WASHINGTON, DC- The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) expressed dismay tonight over the results of the 2012 GOP Iowa Caucus. Regarding the top tier of Republican presidential candidates finishing in Iowa, NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:
“Tonight’s results out of Iowa only serve to showcase the dramatic gap separating the top tier of the Republican presidential field from the vast majority of American Jews. Behind door number one is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has a history of serial flip-flopping and personal inconsistency when it comes to business transactions with Iran; behind door number two is former Senator Rick Santorum, the most anti-choice, socially-conservative candidate of the field - one who would even ban homosexual activity; and behind door number three is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a provocatively anti-Israel candidate who unfortunately represents a growing segment of the conservative movement. That the leadership of the GOP would even permit such an isolationist, anti-Israel candidate as Ron Paul to move forward unchallenged is a shanda - an embarrassment - enough; that he would finish so well in this GOP caucus is a dangerous warning sign.
“This trio of apparently top-tier GOP candidates will help to consistently remind the sweeping majority of American Jews why they remain firm supporters of the Democratic Party.”
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has demonstrated through his serial flip-flops that he does not share the same policy positions as most American Jews. [NJDC, June 6, 2011] He opposes a health care reform plan based in part off of the plan he enacted as governor; he’s adopted positions on social issues far away from the Jewish mainstream—including courting controversial televangelist Pat Robertson [NJDC, July 28, 2011]; and he’s not stated how his support for starting all foreign aid at zero will impact vital aid to Israel. [NJDC, December 7, 2011] In addition, Romney pledged to vote for Ron Paul—with full knowledge of his anti-Israel record—if he were to become the GOP nominee and even expressed hope that Paul, after decades of railing against the U.S.-Israel relationship, would somehow deviate from his anti-Israel record. [NJDC, December 28, 2011] Further, questions linger about his charity’s Iran-tainted assets, especially as the Obama Administration continues to increase sanctions against Iran. [AP, August 12, 2011] Romney’s flip-flops and pandering leave many questions about his ability to fight for policies supported by the majority of American Jews.
Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) prides himself on being one of the most anti-choice, socially extreme members of the GOP when it comes to women’s rights, gay rights, the separation of church and state, and denying science. [The Forward, January 3, 2012] Further, while Santorum often touts his record of support for Israel, he had the poor judgment to express support for Ron Paul—the anti-Israel candidate in the GOP race—should he receive the Republican Party’s nomination. [NJDC, December 29, 2010] The last time Santorum was on a ballot, Pennsylvania’s Jews rejected him and his extreme positions by a lopsided 22/78 percent vote margin in favor of his challenger, then-State Treasurer Bob Casey (D-PA). [CNN 2006 Exit Poll Results] Santorum is just too extreme to represent the values of most American Jews. [NJDC, June 27, 2011]
Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) has a truly anti-Israel record. From consistently bemoaning the U.S.-Israel relationship—including on Iranian television [NJDC, December 27, 2011]—to proposing an amendment to eliminate American aid to Israel [NJDC, February 16, 2011], and trying to empathize with the Iranians’ nuclear weapons program [NJDC, August 15, 2011], Paul has set himself apart as one of the most outspoken anti-Israel members of Congress in modern times. In addition, multiple newsletters bearing Paul’s name containing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel conspiracy theories and rhetoric were published during the 1990’s. [The New Republic, December 23, 2011] Paul’s Israel views are so extreme that Jewish Republicans kept him out of their presidential forum and preemptively condemned his presidential campaign. [RJC Press Release, May 12, 2011] [CBS, December 2, 2011] When it comes to supporting Israel, Paul and the overwhelming majority of American Jews are on opposing sides. With a record like this, American Jews are unlikely to give Paul a second look, if they give him a first one at all.
In these three caucus winners we have a serial flip-flopper who’s courted Pat Robertson; an extreme social-conservative who opposes teaching evolution in schools; and a profoundly anti-Israel congressman that the GOP has permitted into its top tier. The wide chasm between American Jews and today’s GOP has never been more clearly illuminated.