Republican Jews Meet in Vegas Amidst Rising Antisemitism and a Clueless Administration

November 5, 2021 Updated: November 7, 2021

Commentary

LAS VEGAS, Nevada—The Republican Jewish Coalition begins its annual conference in Las Vegas Nov. 5—postponed a year due to COVID—under a dark cloud with a hint of light.

The dark cloud—it should not surprise readers to know, but it will some anyway—is the ominous rise of antisemitism in our country. It’s not exactly Germany 1938, but, according to a 2021 survey by the American Jewish Committee:

“Approximately one in four (24 percent) American Jews has been the target of antisemitism over the past 12 months: 17 percent said they had been the targets of antisemitic remarks in person, 12 percent said they had been the targets of antisemitism online or on social media, and 3 percent said they had been the victims of physical attacks.

“Consequently, approximately four out of every ten American Jews (39 percent) have changed their behavior out of fear of antisemitism.”

Despite what some nostalgic liberal groups would like us to believe, the vast majority of this bigotry, soft or hard, comes not from the remnants of the KKK, but from the supposedly “woke” left, as well as the obvious Islamic extremists.

Much of this has been fueled by anti-Israel causes such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, especially after the recent Gaza War, but, more ominously, it has leaked into the United States Congress and the Biden administration.

The left, “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party, led by AOC and her “Squad”—if you take the Progressive Caucus in its entirety that is nearly a hundred congressmen and women—has taken such previously outlandish stands as refusing to fund replenishing the Iron Dome system.

This even though the Iron Dome is a defensive weapon that prevents people being killed or maimed by missiles aimed willy-nilly at civilians, large numbers of whom, ironically, are Palestinians themselves.

If these “progressives” actually know the Arab population of Israel is rapidly approaching two million, that by defunding the Iron Dome they would be murdering Arabs as well as Jews (not to mention Christians, Bahais, Hindus, and others who inhabit the diverse—to co-opt their language—state of Israel), they certainly don’t give any indication of it.

What they give indication of is something approaching a bloodlust toward the Jewish state—and it comes straight out of the leftwing of the Democratic Party.

The current administration, despite having Jewish members itself, is fearful, perhaps even petrified, of the caucuses’ power and does little to counteract it. They will replenish the Iron Dome, but at the same time Biden and company are trying to revive an Iran Deal that was never adhered to and never made any sense in the first place, plus, deepening the wound, are planning to reopen the Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem. (Two hundred House Republicans are objecting.)

So all this looms over the Vegas confab of the Republican Jewish Committee, a group that has been fighting the good fight for a long time under the able leadership of Matt Brooks and the generous sponsorship of the now-deceased Sheldon Adelson, among the GOP’s most important and reliable financial backers.

A veritable gaggle of prominent Republican politicians is here at Adelson’s Venetian-Palazzo complex to speak and vie for the approval of the seven hundred or so Coalition members in attendance, because these people are what you might call, in Chinese fashion, The Two Wells—well-informed and well-heeled. They are the kinds of activists who can propel a politician into the White House and the politicians know it.

This is also a group that exists under multiple ironies, the largest of which is that they consider themselves—and I would argue genuinely are—better friends of both the United States of America and Israel than their Democratic brethren are of either.

And yet liberal Jews outnumber conservative Jews by at least two to one and have for decades.

The conundrum has been will this ever change? Which brings me to the hint of light I referred to:

The Biden administration may be the long-awaited gift to conservative Jews. Their absolute incompetence in so many areas, coupled with an obvious almost complete about face on the Trump administration’s policies—easily the most pro-Israel ever from bringing the embassy to Jerusalem, to the epochal Abraham Accords, to the annexing of the Golan Heights—might, just might, permeate the previously intractable opinions of some liberal Jews.

Working against this are decades of leftist tradition, even, sometimes especially, from the rich and famous, that functions like a bad habit similar to smoking, and an ambivalence toward Israel that often reads like embarrassment at the Jewish state’s success. (Israel was easy to love when it had no power.)

We shall see. I am here in Vegas to talk to Coalition members to get their views from the field and to hear what the pols have to say and, of course, to stay as far from the slots as possible.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on GETTR and Parler @rogerlsimon.