Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eric Cantor: The One and Only Jew in GOP, Exits in a Loss

Nadene Goldfoot                                                            

Eric Cantor was, up until yesterday, the highest ranking Jewish member of Congress in its history and currently the only non-Christian Republican in either house.  A Jewish group who has been against him is the Democrat-dominated group, J Street.  They fight against him while professing to be for Israel.

Back on October 26, 2010, J Street Vice President for Policy and Strategy, Hadar Susskind, responded to Eric who was the House Minority Whip then, and suggested that under a GOP (Grand Old Party, meaning the Republicans) controlled House of Representatives, the annual Federal appropriations to guarantee Israel's qualitative military edge would be "separated out" from the broader foreign aid budget.

Responding to Israel getting some special treatment, J Street opposed separating aid to Israel and said it was being done to accommodate right-wing politicians who are ideologically opposed to foreign aid.

Susskind, a Democrat, as are most all  J Street members, went on saying that "US assistance to Israel can only maximize our ally's security when provided in concert with economic and military aid to other countries that enhances stability by fighting poverty and extremism in the region and beyond."  This is putting stipulations on Israel's aid when discussion and decisions were already granted to Israel about this, and then we have a Jewish group adding stipulations on their behaviors which were not complying with J Street standards.  So kind of them to allow aid to be allotted to Israel!  In not recognizing that Israel's problems are not like other country's problems, they are putting Israel in harm's way.

He went on.  "The foreign operations bill provides funding of US diplomacy led by the State Department, including the Middle East peace efforts necessary to Israel's future and to regional stability."  He must be thinking of such people as the John Kerry's attempts as Secretary of State and the peace talks.  But he is still ragging on Republicans, calling them the right-wing when he said that "This move reflects a troubling right-wing willingness to strain the decades-long bipartisan consensus on US support for Israel where doing so serves its own partisan purposes.  Here he shows he is more interested in Republicans getting more of what they want than in helping Israel. As a J Street member, he should be concerned about Israel but seems to be talking to Cantor only in a political argument between Republican and Democrat needs. 

I agree with Cantor when he said that "Only a Palestinian mind-shift will bring peace."  I've been saying that right along, wondering why the Democrats were pushing Israel into a situation with people who just wanted to slaughter them.  That's the goal of Hamas, and Hamas and Fatah have united.  Hamas is the stronger, and are already taking Fatah members to task to join up with them in the fight, and that now they are in a better position to do so.  I suppose J Street is thrilled that the USA (Obama's decision) to recognize Palestine is just wonderful.  

I say that because today they are celebrating and hosting President Obama at the house of Paul and Joanne Egerman, J Street donors, in Weston, Massachusetts.  Of course all Democrats will be there which will include dinner and a photo for only $32,400 per person.  Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, Senators Michael Bennet, Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey are expected to attend.  They buy tickets to attend.  I can imagine what they will be talking about.

Yes, we lost a good man in this election that affects many issues that are being debated about such as immigration reform.  He had worked up to being the majority leader in the House of Representatives and is Jewish.  He had been traveling across the states and was rallying for funding and support for the GOP.   

Eric Cantor was born in Richmond, Virginia to conservative Jewish parents, a state one thinks of having very few Jews. Jews there make up only 1.2% of their population with 95,240.  Virginia's population today is 8,279,884.    His mother was a schoolteacher and his father owned a real estate firm.  His ancestors immigrated from Eastern Europe, Russia and Romania and Latvia in the late 1800's and early 1900s like so many of us Jews living here in the USA.  

His father became the state treasurer for Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign.  He attended a private school in Richmond in 1981 an enrolled at George Washington U in 1981.  In his freshman year he worked as an intern for House Repubican Tom Bliley of Virginia and was his driver in the 1982 campaign.  He got his MS in Real Estate Development from Columbia U.   

There are 233 representatives and 45 senators in the GOP and now we have lost the only Jewish person.   Eric has been an important  pro-Israel voice in the House and a leader on security issues.  He's worked on sanctioning Iran.  

A J Street member, Dylan Williams,  said that Cantor's departure is proof that the Republican party may never be able to attract Jews.  He's saying that Cantor's loss in the election is indicative of this.  "Cantor has been the lead or co-lead on many resolutions that express support for Israel, but jeopardize the Jewish and democratic future by undercutting efforts for a 2-state solution."

This is the phoney line they sing continually, not giving Israel the right to decide for themselves what is best for them.  After all, J Streeters live in safe USA while Israelis are putting their lives on the line by living in Israel.  They want to live in the society they have built and have showed how just and good it is.  They can't give into everything the Palestinians want that will jeopardize their future existence like what has been presented to them.  As usual, J Street is only thinking of their own American political future.  

On the other hand, Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, said that Cantor is "a friend and has been a critical partner" for the Orthodox community in both Israeli and Jewish-American issues.    

The winner in this election is David Brat, a college economics professor, who probably won on his stand about immigration reform.  This was a sensitive issue for Cantor, whose grandparents came from Lithuania/Russia and who had fled anti-Semitic persecution which happened to most of our grandparents.  My own grandmother had her legs broken in a pogrom. 

   What happened to Eric is that the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, a network of 26 organizations, suggested that Cantor remember his Lithuanian heritage before blocking progress on immigration.  This issue has infuriated the Republican base.  It looks like some of the Republicans turned against him for this.   By losing, he lost the opportunity to have succeeded Representative John Boehner of Ohio as Speaker of the House.  

Wikipedia, Eric Cantor

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