Guess which Jews are jubilating on the Trump train
Founded in 1985, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) has grown from a visionary handful to over 40,000 dedicated members. While predominantly Jewish, the RJC also has many illustrious Christian members. Headquartered in D.C., with regional offices in N.Y., Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, and California, the RJC is a grassroots and lobbying organization with two core missions: providing a bridge and unparalleled access between the Jewish community and Republican political leaders and unequivocally, unabashedly supporting Conservative Israeli governments.
Throughout the presidential campaign, it was bruited about that the RJC had "dumped Trump." It was also asserted that Jews would vote against Trump in record numbers. Both predictions proved false.
Acclaimed RJC leaders Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, owners of the Sands, Venetian, and other business enterprises, donated mightily to Donald Trump's campaign. In June, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced a major collaborative fundraising effort between the Republican Party and Trump: the Trump Victory Fund. Led by investment manager and RJC Board member Lew Eisenberg, it included vice chairs who were all current and past RJC Board members, giants in their respective industries and renowned philanthropists: Elliot Broidy, former ambassador to Belgium Sam Fox, former ambassador to Italy and Australia Mel Sembler, former ambassador to Slovakia Ronald Weiser, Larry Mizel, Dr. Jeffrey Gunter, and Fred Karlinsky.
Meanwhile, vast RJC grassroots efforts were mounted "below the radar" by staff and Trump Victory Team volunteers. Across the United States, and especially in the key swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, over 1,000 RJC members went door to door distributing literature, mounted phone banks, and hosted and participated in rallies and fundraisers for Trump and other Republican candidates. Through personal contact and social media, RJC-extended family members and friends who were Democrats but anti-Hillary were brought in as well.
In addition to volunteering through the RJC, many members contributed countless volunteer hours at Republican and Trump field offices. Some even traveled at a moment's notice, and at their own expense, to areas requiring extra volunteer assistance.
It is important to recognize that not only these efforts helped push not only Trump to victory in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, but also the targeted senators in those states, Rubio, Toomey, and Portman. RJC ads were targeted to highlight the weaknesses of Obama and Hillary's foreign policy deals. They also highlighted Hillary's weakness on Iran, Benghazi, the email server, and Clinton Foundation scandals, as well as her silence on the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish proliferation of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions ("BDS") movement on college campuses.
On another front, RJC members waged an aggressive campaign against J Street, the liberal Jewish group founded in 2007. J Street, largely funded by ex-Kapo George Soros, has the express purpose of establishing a two-state solution in Israel. J Street supported the Iran nuclear deal and has also been silent regarding the anti-Semitic BDS movement in the United States. During the Democrat Convention in Philadelphia, J Street hosted a day-long event heralding its support of the Democrat platform toward Israel, and Obama, Kerry, and Hillary's rude and antagonistic pushback to Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu. RJC members staged an assertive rally outside the restaurant where the forum was being held. J Street falsely asserted that the rally members chanted "you suck" as Democrat politicians and pundits entered the event. Fortunately, the RJC demonstration garnered much press coverage, and not a single "you suck" was reported. Rather, the chants were about Hillary being pro-Arab and anti-Israel and about her having supported the Iran deal. The successful goal of the RJC was to broadcast the true nature of J Street's intent: anti-Israel sentiment.
Once the election had been won, RJC support for Trump didn't cease. On the day after the election, RJC executive director Matt Brooks blasted the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for exaggerating anti-Semitic behavior associated with the Trump campaign. Less than a week later, RJC board member and co-founder of Home Depot Bernie Marcus issued a strong statement of support for Stephen Bannon, President-Elect Trump's appointee of chief strategist. Marcus blasted false accusations of Bannon's purported anti-Semitism:
I have been shocked and saddened to see the recent personal attacks on Steve. Nothing could be further from the truth. The person that is being demonized in the media is not the person I know. These attacks on Steve are nothing more than an attempt to undermine the incoming Trump Administration.
Regarding the Jewish vote – it didn't crash. Admittedly, it didn't reach the 31% vote for Mitt Romney in 2012, but it came close, with approximately 28-29% going for Trump.
So while others are heralding the demise of Jews in American politics, look us up. As Trump would say, "What do you have to lose?"
Lynne Lechter serves on the President's Council of the RJC and on the Executive Board of the Philadelphia Chapter.