RJC: Biden Should Know Better - “Shylock” Remark Offends Jewish Community

Washington, D.C. (September 17, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) responded today to Vice President Joseph Biden’s use of the term “Shylocks” to describe unscrupulous bankers who take advantage of U.S. military members deployed overseas.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

"Some words are unacceptable in American political discourse and the Vice-President's use of the word 'shylocks' was tasteless, inappropriate and offensive. The Republican Jewish Coalition has frequently spoken out when public figures, Democrats or Republicans, have used inappropriate terminology in a political context. The name Shylock from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is so clearly derogatory and so clearly aimed at Jews alone that it has become shorthand for anti-Semitism. Vice President Biden was wrong to use that term and he should have known better.  He owes the Jewish community an apology."


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Obama’s “Executive Action” Offensive Continues

Thursday, August 28, 2014
By: RJC Communications Director Shari Hillman

“I’ve got a pen and a phone.”

President Obama spoke these words at the start of his first Cabinet meeting in January 2014 and promised to take executive action wherever possible to “move the ball forward” on his liberal agenda if Congress did not enact the laws he sought. That is one promise he has kept.

Some of his earlier unilateral moves have been widely discussed already. President Obama ordered delays and changes to the implementation of Obamacare, rewriting the law over time. He made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board when the Senate was not actually in recess (a move the Supreme Court over- turned in June). The Obama Education Department granted states waivers from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act if and only if they would instead implement standards put in place by the Obama administration without congressional authorization. When President Obama decided to bring Bowe Bergdahl home, he released five top Taliban terrorists from the prison at Guantanamo Bay without notifying Congress thirty days in advance, as required by law.

Now President Obama has extended – or proposed extending - his executive actions to other policy areas when the legitimate law-making institution, the legislative branch, has not acted as he wished.

One such area is immigration. In 2012 the President issued a memorandum laying out his Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. DACA implemented some provisions of the DREAM Act, a bill that Congress did not pass, and gives protection from deportation to certain illegal immigrants. This policy is widely blamed for the surge of some 57,000 unaccompanied minors that have crossed over our southern border since October 2013. After a period of denial, even the Obama administration now acknowledges that the surge was fueled by perceptions among Central Ameri- cans that children brought into the U.S. illegally would be allowed to stay under DACA.

The President has hinted that he will take further action on immigration without congressional approval before the end of the summer. He could expand the group of illegal immigrants shielded from deportation to include the parents of children covered by DACA and perhaps their siblings as well. This could raise the number of people who could not be deported from 500,000 to 5 million (of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently facing deportation from the U.S.) The President could also expand the pool of illegal immigrants allowed to stay in this country by instructing U.S. prosecutors to focus on deporting only those with ties to organized crime or who have been convicted of a serious crime.

This summer the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule that would force U.S. power plants to cut their carbon emissions by 25% by 2020. This will significantly affect 1,600 power plants across the country. It will hit the 600 coal- fired plants the hardest, causing many to shut down. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce studied this rule and found that it would cause serious economic damage, including the loss of 200,000 jobs per year and the loss of as much as $51 billion in annual GDP. Electricity prices for consumers and businesses would skyrocket. Congress has repeatedly rejected cap-and-trade legislation to cut power plants’ carbon emissions, including during the years when both chambers of Congress had large Democrat majorities. So the President is pursuing regulations to produce the same outcome.

The New York Times has reported that the Obama administration is considering a plan to curtail tax benefits for certain U.S. companies that do business overseas. The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. Some companies are re-incorporating overseas (called a corporate inversion) to minimize those high taxes. Regardless of whether one thinks this aspect of the tax code should be changed, revising the tax code is the responsibility of Congress.

These executive actions are not simply selective enforcement of existing laws, they are actions taken outside of the law. President Obama is carving out his own policies as if Congress were irrelevant, instead of working with Congress on issues like immigration or accepting that some of his policies, such as his limits on carbon emissions, do not have the approval of the American people and their elected representatives. Despite many rebuffs in the courts, the President appears determined to continue shoving aside the constitutional barriers that limit executive action in order to achieve his policy goals.

