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Ambassador David Friedman

Ambassador Friedman: After One Year of Biden, US Foreign Policy Is Adrift

Former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who recently joined the RJC Board of Directors, has written a scathing review of President Joe Biden’s foreign policy efforts. Ambassador Friedman writes:

I had fully anticipated substantial disagreement with President Joe Biden’s foreign policy team once it took office. After all, we had such profound differences on the Iran nuclear deal, the risks presented by the Chinese Communist Party, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Russian threat and other important issues.

Now, a year later, I find that there are few coherent policies which merit a serious response. Far worse than advancing bad policies, the Biden administration is acting with breathtaking incompetence in a manner that has infected the entirety of United States diplomacy.

After examining numerous foreign policy failures by the Biden administration, Friedman warns:

Neither the Democratic Congress nor the mainstream media dwell much on Biden’s foreign policy failures. They are betting that no one cares right now about foreign policy given our daunting challenges at home. That’s a risky bet: no one cares about foreign policy until they have to; but when they have to, they care a lot.

The whole piece is well worth your attention.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Biden is Failing the Ukraine Test

One foreign policy area has analysts increasingly worried – Russia’s designs on Ukraine. Today, Russia has over 100,000 troops on the borders of Ukraine and threatens Ukraine’s coastal cities and international shipping through its dominance in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. Russia used “hybrid warfare” to annex Crimea in 2014 and is using similar murky tactics, including information warfare, cyber warfare, and “kinetic operations,” to destabilize Ukraine and regain control over its former satellite state.

In his press conference yesterday, President Joe Biden indicated that the US and NATO might not respond strongly to a “minor incursion” by Russia into Ukraine. While the White House Press Secretary tried to do damage control later, the message to the Kremlin was clear: America’s weakness gives Vladimir Putin the opportunity to move forward with his plans to reconstitute the Russian empire and defeat NATO.

Former national-security agency analyst and counterintelligence officer John Schindler lays out Putin’s goals:

Putin’s broader aim with the Ukraine crisis isn’t about Kyiv, it’s about showing NATO’s impotence while revealing America’s paralysis and decadence. The strongman in the Kremlin wants to end the post-Cold War era on terms more favorable to Russia than the last three decades have been. No matter what happens next, Vladimir Putin is in the driver’s seat with the Ukraine crisis.

[Read the rest of Schindler’s analysis of the Ukraine crisis here.]

All of this, as Shoshana Bryen points out, makes President Biden’s transactional diplomacy foolish and useless. Telling Putin, “If you be nice to us, we’ll be nice to you, but if you cross us, we’ll lay down economic sanctions,” is hardly going to deter him from his large and long-range goals. American leadership and Western cooperation are badly needed right now.

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Poll Shows Large Shift from Dems to GOP

A new Gallup poll shows a significant shift in party preferences during 2021. There was “a dramatic shift over the course of 2021, from a nine-percentage-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a rare five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.”

While President Joe Biden started out the year with a new president’s positive approval ratings, the precipitous drop in his approval ratings since – thanks to an unending stream of missteps, failures, and embarrassments – is mirrored by this shift in party preference. (AP's latest poll shows that 43% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing and 56% disapprove.)

The Gallup analysis of the poll results explains:

Gallup asks all Americans it interviews whether they identify politically as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent. Independents are then asked whether they lean more toward the Republican or Democratic Party. The combined percentage of party identifiers and leaners gives a measure of the relative strength of the two parties politically.

…The shifts in party affiliation in each quarter of 2021 were apparent in both the percentage identifying with each party and the percentage of independents leaning to each party, but with more changes among leaners than identifiers.

The Gallup analysis goes on to note:

Overall in 2021, an average of 29% of Americans identified as Democrats, 27% as Republicans and 42% as independents. Roughly equal proportions of independents leaned to the Democratic Party (17%) and to the Republican Party (16%).

This population, what could be called “persuadable voters,” is key in any election year. The RJC will be reaching out to persuadable Jewish voters through a variety of means in this and upcoming election cycles.

RJC Seeks CA Outreach Associate

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) is seeking an Outreach Associate to assist with the accelerated growth of membership and to support programming and events in California. Candidates must be organized, motivated, and detail-oriented. This position is based in Los Angeles, CA.

For details about the position and how to apply, click here.

Ambassador Tom Nides

US Ambassador Won’t Travel Over the Green Line Unless PA Invites Him

The Times of Israel reports:

New US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said Friday that he’d never visited an Israeli settlement in the West Bank and had no plans to do so, as part of his effort as envoy not to take steps that could inflame the situation on the ground.

When pressed, during his first interview with Israeli media since arriving in Israel, as to whether he might make such a visit, Nides told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, “I absolutely will not.”

…Pointing to another difference between the current and previous American administrations, the US ambassador said, “The Biden administration believes it must take care of the Palestinian people. That is the difference between us and the Trump administration.”

Nides pointed to Biden’s renewal of hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians that was cut by Trump, amid Ramallah’s refusal to engage with his administration.

Asked if he’s had any meetings with Palestinian officials since his arrival, the envoy said he had yet to cross the Green Line, but that he well might do so in the coming weeks if asked.

Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas

After the Colleyville Synagogue Attack

We are grateful that the hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas last Shabbat ended without the loss of innocent lives. Perhaps the key lesson to be learned from this event is that active shooter and other emergency training saves lives. If your synagogue, school, or Jewish communal organization hasn’t held such training yet, encourage them to do so.

Recommended reading:

Jewish Insider: Colleyville attacker ‘bought into those antisemitic tropes,’ hostage survivor remarks

Mideast Forum: Six facts on the Texas synagogue terror attack

Mazzig: Don't let CAIR off the hook for its role in the Colleyville hostage crisis

See also:

Emerson: What CAIR shares in common with synagogue hostage taker
Ballasy: Reps. Tlaib, Omar participated in events with groups that called for release of 'Lady al-Qaeda'







Atlanta: GOP "Job Interview" in GA-06
Live event with five Republican primary candidates for Congress in Georgia's 6th district.
This event was originally scheduled for Jan. 16 but was postponed because of inclement weather and will take place on Jan. 23.




Los Angeles: Event with Rep. Mike Garcia
Live event with the Congressman representing CA-25.


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 staff have returned to their offices for in-person work. 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. Read past editions of this newsletter here.

Republican Jewish Coalition
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