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.
"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."
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!"
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.
"CA Dem chair John Burton compares GOP to Goebbels for 'telling the big lie' (VIDEO)" http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2012/09/03/ca-dem-chair-john-burton-compares-gop-to-nazi-goebbels-for-telling-the-big-lie-video
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.
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)
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
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.
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.
Friday, August 17, 2012
By: Matthew Brooks
It's only been a few days since he was added to the Republican ticket, but already the Democrat-driven Paul Ryan myths are piling up. In a ritual familiar to many of us from past GOP VP roll-outs, the feverish emails, hyped-up lists and overwrought press releases reveal a desperate Democratic party straining to scare American voters - including Jewish voters. The aim this year is to get voters to focus on Ryan rather than President Obama's record of failure. And they're scared that voters will judge for themselves and come to the same conclusion as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, who offered this glowing assessment of Ryan and his signature budget.
Have any of you all met Paul Ryan? We should get him to come to the university. I’m telling you, this guy is amazing. I always thought I was okay at arithmetic, this guy can run circles around me. And he is honest, he is straightforward, he is sincere. And the budget he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, honest, serious budget, and it cut the budget deficit, just like [the budget commission Bowles co-chaired] did, by $4 trillion.
That's a pretty good 'reference' given the work that lies ahead for the next President of the United States and his team. Especially in contrast to Bowles's assessment of the incumbent.
The president came out with his own plan. And, the president as you remember, came out with a budget. And I don’t think anybody took that budget very seriously. The Senate voted against it 97-to-nothing.
The need to distract voters from making that sort of assessment of the two presidential tickets drives the zeal to propagate myths, some silly, some scurrilous. Here are just five we've seen since the weekend.
1. Paul Ryan is a social issues crusader
This is one of the most mindless and predictable attacks. While it's true that Ryan's views on social issues reflect his Midwestern congressional district, those issues have never been his focus. Also striking - Ryan parted ways with social conservatives on one of the major gay rights issues considered by Congress during his tenure, a proposed law to ban job discrimination based on sexual preference
2. Paul Ryan will take away your Bubbe's Medicare
The recent exchange between CNN's Wolf Blitzer and DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz attracted a lot of attention, especially from amused Republicans. The serious take-away from the episode is that Wasserman Schultz was bound and determined not to admit that today's seniors - as well as those nearing retirement - will be unaffected by the Medicare reforms Ryan proposed in tandem with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden. Democrats plainly intend to propagate this lie far and wide. But it's still a lie - and an egregious one given that the intent is to scare seniors.
Since Democrats are trying to suggest otherwise, it's also important to make clear that under the Ryan-Wyden plan, the decision to opt for a private plan instead of traditional Medicare would be left up to the individual, not dictated by the government.
3. Paul Ryan is a blank slate on foreign policy
It's pretty rich to hear people who promoted then-Sen. Barack Obama four years ago faulting Ryan for having specialized in other legislative areas than foreign policy. And while it's true that few can claim to have sat in as many committee hearings or gone on as many congressional trips as Joe Biden racked up in his 36 years in the Senate, it's also true that Biden is infamous for getting every important foreign policy question wrong - from the Cold War through the Iraq surge.
And Paul Ryan has an excellent record of support for the State of Israel, which is why Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. described him as ‘very supportive’ of the Jewish state within hours of the announcement that he was Romney's pick.
Paul Ryan has also demonstrated a consistent understanding of why our alliance with Israel is so critical - one that compares favorably to President Obama's equivocal record of support. Explaining his approach on his House of Representatives web site, he said:
America has no better friend in the Middle East than the nation of Israel... We cannot advocate for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that jeopardizes Israel’s safety or legitimizes terrorism.
Notwithstanding Rep. Ryan's decision to make budget policy his area of specialization, he has demonstrated that he has reflected seriously on our nation's role in the world.
