Jewish Roundtable at the DNC

— by Frances Novack

At the Democratic National Convention, the Jewish caucus held a couple of “round-tables.” On Tuesday of Convention Week, Democrats highlighted their strengths and also this year’s election needs. Congressman Jerry Nadler (NY-10), who represents the nation’s most Jewish district, pointed to the social, educational, and health programs that Jews had helped enact into law. Other speakers, including retiring Representative Steve Israel, urged attendees to give active support to Hillary Clinton to stave off the dangers of a Donald Trump presidency.

[Read more…]

Pennsylvania Delegation Announces Their Votes – Video

Governor Tom Wolf

Governor Tom Wolf

On Tuesday evening, July 26, history was make when Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman nominated for president by a major political party. Here is the transcript of Pennsylvania’s announcement of their vote. The video of the proceedings is linked below. [Read more…]

DNC Statement on Released Emails

Democrat-donkeyOn behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email. These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates. Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again.

“We are embarking on a convention today that — thanks to the great efforts of Secretary Clinton, her team, Senator Sanders, his team, and the entire Democratic Party — will show a forward-thinking and optimistic vision for America, as compared to the dark and pessimistic vision that the GOP presented last week in Cleveland. Our focus is on electing Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine and Democrats across the country, thanks to Democratic Party that is strong, unified, and poised for victory in November.”

Donna Brazile, Incoming Interim Chair
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Secretary 
Andrew Tobias, Treasurer 
Raymond Buckley, Vice Chair, ASDC President 
Maria Elena Durazo, Vice Chair 
Mayor R.T. Rybak, Vice Chair 
Henry R. Muñoz III, National Finance Committee Chair 

Security and Transportation Plan for the DNC

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies announce the Security Restrictions and Joint Transportation Plan for the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, PA. Events and activities related to the DNC, a designated National Special Security Event by the Department of Homeland Security, will take place from Monday, July 25 to Thursday, July 28.

Security and transportation plans have been developed by a partnership of local, state and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies outlined above. Every effort has been made to minimize the impact of these safety measures on the public. This plan provides the general outlines for road closures, vehicular restricted zones, flight restricted zones and maritime restrictions. Additional information is available online for residents of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as for charter operators, through the websites and social media accounts listed at the end of this plan. Additions to this plan may be made prior to the start of events and will be updated on these accounts and associated websites. Specific questions regarding this transportation plan should be directed to the participating agencies as identified.
[Read more…]

Philly is Primping for #PHLDNC

Constitution Center

Constitution Center

It’s Independence Day weekend in Philadelphia and ohhhh… the sites and sounds. There are spectacular things to do and see… and some things will remain (and be added!) for the DNC Convention the last week in July.

I brought my nieces and my sister-in-law to, of course, the Constitution Center yesterday both to see the newest version of Freedom Rising, and the renovation of the Bronze Room. To me it really is the happiest place on earth. For this weekend, there are displays and demonstrations on the front lawn of Colonial times: a blacksmith and a weaver, just to name two of many.

Remember, the Constitution Center is hosting PoliticalFest, which will run July 22-27. It’s inexpensive and will be a terrific experience. You can get your tickets (good for all six days) at the convention website. If you’re credentialed, PoliticalFest is free.

This is a great place to get a sense of all the historical things you can tour in Philadelphia. Independence Hall. (The original home of the Declaration of Independence, and compilation of the Constitution.) Betsy Ross’ House. (Our first flag!) Effreth’s Alley. (The oldest, continuously occupied street in the United States.)

We then crossed the street to the Independence Visitor Center and at the south end, the Liberty Bell.

In the Visitor Center, we were greeted by two donkeys. There are 57 of them around Philly comprising the Donkeys Around Town program. They are created by local Philly artists to celebrate the states, DC and the territories, all in celebration of the DNC coming to town.

The Vermont Donkey

The Vermont Donkey by Philadelphia artist Sam S. Petner

The Rhode Island Donkey

The Rhode Island Donkey by Philadelphia artist Kathryn Pannepacker

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Rocky Statue formerly located in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Rocky Statue formerly located in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Stilt people at visitor center

Stilt people at visitor center

We then crossed the street to the Independence Visitor Center.

