With all the uncertainty in the Middle East, from the rise of ISIS to an emboldened Iran, we must not allow Israel to become a partisan issue. Unfortunately, over the past few years, we have seen a deep erosion of support for Israel in the Democratic Party. While 75 percent of Republicans support Israel, only 43 percent of Democrats show the same strong support.
That is why—for the sake of our national security and that of Israel—we should elect Josh Gottheimer. Josh is a fiscally conservative Democrat and national security hawk who is running for the United States Congress in New Jersey’s 5th District. Josh grew up in North Caldwell and now lives with his wife and two young children in Wyckoff. He is currently a member of AIPAC, serves on the board of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Jewish-based fraternity and, along with his family, is a member of the congregation at Barnert Temple and affiliated with Chabad in Franklin Lakes.
Josh is a real problem solver who wants to work with Republicans, Democrats and Independents to solve our toughest challenges and lower our taxes. That’s why Senator Joe Lieberman, the longtime Connecticut Independent and co-chairman of No Labels, a bipartisan group, endorsed Josh at an event in Teaneck just a few weeks ago. The senator gave Josh the group’s “Problem Solver Seal of Approval” for his fiscal conservatism and support for Israel.
The incumbent, Scott Garrett, has demonstrated a willingness to choose his political ideology over his support for Israel. In 2011, Garrett said he would support cutting all foreign aid to Israel. In 2007, Garrett voted against military aid to Israel. In 2006, Garrett was one of 12 members of Congress to sign a letter to President Bush insisting the U.S. enter into negotiations with Iran without preconditions.
Josh has been a true friend of Israel, demonstrating an unflinching commitment to its safety and security. While many others in the Democratic Party promoted the Iran deal, Josh took a tough stand and came out early last summer outlining the deal’s problems and numerous misperceptions. Josh stated that Iran couldn’t be trusted (which has been proven) and declared that he would refuse to harbor any financial support for Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations. Since opposing the Iran deal, Josh has been repeatedly offered money and support for his campaign if he were willing to soften his stance on Iran. Josh has refused because he knows that the long-term safety and security of Israel are far more important than any single check, vote or campaign.
I know Josh well and can say with conviction that he will be an unwavering, strong and pro-Israel voice in the Democratic Caucus. When Josh first spoke with the Democratic leadership about running, he pointed to Israel as one of his signature issues. For the sake of our national security at home and abroad, we need more pro-Israel members in the Democratic Party. We need more members who will reach across the aisle. As Senator Lieberman said, “[If we] had the ability to create a candidate who was committed to what we’re about: stopping fighting in Washington, fixing America’s problems, working across party lines to get things done for…our community, we would have created Josh Gottheimer.” To that end, I hope you will join me in supporting Josh Gottheimer for Congress in the 5th District.
Rabbi Menachem Genack