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Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum
Sen. Paul did not appear due to Senate votes; former Gov. Gilmore appeared in his slot.
GOP Candidates Will Speak at RJC Forum
Jewish Voters Are Ready to Listen
Voters have an unparalleled opportunity to hear from each of the Republican presidential candidates this week at the Republican Jewish Coalition candidates forum in Washington, D.C.
With the exception of official debates, there is no other time that all of the GOP candidates will stand on the same stage and address the same audience in a single day. One by one, they will speak to the largest gathering this year of Jewish Republican activists and respond to questions.
It’s a valuable experience for both candidates and voters. Each candidate will have time to make their case and respond directly to the audience about their concerns. And voters will hear the different ideas and proposals – and the common principles – which each candidate will offer for solving the most pressing problems facing our country.
Those problems are real and serious. In seven years, President Obama has kept his promise to fundamentally change this country, but the results have been disastrous. Abroad, President Obama has pursued a policy of withdrawal and reduction in American power and leadership that has resulted in more chaos, more killing, and more danger around the globe.
Iran has cowed US leaders into submission and is now on the way to acquiring a nuclear weapon and threatening world peace. The Islamic State and other terrorist groups are more active and more threatening than ever, successfully launching terrorist attacks in Europe. Millions have died in Syria’s civil war while the U.S. did nothing. Our allies can’t trust us, while Iran, Russia, and China take advantage of us and then mock us for our weakness.
Jewish voters understand that a Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders presidency would make us even weaker on the world stage and less safe. They have proven they don’t understand the threats facing America today. Neither will call it what it actually is, radical Islamic terrorism. Both have forcefully rejected any attempt to curb the gains of the Islamic state with ground troops. And they have also endorsed the feckless race to appease Iran and marginalize Israel.
Republicans have solutions for these issues and Jewish voters are ready to listen.
Republicans have won a growing share of the Jewish vote in five of the last six presidential elections.. The same feeling that moved many in the Jewish community to vote Republican for the first time in 2012 has only been strengthened in the last three years.
Republicans have a large field of serious and thoughtful candidates to choose from. One of those candidates will be our nominee. And one year from now, all American voters will go the polls on election day with a clear choice to vote for strength and safety at home and abroad.
The Democratic National Committee bracketed this event with a conference call the day before and a Factivists release after the event.
Excerpts from DNC Press Conference Call on GOP Candidates Out-Of-Touch With Jewish CommunityFor reporters covering Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum today: Excerpts from DNC Press Conference Call on GOP Candidates Out-Of-Touch With Jewish Community
Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, National Jewish Democratic Council Chair Greg Rosenbaum, and GBA Strategies Principal Jim Gerstein held a press call to discuss how the Republican candidates for president are out-of-touch with the priorities of the Jewish community. Here are excerpts from the call as prepared for delivery:
DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
“Looking at the Middle East, these Republican candidates are woefully uninformed and misguided about the role and responsibility of the United States. Some support the Bush-era reckless go-it-alone approach that undermined our international credibility, further destabilized the Middle East, and cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars.
“For some, their version of Middle East foreign policy is pandering to our community about supporting Israel, without fully grasping the deep values and history that drive our relationship. But – if you can believe it – this new crowd is even worse than President Bush.
“After 9/11, President Bush had enough nuance to unequivocally say that the U.S. was not at war with Islam, but with violent extremism. He was right; and we are still at war with a violent ideology and actions that threaten our homeland and our allies. We saw this most recently on a large scale with the attacks of Paris.
“However, the Republican candidates’ first instinct was to politicize this tragedy, rather than focusing on strategies to combat its perpetrators.
“The sort of rhetoric we saw from candidates, whether it was Donald Trump calling for a database of Muslim-Americans, or Marco Rubio saying we need to shut down “not only mosques” but “cafes and diners,” where Muslims congregate in response to terror, was shameful, embarrassing, and dangerous.
“By demonizing an entire religion, it makes it more difficult for the U.S. to prosecute the war on terror and keep our homeland safe. It also stands in stark contrast to American and Jewish values.
“Our community knows what happens when political leaders begin targeting one particular minority community. Whether it is Jews, African-Americans, Christians or Muslims, there is no room in this nation for targeting or scapegoating a minority community. One of the tenets we hold most dear about this nation is not just the base foundation of freedom of religion, but the responsibility of the majority to protect the interests of the minority.
“This quickly translated into the most shameful part of the GOP’s response to the Paris attacks: the scapegoating and turning away refugees fleeing this same terror in their own countries.
“We have seen this movie before. In May 1939, the SS St. Louis left Hamburg, Germany carrying more than 900 passengers, nearly all of them Jewish and seeking refuge in the United States. Our country turned them away, and many who were sent back to mainland Europe were killed in the Holocaust. Instead of learning from that mistake – Republican candidates and politicians were eager to repeat it.
“Demonizing and scapegoating refugees not only betrays our values as a nation, it undermines our faith as Jews.”
GBA Strategist Principal Jim Gerstein
“The Jewish people are an important Democratic constituency that has averaged 70 percent for the Democratic candidate in every presidential election since exit polling began in 1972. The 2012 election illustrated the support that Jewish voters have for the Democratic Party. Despite an unprecedented attack on President Obama by Jewish Republican organizations and donors before the election, President Obama still won 70 percent of the vote nationally, including 68 percent in Florida and 69 percent in Ohio.
“For a bit of perspective on the strength of the Jewish voters’ support for Democrats, take Florida as an example. Jews constituted 5 percent of Florida voters in 2012, according to exit polls. Obama won Florida by 1 percent. It would take a shift of 20 points among Jews to move the 2012 Florida result to the Republicans. Despite the claim by Republican Jews every four years that THIS is the year it will happen, it has never happened, and there is no evidence of it happening again.
“The bottom line is that the only problem for Democrats with Jewish voters is that there are not more of them.”
National Jewish Democratic Council Chair Greg Rosenbaum
“For generations, Jews have been drawn to the Democratic Party's message of inclusion, of opportunity, of an economy where people who work for a living can earn enough to get ahead and provide a better life for their families.
Oy vey: Republican Jewish Coalition speeches included some meshugah claims about Jews
Today, nearly the entire Republican presidential field attended a forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition. Among the lowlights, several of the candidates made some meshugah claims about their audience:
- Donald Trump said, “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals? Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken”
- Jim Gilmore said, “Last night I was watching Schindler's List, everybody here's seen Schindler's List…”
- John Kasich said, "My mother told me one time, she said, Johnny -- when I was a very young man -- she said, Johnny, if you want to look for a really good friend, get somebody who's Jewish. And you know why she said that? She said, no matter what happens to you, your friend, your Jewish friend will stick by your side and fight right with you and stand by you."
Others tried to paper over their lack of knowledge of Middle East issues:
- Ben Carson: The Guardian reports that “In his speech, Carson repeatedly mispronounced the name of the terrorist group Hamas, calling it ‘hummus’ on several occasions as he seemed to give a basic history lesson of the Middle East, reciting every war in the region since 1947.”
- Marco Rubio commented that Iran’s nuclear threat has been exacerbated by President Obama. But the facts show it was clearly exacerbated by the last Republican president, who allowed the regime to go from zero to 5,000 centrifuges on his watch. And these three very important world leaders disagree with Rubio’s assessment.