RJC Mourns Passing of Yitzhak Shamir

Sunday, July 01, 2012
By: RJC Press Release

Washington, D.C. (July 1, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition mourns the passing of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

Yitzhak Shamir devoted his life to Israel and the Jewish people. He was a man of great integrity and strong principle, respected even by his opponents for his unyielding commitment to the security and welfare of the Jewish people and the Jewish State. One of his most notable achievements as prime minister was the absorption of over 1 million Soviet Jews and 60,000 Ethiopian Jews into Israel. During the Gulf War, he maintained a policy of remarkable restraint, withholding Israeli retaliation against missile attacks from Iraq. His focus was always on Israel's safety and growth, and the Jewish people's eternal bond with the Land of Israel.

May his family and friends be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. May his memory be for a blessing.

RJC Responds to Obamacare ruling by Supreme Court

Thursday, June 28, 2012
By: RJC Press Office

Washington, D.C. (June 28, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) is deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare, Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "The Supreme Court has rendered judgement on the constitutionality of Obamacare. It remains up to Congress and the American people to judge whether it is good policy. The serious negative effects this law will have on the economy, on jobs, on medical research and development, and on the quality of health care in America, are very troubling. The American people will have the opportunity to express their opinion on the wisdom of Obamacare in this election year."

Romney would make U.S.-Israel ties stronger, warmer

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By: Matt Brooks, RJC Executive Director

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told the passionately pro-Israel members of the Faith and Freedom Coalition that he would “do the opposite” of the things President Obama has done regarding Israel, the room erupted in applause. They understood exactly what he meant, because they know that the Obama administration has not strengthened the U.S.-Israel relationship; President Obama has brought that strategic alliance to its lowest point in decades.

Let’s review a little history.

President Obama began his presidency with a Middle East outreach tour that excluded Israel and had as its high point his major speech in Cairo. President Obama told the Muslim world that Israel’s creation was the result of the tragedy in Europe (meaning the Holocaust), echoing the Muslim language that delegitimizes the Jewish state as a European implant in the region. He also said that Israeli settlements were illegitimate.

The President followed that up with a sustained public attack on Israeli settlement policy that was much harsher than we’d seen since the days of Jimmy Carter. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that even “natural growth” should not be permitted within Israeli towns beyond the Green Line, even in areas within or just outside of Jerusalem. The 2004 Bush-Sharon letter said that certain areas outside the 1949 armistice lines should become part of Israel in a future negotiated settlement because of “new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers.” The Obama administration rejected the plain meaning of that letter.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to an unprecedented 10-month freeze on settlement construction, the Obama administration put no pressure on the Palestinians to respond and they never came to the negotiating table during that time. At the end of the 10 months, the Palestinians insisted that the freeze continue before they would join in negotiations, and the Obama administration fully backed their demand, without making any demands on the Palestinians or holding them accountable for things they had already committed to do.

In March of 2010, a routine Israeli government announcement of one step in the planning process for new homes in a Jerusalem neighborhood was made while Vice President Biden was visiting Jerusalem. It was an indelicate slip-up, given the Obama administration’s stance on settlements. In response, the Obama administration went full-bore in condemning Israel in the strongest diplomatic terms possible. Secretary of State Clinton read the riot act to the Prime Minister in a scathing, 45-minute phone call made public by her office. David Axelrod went on the weekend talk shows to call the announcement an “insult.” That heated condemnation of Israel came as Palestinians were working toward a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. The Obama administration said nothing about that, saving all their venom and vitriol for Israel.

In the spring of 2011, President Obama made a speech that blindsided Prime Minister Netanyahu just hours before he arrived in this country for another summit meeting. The President fundamentally changed U.S. policy by saying, “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” By setting the armistice lines as the baseline for negotiations and implying that both Israel and the Palestinians would have to “swap” land tit-for-tat, President Obama made the Palestinians’ intransigent, revisionist position into U.S. policy. Even leading Democrats in Congress protested the President’s words.

At the United Nations, where the U.S. has long defended Israel, the Obama administration has sharply criticized Israel to the international community. When the Security Council has considered anti-Israel resolutions, President Obama has often refused to defend Israel during the debate. When he has ordered a U.S. veto, his UN ambassador has used it as an opportunity to publicly criticize Israeli settlement policy in the sharpest of terms.

