Republican Jewish Coalition

The RJC Weekly Newsletter

January 28, 2021

Your weekly look at the latest news, analysis, and RJC activities around the country.

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— Featured —

Matt Brooks and Haile Sofer/Angelie Zaslavsky for the Forward


Matt Brooks in the Forward 50


Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks was recently named to the Forward 50 for 2020. The Forward 50 is usually described as a list of the most “influential” American Jews of the year. For 2020, Forward Editor-in-Chief Jodi Rudoren called it a list of “people we (mostly) needed in a year we very much did not.” Halfway down the list of 50, Rudoren paired RJC’s Matt Brooks with his counterpart across the aisle, writing:

25. & 26. Haile Soifer and Matt Brooks, Strange Bedfellows
In this year of profound political polarization, we choose to jointly honor [Haile] Soifer, who was recently promoted to CEO (from executive director) of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, and Brooks, head of the Republican Jewish Coalition. They do not agree on…..well, anything, at least according to Twitter; but we very much need both of them.

Matt Brooks will be featured in a “Meet the Forward 50” online event, along with Lauren Holtzblatt (Co-Senior Rabbi, Adas Israel), Elaine Hall (Founder, The Miracle Project), and Hy Wolfe (Yiddish Actor). 


You can watch the event live, on February 2 at 2:00pm Eastern TimeRegister here. 




RJC in the News

•  Paul Miller, president and executive director of the Haym Salomon Center, writes at the Washington Examiner about the Left’s mainstreaming of antisemitism. He notes

Politicians and media outlets talk a good game about condemning anti-Semitism. But when it’s propagated by a vocal, influential minority in the Democratic Party, anti-Semitism is tolerated and covered up by the Left’s power structure.

…In Congress, there is Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and the poster child for liberal anti-Semitism... If Omar had an “R” next to her name or attacked the African American or gay community, she would have been out of office in a heartbeat. But attacking Jews is acceptable in academia, the Democratic Party, and the press, as long as it comes from a left-wing source.

…Across the aisle, conservatives and Republicans actually police their own. After flirting with white supremacists, now-former Rep. Steve King of Iowa was stripped of his committees in 2018 and thrown out by Republican primary voters in 2020.

Leading the charge against King was the Republican Jewish Coalition. By contrast, the Jewish Democratic Council of America recently campaigned heavily in support of Georgia Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock, who has a history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric as well as supporting [Louis] Farrakhan. The RJC, unlike its Democratic counterpart, won’t hesitate to call out anti-Semitism by anyone carrying the GOP banner.

•  Omri Nahmias reports at The Jerusalem Post on the legislative agendas of the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Jewish Democratic Council of America:

Neil Strauss, a spokesperson for RJC, told The Jerusalem Post that one of the priorities for the organization would be the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act. The Act, which passed the House of Representatives during the Trump administration but did not pass the Senate, would sanction individuals and entities that support Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and affiliated terrorist groups. Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Florida sponsored the bill together with Democrat from New Jersey Josh Gottheimer, and it is one example of bipartisan work.

Strauss noted that RJC “support[s] the strict implementation” of the Taylor Force Act, “and oppose[s] the efforts trial-ballooned by the Biden administration and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman [Gregory] Meeks to dilute or circumvent the law.” Passed in 2018, the law freezes State Department funds to the Palestinian Authority unless it ends its longstanding practice of compensating the families of terrorists convicted in Israeli courts.

Another piece of legislation that is being considered, Strauss said, is having to do with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). “We expect to support efforts in Congress to prevent a resumption of funding without major changes in the way the organization works,” he said. The Trump administration cut all funding to UNRWA back in 2018, questioning the organization’s “fundamental business model” of servicing an “endlessly and exponentially expanding community” of declared Palestinian refugees.

Finally, said Strauss, the organization supports efforts to maximize funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant program, which provides funds for security enhancements for Jewish organizations. Multiple Jewish organizations advocated raising the grants from $180 million to as much as $360m. annually.

The Case Against the Iran Deal

The must-read article this week is “The Case Against the Iran Deal” by Michael Oren and Yossi Klein Halevi. It lays out the history of the deal, its fatal flaws and omissions, and the real and imminent threat that re-entering the JCPOA would trigger. They write:

The JCPOA, then, has not substantially blocked any of Iran’s efforts. The violations that Iran has committed since America’s withdrawal from the deal, and more intensively in recent months, will pale compared with the industrial-scale enrichment program the JCPOA ultimately permits. Combined with its weaponization-related work and its missile development, this will position Iran to become a global nuclear power.

… The JCPOA was supposed to provide Iran with the time and the incentive to moderate; instead, it gave Iran the means and the legitimacy to intensify its aggression now, while enabling it to go nuclear later.

… Still, Iran can be stopped.

Although every new administration seeks to distinguish itself from its predecessor—and this incoming administration all the more so—President Joe Biden should not squander the leverage he has inherited.

Read the whole thing, and share it.


Eye on Washington

• President Joe Biden will drag the US back into the anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council and the World Health Organization. 


Politico outlines the 17 things Joe Biden did with his pen on Day One, noting that 12 of them reversed Trump orders. The full texts of his executive orders are on the White House web site


• Biden cancelled work on the Keystone XL Pipeline, with at least 3 harmful effects, says Brad Polumbo


• Biden wants to replace the government's fleet of almost 650,000 vehicles with all-electric models produced in the United States, but watch out for those unintended consequences. 


• Biden starts staffing a commission on Supreme Court packing reform.


• Biden taps anti-Israel BDS activist Maher Bitar for top White House intel job.


— Short Takes —

What would hiring Robert Malley say about Biden’s plans on Iran?

Jonathan Tobin explains how appointments to important positions are done in Washington, by examining the controversy over the possibility that Robert Malley might be appointed the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran. He also describes clearly why Malley would be a dangerous choice for that position.


Biden extends hand to Palestinians

Ambassador Richard Mills, President Joe Biden’s acting representative to the UN, addressed the UN Security Council this week. He said the new administration’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would include support for a mutually agreed two-state solution and renewing US relations with the Palestinian leadership and people, by restoring US assistance to the Palestinians and re-opening diplomatic missions such as the Palestinian office in Washington.


Democrat lawmakers call out Israel for not vaccinating Palestinians

Jacob Magid reports that newly-elected Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) joined Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) in claiming that Israel is cruelly withholding Covid vaccines from Palestinians. That is an antisemitic lie. Israel is vaccinating its own Arab citizens and Palestinians residents of East Jerusalem, but under the 1995 Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is responsible for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. The PA is working with Russia and the World Health Organization to acquire and distribute a vaccine, and Israeli and Palestinian officials are cooperating on some level as well. 


— Tweets —





— Events —


Atlanta: Virtual Event with Jonathan Schanzer

Sunday, February 21 at 4:00 PM EST
Jonathan Schanzer is Senior Vice President for Research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Topic: "American Foreign Policy in the Middle East Under Biden: Continuity or Change?"
Click here to register.



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