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RJC in the News

The RJC takes a principled stand on many issues – and we don’t back down, even when Republicans in elected office oppose us. Two examples of this came up over the last few days.


On Monday, the Jewish Insider ran a story on the RJC Board of Directors’ statement regarding Ukraine:

The Republican Jewish Coalition is urging Congress to maintain US military funding for Ukraine in its war against Russia’s invasion, amid ongoing resistance from some GOP legislators in the House and Senate who have voiced opposition to continued aid.


"Our elected leaders have provided billions of dollars in assistance to bolster Ukraine’s military," the group said in a statement released on Monday. "We call on Congress to renew that commitment, and we are pleased that key Republican leaders have pledged to do so."


… "As Jewish Americans, we emphatically believe that it is in America’s national interest to see Russia’s military might diminished and its malign strategic aims thwarted,” the RJC’s board members said. “We know from painful recent history that a world where aggressors believe they can get away with using force to conquer neighboring nations is a more dangerous one."

See the full statement of the RJC Board of Directors here.


One Republican Congressman, Thomas Massie (R-KY), criticized the RJC statement, tweeting:

Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) takes neocon position that US taxpayers should fund the war in Ukraine. I do not think you should pay for this war in Europe.

In a message to our members, RJC CEO Matt Brooks wrote:

Rep. Massie is wrong, and we wear his opposition as a badge of honor, because Massie has been wrong time and again on matters that Jewish Americans care about:

  • Massie was the only Republican who voted AGAINST a resolution expressing support for the US-Israel relationship and the Abraham Accords in honor of the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding.

  • Massie was the only Republican who voted AGAINST funding Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which saves countless civilian lives.

  • Massie was the only Republican who voted AGAINST a resolution that opposed the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

  • And Massie was one of just a few members of Congress who voted AGAINST the bipartisan Never Again Education Act - legislation to authorize new funding to help schools teach students about the Holocaust and antisemitism.

The Republican Jewish Coalition prides itself on taking on the tough fights - and we don’t shy away from a challenge.

The JTA article about the RJC Board’s statement on Ukraine noted:

The statement from the influential group comes as leaders in Congress and President Joe Biden are negotiating over a deal to raise the debt ceiling. It is a notable example of the RJC staking out a position in an intra-party debate.


The group’s statement also reflects the resurgence of Republicans who favor a muscular American foreign policy — and whose views fell out of favor in the party during Donald Trump’s presidency. The RJC, and its network of donors, carries considerable weight among Republicans, historically hosting leading presidential candidates and prominent officials at its annual conference in Las Vegas.

Also this week, media reported that an alleged white nationalist, who is a close associate of Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, has reportedly been working for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) for nearly two years. Gosar himself participated in conferences hosted by Fuentes in 2021 and 2022. The RJC has called Gosar out on more than one occasion for his connections to this antisemitic conspiracy theorist.


The Independent reported on the RJC’s response to this latest news:

“Unfortunately, this seems to be part of a pattern for Congressman Paul Gosar," according to a statement with the Republican Jewish Coalition shared with The Independent. "Nick Fuentes is a vile antisemite who trafficks in nauseating Jew hatred ... Fuentes’ brand of bilious rhetoric has absolutely no place in the Republican Party or in the halls of Congress."


On Monday, the Republican Jewish Coalition was quoted in a JNS article on the expiration of Title 42, which allowed the US to restrict immigration from certain countries during a health emergency. With the official end of the Covid emergency, this tool to stem the overwhelming rush of illegal aliens entering our country is gone.

Sam Markstein, Republican Jewish Coalition national political director, criticized Biden’s handling of the southern border and described the situation as "catastrophic."


"Where the White House is flailing, House Republicans are acting, by passing HR 2, which forces President Biden to finish the wall, end catch-and-release, increase CBP personnel, restores turn back authority, plugs asylum loopholes and combats the scourge of drug trafficking," he told JNS.

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) speaks during the Republican Study Committee press conference on the RSCs FY2022 budget proposal in the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

Republicans Push for More Iran Sanctions

Marc Rod at the Jewish Insider reports:

The Republican Study Committee is pushing ahead with new legislation that aims to expand current US sanctions on Iran and make it harder for the administration to lift them as part of any potential agreement with Iran.


The RSC, whose membership includes around 70% of the Republican conference, introduced a package of six bills in recent weeks that seeks to expand sanctions on the Iranian regime and its affiliates, and otherwise crack down on the Islamic republic.


Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), who chairs the RSC, told Jewish Insider the bills are aimed at "reinforcing" and strengthening the Trump-era sanctions regime targeting Iran, and accused the Biden administration of "appeasement."


The bills, [a Republican staffer involved with the legislation] said, would make it difficult for the administration to "give away the farm" in a negotiation.

Read about the six bills in detail in Rod’s report.

