Donald Trump Addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition

— by Richard Chaitt and Scott Schley

Real estate mogul Donald Trump was among the thirteen Republican candidates speaking at the RJC Presidential Presidential Forum.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

He was introduced as “a mensch with chutzpah.” Trump mentioned that his daughter and grandchildren are Jewish joking that the RJC only likes him because his daughter was Jewish and that made him mishpacha. He said having a Jewish daughter was great, except he can’t get her on the phone on Saturday.

While he asked for the Republican Jewish Council’s support, he did not ask for money as he is self-funding his campaign. The audience found Trump and the many jokes he told very humorous, but he did not say much of substance.

Trump said “Obama was the worst thing ever for Israel. Our negotiations with Iran was horrible and we did not bargain from strength.” He criticized Obama for being unwilling to use the term ‘radical Islam’. He argued that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should not be allowed to run, claiming that what she did with her emails was criminal.

Donald Trump has been a strong supporter of Israel. He told the story of how he was asked by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu to do an election commercial for him. He said the commercial must have worked, since Bibi won. Trump called himself a great deal maker and thinks he can make a deal for peace. He would not commit to having a unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This caused “boos” from the audience. However, Trump countered that “To do a deal, you do not reveal your cards up front.”

In conclusion, Trump was very charismatic, sharp and funny, but there was no there there. He only spoke in generalities without being specific.

Speeches by the other Republican presidential candidates is available in our full coverage of the RJC presidential forum.

Lindsey Graham Addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition

— by Richard Chaitt and Scott Schley

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was among the 13 Republican candidates speaking at the RJC Presidential Presidential Forum.

Senator Lindsay Graham

Senator Lindsay Graham

Senator Lindsey Graham

Senator Graham’s presentation was “folksy”. He took off against unserious candidates; zeroing in on those who never held office. Objected to what Cruz said. Graham believes that by emphasizing a nationalist, pro-life agenda Republicans are alienating Hispanic and young women voter; the party needs to be more inclusive if they are to prevail in the general election. If the Republican candidate takes the position that a woman who is raped or is a victim of incest can’t get an abortion or that all illegal immigrants must be deported, the Republicans will lose.

Graham was strong on foreign policy and against Iran. He promised to stop the Iranian nuclear program. He would defund the UN unless they stop taking discriminatory positions against Israel. He also said the Palestinians should lose US funding unless they get serious about peace.

Speeches by the other Republican presidential candidates is available in our full coverage of the RJC presidential forum.

Thirteen Candidates at Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum

ajcPollThe Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum was held on December 3, 2015 in Washington DC. Attended by over 700 members of the RJC from all over the country. Of the 14 Republican presidential candidates, 13 attended (Senator Rand Paul backed out due to Senate business). Each candidate had 30 minutes for a prepared speech and questions. A fundamental concern of the RJC is Israel. So it was not surprising that most of the comments related to foreign policy and the relationship between the United States and Israel.

Click on the links below for video of each speaker along with a brief review of their comments.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush
Johns Hopkins Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina
Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
Ohio Governor John Kasich
New York Governor George Pataki
Florida Senator Marco Rubio
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
Real estate mogul Donald Trump

According to Steve Sheffey despite their efforts at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s forum, the Republican presidential candidates continue to turn off Jewish voters:

All of the GOP candidates hold views that most Jewish voters strongly disagree with. The day after the mass shooting in California, the Republican presidential candidates were utterly unapologetic about their opposition to new gun control laws.

On Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted against an amendment that would have prevented people on the terrorism watch list from purchasing firearms. So did the other Republican senators running for president. We need to place the sanctity of life above the sanctity of misguided interpretations of the Second Amendment.

Photos courtesy of Richard Chaitt. Video courtesy of CSPAN.

Ted Cruz Addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition

— by Richard Chaitt and Scott Schley

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was among the 13 Republican candidates speaking at the RJC Presidential Presidential Forum.

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz mentioned his bi-partisan outreach to Democrats in foreign affairs. We urges us to speak the truth about Radical Islam, since “the truth has power.” To borrow a page from Ronald Reagan’s strategy in the cold war, he says “our strategy should be very simply: we win, they lose.” He emphasized we are at war with Islamic Terror and the United States has to stand with Israel. Accordingly, Cruz wants to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and take steps to combat the boycott Israel (BDS) movement.

Cruz made it clear that the United States must go after terrorists. He also wants to rip up the Iran nuclear deal and force an end to the Iranian nuclear program.

During the question and answer period, Cruz was asked about abortion. He replied that to win the Republicans must run as fiscal, foreign policy and social conservatives and that if Republicans nominate a moderate, the coalition necessary to win won’t exist.