There’s more to see in the Visitor Center, including a Rocky statue and stilt people. Normally, I take visitors out on the second floor veranda of the Constitution Center, point past the Visitor Center, down the grassy mall to Independence Hall and remind them that the Founding Fathers and their families were guilty of treason against the crown, and risked life, limb and everything they held dear to fight so that we could breathe free today. This year, as I looked out at the crowds and the displays all I could wonder was about the juxtaposition of the coming Convention. Would this be Chicago ’68 redux? Would the arrests of the 2000 GOP convention be repeated, with so many people arrested that they were housed in the Armory at NAVSUP? What will happen on the streets and in the hall?

Philadelphia's Chinatown

Philadelphia’s Chinatown

No time to dwell, however, because there was more to see. If you’re coming to Philadelphia for the Convention, and you decide to come down to the Historic Area, you can walk out the north end of the Convention Center, turn east, and you’ll be in Chinatown. Philadelphia’s Chinatown is the third largest in the US, only San Francisco and New York’s are bigger. Our Chinatown is on a path of extension, both up and out towards the north. There’s great food, interesting shops, and I need to spare a word about the bakeries. As someone who is about 99% sweet tooth, I always scope the bakeries, and embrace the differences between, say, the macarons at good French bakeries, the cakes at Austrian bakeries, cannoli at Italian bakeries, and oh I could go on. The Chinatown bakeries should be Chinese, but for some reason, they all seem to carry Philly soft pretzels. Along with cheesesteaks, Philly soft pretzels are considered a delicacy when made right, but, well, not Chinese and I’m a purist.

Jess hugs her favorite delegate: James Madison.

Jess hugs her favorite delegate: James Madison.

Get excited! Come to Philly. The Convention will be a unique undertaking. I close this a picture of myself hugging my favourite delegate of all time at any gathering… James Madison. (And yes, you too can hug your pick fave in the Bronze Hall at the Constitution Center.) I think a lot about his Federalist Paper #10, on factionalism, and wonder what he would think about the upcoming floor fight over the Platform. What all the Founding Fathers would think about the possibilities regarding both Cleveland and Philadelphia. Perhaps they would be enamoured of the idea of sea change taking hold against a country that has become a corporatist country: a concept that didn’t exist in their day.

DNC Celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month at NMAJH

Marcel Groen, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., and Democratic State Committee member Ellen Brookstein

Marcel Groen, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., and Democratic State Committee member Ellen Brookstein

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) chose Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) as the site of its observance of Jewish American Heritage Month. This observance was a multi-faith event that took place on Yom HaShoah and brought together movers and shakers from the Democratic Party. [Read more…]

Philadelphia to Host 2016 Democratic National Convention

Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney were nominated at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney were nominated at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. They went on to defeat Vice-President Al Gore and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) in the 2000 Presidential Election.

Mayor Nutter commented on the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) decision, that Philadelphia will host the 2016 Democratic National Convention the week of July 25, 2016:

We believe that it was our proven track record of hosting big events safely and efficiently with a dynamic team of top-tier professionals to organize and manage a conference of this magnitude, paired with our City’s tremendous amenities, its accessible location and historical significance, which made Philadelphia the ideal choice for the 2016 DNC.

The last time Philadelphia hosted the Democratic National Convention, President Harry Truman was nominated to run against Gov. Thomas  Dewey (R-NY) and three dozen Southern delegates walked out to form the Dixiecrat Party and nominate Gov. Strom Thurmond (R-SC).

The last time Philadelphia hosted the Democratic National Convention, President Harry Truman was nominated to run against Gov. Thomas Dewey (R-NY) and three dozen Southern delegates walked out to form the Dixiecrat Party and nominate Gov. Strom Thurmond (R-SC).

The DNC’s technical advisory group evaluated cities across the country, looking at factors such as hotel capacity, transportation, security, financing and logistics.

The DNC chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, said that “In addition to their commitment to a seamless and safe convention, Philadelphia’s deep rooted place in American history provides a perfect setting for this special gathering.”

Additional details on the convention structure, host committee, and staff, will be made available in the coming weeks.

Should Philly Host the 2016 Democratic National Convention?

Philadelphia is one of the five locations in contention to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention to nominate the Democratic candidate for president and vice president:

The Democratic National Committee is seeking public input on the site selection process. You can click on the name of one of the cities above to comment on why that city would be a good or poor site for the 2016 convention.

