Alienating Chosen People With Extremely Anti-Choice Bill

— by David Streeter

The National Jewish Democratic Council expressed concern over today’s vote by House Republicans in support of its latest extreme anti-choice bill.

“With all the talk of broadening the GOP base, Republicans seem unable to resist taking extreme action on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives,” said NJDC Executive Director Aaron Keyak. “By forcing a vote on a doomed and radically anti-choice bill, Republicans are once again alienating the vast majority of American Jews — including Jewish Republicans who have specifically urged the GOP to ease up on social issues.”

More after the jump.
Polls show that the Jewish community is one of the most pro-choice demographics in America. The Public Religion Research Institute found in 2012 that 93% of the Jewish community as a whole supports a woman’s right to choose, including 77% of Jewish Republicans.

In addition, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) specifically urged the Republican Party to focus less on social issues. The RJC said in its “Blueprint for Victory” video that there are “real concerns over the Republican Party’s views on social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage,” and that the GOP “must earn the trust and votes of non-traditional Republicans” — which includes Jews and women.

Message to NRA & GOP: Stand with ADL and B’nai B’rith Against Beck

— by Aaron Keyak

Glenn Beck’s use of disgusting imagery, showing a leading Jewish American as a Nazi, at the National Rifle Association’s convention was deeply offensive. The NRA and Republican leaders must stand with the ADL and B’nai B’rith in condemning Glenn Beck — especially those who selected him to give the NRA’s keynote address. This isn’t only about what Beck said, but the disturbing fact that his stunt was embraced with applause and cheers by attendees at the NRA’s national convention. The NRA’s crowd is the Republican base and all Americans must take note.

Report from ABC News after the jump.
ABC News reported:

Glenn Beck roused the National Rifle Association’s annual convention this weekend with his attacks on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but he also aroused criticism by a major Jewish group for depicting the mayor giving a Nazi salute.

The head of the Anti-Defamation League called Becks’ comments “deeply offensive on so many levels,” and B’nai B’rith called for Beck to apologize.

“Glenn Beck, the keynote speaker at the NRA’s annual convention, trivializes the Holocaust when he compares New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Adolf Hitler,” B’nai B’rith told ABC News.

“The casual use of Nazi imagery or words serves to undermine the atrocities of the Holocaust. Glenn Beck should apologize,” the organization said. […]

Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, objected to the image and Beck’s comments:

“While he doesn’t say it, it seems Glenn Beck is implying through an image of Mayor Bloomberg in an apparent Hitlerian salute is that the mayor’s policies on gun ownership and other issues are turning New York city into a Nazi-like state. That suggestion is outrageous, insensitive and deeply offensive on so many levels,” Foxman said.

“Glenn Beck should know better. He has drawn similar inappropriate analogies to the Holocaust before. We wish he would stop trivializing the history of the Holocaust to score partisan political points,” he added.

NJDC: Fleischer Must Retract Inaccurate Nazi Claim‏

Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Aaron Keyak called on former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer to retract his inaccurate statement regarding Nazi Germany’s conduct during WWII:

Ari Fleischer is a smart man, but even smart people can make ridiculous statements and should admit when they’ve make mistakes. Fleischer should think long and hard about his claim that Nazi Germany ‘followed the law of war,’ and retract it.

According to Think Progress, Fleischer said in reference to Nazi Germany:

They [Nazi Germany] followed the law of war, they wore uniforms, and they fought us on battlefields. These people are fundamentally, totally by design different. And they need to be treated in a different extrajudicial system.

More after the jump.
Think Progress also noted:

Apparently, according to Fleischer, in order to follow the laws of war, all one has to do is wear a uniform and fight the enemy on a grassy field. But of course the Germans committed countless brutal and vicious war crimes during World War II.

Mark Sanford’s Israel Problem

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and his father Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)

— by Aaron Keyak

In the last few weeks, South Carolina House candidate former Governor Mark Sanford has chosen to accept support from two individuals with questionable Israel records: Former Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).

As a Representative, Ron Paul was a leading opponent of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Now he has formed a think tank with anti-Semites and 9/11 truthers, according to a recent report. Given this, it is unacceptable for Sanford to have accepted his endorsement. After years in public service, Sanford should know better and reject the endorsement — but it seems that desperation is trumping common sense after each self-inflicted wound in Sanford’s campaign. Republicans like Sanford who seek and flaunt Paul’s endorsement cannot reasonably claim to be a friend of Israel or the American Jewish community. Period.

