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Third GOP Debate Includes Questions About Israel, Iran, and Antisemitism

Jim Geraghty writes at National Review that last night's debate was "finally, a debate worth watching:"

After an almost perfunctory question about why each candidate would be a better choice than [Donald] Trump, [Lester] Holt asked each candidate, “As president of the United States, what would you be urging Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do at this moment?” Matthew Brooks, the CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, appeared moments later to ask the candidates, “Given attacks by Iranian-backed proxy groups on US military bases in Syria and Iraq, attacks that have wounded approximately two dozen of our US servicemen, do you support the use of military force by the United States against Iran?”

The Jewish News Syndicate reports:

Questions about Israel’s war against Hamas and threats to the US Jewish community dominated the first half of the third Republican presidential primary debate on Wednesday in Miami.


Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which co-sponsored the debate, asked the candidates what they would say to Jewish students alarmed by the dramatic rise in antisemitism on college campuses.


CLICK HERE or on the image above to watch the pre-debate video of RNC Chairwoman McDaniel and the GOP presidential candidates talking about the RJC and our importance in this historic moment!

McDaniel and Brooks: In Perilous Times, The Republican Party and the RJC Elevate Jewish Voices

In an op-ed published at TownHall on the eve of the third GOP Presidential debate, RNC Chairman Ronna McDaniel and RJC CEO Matt Brooks write:

When times get tough, that’s when you find out who your friends really are. For the American Jewish community, these are difficult times. Still reeling in horror from the atrocities that Hamas committed against Israeli civilians on October 7, American Jews are praying for the men, women, and children that were kidnapped by the terrorists and taken into Gaza, and they are following intently all news of the war that Israel now righteously pursues against Hamas. But American Jews are also contending with a dramatic surge in antisemitism here in the US, with antisemitic demonstrations, threats, and attacks spiking to record levels, making Jews here feel less safe than at any time in the last 70 years.


That’s a big part of why the Republican National Committee reached out to the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), the independent, national organization of Jewish Republicans, to co-sponsor the third Republican presidential debate in Miami, Florida on November 8. The RJC has been an important partner of the GOP for decades, and in recent years, the RJC’s cutting-edge grassroots outreach efforts and powerful RJC PAC have provided significant support to Republican candidates in key battleground states. At this perilous time, it was fitting for the Republican National Committee to elevate voices in the American Jewish community.


...We anticipate that the Jewish vote in next year’s elections will be even stronger for Republicans, because Jewish voters clearly see today who their true friends are. It’s not the "Squad" in Congress; it’s not liberal university presidents; it’s not Democrat governors and mayors who have let antisemitic crime run rampant; and it’s not a president who has spent years cozying up to Iran.


The Republican Party is the reliable and faithful friend of American Jews. The Republican National Committee and the Republican Jewish Coalition, as co-hosts of the next GOP presidential debate, look forward to welcoming more Jewish voters than ever into the tent in 2024.

Read the article here.

RJC: Obama is "Complicit" in the Death and Suffering in Israel and Gaza

Times of Israel: Republican Jewish Coalition slams Obama remark, charges ex-president strengthened Hamas

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) slams former US president Barack Obama, accusing him of being "complicit in the death and suffering over the last month in Israel and in Gaza" due to his past policies, after Obama criticized Hamas but also Israel on a podcast.


“What Hamas did was horrific and there’s no justification for it, and what is also true is that the occupation, and what is happening to Palestinians, is unbearable,” Obama told a panel hosted by the Pod Save America podcast manned by his former administration staffers, receiving applause.


RJC responds: "At a time when morality, international law, and the welfare of our chief ally in the Middle East all demand that we stand with Israel, full stop, Barack Obama says it’s complicated. It’s not."


Detailing Hamas’s atrocities and exploitation of Gaza’s resources and civilians, the RJC says: "Hamas is to blame for the current war. The US should be fully behind Israel as it seeks to end Hamas’s capability to harm Israelis and Gazans alike. But instead, when Israel faces a barbaric attack from Hamas, Obama blames Israel."


The group charges that Obama’s policies as president, as well as those of President Joe Biden, “put billions of dollars into Iranian coffers, money used to fund and train Hamas and other terrorist groups whose stated goals are the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of Jews.


"Obama’s attempt to dilute his own culpability in this situation doesn’t change the facts."

Read the full RJC statement here.

Our statement about President Barack Obama's complicity in the suffering in Israel and Gaza received a lot of media attention, including:

How You Can Help Israel

There are many opportunities to help Israeli soldiers and civllians. We encourage you to consider giving your support to the following organizations:


Friends of the IDF

The Koby Mandell Foundation

United Hatzalah


Israel Emergency Support Fund




Soroka Medical Center

Nahal Haredi


Israeli soldiers inspect a tunnel entrance in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, in an image released by the military on November 3, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel at War: Recommended Reading

  • Bryen: General Blinken should just be quiet

    The Biden administration, steeped as it is in military prowess and full of great military thinkers who understand both military strategy and tactics – and American military history – has dispatched General Antony Blinken to Jerusalem to help Israel fight its war against Hamas. Because the United States knows better...

