Donald Trump, accepting nomination, paints dark picture in pledging to put ‘America first’


Accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump pledged to restore law and order to America, to put “America first” in world affairs, and to work with Israel — which he called “our greatest ally in the region.”

Attacking presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s record as secretary of state in his speech Thursday at the Republican National Convention, Trump criticized last year’s agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Opposed vehemently by the Israeli government, the agreement is a popular bête noire for Republicans.

Trump said the deal put Iran “on the path to nuclear weapons.” He also criticized the Obama administration for reneging on its pledge to attack Syria if its government used chemical weapons.

“Not only have our citizens endured domestic disaster, but they have lived through one international humiliation after another,” Trump said. “The signing of the Iran deal, which gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us nothing – it will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever negotiated. Another humiliation came when president Obama drew a red line in Syria – and the whole world knew it meant absolutely nothing.”

Trump pledged to defeat the Islamic State terror group, known as ISIS, and called Israel America’s best ally in the Middle East.

“We must work with all of our allies who share our goal of destroying ISIS and stamping out Islamic terrorism,” he said. “Doing it now, doing it quickly. We’re going to win. We’re going to win fast. This includes working with our greatest ally in the region, the State of Israel.”

Trump criticized the United States’ allies for taking advantage of its military protection and financial assistance. He called NATO “obsolete,” and said “the countries we are protecting at a massive cost to us will be asked to pay their fair share.” On the day he addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March, he had suggested that Israel would be included in that group.

Trump said he would prioritize nationalism over “globalism.” He repeated his slogan, “America first,” at one point chanting it while discussing trade agreements. “America first” was the name of an isolationist and often anti-Semitic movement leading up to World War II. Trump has said the slogan has no connection to the movement.

“The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America First,” he said, prompting chants of “U.S.A.” “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.”

Much of the speech concerned fortifying the U.S. border and increasing law and order in the country. Trump condemned attacks on police officers, read off a list of recent negative economic trends and promised to improve the economic situation of all Americans.

Calling himself the “law and order candidate,” Trump said the U.S. would “be a country of generosity and warmth,” while providing security to its citizens.

“I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end,” he said. “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”

Trump did not repeat his ban on Muslim immigration to the United States, though he proposed a modified version of that policy. He pledged to “immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place. We don’t want them in our country.”

Trump criticized career politicians, promising to fix what he portrayed as a broken system. He cited Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ loss to Clinton in the Democratic party as an example. He said he would appeal to Sanders voters by promising to improve America’s trade agreements with other countries for the benefit of American workers.

“I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders — he never had a chance,” Trump said. “But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest single issue: trade deals that strip our country of its jobs and strip us of our wealth.”

Trump pledged to ease access to private schools, saying he would allow parents to send children “to the safe school of their choice.” He also criticized the restriction on religious leaders preaching politics from the pulpit, known as the “Johnson amendment,” and said that he was “not sure I totally deserved” the support of Evangelical Christian communities.

“They have much to contribute to our politics,” he said of religious leaders. “Yet our laws prohibit you from speaking your own mind from your own pulpit. I’m going to work very hard to repeal that language and to protect free speech for all Americans.”

Trump was introduced by his daughter Ivanka, who is Jewish. Ivanka Trump said she did “not consider myself fundamentally Republican or Democrat.” She said Trump would change labor laws to benefit working mothers, and would push for equal pay for equal work. She also said her father had a “strong ethical compass” and recalled building toy models of buildings on his office floor as a child.

“One of my father’s greatest talents is the ability to see potential in people before they see it in themselves,” Ivanka Trump said. “My father not only has the strength and ability necessary to be our next president, but the kindness and compassion that will enable him to be the leader our country needs.”

Trump returned the affection, showing pride in his wife, Melania, and his five children.

“In this journey, I’m so lucky to have at my side my wife Melania and my wonderful children, Don, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, and Barron,” he said. “You will always be my greatest source of pride and joy. And by the way, Melania and Ivanka, did they do a job!”

And though he called for unity in the country and to “believe in America,” he got in a jab at his string of opponents this year.

“They said Trump doesn’t have a chance of being here tonight, not a chance,” he said. “We love defeating those people.”

Trump blames Clinton for Middle East turmoil


In an attempt to reshape the narrative of the presidential campaign, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took issue with what is perceived to be Hillary Clinton’s strength, America’s foreign policy.

“America is far less safe – and the world is far less stable – than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy,” Trump said during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Thursday.

Trump went on to say that he is certain that President Barack Obama “truly regrets” his decision to appoint her as secretary of state in 2009. Referring to comments made by Clinton’s chief rival in the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders, Trump charged, “Her bad instincts and her bad judgment are what caused many of the disasters unfolding today.”

Listing off the countries that are currently undergoing unrest as a result of her record as America’s top diplomat, Trump claimed that since Hillary assumed office, “Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons.”

“As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect,” according to the Republican presidential nominee. “This will all change when I take office.”

Trump also promised to work with Israel, “our greatest ally in the region,” to destroy ISIS and defeat Islamic terror.

Peddling pierogies: A Jewish caterer takes on a Republican Party (convention)


Joan Rosenthal can’t make pierogies fast enough for the Republicans who have descended on Cleveland.

It’s an odd spot for a Jewish woman who started out in the restaurant business at age 12 at the city’s best-known Jewish deli, but she embraces it.

“This is so much fun!” Rosenthal, 58, told me on Wednesday afternoon, as she surveyed “Freedom Square,” the makeshift booze and nosh area just outside the Quicken Loans arena.

The eastern European dumplings are a Cleveland delicacy, and her staff say they clear a platter – 50 pierogies stuffed with potato and cheese – every five minutes in the two hours before the convention begins each evening.

Moving not as fast are tacos and shrimp and grits, both prepared in anticipation of large delegations from the southern and border states.

Republicans – like a lot of other folks – like to sample local, it turns out.

“I’m getting a lot of requests from the uninitiated,” one of her assistants, Chris Kevoriak said. “It’s a new thing for a lot of them.”

Also moving in volume: Drink. Marigold, the company Rosenthal founded 19 years ago with her mom, Judy, purchased 50,000 cans of beer, 12 thousand bottles of wine, 1,440 bottles of hard liquor, before the convention, and they expect to sell out by Thursday night.

