Convention Had Little About ‘Jewish’ Issues, Republicans Take Note

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Now that the Democratic National Convention has ended, some still feel left out. Specifically: Where were the Jewish or Israeli shout-outs?
 

The delegates have left, the thousands of balloons have been popped and the traffic has subsided (sort of). 
 
Now that the Democratic National Convention has ended, some still feel left out. Specifically: Where were the Jewish or Israeli shout-outs?
 
There were bits and scraps of Jewish phrases thrown into speeches, but even less talk of Israel, especially on the third night in which the theme surrounded national security.
 
In fact, probably the most prominent mention of Israel during the convention was the button former President Bill Clinton wore that said “Hillary” in Hebrew.
 
And in his speech, which told the story of how he met his wife and the goals she’s reached, he subtly mentioned Israel: “Hillary told me about a preschool program developed in Israel called HIPPY, Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters. The idea was to teach low-income parents, even those that couldn’t read, to be their children’s first teachers.
 
“She said she thought it would work in Arkansas. I said that’s great, what are we going to do about it? She said, ‘Oh, I already did it. I called the woman who started the program in Israel, she’ll be here in about 10 days and help us get started.’ Next thing you know, I’m being dragged around to all these little preschool graduations,” he laughed.
 
President Barack Obama added that his vision of the country was based on family values dating to his grandparents.
 
“They knew these values were exactly what drew immigrants here, and they believed that the children of those immigrants were just as American as their own, whether they wore a cowboy hat or a yarmulke, a baseball cap or a hijab,” he said. 
 
“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America,” he continued.
 
During Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech for the nomination on the fourth night, she also grazed over the mention of Israel.
 
“I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot — now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security,” she said.
 
But outside the convention arena, talk of Israel was even more muted — that might have something to do with protesters burning an Israeli flag and chanting “intifada.” 
 
Republican Jewish Coalition Communications Director Fred Brown said even after the first two days of the convention, it was clear “how far left the Democratic Party’s gone.”
 
He said that was evident by the overall lack of mention of terrorism and the so-called Islamic State — and Bernie Sanders supporters taking the party far to the left of the rest of the party and of Jewish voters.
 
“[The Democratic Party] is not one you can count on to stand strongly with Israel,” he said, comparing the two parties. “Look at the strong language the Republican Party has in their platform.
 
“Democrats are consistently and actively showing how far out of the mainstream they’ve moved, and how Jewish voters and pro-Israel voters can’t count on the Democratic Party anymore.”
 
Following the DNC, the Republican Jewish Coalition released an ad campaign “highlighting the radical and offensive attacks that took place at the” DNC.
 
It illustrated anti-Israel rhetoric at the convention, ending with images of former President John F. Kennedy to Hillary Clinton, saying, “Sadly, this isn’t the old Democratic Party. It’s today’s Democratic Party.”
 
The National Jewish Democratic Council did not return messages to comment about the DNC.
 
But probably the most prominent — and still talked and tweeted about — speech from the DNC is that of Khizr Khan, the Muslim American father of a fallen soldier.
 
“Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims,” he said on the fourth night of the DNC. “You are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.”
 
Khan added that Trump has “sacrificed nothing and no one” for this country.
 
Donald Trump responded to Khan’s speech by questioning why his wife, Ghazala, stood by in silence, suggesting as a Muslim woman she did not have the right to do so.
 
She later confirmed that speaking of her late son is too devastating and emotional, to which Trump has yet to apologize, and the rest of the Twittersphere reacted. 
 
Although he has rarely addressed or spoken of his Jewish heritage, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted July 29: “I’m Jewish. My father’s family died in concentration camps. I will do everything I can to rid this country of the ugly stain of racism.”
 
Trump later released a statement: “Captain Humayun Khan was a hero to our country and we should honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe. The real problem here are the radical Islamic terrorists who killed him, and the efforts of these radicals to enter our country to do us further harm. … While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things.” 
 
Contact: rkurland@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0737

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