Ironically, the President could gain some political benefits from his high-handed governance. First, he satisfies his most left-wing supporters by pushing through policies for open borders, carbon emissions limits, and so on. But the very lawlessness of his actions also helps him, as Yuval Levin has pointed out. Obama takes unilateral action on a controversial issue that elicits a sharp response from his opponents. He uses that response to scare his base into thinking that they are under attack, when in fact he is the one acting aggressively. The President and his partisan allies are betting that the Democratic fundraising machine and voter turnout machine will get a boost from the President’s latest insults to the Constitution.

This article appeared in the July-August 2014 issue of the RJC Bulletin, our bi-monthly newsletter for contributing RJC members who are current in their dues. To receive the Bulletin, please make your membership contribution or renew your membership here.
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RJC to Pres. Obama: Remember Your Commitment to Israel

"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."
Barack Obama, Remarks in Sderot, New York Times, July 23, 2008
Washington, D.C. (July 29, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) released the following statement today:

Last week it was revealed that Hamas planned a major terrorist attack for the Rosh Hashana holiday this September, in which hundreds of terrorists would exit Hamas tunnels very near Israeli kibbutzim and towns to kidnap and kill thousands of Israelis. Clearly the tunnels represent an immediate, serious threat to Israeli civilians. For that reason, Israel is determined to eliminate the tunnels before ending its operations in Gaza.

We were deeply disappointed by President Obama's call on Sunday for an "immediate, unconditional, humanitarian" ceasefire, which followed on the heels of Secretary of State Kerry's ceasefire proposal. That proposal ignored Israeli security needs while giving legitimacy to Hamas. It seems the administration is focused on pressing Israel to halt hostilities without recognizing Israel's imperative need to end the threat of the terrorist tunnels. This comes in distinct contradiction to President Obama's previous statements about Israel's security.

President Obama has spoken frequently in support of Israel's right of self-defense, and did so even before taking office. In 2008, on a visit to Sderot in southern Israel, then-candidate Obama said:

The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if -- I don't even care if I was a politician. If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.

...I will work from the moment that I return to America, to tell the story of Sderot and to make sure that the good people who live here are enjoying a future of peace and security and hope.

...What I think that Israel has to do is to make sure that that peace is not purchased at -- by putting Israel's security at risk. And it's the job of the United States I think, to make sure that that peace is centered and promotes Israel's long-term security.
Source: New York Times, July 23, 2008

Israel is at war with an implacable enemy, one that has victimized its own people and kept them in poverty in order to build terrorist tunnels and stockpile weapons in hopes of killing thousands of Israeli civilians. Israel is determined to destroy Hamas' capability to carry out its heinous agenda. Any ceasefire that forces Israel to stop short of that goal is indeed purchasing only a temporary ceasefire at the cost of Israel's long-term security.

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RJC: Don't Play Politics with Iron Dome Funding

Washington, D.C. (July 25, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) released the following statement today:

The RJC welcomes Senator Mitch McConnell’s efforts to make the Senate’s proposed $225 million supplemental funding for Israel’s Iron Dome program a stand-alone bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has bundled the Iron Dome assistance with a bill that provides further funding for efforts to deal with the flood of illegal immigrants coming in from Latin America. Senate Republicans believe that such a bill must include changes to the 2008 trafficking law that would allow the administration to more quickly process and deport newly-arrived illegal immigrants. But Reid has signaled that he will not allow such an amendment to have a vote.

Regrettably, the Senate needs more time to come to terms on how best to address the border crisis, but Israel is at war today. With the Senate scheduled to recess for a month at the end of next week, the funding for Iron Dome should be expedited. Harry Reid should not play politics with Iron Dome funding. He especially should not attempt to use Republicans’ strong support for Israel’s security as a political weapon against them in the immigration fight. Rather, the Senate should proceed quickly on the Iron Dome funding, where there is consensus.