Rosenthal founded the company in her kitchen. Her mother, now 84, still checks in multiple times a day. From a staff of 3, she’s grown to 80, and has called in another 200 or so through an association that caterers maintain nationwide to help out colleagues when, say, tens of thousands of Republican Party officials and lay members descend on your town.

She got her start in the business because when she was 12, she was tennis partner to Lenny Kaden, a founder, with Corky Kurland, of the city’s signature Jewish deli, Corky and Lenny’s. He liked the fact that she kept beating him on the court, so he hired her to bus tables.

She is steeped in the city’s Jewish culture – she runs the kitchen at Park Synagogue, in the city’s suburbs, and her mother was for much of her career a nurse employed at Menorah Park.

She does kosher and kosher style, but nothing says Cleveland, a town packed with Ukrainians and Poles, like pierogies. “Pierogies are our signature,” she said.

And now, tiny and wired, scooting among her employees inside the cramped onsite kitchen and patting their shoulders, she is happy to represent.

“My greatest joy” of the convention, she said, “was meeting Katie Couric.”

Ivanka Trump, you’re hired: The Donald’s daughter takes center stage


Thursday night, it turns out, would not be the night Donald Trump made his “pivot,” or toned down his rhetoric to appeal to a broad spectrum of Americans. But there was a Trump who made overtures to the wider electorate, with friendly language and — in the context of a Republican convention — gutsy policies. Her name is Ivanka.

In her speech introducing her father Thursday, the candidate’s elder daughter had no problem breaking Republican orthodoxies. Ivanka appealed to millennials. She appealed to women. She appealed to minorities. In other words, all of the groups her father’s campaign is having trouble attracting.

Following a couple paragraphs of Trump-style bravado (America will know “what it is like to win again”), Ivanka hit the crowd with a surprise: After a year of campaigning with the Republican nominee, she’s not a Republican.

“Like many of my fellow millennials, I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat,” she said. “More than party affiliation, I vote based on what I believe is right for my family and my country.”

That message is similar to one Donald Trump has been trying to send for a while: His campaign isn’t about party doctrine. It’s about changing the system to improve the lives of Americans. But in his convention address, Donald did very little to challenge Republican taboos. He echoed Reagan and Nixon, and stoked a conservative indignation that coursed through the whole week in Cleveland. He also doubled down on some of his most controversial policies. An effective ban on immigration from Muslim countries? Check. Threatening to renege on NATO and trade deals? Check. Building a border wall? Check.

Not so for Ivanka, who has taken flak in recent months for standing up for her father, a candidate with a history of making misogynistic statements and whose campaign has been accused of failing to condemn the anti-Semitism of some of its supporters.

Beyond explicitly turning to millennial voters, who are largely liberal, she appealed to women by taking up an issue usually associated with Hillary Clinton. Her most detailed proposal was about the rights of women and mothers in the workplace. It’s an issue that she has championed outside the campaign, on her lifestyle website, on her social media pages and in a forthcoming book. Ivanka, who underwent an Orthodox conversion to Judaism prior to marrying her husband, Jared Kushner, is herself a working mother of three young children. And last night, she promised that her cause was also her father’s — that if elected he would be an ally in the fight for equal pay, affordable childcare and other policies that would ease the burden on working mothers.

“Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties; they should be the norm,” she said. “Politicians talk about wage equality, but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career.”

Ivanka also invoked the family business to reach out to minorities who may be turned off by Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and crime. Her dad believes in merit, she said. Full stop. No matter who you are, Ivanka said, you can succeed under Donald Trump.

“There have always been men of all backgrounds and ethnicities on my father’s job sites, and long before it was commonplace, you also saw women,” she said. “My father values talent. He recognizes real knowledge and skill when he finds it. He is colorblind and gender-neutral.”

Ivanka has been a steady presence throughout her father’s campaign. She introduced him when he announced his candidacy, stood by his side as he won primary after presidential primary and, before the tens of thousands who filled the Quicken Loans arena and the millions more watching around the world, gave the preamble to his speech accepting the Republican nomination for the presidency.

She was also floated, by her adoring father during a presidential debate, as being worthy of gracing the $10 bill — and a few weeks back, there was even casual talk that Ivanka would be the perfect running mate for the Donald: a young, smart, uplifting woman who could soften his hard edges.

That, of course, didn’t happen. But judging by the glowing reception she received last night, she may end up playing as important a role on the campaign trail as Mike Pence, the running mate her father ultimately selected. While Pence, a conservative Christian, is working to shore up the GOP’s base, Ivanka is poised to help expand it.

Jon Stewart makes a comeback to poke fun at Donald Trump and Fox News


Donald Trump’s long, dark speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this Thursday left many viewers pining for some comic relief. Luckily, they got that and more with the return of a familiar Jewish voice: Jon Stewart.

The beloved comic and political satirist came out of his late-night retirement for a few minutes on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to do what he always did best — offer some biting political commentary and take on his “favorite” news outlet, Fox News.

Colbert started the segment by discussing former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes’ departure from the cable channel company following sexual harassment accusations. But he invited Stewart, who appeared from underneath Colbert’s desk, to share his “lack of pleasure” at the media mogul’s resignation (they were both heard celebrating off screen after asking for the cameras to be turned away). Then, to much cheering, Stewart asked to borrow Colbert’s desk for some commentary on Trump’s speech.

“I thought Donald Trump was going to speak — Ivanka said he was going to come out, she said he was really compassionate and generous,” Stewart said. “But then this angry groundhog came out and just vomited on everybody for an hour.”

With the Rio Olympics coming up, Stewart said he will enjoy “the gymnastics portion of the program” — or the “contortions that many conservatives will have to do now to embrace Donald J. Trump.”

As he often did at the news desk of “The Daily Show,” Stewart then proceeded to roll out short clips from Fox News, showing various Fox commentators disparage Barack Obama for traits that they now applaud in Donald Trump. He took particular aim at Sean Hannity, calling him “Lumpy.”

So Donald Trump may be ushering in a new era of politics, but for Jon Stewart fans, Thursday night offered a window back to the good old days of “The Daily Show.”

