The American Jewish Congress is launching a one-of-a-kind Jewish Guide to U.S. Politics - a platform which summarizes the positions and voting records of the 2020 Presidential candidates and all U.S. Senators, on relevant facts that American Jews and pro-Israel voters should know about. The guide will continuously update as events unfold in the runup to the 2020 elections.
American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen said, “The Jewish Guide to U.S. Politics is all about civic engagement and education. We are at a point in our history where maximum information can make maximum impact on the way we vote - as individuals, and as members of the Jewish community. We are also letting our politicians know we are paying attention to what they do, what they say, and how they vote on the issues that are most pressing to us today.”
NEW YORK (SDJW) — The American Jewish Congress has compiled a Jewish voter’s guide to the 2020 elections, looking at the stances President Donald Trump and the 24 Democratic presidential contenders, to date, have taken on Israeli and domestic Jewish concerns.
The guide also provides information on the stances of members of the United States Senate and what it describes as “notable and questionable” members of the House of Representatives. Free, online, the guide may be accessed by clicking here.
By Jack Rosen, President of the AJCongress
As America stampedes into the 2020 presidential election cycle, voters are already facing information overload from candidates, political action committees and pundits. These groups are flooding our social and traditional media platforms. Our intelligence community says the race will also be vulnerable once again to disinformation attack by foreign powers. It is safe to say that voters face confusion ahead and at worst, greater political polarization.
Jews, in particular, have cause to worry. With hate crimes and violence against Jews skyrocketing and even members of the U.S. Congress peddling in anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and white supremacist rhetoric, the stakes for Jewish Americans are especially high. At the same time, the next few years may hold new political opportunities for Jewish Americans, and those we elect in 2020 will have a real impact on American policy toward Israel and the Middle East.
It goes without saying that Jewish Americans care about and vote on issues other than those pertaining to Jewish Americans and Israel. We are American voters as much as Jewish ones. But when it comes to these particular issues, the stakes are too high to ignore. The Jewish community and its allies must come together to help voters make smart, informed political choices on Jewish and Israel-related issues in Congress and the White House.
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s inflammatory comments about Israel have fueled a new push for the formal establishment of a bipartisan Jewish Caucus for lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
No such caucus in Congress currently exists. But Jack Rosen, the president of the American Jewish Congress, said a formalized group of Jewish lawmakers is needed to push back against a rise in anti-Semitism. He is leading efforts to convince lawmakers to form such a caucus.
“I was alarmed that the House couldn’t pass a resolution that directly pinpointed where the problem was -- which was Omar’s anti-Semitic tropes,” Rosen said in an interview with Fox News. “That’s what got me to think about this a little more.”
Democrats in March drafted a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism in the wake of Omar’s remarks, including her accusation that American supporters of Israel are pushing “allegiance to a foreign country.” Omar, who was elected to Congress last year, also suggested on Twitter in February that supporters of Israel have been bought.
But after protests from the progressive wing of the party, the resolution was watered down to broadly condemn all forms of bigotry.
Another lawmaker, Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has also come under criticism for suggesting that Senate Republicans are more loyal to Israel than the United States.
“In the recent past, such comments would have been met with swift bipartisan scorn, repudiation and possibly censure. But that’s not what happened,” Rosen wrote in a recent op-ed for The Hill.
In reference to the watered-down resolution, Rosen said, “Had there been a bipartisan Jewish caucus at the table to intervene, the outcome might well have been different.”
Speaking to Fox News, Rosen called for the caucus to be bipartisan, saying Republicans and Democrats should “come together” on combatting anti-Semitism.
(...) A caucus of Jewish elected officials, however, comprised of people of goodwill who may differ on policy but who agree on more than they disagree, could help bridge partisan divisions, cool the rhetoric and help Congress elevate its game. They could return a much-needed nonpartisan focus to issues such as anti-Semitism and Israel.
The recent and sharp rise in anti-Semitism has made many Jews feel the need for Jewish political leaders to band together in an increasingly uncertain time, and has sparked increased discussion about the need for a formalized Jewish Congressional Caucus.
The idea was floated recently by Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, who explained that he was reacting against “Israel-bashing” from “ultra-left progressives,” such as Rep. lhan Omar, who in her criticism of Israel has invoked anti-Semitic tropes. Rosen also pointed to Rep. Steve King who commented, “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
The American Jewish Congress (AJC) on Wednesday released a statement commending the United Nations (UN) for its condemnation of Saturday's attack on a California synagogue.
"This past weekend was marked by two tragic events: the attack at Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway, California on Saturday, in which one member of the congregation was murdered and three others were injured; and an attack on a Protestant church in Silgadji, Burkina Faso on Sunday, which left five dead – including a pastor and his sons – and at least two other people missing. Although these events took place half a world away from each other, they are both symptoms of our global struggle against extremism, bigotry, and hate," the AJC statement read.
Jewish and pro-Israel organizations expressed solidarity with those affected by the Chabad shooting.
Along with praying for those affected, American Jewish Congress president Jack Rosen said, “In yet another attack on our brothers and sisters, we are reminded of the dark shadow of hate that lies in the hearts of many, and that there are those [who] would do the Jewish people harm as we attempt to worship in peace.”
Some Jewish members of Congress and the president of a leading Jewish organization have recently begun pushing to create a formal Congressional Jewish Caucus, even though those Congress members have met informally for decades.
Jack Rosen, one of the strongest advocates for its creation, is president of the American Jewish Congress. He published an op-ed in The Hill earlier this month, explaining why he felt the need for the caucus was brought to the forefront by the recent House resolution intended to condemn anti-Semitic statements by Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.
“Well, I think the House resolution that watered down a resolution that would have identified Omar, in particular, for her anti-Semitic statements was troubling. And I think it was less strong than a series of decisions and votes that I found to be more about party politics and less about America’s values. I think what we saw in the resolution was a different moment in recent American history,” Rosen told The Daily Caller on Thursday.
He went on to explain that he feels that a formal Jewish caucus could have gone into House Speaker Pelosi’s office to make their own demands, adding that the “progressive Caucus came in and the black caucus came in and said, ‘You don’t have our vote unless you broaden the resolution to include everybody.'”
Eighty pro-Israel organizations wrote an April 23 letter to the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst calling on the university to end all departmental sponsorship of an upcoming anti-Israel panel.
(...) The letter, which was spearheaded by the AMCHA Initiative and has signatories that include the Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs and the American Jewish Congress, states that the panelists “are all outspoken anti-Israel activists who have engaged in expression deemed anti-Semitic not only by the vast majority of world Jewry, but also by the standards established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which has been adopted by dozens of countries including the United States.”
“These activists’ anti-Semitic expressions include charges that Jewish Americans are more loyal to Israel than America, calls for the elimination of the Jewish state, comparisons of Israelis to Nazis, and other false and defamatory accusations about Israel and Israel’s supporters that draw on classic anti-Semitic tropes,” the letter states. “Official departmental sponsorship of this event will provide the appearance of academic legitimacy to the kind of political hatred that will undoubtedly be purveyed by these speakers — hatred that can’t help but encourage open hostility towards Jewish and pro-Israel students on your campus.”