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Republican Jewish Coalition Hosts Ari Fleischer & Matt Brooks on 10/3

Teaneck—The Repubicans are coming to Teaneck for the October 3rd event, “The GOP and the Jewish Vote: A Conversation with Ari Fleischer and Matt Brooks.” It will take place at Bnai Yeshurun on West Englewood Ave. and Jefferson Street, and will be moderated by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky. The event is sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and in advance of the event, JLBC was invited by Executive Director of the RJC, Greg Menken, to speak directly with Ari Fleischer, one of the featured guests of the evening.

Fleischer was White House Press Secretary (2001-2003) and many in the community were struck by his identifiably and proudly Jewish name. Many Jewish people were proud that the then-unknown figure was President George W. Bush’s spokesperson during historical moments like the presidential recount, the terror attacks of September 11th, the start up of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the anthrax attacks on government leadership.

Since he published his 2005 White House memoir, Taking Heat (William Morrow), it seems Fleischer has kept a generally low profile for the last seven or eight years. During a phone interview with JLBC, we asked what he was doing and where he was living. He told us he had moved back to Manhattan from DC not long after leaving the White House and launched his own communications company, Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, and enjoys his work the sports world, where his clients include Major League Baseball, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

Ari is a proud and active member of the Board of Directors of the RJC and has stayed heavily involved in the Republican Party. In a preview of his remarks, he told JLBC that the Republicans are currently in “big trouble” when it comes to presidential elections and that in order to win, they will have to win over the ever-crucial swing and independent voters. He questions the current party’s ability to pull this off.

Swinging the discussion around to Jews and Jewish Republicans, Ari pointed out that in 1993 the Jewish share of the vote going to the GWB/Cheney ticket was around 11 percent. By the last presidential elections in 2012, the Jewish share of the Republican vote was nearly 30 percent. He believes Democratic domination of the Jewish vote is a thing of the past and the Jews are apparently the only minority group where the Republican Party has made such gains in the last 20 years. If the Republicans could replicate these gains in other minority groups like the African American community, the Republicans’ electoral chances would soar.

When asked about the RJC’s influence within the Republican Party, he exclaimed that Jewish influence within the party only continued to grow as other groups within the Republican are trying to learn from and replicate their success in the Jewish community. One of the roles of the RJC is to instruct and guide other groups within the Republican Party on how to grow their support and voter base, he said.

Fleischer attributed the growth of Republican support among Jews to the growth of the Orthodox community and to the Republican Party’s strong and unstinting message of strong support for Israel, as well as an active and strong foreign policy agenda. And when the conversation with JLBC was coming to a close, he said that current events in Syria highlighted sharp divisions over support for action on Syria that exist within the Democratic party, but that those divisions are not seen within the Republican Party.

To meet Ari in person and to hear more, and to hear the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Executive Director Matt Brooks offer his take on current events, Bnai Yeshurun will be hosting the event on Thursday, Oct. 3rd at 8 p.m. RSVP required. Contact Ariella Rechthand: arechthand_rjchq.org or phone (212) 922-0839.

By Moshe Kinderlehrer

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