Republican Jewish attack ad criticised as 'dangerous'

By Jennifer Lipman, February 20, 2012

The representative body of Jewish supporters of the Democratic Party has criticised its Republican rival group for using Israel "as a partisan wedge issue".

The criticism by the National Jewish Democratic Council came in response to an advert circulated by the Republican Jewish Coalition challenging President Obama's record on Israel.

The RJC video alleged that the Obama administration planned to slash funding for Israel's missile defense.

Matt Brooks, the executive director of the RJC, said that "this dramatic funding cut…would leave Israel vulnerable at a time when Israel faces serious rocket threats from Hamas in Gaza and from Hizbollah in Lebanon, and a growing nuclear threat from Iran. "At this dangerous time, no true friend of Israel would talk about cutting funding to our joint missile defense programs with Israel."

But according to the NJDC's president, President Obama has opted to increase rather than cut foreign military assistance to Israel.

David A Harris said the NJDC applauded this as "yet another example of how President Obama continues to stand with Israel, time and time again".

Mr Harris accused the Republicans of playing "a dangerous game with Israel's security through such antics" and added: "Only those with the most partisan, facts-be-damned agenda would view the largest military assistance package for any foreign country in history at a difficult budgetary time as anything but a powerful way of supporting our closest ally, Israel.

"The hypocrisy here is astonishing; the simple fact is that the overall budget request for military assistance to Israel is increasing.

"Such tactics as these dreadful videos can incorrectly suggest to the Iranian leadership that now is the time to become even more belligerent against a supposedly weakened Israel."

The Republican presidential hopefuls have all made clear their unwavering support for Israel in recent months, in what pundits have suggested is a tactic to win the support of Jewish voters.

According to a recent Pew Survey, Jewish support for the Democratic Party has slipped from a 52 to a 36-point margin since the last presidential election.

Earlier this year, House Majority Leader and the only Jewish Republican in congress, Eric Cantor, discussed why Jews have traditionally steered clear of his party.

""I think perhaps the Republican Party wasn't really good at welcoming immigrants and saying we want to give you a helping hand," he said.

Last updated: 12:03pm, February 20 2012