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Rep. Kevin McCarthy speaking to RJC Leaders at the annual leadership summit in Las Vegas, November 2022.

Trouble in the House

The multiple failed votes for Speaker of the House are an embarrassing spectacle. Until a Speaker is chosen, no congressmen-elect can be sworn in, committees cannot be assigned, and no legislative work can begin.


The New York Times quotes Republican strategist Karl Rove:

The members who began this have little interest in legislating, but are most interested in burning down the existing Republican leadership structure… Their behavior shows the absence of power corrupts just as absolutely as power does.

Burning things down is not governing, and there are many pressing issues that need to be addressed by a united and functional Republican caucus in the House. It’s time for the newly elected Congress to get to work.


RJC CEO Matt Brooks was quoted in that same New York Times article, saying that the infighting makes the GOP look like a bunch of "Keystone Kops" and he hoped those responsible would pay a price "for all the chaos and problems they're causing. Actions should have consequences."

Israel in the News

• JNS reports that another Muslim country has expanded its diplomatic relations with Israel:

Azerbaijan appointed its first ambassador to Israel this week. According to Azerbaijan’s state news outlet, Deputy Minister of Science and Education Mukhtar Mammadov has been appointed as the country’s first ambassador to the Jewish State.

• Last Friday, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to give an opinion on the legal consequences of Israel's "occupation" of the Palestinian territories. There were 87 votes in favor, 26 (including Israel and the US) against, and 53 abstentions. Reuters quotes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response:

"The Jewish people are not occupiers in their own land nor occupiers in our eternal capital Jerusalem and no UN resolution can distort that historical truth," Netanyahu said in a video message, adding that Israel was not bound by the "despicable decision."

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount on January 3, 2023,

A Visit to the Temple Mount Sparks Condemnations

Newly installed Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir briefly visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Tuesday, resulting in the usual outrage, condemnation, and threats from the usual actors, who falsely claimed that the early morning, 15-minute visit (with no praying, of course) violated the "status quo" of the site.


Jordanian officials summoned the Israeli ambassador for a rebuke. The UN has scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss this "provocation." The United States called the visit “unacceptable."

"The United States stands firmly for preservation of the status quo with respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem. Any unilateral action that jeopardizes the status quo is unacceptable," the spokesperson said, adding the United States calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to preserve his commitment to the status quo of holy sites.


The US Embassy in Jerusalem said that Ambassador Thomas Nides "has been very clear in conversations with the Israeli government on the issue of preserving the status quo in Jerusalem's holy sites. Actions that prevent that are unacceptable."

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) objected to the administration’s statements in a strongly-worded defense of Israel:

The Biden administration’s pathological obsession with undermining Israel is endangering the national security of America and our allies.


A visit by a minister from Israel’s government to a site inside Israel is not a change in any status quo arrangement, and it should not be controversial for a Jew to visit the holiest site in Judaism.

The statements from the Biden White House and State Department, which suggest otherwise, will further destabilize the Middle Eat and risk inciting terrorism. They convince Palestinian officials that compromise is unnecessary because Democrat administrations will coerce our Israeli allies into making dangerous concessions…

Further reading:
  • For background on the Temple Mount, see this article at the Jewish Virtual Library.

  • In this article, Nadav Shragai of the JCPA describes how the status quo, which forbade Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and any destruction of archaeological artifacts, has changed over time in ways that have strengthened Muslim control.

Short Takes

"The public still has a big center" - an interview with Sen. Norm Coleman

RJC National Chairman Senator Norm Coleman talks with Jewish Policy Center Senior Director Shoshana Bryen about legislative priorities, energy policy, Israel, Iran, and China in this candid interview for the JPC's inFocus magazine.

Jewish military veteran and former Trump aide takes on Congress

At the young age of 34, newly elected Jewish Congressman Max Miller will represent Ohio's 7th District in 2023’s US House of Representatives. He is a Veteran of the US Marine Corps and served in several capacities in Trump’s White House administration. His signature issues are border security, energy independence and love and support for Israel. The Jewish Press met up with him to talk about growing up Jewish, military life and negotiating with the Palestinians.

Biden Administration delays civil rights rotections against antisemitism to December 2023

The Biden administration has again delayed issuing new federal regulations — first proposed by President Donald Trump — that would apply the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism to civil rights investigations, which lawmakers and advocates have long said would help protect Jewish students from discrimination and harassment.

State Department failed to fulfill a key duty in 2022

For the first time since the 2004 congressional mandate that the Secretary of State submit an annual report on international terrorism to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the State Department has failed to fulfill this duty. No “Country Reports on Terrorism” document was issued in 2022.






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





New York: Scarsdale Event with Jonathan Tobin
Join us for this evening event in Scarsdale, NY with the editor-in-chief of JNS, the 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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