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RJC: CNN Poll Confirms "Israel Gap" - More Republicans Support Israel Than Democrats

A new CNN poll asked Americans for their opinion of Israel's action against Hamas in Gaza.

The results demonstrated the "Israel Gap" between Republicans and Democrats: "Forty-five percent of Democrats questioned said that Israeli's military actions in Gaza are justified. That number jumps to 56% among independents and 73% among Republicans."

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RJC: Obama’s Iran Nuke Talks Impasse Shows Need for Strong Action By Congress

Washington, D.C. (July 21, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) warned today that the Obama administration’s failure to reach an agreement with Iran during six months of negotiations threatens the security of the U.S. and our allies. Despite White House opposition, this latest setback should convince Congress to press ahead with legislation that would strengthen the hands of U.S. negotiators by imposing stronger sanctions on the Tehran regime if no agreement is reached.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

After President Obama pressured Democrats in Congress to block bipartisan sanctions bills, Iran responded by pocketing billions in sanctions relief and stonewalling at the negotiating table for the last six months. Now Obama is rewarding Iran with $2.8 billion in additional sanctions relief and extending the talks until late November. The Obama administration’s Iran policy is failing and the costs of failure for our national security and the security of our Middle Eastern allies - especially Israel - are heavy.

Congress needs to assert itself as soon as possible. Sensible bipartisan legislation to hit Iran with stiff new sanctions if it continues defying international demands to halt its nuclear weapons efforts should move forward.

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RJC Supports Israel’s Actions in Gaza

Washington, D.C. (July 17, 2014) -- After Hamas launched more than 1200 rockets at Israel in the last ten days, Israel has begun a major offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

The Republican Jewish Coalition strongly supports Israel's actions against Hamas.

The attacks by Hamas against Israel, perpetrated from within civilian areas and using its own people as human shields, are war crimes. Their stated goal is the utter destruction of the Jewish state and its inhabitants. Israel has every right to move to a second stage of operations to put an end to these attacks.

The Israelis have shown tremendous restraint and moral strength in their implementation of Operation Protective Edge. They have destroyed military targets while doing the utmost to protect innocent civilians in Gaza. As always, Israel has worked for peace, but war has been thrust upon it once more.

We pray that Israeli forces, whether fighting by land, sea, or air, will meet their objectives and return home safely.
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RJC: "Israel Gap" Widens: More Republicans Than Democrats Support Israel in Current Conflict

Washington, D.C. (July 15, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) responded to the release of a Pew Research Center poll today on the partisan gap in Israel-Palestinian sympathies.

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RJC Stands with Israel

Israel is under fire, once again, from terrorists who seek her destruction. Hamas has sent hundreds of missiles from Gaza against Israeli civilians in recent days. These attacks are warfare against the Jewish state. The RJC unequivocally stands with Israel in this conflict.

Israel has the right to defend her citizens and is justified in taking action against Hamas. Israel targets the terrorists who attack her and makes every effort to protect the lives of non-combatants. In contrast, Hamas operates out of residential areas and encourages Palestinians to act as human shields, endangering their own brothers and sisters in their quest to destroy the Jewish state. Negotiation and accommodation with such an enemy is impossible.

We are inspired by the courage of the Israeli public and the determination of their leaders. Israel has the fortitude, the means, and the right to defend its citizens. We offer our support and our hopes for their safety and security.

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RJC Mourns the Deaths of the Three Israeli Teens

Washington, D.C. (June 30, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition is deeply saddened to learn that the three kidnapped Israeli teens are dead. RJC National Chairman David Flaum said:

On behalf of the leaders, members, and staff of the Republican Jewish Coalition, I offer our sincere condolences to the Frenkel, Shaar, and Yifrah families. Along with Jews around the world, we shared in the hope that Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal would return home safely. We are deeply saddened by the loss of the three young men.

The Israeli government made every effort to find the boys after they were kidnapped on June 12. We hope that the people responsible for their kidnapping and murder will be swiftly found and brought to justice.

May the Frenkel, Shaar, and Yifrah families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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