Jewish Organizations Respond to the Election of Donald Trump

In a letter to the president-elect on behalf of B’nai B’rith International (BBI), the organization’s president, Gary P. Saltzman, and its executive vice president, Daniel S. Mariaschin, congratulate Donald Trump on his “historic victory in the presidential election” and promise their “active support.” The letter continues, “We warmly welcome your election night pledge to help the country ‘bind the wounds of division’ and ‘come together as one people.’”

Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_(cropped)After enumerating a litany of issues that the president-elect will confront when he assumes the office of president, Saltzman and Mariaschin direct their attention to Israel:

B’nai B’rith applauds your stated commitment to Israel’s security and your pledge to do everything in your power to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. We recognize that American leadership — and America’s crucial partnership with its democratic ally Israel — are essential to our shared goal of a peaceful and stable Middle East. It greatly reassures us, therefore, to know that Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy and a country that has battled terror and aggression since its independence, will have a staunch ally in the president of the United States.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) also congratulates Donald Trump on his victory, but urges reconciliation for this divided nation.

“We wish President-elect Trump well moving forward,” says David Bernstein, JCPA’s president and CEO. “We commend him on the message of unity he conveyed in his acceptance speech, and urge him to continue to work toward bringing the country together.”

“The American people have spoken,” says Cheryl Fishbein, board chair of JCPA. “And as our great democratic tradition dictates, it’s time for a peaceful transition of power.”

“We call upon the president-elect to continue to assure the nation, particularly constituencies feeling most vulnerable, that the country will live up to its highest ideals and respect the rights of all people,” says Bernstein.

The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Compromise

— by Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Last night, we witnessed something that has become too rare in Washington: a bipartisan compromise to address a serious national issue.  We appreciate the statesmanship of Vice-President Biden and Minority Leader McConnell who came together in a last minute effort to avoid the most dangerous effects of the ‘fiscal cliff.’  As in all compromises, the end product includes a balance of priorities.  The Amendment, which the Senate approved last night by a vote of 89-8, is not a perfect proposal, but is a strong one that demonstrates the ability of a legislative process to work for the good of the nation.    

More after the jump.
We are pleased to see that the Senate approved a one-year extension of unemployment insurance benefits, providing necessary support for those looking to return to work as the economy recovers. We were also pleased that the charitable deduction, which is vital for the work of groups serving a number of community functions, was maintained.  Deep cuts for many important programs that support the most vulnerable and provide pathways to prosperity for millions of Americans, including Head Start and WIC, were delayed.  Similarly, the Senate legislation postponed scheduled cuts to foreign assistance programs, including aid to allies like Israel.  This morning’s passage of the Senate compromise was a large, positive step in the right direction.

Last night, Senators with different governance philosophies, who represent different constituencies, came together in a civil fashion to justly pursue the best course for the nation and avoid the most treacherous elements of the ‘Fiscal Cliff.’  They did not all agree with the details of the compromise but they understood that the national interest demands that they find a way not to fall into the abyss and to keep our nation’s economy and international status strong. We hope that their leadership will serve as a model of cooperation for the House of Representatives as it continues working on this legislation and as an indicator of a new spirit of collaboration for the incoming 113th Congress.