McDaniel & Brooks: In Perilous Times, The Republican Party and the RJC Elevate Jewish Voices
When times get tough, that’s when you find out who your friends really are. For the American Jewish community, these are difficult times. Still reeling in horror from the atrocities that Hamas committed against Israeli civilians on October 7, American Jews are praying for the men, women, and children that were kidnapped by the terrorists and taken into Gaza, and they are following intently all news of the war that Israel now righteously pursues against Hamas. But American Jews are also contending with a dramatic surge in antisemitism here in the US, with antisemitic demonstrations, threats, and attacks spiking to record levels, making Jews here feel less safe than at any time in the last 70 years.
That’s a big part of why the Republican National Committee reached out to the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), the independent, national organization of Jewish Republicans, to co-sponsor the third Republican presidential debate in Miami, Florida on November 8. The RJC has been an important partner of the GOP for decades, and in recent years, the RJC’s cutting-edge grassroots outreach efforts and powerful RJC PAC have provided significant support to Republican candidates in key battleground states. At this perilous time, it was fitting for the Republican National Committee to elevate voices in the American Jewish community.
We saw first-hand the importance and morality of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our ally Israel and expanding the circle of peace in the Middle East, when we traveled to the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem, and on a second trip to the “New Middle East” with stops in Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
It's not just the RNC that has shown friendship and support for Israel and for the American Jewish community. The Republican Party has been, and continues to be, the only unapologetically and unequivocally pro-Israel party in this country. From Presidential actions such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, tearing up the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, and helping to bring about the historic Abraham Accords peace agreements between Israel and Arab states, to Congressional legislation that promotes our strong strategic alliance with Israel, with all the military, economic, and technological cooperation that has vastly benefited both countries, Republicans have led the way.
In fact, the very first action taken by the new Speaker of the House, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), was to bring to the floor of the House a resolution in support of Israel that reaffirmed Israel’s right to self-defense, recommitted the US to Israel’s security, condemned Hamas’s terrorist actions against Israel, and condemned Iran’s support of Hamas and other terrorist groups in the region. Republicans are leading efforts to address and combat antisemitism on college campuses, in US cities, and within the halls of Congress itself.
The American Jewish community, which has largely voted Democrat for decades, has been moving to the GOP in recent years. The clear and undeniable failures of Democrat policies and the unwavering Republican support for Israel and the Jewish community, have brought many Jewish voters to see the Republican Party as their political home.
In 2016, 24 percent of Jewish voters nationally supported President Donald Trump; in 2020 it was 30.5 percent, which had not been achieved since President Reagan. Importantly, in key battleground states like Florida and Georgia, Republicans received 43 percent and 50 percent of the Jewish vote respectively.
In 2022, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis won 45 percent of the Jewish vote in Florida, which carried him to victory; and the GOP candidate for Governor of New York, former Congressman Lee Zeldin, although falling a bit short of victory, received 46 percent of the New York Jewish vote.
We anticipate that the Jewish vote in next year’s elections will be even stronger for Republicans, because Jewish voters clearly see today who their true friends are. It’s not the “Squad” in Congress; it’s not liberal university presidents; it’s not Democrat governors and mayors who have let antisemitic crime run rampant; and it’s not a president who has spent years cozying up to Iran.
The Republican Party is the reliable and faithful friend of American Jews. The Republican National Committee and the Republican Jewish Coalition, as co-hosts of the next GOP presidential debate, look forward to welcoming more Jewish voters than ever into the tent in 2024.
Ronna McDaniel is the chair of the Republican National Committee. Matthew Brooks is the CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition.