Your weekly look at the latest news, analysis,
and RJC activities around the country.
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Vice President Mike Pence
RJC in the News
The RJC National Leadership Meeting last weekend was a tremendous success and garnered significant attention in the national media. Nearly 600 RJC leaders from across the country heard from an array of outstanding speakers.
At the beginning of the weekend, we proudly introduced the RJC’s new national chairman, former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman. The Daily Caller has the story, here. In this interview with the Jewish Insider, Sen. Coleman laid out his goals for the organization. He has been a valuable and respected member of the Board of Directors for eight years and we are excited to work with him as chairman.
RJC National Chairman Norm Coleman
On Friday night, we were honored to welcome Vice President Mike Pence and former Vice President Dick Cheney, who introduced him.
Vice President Pence told the RJC leaders:
…President Donald Trump is going to fulfill the promises he made to you and made to the American people, this White House is in the promise-keeping business.
Tonight I would like to focus on a few of those promises but before I do, know this community has been on our minds and in our hearts a great deal. I would like to address for a moment the recent threats against the Jewish community across this country, including the appalling act of vandalism at a historic Jewish cemetery in Missouri. Speaking on Tuesday [Feb. 21] President Trump aptly called those attacks horrible and painful. He said they were in his words “a sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” Let me be clear, we condemn these vile acts of vandalism and those who perpetrated them in the strongest possible terms. Hatred and anti-Semitism have no place in America.
…America’s support for the Jewish people doesn’t end at our nation’s border. In the days to come under President Trump let me assure you of this: If the world knows nothing else, the world will know this: America stands with Israel. Her cause is our cause, her values are our values, her fight is our fight…
Missouri’s Republican Jewish governor, Eric Greitens, spoke on Friday night about the desecration of the Chesed Shel Emeth Jewish cemetery outside St. Louis. Gov. Greitens described how over a thousand volunteers, including Vice President Pence, came together to repair the damage and stand up to anti-Semitism and hatred. Video
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Amb. Mel Sembler
The weekend-long RJC national leadership conference featured discussions about the precedent-breaking Trump electoral victory in 2016, expanding the Republican majorities in Congress in 2018, and the GOP’s policy agenda. Speakers included author Joel Pollak, Senators Cory Gardner (CO) and Joni Ernst (IA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA), and Congressmen Carlos Curbelo (FL) and Mike Gallagher (WI).
We were proud to welcome RNC Chairwoman Ronna RomneyMcDaniel and Vice President Dick Cheney, who spoke at the luncheon.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC)
The gala dinner Saturday night included a keynote address by Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), a tribute to Israeli soldiers and civilians fighting terrorism, and a tribute to outgoing RJC national chairman David Flaum to express our deep gratitude for his leadership.
On Sunday morning, Reps. Lee Zeldin (NY) and Mia Love (UT) were the featured guests at an interactive program.
The Senate voted Monday night to confirmWilbur Ross as secretary of commerce.
The Senate confirmed Rep. Ryan Zinke Wednesday as Interior secretary.
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Dr. Ben Carson to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Senate on Thursday confirmed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be President Donald Trump’s Energy secretary.
President Donald Trump’s address before a joint session of Congress laid out important markers for the President’s intentions on a wide range of policies. Of particular note were his opening remarks, in which he clearly and unequivocally denounced the recent bomb threats against Jewish institutions and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries. He said:
Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms. Transcript and video
With regard to the recent anti-Semitic incidents, the FBI and local law enforcement are investigating each incident. In addition, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement Wednesday that the department will “heighten outreach and support to enhance public safety” in Jewish communities around the nation. We wish there had been the same level of public attention given to the more than 7,000 anti-Semitic incidents that took place in this country between 2009 and 2015.
L-R: Sen. Roy Blunt, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Rep. Doug Lamborn at a press conference announcing the introduction of the Taylor Force Act.
Taylor Force Act Introduced
Republicans in the House and Senate introduced the Taylor Force Act (S.474 and H.R. 1164), which would cut off U.S. funds for the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay the families of terrorists who kill Israelis. On Tuesday, Senators Roy Blunt (MO), Tom Cotton (AR), and Lindsey Graham (SC) and Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY) and Doug Lamborn (CO) held a press conference to announce the measure. The Algemeinerreports:
“Not only are Israelis victims of this barbaric practice; American citizens like Taylor Force are victims of this practice,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said at a Capitol Hill press conference on Tuesday, referring to the 28-year-old West Point graduate who was murdered in a stabbing attack carried out by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv last March and for whom the bill was named. “We’re going to change this. We’re going to get the Palestinian Authority’s attention by withholding their money.”