A Jewish Activist Examines Where Georgia’s Candidates Stand on Israel

August 16, 2014 8:00 am

by Jon Richards · 8 comments

The conflict in Gaza and the positions of the candidates regarding Israel has become one of the subtexts in the Peach State’s Senate and Governor’s races. A story in Wednesday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution outlined the claims and counterclaims of the different campaigns, from Jason Carter disavowing his grandfather Jimmy’s op-ed supporting the legitimacy of Hamas, to Nathan Deal’s pro-Israel op-ed in the Washington Post.

The David Perdue campaign has made much of Michelle Nunn’s “TBD” stance on Israel as outlined in her leaked December campaign memo, while the Nunn campaign offered statements of support from prominent members of Georgia’s Jewish community.

While statements from the candidates and their campaigns provide some insight, it’s also useful to get the thoughts of someone on the outside. And for that, there’s Matthew Foldi, a young Jewish Republican activist who lives outside Washington, DC. Foldi blogs regularly, and in a recent post, he reacted to the support, or lack thereof, for Israel by Georgia’s Gubernatorial and Senate candidates.

First, this on the Senate race:

I’m just going to focus on [Nunn's] message regarding Israel (it’s also worth pointing out that her opponent, David Perdue has one of the strongest positions on Israel I’ve seen this election cycle). Actually, it would be more accurate to point out the complete lack of message regarding Israel, (or “TBD,” as the memo puts it). Why, especially given the Hamas-initiated conflict, would she not have a position on Israel? It’s quite simple actually. Jews are a “tremendous financial opportunity,” and their “level of support will be contingent on her position [on Israel].”

Hold on a second. As a Jew, I find this statement to be completely and utterly false. Do I care about Israel? Absolutely and unequivocally. Does my support for a candidate revolve solely around the issue of Israel? Absolutely not.

For the Governor’s race, Foldi is equally opinionated:

Turning to Jason, his grandfather’s Middle Eastern delusions are in the news once again, and for a state party that should already be reeling after the Nunn Memo was leaked, this can hardly come across as good news.

Ironically, if one were to use Nunn’s logic, Carter’s campaign can count on no support from the Jewish community given these statements by his grandfather (although Jason is trying to steer clear of Jimmy’s wreckage, but interestingly he doesn’t go so far condemn his grandfather’s comments on how the US should recognize Hamas). To be clear, I’m not saying that Jason and Jimmy are the same person, but for someone relying pretty heavily on his status as a legacy candidate, this news is worse than it would be for other candidates out there.

Read the whole thing. Foldi is pretty blunt in his opinions about the Georgia races and what he thinks the outcome should be. In my mind, he deserves the right to be heard. Two weeks ago, he was a counter-demonstrator at a pro-Hamas rally in front of the White House. He describes that experience, where an Israeli flag he wore as a cape was torn off his back and burned by protesters, in this op-ed in the Jerusalem Post.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Robbie August 16, 2014 at 8:26 am

I can see why a US Senate candidate’s position on Israel (although much more so foreign policy) might be important, but, even as a guy who lived in Israel for a few years, I’m much more concerned with their domestic policy stances, since that’s the bulk of their concern. I can say for sure that a candidate’s position on Israel would NOT be the deciding factor for me in a race, and I find it pretty offensive the way so many politicians are trying to pander to the Jewish and evangelical Christian communities using Israel.

In terms of the governor’s race – their position on Israel is beyond unimportant. I want my governor focused on Georgia and Georgia foremost. The only foreign policy they need is the possibility for new trade/business deals, and that shouldn’t be contingent on one specific country or another. And, frankly, the day that Georgia starts making its own foreign policy is the day we have much larger issues.

saltycracker August 16, 2014 at 8:59 am

Politicians are prone to express opinions in areas they can’t control but play to the citizens, fellow politicians that can influence or party interests.

For the voter it gives insight into how they might deal with a violent organization in their area of influence.
Foldi makes sound points.

George Chidi August 16, 2014 at 9:52 am

Well … shall we hear from leaders of the Jewish community in Georgia? Because, frankly, the opinion of a Republican activist who lives in D.C. is probably not reflective of opinions here.

This is pure spin.

saltycracker August 16, 2014 at 10:17 am
Michael Silver August 16, 2014 at 10:58 am

Are there leaders in the Jewish community? I can’t think of any that can bring in votes, like a Rep John Lewis or Gov Sarah Palin can.

Frankly, I can’t fathom any reason that a civilized person would support any element of Hamas, directly or indirectly. Michelle Nunn’s funding of a Hamas linked “charity” and Jason Carter’s weak repudiation of his anti-Semite grandfather’s comments expose their hidden beliefs for all to see.

On the flip side, we have Gov. Deal visiting Israel and seeking to build up economic ties and David Perdue clear and unenviable support of Israel (https://perduesenate.com/issues/israel.html) .

I’m not sure how a person who supports Israel and Western Civilization can rationalize financially supporting and voting for the Democrat candidates. I’m sure there are very wealthy Jewish Americans that will contribute, though. Its important to acknowledge that many Jewish Americans are Leftists before being Jewish or American.

bdougsiyeh1 August 16, 2014 at 9:57 am
Charlie August 16, 2014 at 10:08 am

If you want to be a participant in our commenting community, that requires your active participation. Posting links without context does not contribute to discussion, make your individual point, and only serves to redirect our traffic elsewhere.

In short, do not post links without providing your individual context and/or commentary.

objective August 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm

while i respect opinions from leaders of the jewish community, i am certain that their opinions are not thoroughly representative, maybe not even of their own feelings. there is a tremendous pressure to speak and represent only hard-right positions as being the only “pro-israel” way to be. i have seen dialogue of opinion stifled directly, in fact.
“pro-israel” is not monolithic. jews are the opposite of monolithic. the path to long-term peace is fairly debatable.
whatever his position on hamas, jimmy carter secured peace deals that not only prevented probably multiple regional wars, thus saving innumerable israeli lives, but the deal created potential partners for mediation of other conflicts, and frameworks for future peace deals.
1st, give some credit. 2nd, have a dialogue abt it rather than just shutting it out. u never know what u might gain just from discussion.
in fact, knowing and understanding your opponents is the first rule of any conflict. and u certainly can’t achieve peace without it.
so mr. carter’s very christian approach of allowing dialogue with a present enemy may in fact serve a legit purpose for long-term peace.
2nd, unlike mr. silver’s contentions, hamas is not monolithic either.
i’m not going to pretend to know all there is to know, or in any way support the multiple factions who seek israel’s destruction, or foment hatred through miseducation and propaganda. but if you want hamas to change what it says about israel in palestinian textbooks, you either own/dominate their education system, or you develop peaceful coexistence, and change the cultural facts.
the best security any nation- or individual- is the good will of your neighbor.
i feel that ppl who refuse dialogue do not even see peace as possible, as if nothing will ever change hamas. and that is certainly a problem. but how do u deal with the problem? will bombs or dialogue encourage change quicker and less destructively? it’s certainly worth discussing, that is, if u believe a long-term peace is possible.