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.”

Read the full article here

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.'”

Read the full article here

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.”

Read the full article here

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. 

Read the full article here

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...

Read the full piece here

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

The New York Times
Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 4:00pm

Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, said any surge in Netanyahu fatigue should not be interpreted as a weakening of American Jews' support for Israel.

"There is a sense of fatigue having one leader for 10 years," Rosen said. "Just as we've had Clinton fatigue and Bush fatigue."

Read the full article here

Jewish News Syndicate
Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 3:00pm

“[U.S.] President [Donald] Trump has shown courage in recognizing the realities of the modern Middle East in a way that other world leaders do not,” said American Jewish Congress president Jack Rosen in a statement. “The Iranian government is a threat to the region and to global security at large, and an undeniable source of terrorist violence against civilians. We cannot afford to stay in denial about Iran.”

Read the full article here

The Hill
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 7:00am

By Jack Rosen

The Democratic Party recently ruptured itself over comments made by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) that many viewed as anti-Semitic. While Democrats are fractured in a fierce back-and-forth, Republicans have been unified in condemning both Omar and those who defended her.

In particular, President Trump has sharply criticized Democrats for their lukewarm handling of the controversy, highlighting a significant wedge between Jewish Democrats and the rest of their party. So far, it’s working — top Democrats are falling into the same trap that Trump and other vocal Republicans anticipated, and this wedge will grow more pronounced the longer the Democratic leadership fails to address it.

This was not Omar’s first time making comments like this, nor was she the only new member of Congress to be accused of such foul rhetoric. But Omar’s most recent claims toward AIPAC, Israel and Jewish “dual loyalty” sparked heated reactions from many quarters and notably, debate within Democratic circles.

Indeed, despite being few in number, a cadre of so-called progressives came overwhelmingly to Omar’s aid, and, bewilderingly, forced the Democratic House leadership to water down Congress’ condemnation of anti-Semitism. And while several key Democrats have criticized Omar vocally, party leadership did not follow their example. So, when Trump claims the issue has divided Democrats, he is not grasping at straws.

Trump has been vocal about Omar for some time. Earlier this month, when she became embroiled in controversy over her tweet, referenceing AIPAC, that insinuated that memebers of Congress who defend Israel are motivated by money (evoking age-old tropes about Jewish monetary power in the process), Trump was quick to call for both her removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and her full resignation.

Then, in the wake of the watered-down Resolution 183 last week, Trump told reporters that the Democrats have become an “anti-Israel” and “anti-Jewish” party. Since then, he has further stoked the flames by tweeting about Jexodus, a new conservative Jewish movement calling on Jewish Americans to leave the Democratic Party, citing anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment.

Trump’s ability to label his enemies is formidable. His aggressive name-calling tactics have a proven capability to stick and endure, and many nicknames — for instance, “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” and “Rocket Man” – survive in our cultural lexicon even after Trump has stopped spreading them.

Trump’s accusations against the Democratic Party may stick in the same way if Democrats are not quick to disavow and disprove them. Jewish Americans overwhelmingly vote Democrat, but one tactic Trump has mastered is planting seeds of doubt. Whereas most politicians would hesitate to be so blunt about what is happening to Democrats, Trump has no such qualms. The seed is now out in the open to be planted.

Unfortunately, his statements are not completely unfounded. Although I do not believe that most Democrats are anti-Jewish or anti-Israel, the Democratic Party has enabled its members who do espouse anti-Semitic ideas or rhetoric and looking the other way when they play to anti-Semitic tropes, as we saw in the deliberations over Resolution 183. And when fringe far-left progressives laid on the pressure, seasoned Democratic leaders allowed an important resolution on anti-Semitism to be diluted into a general resolution against hate.

Without a doubt, Jews are being held to a double standard by the Democrats of tomorrow. The Democrats would never allow one of their own congressmen to make a statement that openly invokes offensive stereotypes about any other minority group, yet when Omar makes several in a row about Jewish people, Democratic leadership excuses and enables her.

While some Democrats have sufficiently defended Israel in light of her comments, they were exceptions, running against the grain of the party overall. This is even more upsetting given that many senior Democrats are pro-Israel. Why are they now silent? In past years, Democrats have come out swinging at the phrase “All Lives Matter.” Yet, that is exactly the message Democrats gave Jews with Resolution 183.

Most of all, Democrats need to show Jews on both sides of the aisle that they are listening. Israel is increasingly perceived as a right-wing issue, but it didn’t used to be that way. Democrats, including progressives, should be working to understand why so many Jewish liberals are pro-Israel. With anti-Semitism on the rise in the U.S. and abroad, Jewish Americans are searching for allies, and the Democrats are not filling that role.

None of this is to say that Democrats are the only enablers of anti-Semitism in Congress. The president and others in the Republican Party are also guilty of problematic statements, double standards and silence when they should speak out. But to use the shortcomings of one side to excuse the shortcomings of the other is harmful to us all. When both parties point out each other’s enabling of anti-Semitism, it doesn’t inspire Jews to join their side — it makes Jews feel that neither party is their home anymore.

Trump’s targeted nicknames have the potential to become self-fulfilling prophecies. Democrats: We have seen the kernel of anti-Semitism within your party. You must nip it in the bud and come out as an ally for Jewish Americans — before it is too late. Don’t make liberal Jews ask whether you really consider them your own. Don’t let Trump be right about you.

Jack Rosen is the president of the American Jewish Congress. Follow Rosen on Twitter at @JackRosenNYC.