More after the jump.
Sanford has also accepted the endorsement of Senator Rand Paul. During Senator Paul’s short tenure in the Senate, he has quickly racked up a dismal record when it comes to Israel and Iran. Senator Paul has consistently attacked American foreign aid to Israel and he is the only Senator who refuses to rule out a containment strategy for Iran. By accepting this endorsement, Sanford is legitimizing Senator Paul’s stature in the GOP and proving how desperate he is to win.

Sanford’s decision to ally himself with Ron and Rand Paul is unacceptable and it shows that he is out of step with the American Jewish community.

Why Sarah Palin Supports Rand Paul

— by Benyamin Korn, founder of Jews for Sarah

While I in no way speak for Sarah Palin in any authorized capacity, Aaron Keyak raises a valid question as to why Gov. Palin should support Sen. Rand Paul, especially given his foreign policy views.

The answer is simple: Ms. Palin’s primary focus is on U.S. domestic policy, and particularly on the disastrous economic course of the Obama administration and its progressive allies of both parties, which she has described as “a bullet train to bankruptcy.”

Continued after the jump.
In Sen. Paul, like his father, Gov. Palin sees a vociferous opponent to the progressives’ massive expansion of Federal government, radically higher taxation (including Obamacare), and so-called quantative easing — which is really a euphemism for the Federal Reserve printing $85 billion a month to prop up the stock market, the real estate market and the tepid “economic recovery.” Before long, both Sen. Paul and Gov. Palin have been warning, Americans will experience a very rude awakening from such reckless economic stewardship.

As to foreign policy, there is certainly a debate going on within Republican circles, primarily over the scope and legitimacy of U.S. foreign interventions, but extending to the issue of foreign aid. Immediately following his week-long visit to Israel this January, Sen. Paul introduced legislation to block the transfer of 200 Abrams tanks and 24 F-16s to the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime of Mohammed Morsi. He also stated that his position on cutting foreign aid should apply first to countries (such as Pakistan and Egypt) which are hostile to the United States. And he opposed President Obama’s gift last month of $240 million to the Morsi regime (certainly a band-aid considering the collapse of Egypt’s economy following the Obama-backed ouster of Mubarak, but one which President Obama has now supplemented with the sale of 140,000 tear gas canisters to help Morsi suppress domestic unrest).

While the NJDC is right that Gov. Palin would probably disagree with any form of reduced support for Israel, the foreign aid debate has clearly not been a “wedge issue” between her and the good doctor from Kentucky, whose support for Israel is clear, despite his more libertarian views on foreign aid.

Republicans Should Call out Rand Paul

— by Aaron Keyak

Senator Rand Paul was featured on the cover of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” issue because of his expanding role in American politics as a Republican leader. Former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wrote a glowing profile of Senator Paul to accompany his ranking. It is puzzling why Palin, a self professed ardent supporter of Israel, continues to whitewash members of the Paul family (she defended former Congressman Ron Paul’s Israel record on Fox News in 2012), given their obsession with cutting American aid to Israel and their dangerous views on Iran.

Continued after the jump.
Senator Paul, a member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has called for cuts to Israel’s military aid at multiple points during his brief Senate career, most recently in January. When it comes to stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program, he was the only Senator who has consistently refused to rule out a containment strategy-placing him at odds with every single other member of the Senate as well as the Obama Administration.

It seems that Palin may think that she is helping the Republican Party and our nation by elevating Senator Paul. In reality, she is legitimizing the damaging foreign policy agenda that he represents. Republicans who care about the U.S.-Israel relationship should be calling out Senator Paul on his dangerous views, not giving him a free pass.    

NJDC Calls Stanford to Reject Endorsement From Anti-Israel Ron Paul‏

— by David Streeter

During his time in the House, former Representative Ron Paul was a leading opponent of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Now he’s formed a think tank with anti-Semites and 9/11 truthers, according to a report published yesterday. Given this, it is unacceptable for Mark Sanford to accept his endorsement. After years in public service Sanford should know better and reject the endorsement — but it seems that desperation is trumping common sense after each self-inflicted wound in Sanford’s campaign. Republicans who seek and flaunt Paul’s endorsement cannot reasonably claim to be a friend of Israel or the American Jewish community. Period.

North Carolina State Religion Bill Alarms Jewish Democrats

— by Aaron Keyak

The bill proposed in North Carolina that would assert that states are not bound by the separation of church and state is very alarming to those of us who understand the utmost importance of this constitutional value, including American Jews. If this bill is seriously considered or becomes law, it will have consequences for all Americans and those who believe that government should not be making laws that show preference to some religions over others. We call for this bill to be completely rejected in North Carolina and withdrawn from consideration.