Watch the full segment below:

Donald Trump Jr.’s call for school choice splits Jewish groups


An issue of historical concern to American Jews drew waves of applause when Donald Trump Jr. preached about it Tuesday night from the stage of the Republican National Convention.

It wasn’t Israel, Iran or the fight against anti-Semitism. It was a call for the government to assist with private school costs, referred to as “school choice.” Echoing traditional Republican orthodoxy, the son and namesake of the party’s nominee said it would promote competition and raise educational standards.

American public schools, Trump Jr. said, are “like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students. You know why other countries do better in K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school. That’s called competition. It’s called the free market.”

For more than 50 years, school choice has been a contentious issue for American Jews. Decades ago, mainstream Jewish organizations were vociferous in defending the separation of church and state, worried that if the government became involved in funding religious schools in any way, it could lead to infringement on Jewish religious freedom. Those fears, according to the American Jewish Committee’s general counsel, Marc Stern, remain today.

“The Jewish community has long been concerned that government not be in the business of supporting private education,” Stern said. “Communities that want to maintain religious schools should pay for them on their own without government support. People shouldn’t be taxed to support things they don’t agree with.”

But with worries of Christian encroachment allayed and Jewish day school tuitions ballooning, some Jews see school choice legislation as a way to make Jewish education more affordable. The Orthodox Union and the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America have both successfully lobbied for New York City and New York state to fund programs like security and special education for private schools.

According to Maury Litwack, the O.U. Advocacy Center’s director of state political affairs, more than 100,000 students attend Jewish day school in New York City.

“For parents who send their kids to Jewish day school, tuition is prohibitively high,” Litwack said. “They pay property taxes and a variety of other taxes. In American education there’s too often a one-size-fits-all approach to education. There should be more options.”

Republicans agree. A section of the party’s 2015 platform titled “Choice in Education” says, “Empowering families to access the learning environments that will best help their children to realize their full potential is one of the greatest civil rights challenges of our time. A young person’s ability to succeed in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not an address, ZIP code, or economic status.”

“Empowerment” equates to vouchers, state-funded services for private education like those in New York or tax credits for corporations or people who donate to the scholarship funds of private schools.

Democrats have been less vocal about school choice, but the Obama administration has supported the formation of charter schools — schools with specialized curricula that meet state requirements, are publicly funded and don’t charge tuition. Some Jewish parents see the handful of charter schools that teach Hebrew as a cheaper alternative to Jewish day school.

At least 20 states have some form of school choice program, according to Chad Aldis, vice president for Ohio policy and advocacy at the Fordham Institute, an education think tank that supports school choice.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, has encouraged school choice in his state. In his speech introducing Pence, Trump said “School choice is where it’s at.”

“The idea that competition can help things improve has been historically a very Republican idea,” Aldis said. “It’s worked in a lot of facets of American life. The idea of putting it over in education is intuitive to a lot of folks.”

The AJC’s Stern worries, though, that government funding of schools could come with unwanted government regulation. States, for example, could mandate that Orthodox schools enforce gender equality, or that Jewish schools admit Jews and non-Jews without preference.

Still, he said, the fears that drove opposition to private school vouchers in the 1950s are less relevant today.

“The Catholic schools are very different than they once were,” Stern said. “They’re not teaching the doctrine [that] Jews killed Christ.”

Booker blasts Christie for attacking Clinton on Iran Deal


New Jersey Senator Cory Booker on Thursday blasted his governor, Chris Christie, for finding Hillary Clinton “guilty” of launching diplomatic negotiations with the Iranian regime over their nuclear program during a “>condemnation he drew from NATO leaders over


” target=”_blank”>Subscribe here.


Cruz may be down, but he is not out as a favorite of the pro-Israel right


Wednesday night’s gripping tale of a dramatic, sudden repudiation of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by Sheldon Adelson, the major pro-Israel philanthropist and Republican donor, seems a little less consequential in the light of Thursday morning, according to folks who are close with Adelson and his wife, Miriam.

There is no rift, they say, only a cooling off until after Nov. 8, Election Day. Until then, the Adelsons are invested in Donald Trump, while Cruz remains a darling of the pro-Israel right.

Reports Wednesday night said Cruz had been banned from Adelson’s suite at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland after Cruz declined to endorse Trump during his convention speech Wednesday night and exited the stage to boos from the delegates.

Describing what occurred as a snub or a ban would be to “utterly misrepresent” it, said Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who was present and issued a statement at the Adelsons’ behest.

“After the speech, given its newsworthy content, it appears that a large contingent of reporters followed the Senator as he made his rounds, including to the Adelsons’ suite,” Boteach said. “The decision was taken by advisers to the Adelsons not to make a spectacle in the small private suite given the intense media scrutiny engulfing the Senator at that moment and to instead meet him in private the following day.”

Boteach, whose advocacy group The World Values Network is funded in large part by the Adelsons, said the couple planned to meet privately with Cruz on Thursday.

“Whatever issues they would have had with Senator Cruz’s speech, they would never have chosen to disrespect a friend who is a United States Senator, a patriot, and a staunch friend of Israel,” he said.

Cruz still stands out as perhaps the best political friend to the wing of pro-Israel activists who embrace settlements and would like to put the two-state solution into deep freeze, according to Morton Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America.

“There is no one better than Cruz,” said Klein, whose group is also a major beneficiary of Adelson’s largesse but who emphasized that he was not speaking on behalf of the casino magnate.

“I mean, others are just as good,” he said, naming former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee among once and possibly future presidential contenders. “But there is no one better.”

The Adelsons kept out of this presidential race for months, in part because their generous backing for Gingrich in the 2012 cycle is believed to have set back eventual nominee Mitt Romney’s bid to unseat President Barack Obama (who, like this year’s Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, they consider a greater threat than Trump).

Still, Adelson did reveal last year that he favored Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, while his wife was impressed with Cruz. Both candidates had what the pro-Israel right regards as unassailable records on Israel and on opposing the Iran nuclear deal.

