July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Donald Payne Jr.—Pro-Jewish, Pro-Israel

In the aftermath of the 2019 Jersey City shootings targeting religious Jews, Congressman Donald Payne Jr. issued a statement calling the violence against his constituents “a very personal tragedy.” He said: “It is difficult to express my anger and upset when I hear about another senseless tragedy. In the House, we have passed bills to keep guns out of the hands of hateful people, such as the two murderers who targeted the owners and customers of the Jewish delicatessen in Jersey City.” The congressman paid a shiva call to the Ferencz family to mourn the death of Jewish victim Mindy Ferencz.

Payne is a Democratic congressman representing New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District, which covers portions of Essex, Hudson and Union counties. A Newark, New Jersey native, he has served the people of the 10th Congressional District since 2012, and he has a steady history of supporting his Jewish constituents, and of voting for the security of the State of Israel.

In 2021, he voted to remove Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments in the U.S. House of Representatives, for, among other things, peddling conspiracy theories about “Jewish space lasers” causing California wildfires.

This past May, he tweeted in support of Jewish Heritage Month. “It is a time to celebrate the faith and culture of Jewish Americans as well as their continued contributions to our nation,” he posted.

When Payne spoke in June to a crowd at congregation B’nai Shalom in West Orange, he spoke about how as a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery, he has firsthand knowledge of some of the greatest threats to our nation. The threats he warned of are internal, homegrown, and they feed on the rifts between Americans. He acknowledged the increase in antisemitism over the last few years, and, showing concern for the safety of the Jewish community, he spoke of how Congress must do better to keep guns out of the hands of those with hateful ideology who would do harm to others.

Additionally, he remembered a time when Black and Jewish people worked together for the betterment of our country. “Jewish leaders were at the helm of the civil rights movement, of the NAACP. Jewish men and women marched side by side with Dr. King,” Payne said in the B’nai Shalom sanctuary. He recalled how he spent his youth at the neighborhood Jewish YWHA, where members of the diverse Newark community mingled seamlessly. However, he lamented, Black-Jewish relations have deteriorated in more recent years. Payne stressed the importance of renewing and improving these relationships.

In the Democratic primary, NORPAC urged support of Payne, saying that his opponent Imani Oakley believes that “Palestine should be given to the Palestinians,” that she is opposed to U.S. foreign aid for Israel including funding for Iron Dome, and supports the antisemitic boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. “In contrast,” NORPAC continued, “Congressman Payne has consistently voted for foreign aid to Israel (including funding for Iron Dome) and proudly declares that he supports Israel’s right to exist and defend itself. Although the Congressman has not agreed with all issues that NORPAC supports regarding Israel, he has nonetheless been open to conversation and ongoing discussion on these issues. Josh Gottheimer, a pro-Israel Democrat from Bergen County, has called Congressman Payne a ‘mensch’ to whom he feels close and whom he strongly endorses. For all of the above reasons, NORPAC is formally endorsing Donald Payne Jr. for reelection to Congress.”

According to NORPAC’s website, they are a “nonpartisan political action committee whose primary purpose is to support candidates and sitting members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who demonstrate a genuine commitment to the strength, security, and survival of Israel.”

In 2015, Payne said: “I strongly support Israel, and believe it’s absolutely critical that [the United States] maintain the strong relationship between our two countries. I also am in complete agreement with Israel that we must prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.” He went on to call Israel “our closest ally in the [Middle East] region.” His actions and votes in the House have never wavered from this stance.

The congressman has also been endorsed by the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), a prominent progressive Jewish organization focused on promoting both Democratic values and support for Israel. “We are proud to endorse Congressman Payne for reelection,” said Halie Soifer, JCDA CEO. “Congressman Payne has been a longtime ally to Israel in Congress, and has proven to be a dedicated advocate for religious, racial and economic equality. We need leaders like him in Washington fighting for all of us.”

Election day is Tuesday, November 8.

By Talia Liben Yarmush

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