In the first three years of his term, President Obama inserted plenty of “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel. Only recently, when the President’s Jewish support began eroding dramatically in the polls, has the administration backed away from its cold, often belligerent treatment of Israel. The military assistance and cooperation, the diplomatic words, and the other things that President Obama’s publicists are now touting, are the very least that one would expect from an American President, given that the American people and Congress are such unwavering, staunch supporters of a strong Israel and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance. It’s when the words really count and when the time for action comes that the Obama administration has been woefully lacking a pro-Israel record.

Mitt Romney’s record would be just the opposite; pro-Israel and based on a real commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.


Jewish Support for Republicans at 24-Year High

Gallup poll shows Republicans at highest level since Bush victory in 1988


Sign of President Obama's vulnerability

Washington, D.C. (June 8, 2012) -- A new Gallup poll released today shows Republicans are making significant inroads in the Jewish community and that support for President Obama is at a 24-year low for a Democratic presidential candidate. The poll shows President Obama winning just 64% of the Jewish vote, while support for Romney is at 29%, the highest level of Jewish support for a Republican presidential candidate in 24 years.

The Gallup poll also illustrates a significant decrease in Jewish support for Obama between 2008 and 2012. According to Gallup:

Among Jews, Obama's current 64% to 29% advantage compares with a 74% to 23% advantage before the election in 2008. Thus, he is running 10 points lower among Jewish registered voters than in 2008, which is five points worse than his decline among all registered voters compared with 2008.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "This poll is another sign of the erosion of support for Obama among Jewish voters. If the President wins just 64% of the Jewish vote, it would be a disaster for him and his party. Jewish voters are increasingly disillusioned with the President and that's why Mitt Romney is making real inroads in the Jewish community this year."

Jewish support for Democratic presidential candidates has exceeded 64% since 1988; Michael Dukakis took just 64% of the Jewish vote when he was soundly defeated by George H.W. Bush. In 1992, Bill Clinton won 80% of the Jewish vote. In 1996, he was re-elected with 78% of the Jewish vote. Al Gore won 79% of the vote in 2000 and John Kerry took 76% in 2004. President Obama won 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008.

RJC Congratulates Gov. Scott Walker on Recall Election Victory

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 
By: RJC Press Office

The Republican Jewish Coalition congratulates Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on winning his recall election last night. RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

The voters of Wisconsin, like voters across the nation, want what Republicans like Scott Walker are offering: a realistic plan for lowering deficits, increasing economic growth, and tackling our biggest problems with action, not rhetoric. The efforts by Gov. Walker and Republicans in the state legislature in Wisconsin to cut spending, cut taxes, and balance the budget have already shown tangible positive results and people responded to that. That is why Gov. Walker won last night by an even higher margin than his 2010 victory and it's why Republicans nationally can win in 2012: we have the right ideas and the effective policies to get America back on track.


“Taxmageddon” Looms in 2013

Thursday, May 17, 2012
By: Noah Silverman, RJC Congressional Affairs Director

Many vital decisions hinge on the results of this year’s elections, but few will affect American voters as directly as the future of tax policy. As you probably know, back in 2010, Republicans – who had just seized control of the House - succeeded in compelling President Obama to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief provisions in full.

Unfortunately, that reprieve only lasts through the end of this year. So unless the President and congressional leaders in both parties can come to terms on a consensus plan, staggering tax hikes will be imposed on nearly every American household at year’s end. Because of the high stakes, Washington, DC is abuzz with concern about what some are calling “Taxmageddon.”

Assuming no action is taken, economists estimate that Taxmageddon would cause government revenue to surge by $494 billion in just one year. That’s an average of $3,800 per person in 2013.

And don’t assume it will only be the well-off facing a drastically expanded tax burden. Despite the “tax cuts for the rich” demagoguery of the Democrats, 60 percent of the benefits from the 2001 and 2003 tax relief packages go to middle and low-income taxpayers.

Of particular concern for younger families would be the expiration of the child tax credit, which would be halved from $1000 to $500, and the restoration of the marriage penalty.

Investors should brace for huge increases in taxes on dividends and capital gains. And 34 million taxpayers who have been insulated from the Alternative Minimum tax would be made subject to its punitive impact.