Adelson did not pronounce his preference for Trump until May, after Rubio’s campaign imploded – he lost his home state, Florida, to Trump — and after Trump had emerged as the presumptive nominee, despite a formidable late-in-the-game challenge by Cruz. Adelson reportedly told Trump that he would back his campaign to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

There was not much love lost between the two. When Trump was boasting last year that he did not need Adelson’s money, sources in the Adelson camp were quoted as saying that he had assiduously courted the casino magnate. Trump’s refusal to say he would completely kill the Iran deal – he says he hates it, but appears open to tweaking it as opposed to scrapping it outright – and his back-and-forth on whether he would be “neutral” on Israel were also of concern to Adelson and other Republicans.

So when it emerged late Wednesday that Adelson ordered Cruz turned away from his suite, there was speculation of a rift. Those reports appeared to be confirmed when Adelson’s adviser, Andy Abboud, posted a photo on Twitter of Trump posing with the Adelsons captioned, “The Adelsons and their choice for president!”

However, a source close to the Adelsons immediately told CNN that they shut out Cruz because they did not want him to use the couple “as a prop against Trump” – suggesting that the distancing was about electoral strategies (which will be irrelevant post-Nov. 8) and not about a permanent falling out.

Cruz was a headliner at the annual ZOA dinner in 2014. The 2016 headliner is Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, but Cruz would get a hero’s welcome were he to turn up, Klein said. (The dinner takes place in December, after the election turns primaries tensions into mist.)

“Jews who are staunch supporters of Cruz, almost entirely because of his pro-Israel stance, I believe this will have little impact,” he said. “Because support for Cruz is all about his strong positions on Israel.”

5 Jewish things to expect from Donald Trump (and Ivanka) on Thursday night


We’ve caught glimpses of him this week. He gave a three-line speech Monday night. The next day, he addressed the crowd via video feed.

But Thursday night is the real thing: Donald Trump, the official nominee of the Republican Party, will address 50,000 of his faithful from the convention stage in Cleveland.

Cable networks have been touting this convention almost as if it were the final episode of a reality show, which in some sense it is. Trump will likely speak from prepared remarks on a teleprompter, but if there’s one constant in his topsy-turvy campaign, we should be prepared for him to go off script and surprise the crowd.

With that caveat, here’s what to expect from one of American history’s most unexpected candidates — and the Jewish daughter, Ivanka, who will introduce him:

1. He’ll bash the Iran deal: This convention has been full of discord, but one constant thread is a vomit-like distaste for the agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear program, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vociferously opposed. Throughout the campaign, Trump has described the deal as a disastrous capitulation, born of a failed negotiating strategy, that has emboldened one of America’s enemies.

2. He’ll gripe about America’s allies — except Israel: Trump has long said — even 30 years ago — that America’s allies play it for a fool. He has called on military partners to shoulder more of the financial burden of defense, and on Wednesday even suggested he wouldn’t necessarily honor America’s obligation to defend NATO allies if they are attacked.

But if he says anything at all about Israel, which benefits from $3 billion of U.S. aid, expect it to be flattering. Trump is a fan of Netanyahu. He admires Israel’s West Bank security barrier. And at least ever since his well-received speech to AIPAC in March, pro-Israel policy is one Republican orthodoxy he has not upended.

3. He’ll use the phrase “America First”: Jewish leaders have scolded Trump for his foreign policy campaign slogan, which was also the name of an American isolationist, frequently anti-Semitic group leading up to World War II. Given Trump’s support from an array of white supremacists, “America First” has poor connotations. But Trump has doubled down on the slogan, and even appended it as a hashtag to the revised version of a tweet many called anti-Semitic. The slogan was part of Wednesday night’s convention theme, “Make America First Again.” Don’t expect him to back down now.

4. He’ll praise his Jewish family: When critics accuse Trump of dog-whistling to anti-Semites, the most common defense is his obvious bond with his observant Jewish daughter Ivanka, her husband, Jared Kushner, and their children. “The fact is that my father-in-law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife,” Kushner wrote in support of Trump earlier this month. Ivanka is a senior executive in the Trump Organization, and Kushner has been called Trump’s informal campaign manager.

His children have earned generally high marks so far in painting a human portrait of their father. Tiffany recalled how her dad would write thoughtful notes on her report cards. Donald Jr. described how his father had his kids learn from blue-collar workers. Eric described his father’s feeling of obligation to the country. Expect Trump to reciprocate the flattery.

5. His Jewish family will praise him: Perhaps the most charming and articulate spokeswoman for the Donald has been Ivanka. An icon in her own right, Ivanka Trump has provided a friendly face for the campaign, adding a softer touch to her father’s more extreme rhetoric and defending him from accusations of misogyny and bigotry. She’s also been tough, reportedly helping engineer the ouster of Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Ivanka has been so valuable to the campaign that her brother Eric said she’d make a good running mate.

When she introduces her father tonight, Ivanka Trump will try to warm up the crowd. After Ted Cruz spent 20 minutes throwing shade at Trump on Wednesday night, the candidate needs someone to go positive for the campaign. Expect Ivanka to do her utmost.

Fear, loathing and the shortest Donald Trump speech ever


It was the biggest surprise of the convention so far: The calmest and shortest speech came from Donald Trump.

Just days after he took nearly a half hour of meandering tangents to introduce his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump kept his words to an uncharacteristic minimum Monday when introducing his wife, Melania, in Cleveland.

“We’re gonna win so big,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor to present the next first lady of the United States, my wife, an amazing mother and incredible woman, Melania Trump.”

That was it. Calvin Coolidge gave speeches longer than that.

It was also a stark change in tone from the rest of the night, which was filled with anger, attacks and invective toward Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and President Barack Obama. Speaker after speaker either called for Clinton to go to prison, said she had the blood of the Benghazi victims on her hands or predicted that her presidency would put the country’s survival at risk.

Pat Smith, whose son Sean died in the 2012 Benghazi attacks, said “Hillary for prison. She deserves to be in stripes.” Darryl Glen, who’s running for Senate in Colorado, said Clinton “deserves to be in an orange jumpsuit.” Mary Ann Mendoza, whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant, said “a vote for Hillary is putting all of our children’s lives at risk.”

Remember when John McCain told a crowd in 2008 that Obama “is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared [of] as president of the United States?” Don’t expect that now.