Speeches by the other Republican presidential candidates is available in our full coverage of the RJC presidential forum.

The French Jewish Community’s Future

French-American Jew Helen Loeb was invited to speak at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Wynnewood, Penn. on the terrorist attacks last week in Paris and the state of the France’s Jewish community.

Last year almost 1% of French Jews immigrated to Israel. How many will make aliyah next year?

Last year almost 1% of French Jews immigrated to Israel. How many will make aliyah next year?

Many have come to me in the past few days to express their sympathy and ask about the well-being of my family. Many have also come to me to inquire and reflect about the future of the French Jewish community. So where do I start?

I am appalled by the current developments in France, of course, but also in Brussels and other places in Europe.

I grew up in Toulouse, infamous for the murder of one rabbi and 3 children just about two years ago. The Ozar Hatorah school is just 2 miles from where I grew up, where my mother and sister still live. Used to be known for its aeronautical industry and opera singing, Toulouse has become a symbol of antisemitism and homegrown terrorism.

[Read more…]

Tea Party Defeats Last Jewish Republican in Congress

Virginia 7th District
28,898 44.45% Rep. Eric I. Cantor
36,110 55.55% Prof. David A. Brat
65,008 Total


Cantor calls Anti-Semitism the “darker side” of the Republican caucus, April 2012.


Cantor calls Jewish tendency to vote Republican the bane of his existence and reveals the Republican version of tikkun olam (CBS 60 Minutes, January 2001).

When Eric Cantor (VA) was elected to Congress in 2000, he and Benjamin Gilman (NY) were the only two Jewish Congressmen caucusing as Republicans in the House of Representatives. Gilman retired in 2003 after his district was dispersed, leaving Cantor as the only Jewish Republican in the House.

At the time, two Jewish Republicans served in the Senate: Norm Coleman (MN) and Arlen Specter (PA). However, Coleman was unseated in a close election by Jewish comedian Al Franken (MN) in 2008, and Specter switched parties in 2009 and then was defeated in the 2010 Democratic primary by Admiral Joe Sestak.

Cantor has risen to great prominence. He was elected House Majority Leader in 2011, and was widely seen as the likely successor to John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

According to the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voting Index, Cantor’s district is very safe, with a 10% Republican advantage compared to national averages:

2012 Election Results

  • President: Romney (R) 57%, Obama (D) 42%
  • Senator: Allen (R) 53%, Kaine (D) 47%
  • Represenative: Cantor (R) 58%, Powel (D) 41%

Accordingly, as the House’s second-ranked Republican, Cantor would have had no problem winning the general election yet again this year. His only danger was being defeated in the Republican primary. Even that seemed extremely unlikely: Cantor is ranked in the most conservative fifth of Congress by the DW-Nominate Scores based on his voting record, so he seemed like a good fit for his district.

Cantor spent $5,700,000 in the primary against his opponent David Brat, a Tea Party activist and obscure economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, with a mere $231,000 at his campaign’s disposal. In the final public polls before the election, Cantor led by 13%. In fact, Cantor’s internal polling projected he would win in a 34% landslide. Accordingly, he spent election day raising money for other Republicans rather than campaigning for himself.

Nevertheless, with the light turnout for the primary, Cantor was perhaps not sufficiently extreme: He was upset by Brat, 55.55% to 45.45%.

More after the jump.
The incumbent Cantor only kept control of four counties in the district: Three in the North are in the larger Washington, D.C. metropolitan area: Culpeper Country (51%), Orange County (61%) and Spotsylvania (54%), and the other is the state capital of Richmond (54%).

Brat succeeded with a grassroots campaign focused narrowly on the issue of immigration, characterizing Cantor as a supporter of an Obama plan to give amnesty to illegal immigrants. Wall Street Journal blogger Reid J. Epstein wrote that “Brat appeared more interested in campaigning to make a point than in winning”:

The Washington Post reported last month that he no-showed meetings with key conservative activists in the capital. His excuse: He had final exams to grade.

Mr. Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammell, who is a professor and the director of disability support services at Randolph-Macon College, the same school where Mr. Brat teaches.

Mr. Cantor can’t run as a third-party candidate. Virginia law forbids candidates who lose primary elections from appearing on the general election ballot. It is not immediately clear if he will mount a write-in campaign , as did Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) after losing a 2010 GOP Senate primary.

There are clues to Mr. Brat’s ideology in his academic CV. His current book project is titled “Ethics as Leading Economic Indicator? What went Wrong? Notes on the Judeo-Christian Tradition and Human Reason.”