Critics who say he has no relevant experience are almost certainly compounding egregious hypocrisy with credentialism. By their standard, Bill Clinton would have had even less foreign policy 'experience' than Ryan when he took the oath of office as President.
4. Paul Ryan opposed efforts to strengthen sanctions on Iran.
Rep. Ryan has supported every single Iran sanctions measure supported by AIPAC - the pro-Israel umbrella group - and cosponsored many of them. The bogus Iran sanctions 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. While it's ludicrous to claim Ryan opposed measures to strengthen Iran sanctions, some journalists who know better have given this meritless charge some credence.
5. Paul Ryan is callous to those less fortunate than himself and is generally indifferent to social justice.
This is perhaps the ugliest item on the list because it reflects the politics of personal destruction. Rep. Ryan has articulately detailed and defended a view of social justice that is consistent with his Catholic faith and our common American tradition. It shows the influence of his mentor, Jack Kemp who promoted an opportunity society in which government would be there to protect the weak and vulnerable while minimizing obstacles to individual flourishing. People who are satisfied with our welfare state status quo are free to defend it, but they overreach when they presume that it is the only possible framework for taking care of those in need. Given our inability to afford our current welfare state, they do the poor no favors when they lash out in personal terms at leaders like Paul Ryan who would reform it to better respond to our current challenges.
Another frequent claim is that Rep. Ryan is animated by Ayn Rand's ideas. Rep. Ryan has cited Rand's novels as among the books that have influenced him. So have many others from all points on the political spectrum. Rep. Ryan has also made it clear that he rejects her atheism and 'objectivism,' diverging from her legacy on a fundamental ethical level. Whatever the criticisms of his budget proposals, it's impossible to honestly portray the reformed government he envisions as a Randian utopia.
Washington, D.C. (August 11, 2012) - The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) praised Gov. Mitt Romney for selecting Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, citing his determination to face our nation's most serious problems and his record of proven leadership.
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan are right to reject the notion that America is doomed to economic stagnation and a loss of influence around the world. President Obama wants Americans to believe that - because he's determined to evade blame for his failures in office. But today in Norfolk, Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan made a powerful argument that America can do better - if we embrace the bold, principled leadership they're offering.
"Paul Ryan has challenged both party leaderships in Washington to face up to growing fiscal problems that threaten to blight our nation's future. And while congressional Republicans have responded to the challenge, Democrats have ducked responsibility. The Democrat-controlled US Senate hasn't passed a budget since 2009. And Obama's Treasury Secretary admitted to Congressman Ryan that the administration prefers to only criticize GOP efforts and therefore, will not put a plan of its own to save Medicare and other troubled programs on the table.
"Today, on behalf of himself and Gov. Romney, Paul Ryan promised, 'We won't duck the tough issues...we will lead!' That commitment - one Paul Ryan is well-qualified by his experience to fulfill - creates a stark and favorable contrast with the increasingly desperate Obama administration."
Regarding the House Budget Committee Chairman's commitment to national security, Brooks added, "Paul Ryan also understands that America must continue to serve as a bulwark against deadly threats in the international arena. He's successfully fought efforts to trim the budget by hollowing out our military, noting that because the consequences of American decline would be so destabilizing, 'a safer world and a more prosperous America go hand-in-hand.'
"And we are pleased that by picking Paul Ryan, Gov. Romney has opted for a running mate who has a record Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, has already praised as 'very supportive' of the Jewish state. Paul Ryan has earned appreciation from pro-Israel voters by rejecting the Obama administration's tactic of pressuring Israel to make concessions its leaders believe will undermine its security - and he rightly insists that a rejection of violence and incitement on the Palestinian side is an essential precondition for a meaningful peace agreement."
Times of Israel, "Romney's running mate Ryan 'very supportive of Israel,' says Ambassador Oren," August 11, 2012.
Tim Geithner to Paul Ryan: "We don't have a definitive solution... We just don't like yours" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s29X6Wm0J1Q