In fact, fear coursed throughout the night. Some of the speakers portrayed a nation on the brink of collapse.

“Our country’s national security is at risk,” said Texas Rep. Mike McCaul.

“The challenges facing America have never been greater,” said the reality TV personality Rachel Duffy.

Monday morning, Trump senior adviser Paul Manafort told reporters the day’s program would focus on introducing Trump as the “father, businessman, compassionate human being he is when the spotlights aren’t on and when he wasn’t running for president.”

For most of the night, though, the focus was on bashing Hillary. Only when former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani got up to speak did a trickle of Trump anecdotes begin to flow, and even then they were vague.

Melania struck a softer note, promising that Trump would care for every American, regardless of race or religion, and praising him as a husband, father and person. (Although she may have cribbed part of the speechfrom the strikingly similar speech Michelle Obama gave in introducing her husband eight years earlier.)

But when she was touting his candidacy, Melania Trump made up for Donald’s surprisingly subdued demeanor with a little Trump-style boasting of her own.

“He can do this better than anyone else can,” she said, smiling. “And it won’t even be close.”

GOP convention shuts down YouTube comments in wake of anti-Semitic abuse


The Republican National Convention shut down comments on its YouTube livestream after anti-Semitic abuse appeared during a speech by Linda Lingle, the Jewish former governor of Hawaii.

Comments including “Make America Jewish Again” punctuated by yellow stars of David and “Ban Jews” appeared on the feed, the liberal news website Raw Story reported. The reference was to presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s campaign theme to “Make America Great Again.”

Lingle, Hawaii’s governor from 2002 to 2010, and now the chief operating officer of Illinois, dedicated much of her speech on Monday to claiming that Republicans have become more reliable friends to Israel than Democrats.

The convention’s communication office did not reply to a request for comment. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, told JTA during the morning press conference that he did not “know anything about that.”

Melania Trump says Donald will represent ‘all the people’


Speaking at the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, said her husband does not discriminate based on race or religion.

Her speech, which came following a night of attacks on presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration’s domestic and military record, seemed to aim for a more positive note in an often pugnacious campaign. In the speech, Melania Trump briefly recounted her life story as a fashion model and immigrant from Slovenia and praised her husband as generous and caring.

Near the end of the speech, she said Trump would work toward prosperity for all Americans, regardless of race, religion or class. The line was an implicit response to accusations that Trump is bigoted against minorities and has tolerated anti-Semitism among his followers, charges he denies.

“Donald intends to represent all the people, not just some of the people,” Melania Trump said. “That includes Christians and Jews and Muslims, Hispanics and African-Americans and Asians, and the poor and the middle class. Throughout his career, Donald has successfully worked with people of many faiths and of many nations.”

Before Melania Trump’s speech, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani addressed the crowd, defending Trump’s character and policies. In his speech, Giuliani called last year’s accord limiting Iran’s nuclear program “one of the worst deals America ever made” because “it will allow them to become a nuclear power.”

At its last Cleveland convention, the GOP nominated a friend of refugees — and Jews


Last night, a series of speakers at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland told voters to elect Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called for a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. One of the speakers, Sabine Durden, said “crooked Hillary always talks about what she will do for illegal aliens and for refugees. Well, Donald Trump talks about what he will do for Americans.”

But the last time the Republicans met in Cleveland, their nominee wanted to let refugees become Americans. Alf Landon, nominated at the 1936 Republican National Convention, was an outspoken critic of Nazi persecution of Jews. Later, he advocated bringing Jewish refugees to America, and supported the establishment of a Jewish state.

Landon was the governor of Kansas, a state with relatively few Jews. But in 1933, Landon denounced “the inhuman treatment now accorded the Jews in Germany,” according to Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. That statement, according to Medoff, was more than President Franklin D. Roosevelt ever said publicly about Nazi anti-Semitism before 1938.

“He didn’t have any particular connection to the Jewish community in Kansas, he didn’t have any major Jewish donors of whom I’m aware,” said Medoff. “He didn’t have any ostensible reason for doing it other than that the plight of the Jews appealed to him on a straightforward humanitarian basis.”

Kansas Governor Alf Landon lost to Franklin Roosevelt in the 1936 election. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The statement didn’t help Landon in 1936. Jews were considered such a solid Democratic constituency that year, says Medoff, that Landon didn’t even campaign for their votes. A component of the juggernaut New Deal coalition, Jews voted overwhelmingly for Roosevelt in 1936, giving him 85 percent of their votes. The president would earn 90 percent of Jewish votes in 1940 and again in 1944. Jewish leaders remained loyal to Roosevelt and didn’t build relationships with Landon.

(Republican efforts to draw Jewish voters have intensified during the past several elections, to little avail. Seventy percent of Jews voted for President Barack Obama in 2012. Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubinestimated last week that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton could get 90 percent of the Jewish vote in 2016 — tying Roosevelt’s number.)

But unpopularity didn’t stop Landon from advocating for the Nazis’ Jewish victims. Days after Kristallnacht, in November 1938, Landon called on Americans in a radio address to protest on behalf of European Jews.

In 1939, according to Medoff, he was one of few Republicans to support the Wagner-Rogers bill, which would have allowed 20,000 Jewish refugee children into the United States. The bill died in committee. A few years later, Medoff writes that Landon praised a Revisionist Zionist position paper calling for mass Jewish emigration to Palestine ahead of the creation of a Jewish state.

The head of the American Revisionist Zionists? Benzion Netanyahu, father of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So along with being one of the only politicians to welcome refugees, Landon was among the first of many Republicans to like a Netanyahu.

 

At Republican convention, Donald Trump sharing the limelight with rock and roll


On the Lake Erie boardwalk, a few Republican delegates huddle next to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for a quick selfie before scooting away.

Walker was the anti-Donald Trump for 15 minutes last year, until he quit and asked other lagging Republicans to rally around Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, until he, too, dropped out.

Now Walker is appearing at the convention and speaking in support of Trump after accusing the presumptive party nominee just a month or so ago of “saying things that run directly at odds with our core beliefs and principles in this country.”

