On Nov. 7, the Jewish community in Pennsylvania faces a challenge and a unique opportunity. Some, of course, will reflexively pull the voting lever for a Democratic Party that no longer represents our interests, but many will choose to support candidates for Congress and the U.S. Senate who truly represent interests of the Jewish community.
At the core is the defining issue of our time: the continued and persistent threat presented by Islamic fascism.
When confronted by vicious anti-Semites, the Jewish community has historically been the "canary in the cave" for the rest of the world. Consequently, clarity of thought and purpose by our nation's leaders ought to be of far greater importance to Jewish voters than in past elections. And, overwhelmingly, it is Republicans who achieve that standard and recognize the threat to our existence as a free and democratic society.
Sen. Rick Santorum has led the way with his Iran Freedom and Support Act, which was finally enacted as the recent session of Congress was closing. He has also championed combating anti-Semitism at the United Nations and on our college campuses, and has likewise been an advocate for workplace religious accommodation and freedom. Jews now need that voice on the Senate floor, even more.
If Republicans succeed in holding the majority in the House of Representatives, Curt Weldon is in line to chair the Armed Services Committee. He has been a stalwart in support of strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship, as have Congressmen Jim Gerlach and Mike Fitzpatrick.
There are serious implications facing the electorate, and there will be troubling consequences if these men are not re-elected. That would be particularly so should Democrats retake control of the House and/or Senate. As pointed out by Ed Laskey, news editor of The American Thinker: "Several of the most senior Democrats hail from districts that are anti-Israel, particularly the Michigan congressmen."
John Conyers would assume the chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee. This is the same person who allowed and enabled a mock hearing on foreign policy last year, which gave a platform to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views.
John Dingell would assume the chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Dingell of Detroit shocked the Jewish community when he told a local television interviewer on July 30th, "I don't take sides for or against Hezbollah or for or against Israel." He could draw no moral distinction between Hezbollah's random attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel's targeted self-defense response.
David Obey would become chair of the Appropriations Committee. He has stated that he plans to cut the defense budget. Will he also try to cut aid to Israel?
Neal Abercrombie would chair the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of Armed Services. He is on record opposing the purchase of Israeli munitions.
On July 18, in the heat of Israel's battle against Hezbollah, seven Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted against a resolution that expressed support for Israel's right of self-defense, and that condemned Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah. Abercrombie was one of those seven, as was Conyers.
Republicans have a solid record of achievement on the economy to trumpet. But most importantly, they understand that eradicating the scourge of Islamic-fascist terrorism requires a strong military response and not simply a law-enforcement policy.
What's at stake in the mid-term elections — for the Jewish community and for all Americans — is to establish a very clear and convincing direction: Our national security must not be placed in the hands of those who refuse to face the fact that we are living in an extremely dangerous time, with the ruthless enemy fighting a guerrilla-style warfare.
More than ever, our nation requires serious, principled, clear-thinking leadership to represent us in the political arena: Sen. Santorum and Congressmen Jim Gerlach, Mike Fitzpatrick and Curt Weldon are those people.
Steven L. Friedman and Myles H. Tanenbaum serve as the co-chairmen of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition.