The Republican Jewish Coalition and the pro-Israel Lobby

Website of the Republican Jewish Coalition, found at www.rjchq.org.


Most U.S. anti-war activists are opposed to the Bush Administration’s policy of using U.S. tax money to provide military weapons to various governments in the Middle East, including the Israeli government. But the Republican Jewish Coalition [RJC], which describes itself as “the sole voice of Jewish Republicans to Republican decisionmakers and the Jewish community” on its website [www.rjchq.org], promotes continued U.S. aid to the Sharon regime and favors an expansion of strategic cooperation between the U.S. government and the Israeli government.

Founded in the 1980s by its chairman emeritus Max Fisher, the “Dean of Jewish Republicans,” the Republican Jewish Coalition has built a network of Jewish Republican activists and has at least 20 chapters throughout the United States. Although its most media-exposed board member in recent hears has probably been a former Bush II White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer of Fleischer Communications, Republican Jewish Coalition board member Lewis Eisenberg has also been an influential figure in U.S. politics in recent years, as a finance chairman of the Republican National Committee [RNC].

Between 2000 and 2004, for instance, Republican Jewish Coalition board member Eisenberg personally contributed over $307,000 to various Republican Party campaign committees or candidates and, additionally, raised millions of dollars in campaign funds for the Republican National Committee.

Eisenberg has also been both a member of the Planning Board of the United Jewish Appeal/United Jewish Federation pro-Israeli government pressure group in the U.S. and a top executive of the Granite Capital International Group, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Authority in recent years. In addition, United Jewish Appeal/United Jewish Federation Planning Board member Eisenberg also has both worked as an advisor to former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman and New York Governor Pataki and as one of the New York City 2004 Republican National Convention host-organizers in recent years.

Other members of the Republican Jewish Coalition board of directors include: USC Hillel Foundation Trustee Elliott Broidy; Jewish Federation of Rochester Trustee and Syracuse University Trustee David Flaum; former Greater New York Campaign of United Jewish Appeal Federation Vice-Chairman and Brocklyn Academy of Music board member Charles Diker; and Jewish National Fund, State of Israel Bonds and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs leader Michael Epstein.

In its January 24, 2004 issue, the Dallas Jewish Week reported that in a January 2004 speech at the Dallas Jewish Federation’s 2004 Men’s Event in Texas (which raised $1.37 million) Republican Jewish Coalition Board Member Ari Fleischer told the audience:

“It is terribly important for Israel to have throughout American political parties, strong support, in the most liberal wings of the Democratic Party and the most conservative wings of the Republican Party. This is good for Israel.”

Perhaps if U.S. anti-war activists become more aware of the specific institutional and specific individual ties existing between the pro-Israeli government pressure groups in the U.S. and the Bush Administration, it might then become easier to eventually counteract their negative political influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East?

Bob Feldman is an anti-war Movement writer and activist who contributed “Inspecting Nuclear Israel” and “The Occupation of Haiti: Recalling 1915-1934” to Counterpunch magazine.