The Walker selfies are almost surreptitious, husbands gently tugging away wives and looking left and right before they continue to the beer garden just outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Trumpism is visible here, but not in the way nominees and what they stand for have dominated previous conventions. A few baseball caps are visible with his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” and there are discreet buttons and a service dog named Titan wearing a Trump sticker. Law enforcement, in the wake of a horrific spate of police shootings, has become a theme, with delegates whooping cheers for blue uniforms whenever they appear. There is one subtle nod to Trumpism: a proliferation of tall young blonds who have affected the swept-over hairstyle of his daughter Ivanka.

A vendor peddling T-shirts emblazoned “Trump 2016” stands forlorn on 9th Street, the main thoroughfare connecting downtown with the convention area.

More interesting to the delegates are the attractions at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Among the more popular exhibits is a blow-up photo of Doors frontman Jim Morrison, who died in Paris in 1971, having gained notoriety for his sexually explicit lyrics and stage performances. Baby boomer couples in pastel-colored shorts and shirts affect contemplative expressions as they pose in front of the photo.

Downstairs, a group of aging rockers, The Second Amendments, blast out the Sam and Dave hit “Hold On, I’m Coming.” Upstairs, a 30-something Washington-based GOP operative garbed in a dark suit and a crew cut examines the Beastie Boys exhibit, where they’re billed as “smart, arty Jewish kids from New York.” He can’t help himself and starts rocking. A woman watching him shouts in laughter, and he says, “Hey, I’m young enough to be a fan.”

The morning after the opening night party, the Ohio delegation has a breakfast emceed by Ohio’s Jewish Republican star, Josh Mandel, the glamorous young state treasurer.

An hour into the event, there are plenty of hangover jokes but not a single Trump mention — neither by Mandel nor the speaker, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., a rising star in the party and a neoconservative favorite for his robust embrace of foreign interventionism.

“While we definitely want to elect a Republican the next president of the United States, what I’m focused on and what I’ll be focusing on is helping Rob Portman,” said Mandel, referring to the senator facing a tough challenge from former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.

Trump is a different kind of Republican. The official convention guide does not feature the typical outdoorsy photo of the candidate enjoying his family. Instead there is Trump indoors, candle-lit, grasping his wife, Melania, in a décolletage-revealing dress. She stares at him worshipfully, displaying a massive diamond ring. He’s raised millions for veterans, his bio says, and in 1996 he was honored with a lunch at the Pentagon.

It’s about defeating Hillary Clinton, says Sam Horowitz, 70, and his 30-year-old son, David. Both are Republican Party activists from Cleveland’s Eastern suburbs.

“He’s showing signs of statesmanlike attitude,” Sam Horowitz, a broker, says of Trump.

David chimes in: “The alternative is a crook who should be in jail.”

When Trump merits a mention, it’s often from a defensive crouch.

“What does the Jewish Post think of Donald Trump?” a delegate from Texas asks me, poking my back, mishearing my introduction to a woman from New York wearing a “Women for Donald Trump” button. I demur, explaining the exigencies of wire service neutrality and not correcting her.

“If Donald Trump is a misogynist, what about Bill Clinton?” she continues.

A delegate from Nebraska waiting for a free meatball at a food truck gives the once-over to a cardboard cutout of Trump bearing a sign “Papa Nick’s is great!”

“Do you think Donald Trump really thinks Papa Nick’s is great?” he asks. “It seems opportunistic.”

I ask him if he’s met Trump.

“No, but I just talked to Stephen Colbert,” who challenged him to play a game, “Trump or Not.” The Nebraskan failed, but conceded, “That was fun.”

Republican convention apologizing to Sheldon Adelson for errors in funding appeal


The Republican National Convention will apologize to Sheldon Adelson for a letter asking him to cover a $6 million shortfall, saying it contained inaccuracies and was not reviewed by all its signatories.

Politico reported Friday that the convention host committee was set to apologize to Adelson for inaccuracies in the letter regarding donors who reneged on pledges. Visa and Koch Industries were among the companies denying they had made pledges.

It quoted a spokeswoman for the convention, Emily Lauer, who attributed the errors to the last-minute rush to make up shortfalls.

Politico had broken the news of the extraordinary appeal sent to Adelson, the casino magnate and major giver to pro-Israel and Republican causes, on Thursday. The letter bluntly stated that controversies related to Trump and his broadsides against minorities and women were why some donors were reneging on their pledges. It asked Adelson to make up the difference between the $58 million it had raised and the Cleveland convention’s $64 million cost.

A number of companies, including Coca-Cola and Apple, have been reported to have pulled funding because of the Trump controversies. But Politico said that at least two of those named in the letter as reneging, energy magnate David Koch and Visa, had not pledged money in the first place.

Additionally, while the letter bore the names of all five members of the host committee, only one, David Gilbert, the convention CEO, had seen the letter.

According to Politico, Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, told Fox News Channel that if Adelson were to give $6 million, he would prefer it go directly to Trump’s campaign.

Trump’s campaign, extraordinarily for a nominee, has been characterized by tensions with the Republican establishment even since he secured the nomination.

Adelson, who has been reported as ready to spend tens of millions of dollars to elect Trump, did not comment to Politico. Whether he agreed to contribute toward the shortfall was not known.

The politics of fear


Newt Gingrich– he’s no George Washington.  In fact, as Lloyd Bentson might have said, he’s no Dan Quayle either.

Entering this week’s Republican National Convention, it’s remarkable how low our political rhetoric has sunk.  Gingrich last week offered his vision of how best to restore calm to an increasingly anxious and traumatized nation.  The former Speaker and erstwhile candidate for Vice President of the United States suggested that “we should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia law, they should be deported.” 

Tolerance in America has a complicated and tortured history.  But the ideal is clear, and Jews know its vision well.  After nearly 2000 years of persecution in Christian Europe, Jews arrived on the shores of a nascent United States to find the blueprint for a very different kind of society. In his famous 1790 Letter to the Jews of Newport, George Washington declared that the United States “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

America has not always lived up to that standard. In the 1930s, mired in the depths of the Depression and facing the looming Nazi threat in Europe, the State Department sharply curtailed Jewish immigration from Europe.  The most public manifestation of that xenophobic policy was American officials’ refusal to allow the MS St. Louis permission to dock in this country, ultimately forcing its Jewish refugee passengers back to Nazi Germany and into the gas chambers.  Citing in part fears of Nazi agents embedded among the clamoring Jews, the heartbreaking action was heavily influenced by inflamed anti-Semitic rhetoric, emanating from the likes of Father Charles Coughlin and Henry Ford.

