Republican Jewish Coalition

The RJC Weekly Newsletter

February 04, 2021

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

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— Featured —

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene


RJC Speaks Out


• Last Friday, the RJC released a statement concerning Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the freshman Republican Congresswoman from Georgia who has been in the news for her appalling comments in the past about Jews. One of her social media posts from 2018 recently surfaced, in which she blamed a deadly forest fire in California on “Rothschild Inc.” The JTA notes, “Suggesting that the Rothschild family is conspiring to cause damage for profit is a longstanding anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, and one that is baked into the QAnon mythology.”


The RJC’s statement has been viewed by almost 3 million people on Twitter. It reads

The Republican Jewish Coalition has always spoken out strongly against antisemitic comments from individuals on both sides of the political aisle, and we do not hesitate to do so again in the case of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The RJC does not usually get involved in primary races between Republicans, but in 2020 we did so twice. First, we took the unprecedented step of supporting the challenger to a Republican incumbent, when we supported Randy Feenstra over Rep. Steve King in Iowa. We were pleased that Feenstra won that race and removed King from the US Congress.

The second time, we supported Greene’s primary opponent, John Cowan, in Georgia. We did so because we found Greene’s past behavior deeply offensive. She repeatedly used offensive language in long online video diatribes, promoted bizarre political conspiracy theories, and refused to admit a mistake after posing for photos with a long-time white supremacist leader. It is unfortunate that she prevailed in her election despite this terrible record.

The RJC has never supported or endorsed Marjorie Taylor Greene. We are offended and appalled by her comments and her actions. We opposed her as a candidate, and we continue to oppose her now. She is far outside the mainstream of the Republican Party, and the RJC is working closely with the House Republican leadership regarding next steps in this matter.

The JTA reported on our statement, noting:

At the time that the RJC backed her opponent, Greene was already controversial because of her apparent embrace of the QAnon movement, which peddles wild conspiracy theories, some with anti-Semitic themes. Brooks said it was too early to say whether the RJC would once again back a primary against Greene, because no one has yet declared whether they would run against her.

• The RJC spoke out on another issue late last week, after reports that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declined to condemn the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel. The RJC statement asked whether President Joe Biden shares the anti-BDS views of candidate Biden

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if President Biden agreed with statements from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and from the nominee for US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, opposing the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. Psaki refused to say if President Biden continues to hold the same view as his Secretary of State, a view he held as a candidate in 2020.

Biden's views are again in question because he chose to elevate a prominent supporter of economic boycotts of Israel, Maher Bitar, to the extremely sensitive position of National Security Council senior director of intelligence programs

Biden's appointment of Bitar and his press secretary's refusal to clarify his stance on BDS call into question whether President Biden shares the anti-BDS views of candidate Biden. He must speak out swiftly to reassure the American people that he does not support the antisemitic BDS movement, and to explain why he has given a supporter of the antisemitic BDS movement such a sensitive security post in his administration.


Being the Only Republican in the Room

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks was one of the featured guests in a “Meet the Forward 50” virtual event this week. Forward Editor-in-Chief Jodi Rudoren hosted the conversation between four people chosen from the 2020 Forward 50 list of influential American Jews. The participants were each expert in their very diverse fields, which made for an interesting event. A recording is available on YouTube and Facebook.  


If you’ve ever been the only Republican in the room and felt all eyes upon you when political questions started to fly, you’ll relate to this conversation. Watch how Matt Brooks handles what can be an uncomfortable situation.  


Israel's FM Gabi Ashkenazi signs a joint declaration establishing ties with Kosovo. His counterpart from Kosovo, Meliza Haradinaj Stublla, is seen on the screen. (Menahem Kahana)

Israel, Kosovo Normalize Ties

Israel and the Muslim-majority country of Kosovo formally established diplomatic ties this week. The Associated Press reports

With Monday’s agreement, Kosovo is to become just the third country after the U.S. and Guatemala to have its embassy located in Jerusalem. It also is the first European or Muslim-majority country to do so. Most countries’ embassies are in Tel Aviv… Israeli officials said Kosovo has already selected a location in central Jerusalem and is expected to open the embassy in the next two or three months.

The decision on mutual recognition between Kosovo and Israel was achieved last September as part of a summit at the White House when Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic agreed to normalize economic ties in the presence of then-President Donald Trump.

The Jerusalem Post notes that signing ceremony was held via Zoom video

It likely was the first ceremony of its kind in the world, the Foreign Ministry said. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi signed three agreements, which the ministry scanned and sent to his Kosovar counterpart, Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, to sign.

… Haradinaj-Stublla was joined in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, by representatives from the Kosovar Jewish community. She lauded this “historic achievement that brings joy to the people of Kosovo and the Jewish people.”

Also at the ceremony in Pristina were the families of two Kosovars who saved Jews during the Holocaust and are recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.


— Short Takes —

Biden administration raising questions at the UN

Jewish Policy Center Senior Director Shoshana Bryen has some pointed and pertinent questions for the Biden administration after US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Mills outlined the new American approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a meeting of the UN Security Council. This eye-opening piece is particularly worthy of your attention.


Kushner, Berkowitz, Friedman nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for Israel deals

Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his deputy, Avi Berkowitz, as well as former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and former Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer were nominated on Sunday for the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in negotiating four normalization deals between Israel and Arab nations known as the "Abraham Accords."


— 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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