Why Many US Jews Are Turning to the GOP
From the horrific expansion of ISIS to an impending US-Iranian deal that will do little to quash the ayatollahs’ atomic ambitions, Jews the world over have mounting reasons to worry. Obama’s ongoing, Kindergarten-like tantrum over the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hardly reassuring.
All of this may explain why American Jews increasingly are leaning toward the Republican Party and its policies that unapologetically defend Israel and hammer radical Islamic terrorism. In contrast, Obama gives the Jewish state the back of his hand and refers vaguely to “violent extremists” rather than specifically to the Muslim zealots who gleefully kill Jews, Christians, and virtually anything that moves and is not militantly Islamic. (As demolished antiquities from Afghanistan to Mosul can attest, these fanatics even destroy inanimate objects.)
A recent Gallup poll found that Jewish support for the Democrat Party has fallen from 71 percent in 2008 to 61 percent in January. Pew Research indicates that 68 percent of Jews surveyed backed the Democrats in 2012, compared to 61 percent today. Meanwhile, over the same period, Jewish approval of the GOP grew by a quarter, from 25 to 31 percent.
Two prominent Jewish Republicans in New York City contributed to this promising trend recently when they co-hosted a campaign fundraiser for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R – Wisconsin), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
“After negotiating the release of my cousin Julius from Dachau, my great aunt Ida sent Julius and his wife and children to New York,” said Ian Reisner, a Manhattan real-estate developer. “Ida moved to Belgium and ultimately was murdered in Auschwitz. We are not too far from history to be wary of politicians who make bad decisions that threaten our lives. The deal with Iran concerns me. Anti-Semitic murder in Paris and Copenhagen concerns me. Bringing Senator Johnson to New York to discuss foreign policy and security helped educate my close friends about these very real issues.”
“An older relative of mine, whose parents narrowly escaped deportation to Auschwitz, recently started to carry her U.S. passport with her at all times,” said philanthropist and Middle East strategist Kalman Sporn. “As she explained, ‘With this meshugenah president, you never know when we are going to have to leave.’ Ironically, my clients in Dubai share the same concerns over the Iran deal as do my relatives. Senator Johnson’s support for Israel is unwavering. And in today’s climate, I am pleased that New Yorkers, in particular, heard his message.” Sporn served as vice chairman of the 2014 Republican Leadership Conference.
Those who supported this effort at Reisner’s Central Park South penthouse included committed Jewish members of the GOP, not least former Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman. Also involved were several people traditionally aligned with Democrats, such as American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) founding trustee Jonathan S. Canno and entrepreneur Tzvi Odzer.
“As CEO of Major Automotive Companies, Inc.,” said Bruce Bendell, a longtime Democrat-leaning donor, “I respect Senator Johnson’s history as a business leader and now as someone who is dedicated to undoing the economic damage of the Obama years and restoring dynamic growth to our society.”
Ian Reisner and Kalman Sporn concluded the evening by presenting Senator Johnson with a rare coin excavated at Masada, the site of the Israelites’ brave stand against their Roman oppressors in the year 73 A.D.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. A version of this article originally appeared at National Review Online.