Later, again fearing an unseen and ill defined threat of alien forces, the United States forced nearly 120,000 persons of Japanese descent into relocation centers during most of World War II.  In 1944, the United States Supreme Court affirmed this tragedy, ruling that the concerns of wartime, and particularly the fear of espionage, justified such extreme measures. 

History has ultimately been unkind to these deviations from the vision of American tolerance.  Critically, they have never resulted in the increase of personal safety for Americans their proponents have promised.  The wartime restrictions on Jewish immigration have regularly been cited as having been inconsistent with the nation’s historic role as a refuge from evil.  As for the wartime relocation of Japanese Americans into relocation centers, the acting U.S. Solicitor General issued a rare “admission of error” in 2011, conceding the suppression of vital evidence, and nullifying the precedential impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling.  Even former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia noted that the decision “will not survive,” and will eventually be overruled.

These are no doubt difficult, and in some ways unprecedented times. Just as the world seemed to be spiraling toward collapse in the 1930s and ‘40s, international terrorism and domestic gun violence today appear to be rampant and out of control.  Coupled with dizzying technological change, it feels as if real security is quickly slipping away.  The sense of dislocation is palpable; the fear understandable and real.  And the result is a politics of fear.

The rising threats of the 21st century may be unique, but the moral choices they present are not.  Americans– in World War II but at other times as well– have been tempted to seek illusory comfort by lashing out at the “other,” to close doors, to circle the wagons, to abandon the principles that make this country great.  In each instance they sought to build a wall and, to paraphrase Paul Simon, “to keep out the foreigners, they made it strong.” 

There is a reason that Donald Trump speaks the way he does.  He lashes out at Mexicans generally as “rapists” and “drug dealers.” He stirs fears of unnamed Muslims celebrating in the streets after 9/11.  He suggests barring Muslims as a group from entering this country.  

He accuses a federal judge of bias based upon his national origin.  He accuses unnamed blacks of calling for a moment of silence for the Dallas police shooter.  And his sycophant would-be running mate suggests that a test to evaluate Muslim religious belief might be the solution to our woes.

They speak in such vagaries because there is simply no evidence to subject an entire people, an entire nation, an entire belief system, to collective punishment. Those who seek to do so need, by definition, to resort to demagoguery, innuendo, and broad strokes of accusation. They stir up the suspicion necessary to indict the mysterious stranger, to abandon cherished values, and to jettison the ideals upon which this nation was founded.  People are increasingly terrified of the unknown, of violence that appears unabated, and they seek comfort amid simple answers.  They seek someone to blame.  And at times like these, sensing a leadership vacuum, there’s always someone willing to stir the pot and provide that scapegoat.  Rational evidence of individual culpability is too cumbersome, fealty to American values too idealistic.  Much easier to cut to the chase, to root out the problem with a single stroke of group exclusion.

These are not normal times, and this is not a normal election.  The world is an uncertain place; the fear of lost personal safety is legitimate, and that fear is real.  The stark choices presented are the same as they have always been in such times: the impulse towards Father Coughlin’s darkness, versus the vision of George Washington’s light.  Until now, more or less, our nation has generally found its way back to Mount Vernon.  

Make America great again?  Rarely has the call seemed more urgent.  Now is the time to defeat the gathering forces of darkness, and confine this ugly movement to its rightful place in the dustbin of history.

Stuart Tochner is a shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, a national employment law firm.  He is also an executive committee and board member at Temple Beth Am, currently serving as the Vice President of Personnel, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Camp Ramah in California.

Cleveland police chaplain delivers invocation at Republican convention


The Orthodox rabbi who serves as chaplain to the Cleveland police delivered the invocation at the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Rabbi Ari Wolf, who also works as an administrator for the haredi Orthodox Telshe Yeshiva in the Ohio city, was a last-minute stand-in, according to Matzav.com, which first reported his invitation to the convention. Wolf replaced the prominent Manhattan modern Orthodox Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, who withdrew Friday, three days before the convention began.

In the invocation Monday afternoon, Wolf asked for God’s blessings for the convention, and for God’s protection as America faces threats at home and abroad. 

“We ask your blessings on our country and our people,” Wolf said. “We seek your guidance and continued protection. Dear God, we live in perilous and dangerous times. Today, our beloved country is under attack, our family values, our moral principles and even our very democracy is threatened.”

Wolf’s invocation also nodded to the recent killings of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Dallas. He asked for God to “watch over and safeguard our police officers and all our first responders who work each day and night in every city, town and hamlet of our great nation to protect us and our freedoms.

The rabbi began and ended the invocation in Hebrew. He referred to God at the start as “avinu she’bashamayim,” our heavenly Father, and ended with the three-verse priestly blessing asking for God’s protection and peace.

Lookstein had accepted the invitation as a gesture to Ivanka Trump, whose Jewish conversion he oversaw, and whose father Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. But following intense pressure from alumni of the Ramaz School, the elite Manhattan Jewish prep school he once ran, Lookstein withdrew.

“Unfortunately, when my name appeared on a list of speakers at the convention, without the context of the invocation I had been invited to present, the whole matter turned from rabbinic to political, something which was never intended,” he wrote in a letter Friday to his community. “Like my father before me, I have never been involved in politics. Politics divides people.”

Lookstein’s invocation, whose text he released, seemed to give a subtle rebuke to Trump’s rhetoric. The invocation would have asked God’s protection from threats “from within, by those who sow the seeds of bigotry, hatred and violence, putting our lives and our way of life at risk.”

At GOP convention, Jewish delegates cite Israel and style in backing Trump


On the day Donald Trump wrapped up the Republican primaries, Marc Zell was ready to resign his position as vice president of Republicans Overseas, the party’s expatriate group.

Zell, who lives in Israel, was put off by Trump’s inconsistent statements regarding the country. In particular, he felt insulted when Trump, at a Republican Jewish Coalition forum last December, said, “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.” He felt that the Republican front-runner at the time preferred boasting about his own prowess over concrete discussion of policy. It felt too risky.

