive and have made significant sacrifices during my tenure in public office.”
Gerlach’s planned departure follows on the heels of U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan’s (R-N.J.) announcement several months ago that he also won’t be seeking re-election. Both Gerlach and Runyan have expressed frustration with the current state of gridlock in Washington.
First elected to Congress in 2002, Gerlach has been considered a go-to lawmaker on issues related to Israel. Just this past week, Gerlach called for American funding to the Palestinian Authority to be halted until a reported stipend program the authority has used for convicted terrorists is ended.
For his efforts, Gerlach got a shout-out from the Zionist Organization of America.
Scott Feigelstein, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Philadelphia chapter, said “It is very disappointing to see someone as talented and as effective as Jim” leave public service.
On the other hand, Democratic activist Betsy Sheerr said “no tears were being shed” over Gerlach’s exit. David Broida, a Democrat from the Main Line, said that while he may have sometimes reached across the aisle, Gerlach was a reliable Republican vote.
Gerlach first traveled to the Jewish state in 2005 on an RJC trip led by Philadelphia lawyer Steven Friedman. He returned on an official congressional trip.
In June 2006, in a tough re-election year, he caused a controversy by hosting a public program in Ardmore with Danny Ayalon, then Israel’s ambassador to the United States.
Though it was done under the auspices of his congressional office and was not a campaign event, many Democrats, including his opponent, Lois Murphy, said the program appeared to be an endorsement of Gerlach.
Gerlach, whose district used to include the Jewish enclave of Lower Merion but no longer does, briefly ran for governor in 2010. But he dropped out of the race and ran for another term in the House.
The district is still considered competitive and, with Gerlach’s departure, Democrats see a new opening. One declared candidate is Michael Parrish, the 49-year-old CEO of a financial services firm.
© 2013 Jewish Exponent.
This article was published on the Jewish Exponent web site on January 8, 2014.