Republican Jewish Coalition

The RJC Weekly Newsletter

March 18, 2021

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

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- Featured -

Biden and Abbas

Then-Vice President Joe Biden reviews an honor guard in Ramallah alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in March 2010.

Glimpses into Biden’s Mideast Policy

This week we got some disturbing glimpses into the direction that President Joe Biden’s Middle East policies may take in the coming months.

Reuters reports on a draft Biden administration plan for re-engaging with the Palestinians:

The Biden administration is crafting a plan aimed at resetting US ties with the Palestinians that all but collapsed under former President Donald Trump, according to an internal draft memo.

Two people familiar with the State Department document… said it was still in an early “working stage” but could eventually form the basis for rolling back parts of Trump’s approach that Palestinians denounced as heavily biased in favor of Israel.

United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National, which broke the story, has more details:

The official document, obtained exclusively by The National on Wednesday, was… drafted by deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli-Palestinian affairs Hady Amr and his team.

…The new US team will “take a two-fold approach of maintaining and ideally improving the US relationship with Israel by deepening its integration into the region while resetting the US relationship with the Palestinian people and leadership,” the memo says.

It lays out current efforts towards that goal, including Mr. Amr re-establishing diplomatic contact with the Palestinian Authority that was cut under Mr. Trump who shut the US consulate in Jerusalem and kicked Palestinian diplomats out of the US.

…A key pillar of the new policy involves restarting assistance to the Palestinians, with plans for new Covid-19 aid that could be announced as soon as the end of this month.

…It mentions “rolling back certain steps by the prior administration that bring into question our commitment or pose real barriers to a two-state solution, such as country of origin labelling.”

Danielle Pletka, writing at The Dispatch, compares what some key Biden foreign policy appointees say in their Senate confirmation hearings to what they have said and done in the past. With regard to Iran, Pletka calls the exercise “edifying” and “worrying.” She writes:

… So which Colin Kahl will serve in the Pentagon if confirmed by the Senate? The one who was closeted with Iran’s most ardent lobbyists, consistently blasted harsher measures to contain Iran, and regularly accused the GOP of warmongering, or the mellow fellow who’s good with offing Iranian bad guys and maintaining maximum pressure sanctions until Tehran toes the JCPOA line? Perhaps he’s had a volte-face on Iran after a long career of arguing for accommodation, but it seems unlikely. Even more improbably, we are asked to believe he’s not alone.

While the new Kahl was on display before the Senate Armed Services Committee, a similar story was unfolding at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in connection with the nomination of Wendy Sherman, former senior State Department official and Obama’s lead negotiator with Iran for the JCPOA, to be deputy secretary of state.

Keep reading here.

Please visit the RJC’s new Iran deal portal, where you can learn more about the failures of the 2015 Iran deal and see the RJC’s stance on dealing with Iran going forward. Most importantly, we’ve made it easy for you to tell President Biden that you oppose the US re-entering the failed 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Click here to use our interactive tool to send an email to the White House today!

US Capitol dome

Republicans on the Hill Hold the Line on Iran

The Jewish Insider reports:

Republican lawmakers in the Senate and House have introduced a surge of legislation in recent weeks seeking to further crack down on Iran and put the brakes on the Biden administration’s efforts to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal.

The eight pieces of legislation address issues including tightening sanctions enforcement, expressing disapproval of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), opposing easing sanctions on Iran and seeking to block the US from reentering the JCPOA entirely.

RJC Congressional Affairs Director Noah Silverman comments:

The Biden administration says it wants a deal with Iran that is 'longer and stronger' than the JCPOA. Yet they appear ready to give away the leverage that might compel the regime in Tehran to agree to a better deal by providing sanctions relief in exchange for modest concessions. The bills and resolutions congressional Republicans have introduced would ensure that any Biden Iran deal that provides sanctions relief could not move forward without appropriate buy-in from Congress. They would also require that any deal address all of the regime's malign activities - not just the nuclear program but also illicit ballistic missile development efforts, sponsorship of terrorist attacks against their neighbors, gross human rights violations, and holding American citizens as hostages.

Make your voice heard! Click here to contact President Biden and express your opposition to his Iran policy.

People voting

HR 1 Will Make Our Election Problems Much Worse

Hans von Spakovsky, an expert on election law and election reform efforts, has nothing good to say about HR 1, the “For the People Act of 2021,” which passed in the House on a party-line vote and is now before the Senate. In an article at The National Interest, he writes:

HR 1 would mandate same-day and automatic voter registration and encourage vote trafficking of absentee ballots. It would eviscerate state voter ID laws and limit the ability of states to verify the accuracy of their voter registration lists. This would institutionalize the worst changes in election rules that occurred during the 2020 election. But HR 1 would go even further in increasing the security weaknesses inherent in the current “honor” voter registration and voting system that exists in states across the country.

…If HR 1 is not stopped, then Americans may never be able to trust the fairness and credibility of future election outcomes. To assure the integrity of future elections, a far better approach is to prod states, which have primary constitutional responsibility for the administration of elections, to fix the holes in their election laws and rules to ensure both eligible voter access and ballot security. Those are the two essential principles of the election process and, unlike what the Left believes, you cannot have one without the other.

Keep reading here.

Von Spakovsky has also written a fact sheet on eight ways that HR 1 imperils free and fair elections. Read it here.

- Short Takes -

Kosovo opens embassy to Israel in Jerusalem

Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it has formally opened its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. Kosovo is the third country to establish its embassy in Jerusalem, following the US and Guatemala. It is the first European country and Muslim-majority one to do so. Also of note: Last week, the Czech Republic opened a “full-fledged diplomatic mission” in Jerusalem.

Federal COVID-19 bailout prohibits states from cutting taxes

Buried within the $1.9 trillion emergency spending bill that Congress sent to President Joe Biden's desk last week is a provision that could effectively block states from cutting taxes if they accept federal bailout dollars. That provision, added to the bill by the Senate, could put a halt to several states' plans to cut taxes this year as a way to stimulate economic growth following the COVID-19 pandemic. Depending on how the text is interpreted, the measure could also make it illegal for states to create new tax credit programs like the ones that have become a popular mechanism for expanding school choice. Critics say this expansion of federal control over state policymaking is murky at best, and potentially unconstitutional.

- Tweets -


- Events -


Zoom Webinar - April 6, 2021


Watch Now: Replay of Past Virtual Events

You can see recordings of many past RJC virtual events. Go to the RJC homepage and scroll down to the "RJC Live" section. There's a drop-down menu there to select the video you want to see.

RJC National Leadership Meeting Announcement

We've received many inquiries about when the next RJC Annual Leadership Meeting will take place. We are still evaluating our options for a national leadership meeting in Las Vegas in 2021, but with the continued threat of Covid, our usual timelines of March or April for that event are not possible. Currently, we are looking at dates in the late fall, and we will keep you up to date as developments arise.

While RJC offices are closed and our staff are teleworking, you can reach us by email or by phone (please leave a voicemail message and your call will be returned). Contact information for our offices can be found on our web site. Please visit us online for the latest RJC news, to see details of upcoming events, and to donate to the RJC.

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