Now, sitting in a downtown hotel here, Zell wears a Trump pin on his suit jacket lapel and defends the presumptive nominee’s positions on Israel with passion, his eyes focused and his voice intensifying.

On Thursday, Zell will support Trump as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

“The Obama administration has allowed daylight to appear between the two allies,” said Zell, who is also co-chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, a branch of the larger organization. “Trump is against that and he’s said it more than once. He’s shown a sensitivity to the Israeli position that we never saw before a month ago.”

Zell isn’t alone in his transformation from Trump doubter to ardent supporter. Interviews with some 20 Republican delegates and convention participants — Jewish and not — showed party loyalty and optimism about Trump. Even more common was the distaste for his opponent, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, which overshadowed any ambivalence about Trump’s more inflammatory statements.

These supporters see Trump as a refreshingly honest voice and a successful businessman. Echoing Trump backers nationwide, the delegates said they appreciated his departure from the kind of cautious speech they called “political correctness.” A few said he understands the anger of his voters like few other politicians have. Kenneth, a delegate from Texas who declined to give his last name, said Trump “speaks for the Americans fed up with government.”

Several said they see him as more trustworthy than experienced politicians, someone who won’t be hesitant to fight corruption. Delegates called him “fresh,” “independent” and someone who “tells it like it is.”

“I am all in,” said Judy Jackman, an alternate delegate from Texas who is a member of Christians United for Israel. She wore a pin Monday that compared Clinton to a fried chicken.

“What is wrong with giving a businessman a chance to deal with the corruption in D.C.?” she asked. “I like that he knows how to say ‘you’re fired.’ There are too many people who are bought and paid for.”

And Trump is good for Israel, delegates said — or at least better than Clinton, who they see as a threat to the Jewish state. Even as they defended Trump’s Israel policy, delegates spent more energy lambasting his rival and the Democratic Party for what they see as betraying Israel. (Pro-Israel supporters cite as an example the deal meant to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which was approved largely along party lines.) Republicans, in their view, would do no such thing.

“I think the Jewish community should look at the big picture,” said Gary Howell, a delegate from Michigan. “The Democrats, the last eight years, have not been friends of Israel. Republicans are much more prone to support Israel.”

Trump, who at the outset of his campaign alarmed the pro-Israel community by speaking about being “neutral” in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, chose as his running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is more typical of the hawkish pro-Israel supporters in Congress. The Republican Platform Committee also approved last week a plank removing the party’s commitment to a two-state outcome — to the delight of right-wing pro-Israel delegates.

Still, Trump’s critics have charged that he’s been dog-whistled to white supremacists throughout the campaign and has not done enough to disavow the support of anti-Semites like David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump brewed controversy earlier this month when he tweeted an image of a Star of David and piles of money that many viewed as anti-Semitic and originated among white power web users.

But Trump’s Jewish supporters look past the controversies to see him as someone with a record of working with a range of people, regardless of religion or race. A New York businessman, a few said, will be able to work with anyone. A few noted that he has senior employees — and a daughter — who observe Shabbat.

“He’s always promoting people whether they be African-American, gay, Jewish,” said Jeff Sakwa, the co-chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, who is Jewish. “He has minorities that represent him. He’s been so successful in New York, which is one of the most liberal states around.”

Not all delegates have reconciled themselves to Trump. Mike Goldman, an adviser to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who serves on the state’s Republican Executive Committee, supported Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the primary and said he wasn’t sure who would get his vote in November.

“Most of the invective has been against Hispanics and Muslims, but when you start singling groups out, it’s only a matter of time before someone goes after us,” he said, referring to Jews. “We’re less than 2 percent of the population.”

But Peter Goldberg, an Alaska delegate who was raised Jewish in Brooklyn, New York, said he identifies with Trump’s provocative way of speaking. Trump, he said, just reminds him of his childhood neighbors in the Flatbush neighborhood.

“He’s a New Yorker,” Goldberg said. “Doesn’t he talk like a New Yorker typically talks? He comes across brash. That’s just New York. That’s good by itself. I can relate to it, but I can understand why people outside of New York might not.”

GOP bigwigs skipping the big show


Four years ago, Jewish Republicans rallied voters and party insiders around the “Obama, Oy vey!” slogan. This year, it’s “Oy vey iz mir! ”(Woe is me!).

Jewish donors, bundlers, and party insiders are staying away from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week, where delegates are set to nominate Donald Trump as the party’s nominee for president.

Since 1988, the Republican Jewish Coalition has hosted party leaders and rising stars at receptions on the sidelines of the national conventions. In 2012, over 20 elected officials and congressional candidates appeared at a “>JTA. One scheduled event is a “Salute to Pro-Israel Elected Officials – Featuring Governors and the Top Leadership of the House and Senate” reception, billed as a community event, on Thursday, July 21.

A Wall Street Journal “>served as Mitt Romney’s counsel before leaving to head the “Restore Our Future” PAC. Lisa was 


” target=”_blank”>Subscribe here.


Prominent Jewish donors join Trump’s victory fund


Several prominent Jewish donors, including some top supporters of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, have been recruited by the Republican National Committee to help elect Donald Trump as president in the fall.

On Tuesday, the Trump campaign and the RNC announced the names of those who have agreed to serve as vice chairs and trustees of the “2016 Trump Victory Leadership Team.”

The team includes former ambassadors Sam Fox, Mel Sembler, Ron Weiser, and Los Angeles venture capitalist Elliott Broidy, who serves on the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Sembler, who was a top bundler for Jeb Bush’s failed bid for president, Weiser and Brody will serve as vice chairs of the Trump victory fund, while Fox will serve as a “presidential trustee,” according to the list released by the RNC and the Trump campaign.

Last December, during an appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s presidential candidate forum, Trump gave a shoutout to Fox, a top Bush supporter and former national chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, while explaining his position on helping the Israelis and Palestinians negotiate a “tough” peace deal. “Is that Sam?” Trump asked as he pointed to the audience. “How are you Sam?”

“Good man. Very nice to see you,” Trump said. “I know everybody in this audience.”