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Senate Republicans Call for Abu Akleh Investigation to ‘Be Closed Immediately’

Jewish Insider reports that eight Senate Republicans wrote to the FBI and the Department of Justice this week, urging them to shut down the FBI’s investigation into the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh:

A previous Israeli investigation of the Palestinian-American reporter’s death in the West Bank during an Israeli military operation found that she had likely been unintentionally killed by the Israeli Defense Forces. The US informed Israeli officials last month that the FBI had opened a new investigation into the case, sparking outrage from some Republican lawmakers.


"This misguided investigation into the IDF, which the DOJ and FBI have no jurisdiction over, must be closed immediately before further harm comes to our bilateral relationship with Israel," the letter, led by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reads.


"We are dismayed the DOJ and FBI are seeking to disregard Israeli sovereignty by inserting itself into an investigation which has concluded and which US officials participated in," it continues.


… The letter argues that, given the results of the previous investigations, "we are confident Israel has done its part, as an American ally, to determine the truth regarding the circumstance of her tragic death."


Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rick Scott (R-FL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and James Lankford (R-OK) also signed onto the letter.

Antisemitism Has No Place in the Republican Party

RNC Committeeman Shawn Steel writes:

A year and a half ago, Norm Coleman, chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, stood alongside his counterpart at the Jewish Democratic Council to share an ominous warning about the resurgence of antisemitism. "Democrats and Republicans should be doing what we can to end the scourge of antisemitism, to slow it where it’s growing," the former US senator from Minnesota cautioned. "Antisemitism is an evil … not confined to one time, one place, or one ideology. It is woven out of lies about Jews and our history and feeds on hatred, fear and jealousy."


Since then, antisemitism has only grown worse… Thankfully, however, a conservative playbook exists for responding to this insidious threat… Republicans and conservatives today should emulate [William F.] Buckley [who kept antisemites out of the conservative movement from the 1950s on].


… Republicans must not follow the Democrats in accepting antisemitism. That’s why I will introduce a resolution for the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting to unequivocally condemn all antisemitic elements attempting to infiltrate our conservative coalition. We must continue to enforce Buckley’s doctrine: Antisemitism has no place in our political discourse.

A woman walks in Tehran.

Iran Loses Seat on UN Women’s Group. That’s Not Enough

This week, Iran was ousted from the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Commission on the Status of Women by a vote of 29 to 8, with 16 abstentions. The vote put to an end the obscene situation of Iran sitting on a commission for women’s rights while harshly putting down protests in Iran led by women.


But this rebuke of Iran on the international stage has little practical effect on the mullahs' regime. As the editors of the Washington Examiner point out, the Biden administration continues its weak and immoral policy of appeasing Iran. President Joe Biden’s attempt to restore the Obama nuclear deal with Iran is still ongoing. In addition:

Even with sanctions specific to the latest protests, however, the Biden administration is falling short. Although the administration has sanctioned people involved in the repression, it has not yet introduced major new sanctions to further restrict Iranian energy exports and foreign capital holdings. Were Biden truly serious about imposing significant costs on Khamenei's regime, Washington could make it far harder for the regime to pay its security forces and thus retain its means of repression. The Biden administration's belated provision of additional internet access to Iranians is another example of its weakness. That internet provision pales in comparison to what the Trump administration provided.

It’s time for the US to do more, much more, to support the Iranian people and to thwart Iran’s efforts to become a nuclear state.


See also: Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh, Why Iran’s Protests Could Topple the Regime.

Illustrative: anti-Israel protest on campus.

Liberals, Progressives, Wokeness and Israel

Samuel J. Abrams and David Bernstein analyze the 2022 Jewish Institute for Liberal Values (JILV) survey of likely voters and find disturbing trends in American support for Israel. Baby Boomers and Millennials have markedly different views of Israel, with younger people viewing Israel much less favorably. The authors connect this to recent trends in political and cultural identities:

Being left or right, progressive/liberal or conservative is of far greater consequence today than in recent decades. Identity politics has become hugely salient in terms of thinking about power and social organization and has reorganized and shaped how many Americans see themselves and interact with others. And, today, attitudes toward Israel are most certainly tied to political/cultural identities and, more specifically, the rise of “woke” culture, as some call it.


… [S]upport for Israel has become part of the larger political sort of the American public. Today, vast majorities of Republicans support Israel, while Democratic backing is much lower. To be on the left these days means that one cannot support Israel and be ideologically pure; backing Israel is a conservative value and that line cannot be crossed in the ideologically sorted world of today. Thus, it is also the case that those who score lower on the woke scale are appreciably more aligned with Israel than those who are highly woke. Attitudes toward Israel are now part of the liberal or conservative packages that partisans must uniformly adopt, constituting a new norm in American politics evident in the data here.

This insightful and troubling article raises some profound questions and deserves your attention. Read it here.

Short Takes

Will: Slinking away from aiding Ukraine would be a major strategic error

George Will sees Russia’s war on Ukraine as "a century-shaping conflict" and argues that the US must continue to send military, humanitarian, and economic aid to support Ukraine’s "fight for freedom." He concludes: "So, Congress should understand that Ukraine’s success in this major war could be crucial to resuming the decline in the incidence of such wars. Certainly Beijing, salivating for Taiwan, is watching for signs of U.S. wobbliness regarding Ukraine."

See also: Walter Russell Mead, It’s time to prepare for Ukrainian peace.

Dershowitz: Democracy at work: Supporting Israel regardless of its government

Alan Dershowitz urges people who don’t like the results of the last Israeli election to continue to support Israel. He writes: "Governments and policies change. Support for the only democracy in the Middle East should remain constant."






New York: Leadership Hanukkah Party with Congressman-Elect George Santos and Congressman Lee Zeldin
Join us for this event on Long Island.





New York: Event with Jonathan Tobin
Save the date for this event in Midtown Manhattan with the editor-in-chief of JNS, Jewish News Syndicate.


RJC offices are open! Contact information for our offices can be found on our website. 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.

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