Fox News
Friday, May 3, 2019 - 9:30am

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.

Read the full article here

Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 3:49pm

(...) 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?” 

Read the full article here

This article was also published in the Baltimore Jewish Times and Washington Jewish Week

Arutz Sheva
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 7:13am

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.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in the attack, and three others were injured.

"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.

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Jewish News Syndicate
Sunday, April 28, 2019 - 11:06am

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.”

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The Daily Caller
Friday, April 26, 2019 - 7:17pm

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.'”

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Jewish Journal
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 11:10am

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.”

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Jewish Insider
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 9:00am

A new effort is underway to create a Jewish caucus in Congress, to more forcefully respond to a rise in antisemitic incidents and rhetoric.

Jewish House Democrats acknowledged to Jewish Insider that they regularly meet in an informal working group to discuss issues related to antisemitism, yet a public call is putting pressure on formalizing the group.

Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress and a longtime donor to Democratic candidates, called for such a group in an op-ed last week, and told Jewish Insider that he came forward following “Israel-bashing” from “ultra-left progressives” in Congress. 

“What prompted me to come up with this idea was the vote on the anti-BDS bill, the Israel-bashing we are getting from some of the ultra-left progressives and understanding that we are now living in the new political climate,” Rosen explained in a phone interview. 

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The Jerusalem Post
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 10:00pm

By Jack Rosen, President of the AJCongress

Last week, the citizens of Israel took to the polls to exercise their democratic duty and select those who will lead their country over the next few years, including their next prime minister. For Americans, living in the democracy that all other modern democracies model themselves after, we sometimes fall into the trap of taking our democratic rights for granted. But democracy is a remarkable achievement for a nation, no less for one so young as Israel, struggling to defend itself in a region dominated by autocracies. 

We must not underestimate the strength this democratic process lends to the State of Israel, as it does any democratic nation, as something worthy of celebration. The success of these elections proves once more that US support for Israel is intrinsically tied to our shared values of democracy and freedom, and reinforces the necessity of American support remaining steadfast for the only democracy in the Middle East.

A week after the 2019 Israeli elections, it is safe to assume that Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to lead Israel as its prime minister and head of government. On behalf of the organization I lead, the American Jewish Congress, I congratulate him on this achievement.

With this being’s his fifth term, Mr. Netanyahu is on track to become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, surpassing even David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first premier and the leader who declared Israel’s independence in 1948. As PM Netanyahu ushers in this new era, I believe his upcoming term has the potential to pave a path toward a new era in US-Israel relations, solidifying his legacy as a venerated leader deserving of his long tenure. As such, I believe the prime minister’s priorities should include three issues that are critical to the future of US-Israel relations...

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The Hill
Monday, April 15, 2019 - 5:00pm

By Jack Rosen, President of the AJCongress

(...) We need party leadership to step up and challenge their own — and each other — to defend the interests of Jewish Americans, but we also need Jewish politicians to work together and speak with a clear, collective voice to protect Jewish interests at the national level. That is why we need a “Congressional Jewish Caucus.” 

Consider the ongoing firestorm around comments made by Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who have made comments many considered anti-Semitic. In the recent past, such comments would have been met with swift bipartisan scorn, repudiation and possibly censure. But that’s not what happened. Although it began as a clear stand against anti-Semitism, Resolution 138, which was drafted in response to this controversy, was watered down by the House to appease its “progressive” wing. Had there been a bipartisan Jewish caucus at the table to intervene, the outcome might well have been different.  

A Jewish caucus would also provide a platform for Jewish Americans to represent themselves as a minority in the United States. As much as Jewish Americans are assimilated into every facet of American life, it bears reminding ourselves and the nation that political decisions that affect us are in large measure being made by non-Jews. Representation of the Jewish perspective on issues from anti-Semitism to civil rights to foreign policy is invaluable to promoting our distinct concerns and priorities, which are based on a unique identity, character, and history.

Indeed, at a time when Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has commented, “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” we need a Jewish caucus. At a time when an avowed neo-Nazi gets himself onto an official ballot to be a U.S. representative, we need a Jewish Caucus.

Ultimately, a “Congressional Jewish Caucus” would be stronger than the sum of its parts. The Jewish American community is far from monolithic, but what connects us is far greater than what divides us. In that same vein, if they were united, Jewish members of Congress could have a larger impact on legislation and achieve the goals of Jewish Americans at large. Those goals are by and large shared by all Americans of goodwill. The formation of this caucus is a good first step. 

Read the full piece here

Jewish Journal
Monday, April 15, 2019 - 10:18am

The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) and the American Jewish Congress are among those criticizing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) for suggesting that United States aid to Israel could be cut.

Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, said in a statement, “The American Jewish Congress strongly opposes any cut to the U.S. security or financial assistance to Israel, as implied by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in an interview with Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast today.”

“American financial and security assistance to Israel is first and foremost a way to protect U.S. lives and interests in the Middle East,” Rosen later added. “Israel serves as a stabilizer in a turbulent region and is on the front-lines of countering some of the U.S.’s most dangerous enemies such as Iran and its malign proxies Hezbollah and Hamas.”

Read the full article here