Since 2013 will also usher in new taxes under Obamacare and other austerity measures instituted pursuant to last year’s deal to raise the debt ceiling – and our nation is likely to bump up against our borrowing limit again around the same time – you can see why economic forecasters are looking ahead to the coming year with great dread.

Incredibly, President Obama and Democrats in Congress have shown relatively little interest in acting to prevent Taxmageddon.

In fact, it’s quite likely that they view these circumstances as an opportunity to engineer a huge tax hike they can blame on the GOP.

Obama is somewhat constrained politically by the promise he made repeatedly in 2008 not to raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000 a year. But there are clear indications he will jettison that pledge if he is reelected.

In The Escape Artists, his recent account of the Obama administration’s early economic decision-making, Noam Scheiber explains that the President’s first budget director, Peter Orszag, “believed the only practical way to balance the budget was to repeal all the Bush tax cuts, not just the upper-income variety.”

He continues:

... the administration’s chief wonk – Barack Obama – was intrigued. He asked a series of encouraging questions about how the proposal would work. According to two sources in the room, he was taken with both the political merits – that is, putting Republicans on the defensive – and the policy rationale of lopping trillions off the deficit. He gave no indication that he was troubled by the plan’s most explosive feature: that it would likely break a central campaign promise – not raising taxes on the middle class – one Republicans would surely wrap around his neck with populist glee...

What is clear is that, having been tempted to end all of the Bush tax cuts in 2009, the president would only find the idea more attractive were he to win a second term. At that point, he will never again stand before the voters as a presidential candidate. There would be nothing to stop him from flouting a campaign promise, even one as sensitive as his tax pledge.

Since even a defeated President Obama will remain in office until after the expiration of these tax relief provisions, turbulence may be inevitable, but stopping tax code changes that would imperil jobs and the economy will be easier if the President is a lame duck.

This year, the GOP must educate voters who may not be aware of the looming Taxmageddon disaster so that we can elect a President who is not secretly enamored with the idea of massive across-the-board tax increases.

This article as published in the March-April issue of the RJC Bulletin, a bimonthly newsletter sent out to current paid RJC members and leaders. To receive upcoming issues of the RJC Bulletin, please join the RJC or renew your membership by calling 202-638-6688.

RJC Strongly Rebukes Belgium Ambassador's Reported Remarks Linking Israel, Anti-Semitism

Washington, D.C. (December 3, 2011) -- Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matthew Brooks released the following statement in reaction to the reported statement by U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, that a “distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”

"The remarks reportedly made by President Obama's Ambassador to Belgium are outrageous," Brooks said. "It's no wonder that hearing such a message from this country's representative left an audience of European Jewish leaders 'stunned.'"

Brooks continued, "Unfortunately, this administration's policies of 'daylight' and pressure toward our ally Israel encourage the dangerously misguided tendency to make excuses for anti-Semitic hatred and bigotry.

"The linkage in the ambassador's remarks, blaming Israel for anti-Semitism, is a short step from the linkage that President Obama has expressed several times himself, that Israel is to blame for the unrest and instability in the Middle East. Both forms of linkage are fundamentally wrong.

"Given the importance of the US maintaining its leadership role in the fight against resurgent European anti-Semitism - including in Belgium - it is good that the administration has distanced itself from Ambassador Gutman's remarks. Now, it is essential that the administration address the question of how Gutman can credibly represent our nation in his important post."

The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday that Ambassador Gutman told his audience that "a distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians" and went on to advocate diplomatic concessions by Israel to Arab adversaries as a way to reduce the prevalence of anti-Semitism among Muslims.

According to the same report, “The legal experts at the event were visibly stunned by Gutman’s words, and the next speaker offered a scathing rebuttal to the envoy’s remarks.”

Yedioth Ahronoth went on to report:

Gutman also presented participants with a short video clip showing him received with warm applause at a Muslim school in Brussels. While he did not mention what prompted the warm reception, his message was that this is the kind of welcome given to a Jew who supports President Obama’s policy of openness to Islam... the US envoy was asked whether Obama’s policy did not cause America to lose its influence in the region. Gutman responded by saying that the Arab world appreciates Obama following his speech in Cairo, referring to an address delivered by the president in 2009.

The Weekly Standard today reported that "Gutman was a major fundraiser for President Obama’s 2008 election campaign. He bundled $500,000 for Obama, according to, personally giving at least $2,300 to the campaign."