CPAC Victory by Rand Paul Alarms American Jews

CPAC Straw Poll Results:
1. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) – 25%
2. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) – 23%
3. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) – 8%
4. Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) – 7%
5. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) – 6%
6. Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) – 5%

— by David Streeter

Earlier today, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) — the Senate’s only proponent of cutting aid to Israel and the sole Senator who refuses to reject a policy of containment for a nuclear-armed Iran — won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) annual straw poll. NJDC Executive Director Aaron Keyak said:

Regardless of political affiliation, American Jews should be alarmed that the Republican Party’s core activists have selected Senator Rand Paul to be their preferred standard bearer for 2016. Senator Paul has called multiple times to cut and end American aid to Israel, and has refused to rule out a containment strategy vis-à-vis Iran. Paul’s misguided foreign policy views are nothing short of dangerous, and his growing legitimacy among the GOP’s base is only another reason why the vast majority of Jewish Americans consistently support the Democratic Party.

GOP Must Avoid Cuts To Iron Dome and Social Safety Net

Iron Dome hits Hamas rockets fired on Israel

— by Aaron Keyak

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) demanded that Republicans join with President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats in working to avoid the impending sequestration.

For all of their talk about opposing the sequester, Republicans have not taken meaningful action to avoid these catastrophic budget cuts. Sequestration will affect far too many of the top priorities of the Jewish community. These indiscriminate cuts may range from social safety net programs that help the least fortunate among us to Israel’s foreign aid and funding for missile defense programs like Iron Dome.

Sadly, as the President works to protect our nation’s social safety net and stands by our national security interests, Republicans are once again appeasing the far right elements of their party at the expense of the American people and our allies.

More after the jump.
According to Politico, many Congressional Republicans are in favor of letting the sequester take effect — including House Speaker John Boehner:

There seem to be three distinct camps: Most congressional Republicans appear willing to let the sequester happen since they can’t replace it in time. Others want the cuts to be even deeper […].

House Speaker John Boehner and the House GOP leadership represent the largest GOP faction — those who wish there was a better way to slash the deficit, but barring that, are willing to let the across-the-board cuts take effect on Friday as planned […].

This pro-sequester group includes GOPers like Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), Mike Turner (Ohio) and Mike Pompeo (Kan.), who have all said they prefer a different way to cut government spending. But if there’s not a solution on the table by March 1, they think the sequester should be implemented […].

Another group is made up of people like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has been loudly proclaiming that the cuts are not nearly deep enough.

“It’s a pittance. I mean, it’s a slowdown in the rate of growth. There are no real cuts happening over 10 years,” Paul said on CNN this week of the sequester […].

“I think the sequester happens and it will be in some ways a yawn because the histrionics that are coming from the president saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to shut down and get rid of meat inspectors’ — I mean, is anybody not going to stand up and call his bluff on that ridiculousness?” Paul added.

Politico also noted that Republican Governors are calling on Congressional Republicans to act:

Ask Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert what they think of Hill Republicans’ strategy on the sequester, and you get the exact same response: “What strategy?” […]

Their message for House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders: It’s not OK to just sit on the sidelines. It’s time to do something to stop the automatic cuts, and fast.

JTA reported on sequestration’s devastating impact for the Jewish community:

[D]ozens of Jewish organizations [are] grappling with the potential loss of federal funds from the so-called sequester, a measure adopted by the U.S. Congress last year to force itself to confront a hemorrhaging national debt and return the country to sound fiscal footing. Unless a budget compromise could be found, draconian across-the-board cutbacks of 8.5 percent were to have automatically taken effect on Jan. 1. The impact of those cuts was designed to be so devastatingly painful that Congress would in effect force its own hand […].

As the new deadline nears, some Jewish organizations are preparing for the worst, identifying non-essential services to be axed while lobbying federal officials to protect vital programs.

According to Globes, sequestration would have dire consequences for Israel’s missile defense systems, including the Iron Dome:

The pending US budget sequester on March 1, 2013, is liable to reduce military aid to Israel by over $700 million in the 2013 fiscal year, pro-Israeli sources in Washington told “Globes”. The cut includes a $250 million reduction in current aid, which is due to total $3.15 billion, and the possible loss of all financial aid for joint US-Israeli missile defense programs, amounting to $479 million, for a total of $729 million in reduced aid. In the best case, if the aid for anti-missile programs is only reduced, rather than eliminated, Israel will lose $300 million in aid.

The same article also included Israel’s perspective:

Top officials in Israel’s Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Defense are drawing up a strategy for dealing with the problem. One source believes that Minister of Defense Ehud Barak’s sudden visit to Washington, just after his previous visit, was related to the sequester. Until recently, Jerusalem believed that the Congressional Republicans and the White House would reach a last-minute budget compromise, and that Israel would avoid the budget axe, but this assessment was disproved a few days ago, when the Republican House leaders decided to go on recess.