Biden Admin Struggles with Definition of Antisemitism

For weeks, the Biden administration has been promising to release a national strategic plan on antisemitism. However, there is some internal debate over the definition of antisemitism the administration will use.


Mainstream Jewish groups are encouraging the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which includes clarifying examples of antisemitism such as: "Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor" and "Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis." That definition has been adopted by dozens of countries and has been used within the US government for years.


Read the definition and its clarifying examples here. The RJC’s 2021 statement urging the incoming Biden administration to adopt the IHRA definition throughout the federal government is here.


Left-wing groups that seek to delegitimize Israel – and that often use exactly the kinds of anti-Israel rhetoric that the definition identifies as antisemitism – are pushing the administration to take a different tack. The Jewish Insider reports:

[T]he Biden administration is now facing pressure to buck the IHRA definition from some on the left who argue that the IHRA definition, which identifies some forms of anti-Zionism as antisemitism, does not leave sufficient space for critiques of Israel.


An individual with knowledge of the process said that major mainstream Jewish groups have been advocating for the IHRA definition’s inclusion in the White House strategy. Progressive groups have been urging that it be left out of the strategy — but said they would accept its inclusion if other alternative definitions of antisemitism that have been proposed by academics and activists on the left were mentioned. The source said it remains unclear what the final draft might entail, but that the White House has considered excluding IHRA entirely.

Kenneth Marcus points out at the Washington Examiner that the Biden administration’s antisemitism strategy can only succeed if the IHRA definition of antisemitism is used and is not watered down, and if the strategy includes actionable proposals that will protect Jewish students on college campuses, Jews walking on the street, and Jewish institutions from antisemitism. We should know shortly whether the Biden administration really takes antisemitism seriously.

Short Takes

The spy who changed the face of the Middle East

Jeff Dunetz reminds us of the heroic actions of Israel’s greatest spy, Eli Cohen, who penetrated the highest levels of Syria’s political and military elite before being arrested and convicted of espionage. Cohen was executed on May 18, 1965 (16 Iyyar) in Damascus’ Martyrs’ Square. Cohen’s greatest achievement was convincing his friends in the Syrian military to plant eucalyptus trees around their bunkers on the Golan Heights overlooking northern Israel, to hide their soldiers and protect them from the heat. Two years later, during the Six Day War, the Israeli air force wiped out most of the Syrian installations in the Golan by targeting those trees. May his memory be a blessing.

Rockets from Gaza and rockets from the EU

Shoshana Bryen criticizes the European Union’s statement regarding the recent rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and the IDF’s pinpoint response. She writes: "Its statement was directed at Israel: 'The European Union is gravely concerned by the escalation in Gaza following today’s Israeli air raids. The EU deeply regrets the loss of civilian lives, including children, and calls for the respect of international humanitarian law. Civilian lives must be protected under all circumstances.'

"The EU is twisting the concepts of preventing civilian casualties, proportionality and collateral damage in order to harass Israel as it defends its people. Civilian casualties, while much to be mourned and regretted, are not war crimes and the protection afforded to civilians living among armies or terrorists is not considered a top priority… It is possible to mourn the Palestinian children while accepting the righteousness of Israel defending its own children from terrorist attacks. The EU should do so."

The inconvenient Palestinians

Stephen Daisley writes about the Palestinians whose deaths are ignored by pro-Palestinian organizations and the media – the ones killed by the Palestinians lobbing rockets at Israel. One such victim is Abdullah Abu Jaba, who was killed by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket while working on an agricultural building site in an Israeli village near the Gaza border.

Daisley notes that Abu Jaba and his bereaved family aren’t noticed by the mainstream media, but: "Israel’s defence ministry has recognised Abu Jaba as a terror victim, meaning his widow and children will receive the same compensation payments that go to Israeli families bereaved by terrorism." That help isn’t available to the families of Palestinians who were killed by PIJ rockets that fell short and landed within Gaza. The progressives in the West who claim to care about Palestinians are silent about those “inconvenient” people, too.

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Tomorrow is Jerusalem Day, marking the day that the city of Jerusalem was reunited by Israeli forces during the Six Day War in 1967. Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik has an evocative article on the importance of Jewish memory in the context of Jerusalem Day.




Atlanta: Event with Rep. Barry Loudermilk
Join us for an in-person event featuring a legislative update from Rep. Loudermilk.



The Republican Jewish Coalition held its 2023 Spring Leadership Meeting in Washington, DC on May 11. The distinguished guests included leading GOP members of the House and Senate, as well as the CEO of Secure Community Network, the premier safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America.


See photos from the event here. The day was a fine example of the kind of insider's view of politics and policy that only the Republican Jewish Coalition can provide.


Join us for the RJC Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 27-29, and enjoy a full weekend of presentations like these - and more!
Registration is now open!

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.

Republican Jewish Coalition
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