  • Times of Israel: IDF releases new intel detailing Hamas use of Gaza hospitals for terror purposes

    IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari briefed international media outlets with video footage of Hamas gunmen emerging from a tunnel under Sheikh Hamad Hospital, as well firing at Israelis forces from within the building itself.

    ...Hagari reported that the IDF has intelligence of a tunnel network under the so-called Indonesian Hospital, as well as aerial imagery showing rocket launchers a few dozen meters from the complex.

    “Hamas systematically built the Indonesian Hospital to disguise its underground terror infrastructure,” Hagari said.

  • Phillips: How Israel tries to protect Gaza's civilians

The BBC News website is running a story today by Alice Cuddy that describes how the Israelis rang a Gazan civilian at dawn to tell him to warn the inhabitants of three apartment blocks to evacuate because they were about to be bombed.

...The BBC’s story reveals the remarkably precise and detailed intelligence that Israel possesses on what’s going on in Gaza. It also illustrates the extraordinary lengths to which the Israeli Defence Forces go to spare the lives of Gaza’s civilians.

  • Jerusalem Post: Israel demands action after journalists reportedly joined Hamas massacre
    The media watchdog HonestReporting published an investigative report late on Wednesday showing that journalists from leading news outlets, including The New York Times, AP, Reuters and CNN, joined Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip on October 7 to document the horrific events with their cameras.

    ...The Jerusalem Press Club stated, "If indeed representatives of news agencies and significant networks were aware in advance of the expected massacre, it raises initial concerns about complicity in a crime or failure to prevent the murder.

    Read more about this and the questions raised by Honest Reporting in this JNS article.

  • Washington Free Beacon: From the river to the sea? Arab citizens of Israel say, no thanks to ‘liberation’

    Palestinians and their allies have justified and even celebrated Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre in Israel as a blow against Jewish oppression. But the 2 million Arab citizens of Israel have overwhelmingly responded by drawing closer to the Jewish state.


    Among Arab Israelis, prominent media personalities have helped lead an unprecedented surge in support for their country and opposition to their self-proclaimed liberator Hamas. Pro-Israel arguments that were previously almost unspeakable in the Arab mainstream have in recent weeks gotten a respectful hearing.

  • Rep. Mike Gallagher: Why do young Americans support Hamas? Look at TikTok.

    According to a Harvard/Harris poll, 51 percent of Americans ages 18–24 believe Hamas was justified in its brutal terrorist attacks on innocent Israeli citizens on October 7.

    ...How did we reach a point where a majority of young Americans hold such a morally bankrupt view of the world? Where many young Americans were rooting for terrorists who had kidnapped American citizens—and against a key American ally? Where were they getting the raw news to inform this upside-down world view?

    The short answer is, increasingly, via social media and predominantly TikTok. TikTok is not just an app teenagers use to make viral dance videos. A growing number of Americans rely on it for their news.

    ...In the best-case scenario, TikTok is CCP spyware—that’s why governments have banned it on official phones. In the worst-case scenario, TikTok is perhaps the largest scale malign influence operation ever conducted.

House Censures Tlaib for Her "Genocide" Support

National Review reports:

The House voted on Tuesday to censure Democrat Representative Rashida Tlaib for “promoting false narratives” surrounding Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel and “calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.”


...The motion, introduced by Representative Rich McCormick (R-GA), passed 234 to 188. Twenty-two Democrats voted in favor of censuring Tlaib, and four Republicans voted against. One Democrat and three Republicans abstained.

"Representative Rashida Tlaib, within 24 hours of the October 7 barbaric attack on Jewish citizens of the State of Israel, representing the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, defended the brutal rapes, murders, be-headings, and kidnapping – including of Americans – by Hamas as justified 'resistance' to the 'apartheid state,'" reads the resolution.

The motion further accuses Tlaib of advocating for the destruction of Israel...

RJC in the News

CLICK HERE or on the image above to see RJC Political Director Sam Markstein's segment with Stuart Varney on Fox Business.

Short Takes

Iran Is the Problem

Danielle Pletka writes that it's time to think about how to remove the malevolent regime in Tehran from power: "Rather, it is the Reagan doctrine and the collapse of the Soviet Union that should guide a policy for change in Tehran. Like the Soviet Union and its satellites, Iran’s regime is deeply unpopular with its own people... [T]he goal must be evolution, not revolution. We must take the time to empower the people against the dictatorship, and use US economic and diplomatic power to once again tighten a noose around the leadership."

German Vice Chancellor criticizes antisemitism, supports Israel against Hamas

In case you missed it, last week Germany’s Vice-Chancellor, Robert Habeck, gave a strong speech against Hamas, its supporters, and antisemitism. He told those engaging in antisemitic crimes in Germany that they face legal prosecution and, in the case of non-residents, deportation. Invoking the Nazi Holocaust, Habeck added: "The responsibility of our history also asserts that Jews can live freely and safely in Germany. That they never again have to fear to show their religion, their culture openly. But precisely this fear is now back." Watch the subtitled video here.



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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202.638.6688 | [email protected]