The CEO of the Committee, Amy K. Dacey, said that her team and her “are visiting Philadelphia to meet with city officials and great local Democrats, and to get a feel for the energy.”

Philadelphia last hosted a national political convention in 2000, when the Republican Party nominated George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney.

The Republican National Convention will be held June or July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Stark Contrast for Jews Between Democratic, Republican Conventions

The National Jewish Democratic Coalition welcomed delegates to the Democratic National Convention at their mobile headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-PA13) stopped by NJDC’s mobile headquarters and explained why she supports Obama/Biden 2012.


PA State Representative Brian Sims.


Equality Pennsylvania’s President Adrian Shanker.

— by David A. Harris, President of NJDC

The Democratic and Republican conventions held over the last two weeks will continue to make it clear to the vast majority of Jewish voters that the Democratic Party is the one party that champions their values. If the stark contrast between the Democratic Party’s platform-which commits to expanding civil rights, pursuing social justice, and working toward peace and security for Israel-and the “antisocial, anti-science, anti-reason” Republican platform is not enough to remind Jews of the immense stakes ahead in this election, the sights and speeches of the two conventions certainly will.

The Republican Party kicked off its convention by allowing its speakers to trash the President, Vice President, and fellow Democrats-often with language and jokes ranging from corny to disrespectful-on a variety of domestic issues that put the policy gaps between the GOP and most Jews on full display. Pledges to repeal Obamacare, pursue anti-choice and anti-marriage equality policies, and to support dangerous cuts to essential social services advocated in the Romney-Ryan budget-like ending Medicare as we know it-were the standard talking points from the seemingly endless stream of negative and divisive speeches delivered from the podium. When the “severely conservative” Mitt Romney and GOP “young gun” Paul Ryan took the stage for their headlining speeches, they kept up with the flow established by the previous speakers and delivered mendacious (per repeated objective analyses) speeches full of policy positions out of step with most Jews. Romney even belittled the idea of healing the world – the very heart of tikkun olam.

But if the policy differences between most Jews and the GOP weren’t enough, Romney and his Republican Party allowed two very Israel-challenged individuals to play significant roles in the convention. Romney personally selected Israel-challenged former Governor and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu to officially nominate him for president. And after NJDC and others sounded every alarm bell imaginable that anti-Israel Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) was becoming a legitimate force within the GOP, the Republican Party honored him with a video tribute that completely ignored his dreadful foreign policy positions. The GOP then gave his son Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)-who shares many of the same extreme foreign and domestic positions-a prime speaking slot.

More after the jump.

The Democratic National Convention will be different. The Democratic Party has historically been the home of most American Jews-and the 2012 convention will help affirm this. One needs only to look to the records of President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party to understand why the majority of Jews will pull the lever for Democrats this November.

President Obama and his party passed a historic health insurance reform bill that has expanded-and will continue to expand-access to affordable health insurance for millions of Americans. The Democratic Party has fought against Republican obstruction to protect women’s rights, whether on matters of choice, contraception, domestic violence protections, or equal pay. The President has led on advancing equal rights for all by voicing support for marriage equality and working to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

President Obama has been Israel’s most important advocate on the international stage and has provided the Jewish state with unprecedented amounts of security aid-including $275 million in supplemental aid for missile defense programs that protect Israeli cities like Sderot from terrorist rocket fire, and an overall total of more than twice as much funding for missile defense programs as the prior administration. He is leading the global coalition to responsibly sanction Iran over its pursuit of nuclear weapons. His leadership has resulted in the largest and most significant sanctions regimen in history to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. The President also ordered the raid that brought justice to Osama Bin Laden and firmly communicated to those seeking to harm America and its citizens that this President will not hesitate to use force to protect our country or its interests.

The multitude of policy positions and values shared by the Democratic Party and American Jews will be on full display in Charlotte, which simply cannot be said for the Republican convention. American Jews will listen when President Obama delivers his speech under the stadium lights, and will hear a President who has worked hand-in-hand with the Jewish community in the pursuit of social justice and security for Israel. For many American Jews, the Democratic Convention will be their point of entry to the 2012 campaign-and what they see will remind them why they overwhelmingly voted for President Obama in 2008 and will do so again in 2012.

Reprinted courtesy of the Washington Jewish Week.