His other published works include the titles “God and Advanced Mammon – Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?” and “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand.”

In the wake of Cantor’s defeat, he has resigned as House Majority Leader, leaving great uncertainty about who will be the next Speaker of the House.

The Republican Jewish Coalition’s executive director, Matt Brooks, said this was “one of those incredible, evil twists of fate that just changed the potential course of history. There are other leaders who will emerge, but Eric was unique and it will take time and there’s nobody quite like Eric in the House to immediately fill those shoes. I was certainly hoping that Eric was going to be our first Jewish speaker.

Eric’s efforts have been invaluable in passing important legislation on matters of concern to his constituents and the nation. He rose quickly to a top position in the House, having earned the trust and respect of his colleagues.

Eric has been an important pro-Israel voice in the House and a leader on security issues, including Iran sanctions. We deeply appreciate his efforts to keep our country secure and to support our allies around the world.

On the other side of the partisan aisle, according to Ellana Cahn of the National Jewish Democratic Council:

The National Jewish Democratic Council notes that the defeat of Congressman Eric Cantor at the hands of a Tea Party challenger has left the Republican Party with no Jewish voice in Congress.  Cong. Cantor was bested by a challenger who campaigned against sensible immigration policies, the kind of policies that enabled Mr. Cantor’s family to become United States citizens.  The American Jewish community has long understood a hospitable approach to immigration to be one of its strongest values.

A Lesson From Israel on How to Honor Veterans

What if Americans spent two minutes in silence, to honor their nation’s veterans?

The World, produced by Andrea Crossan (PRI).


On Yom Hazikaron a 2-minute siren is played on the air-raid system. The custom that has developed is that during those two minutes everyone stops what they are doing and stands still.

Michael and Daniel Bendetson saw how Israelis honor their veterans on Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) and wondered why we couldn’t do the same.

The Bendetsons were standing with their father, Peter, on a Tel Aviv sidewalk in 2010 when the sirens sounded before 120 seconds of reflection.

“At 11 a.m., a siren sounded throughout the entire country,” explained Daniel Bendetson, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Michigan. “Hundreds of people at a busy intersection got out of their cars and stood at attention for two minutes to pay respects to those who really make the ultimate sacrifice.”

So the Bendetsons set out to have Veterans’ Day in the US include two minutes of silence.

The proposal passed the US House of Representatives last week as part of the annual defense bill. Under the House bill, the moment would be observed at 2:11 p.m. on Veterans Day on the East Coast and simultaneously across the country: 1:11 p.m. in Chicago, 11:11 a.m. in Los Angeles, and 9:11 a.m. in Honolulu.

Unfiltered Palestinian View of Israel’s 66th Independence Day

Teaching children to shoot all of the Jews

End of Hope (Hatikvka)

Transcripts follow the jump.

Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas) program Tomorrow’s Pioneers – May 2, 2014

Nahul the bee: Listen my friend. Are there Jews where you are?
Boy (Qais): No. Not at the moment.
Nahul: I heard they come to you every day.
Qais: Yes, but not now.
Nahul: Listen, friend; do like this with your hands [makes fists], and when they come to you, punch them; make their face red like a tomato.
Qais: Allah willing, so that we can liberate Palestine.
Nahul: Allah willing….

Nahul: My friend Qais – anyway, Rawan, I tell him to take a stone, and when the Jews come, to take it and throw it at them.
Child host (Rawan): Of course, the Jewish neighbors.
Nahul: To smash them.
Rawan: If his neighbors are Jews or Zionists? Yes….

Rawan: Tulin, why do you want to be a police officer? Like who?
Girl Tulin: Like my uncle.
Rawan: Which uncle?
Tulin: Ahmed.
Rawan: Is he a policeman? [Tulin nods]
Rawan: OK, so what does a policeman do?
Nahul: He catches thieves, and people who make trouble.
Rawan: And shoots Jews. Right?
Tulin: Yes.
Rawan: You want to be like him? [Girl nods] Allah willing, when you grow up.
Tulin: So that I can shoot Jews. [Nahul the bee cheers]
Rawan: All of them? All of them?
Tulin: Yes.
Rawan: Good.

“End of Hope”

Hamas celebration of Israel’s 66th Independence Day – same old genocidal threats against Jews.

Transcript:

The Zionist army was built of wax
And now it has melted and has no hope.
The bastard Jews that were once here,
Somebody tell what is left of them.
Two parts: the first will be deported
To their country of origin, if they choose that.
Whereas the stupid ones who persist in staying
Their fate is sealed underneath the dust.
The name of the holy city will revert to what it was,
Our capital – Bayt al-Maqdis – not Jerusalem.