Jackie Congedo — In Conversation
Letter from JCRC Board to David Pepper, Chair, Ohio Democratic Party
February 27, 2017
David Pepper, Chair
Ohio Democratic Party
340 East Fulton Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dear Chair Pepper,
The Jewish Community Relations Council, the public affairs arm of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, wants to thank you for your continued leadership in Ohio and congratulates the Democratic Party and its newly elected chair, Tom Perez. Additionally, we are writing to express our community’s hope that the Democratic Party will continue to honor its longstanding tradition of supporting Israel, alongside the hopes of creating a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
At the same time, we are concerned about this support given the appointment of deputy Chair, Rep. Keith Ellison, who has taken positions on Israel that are troubling and could be perceived as undermining her right to exist. His alignment with anti-Israel groups including those that support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement is concerning, given the founders of the movement openly refute the basis for Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. Additionally, he voted against Iron Dome funding, which would protect innocent Israeli civilians from rockets launched from the terror group Hamas, which controls Gaza and since 2005, has fired more than 11,000 rockets into Israel. While we appreciate that he has publicly stated a commitment to a two-state solution, we worry that his past anti-Israel stances could carry over into his new leadership role in the Democratic Party.
The Democratic and Republican parties have a long tradition of bipartisan support for Israel which is essential for Israel’s and America’s security. We encourage both parties to continue this support and to address issues between Israelis and Palestinians with careful analysis. The U.S. and Israel share the values of democracy, individual rights, and rule of law, and interests in security, trade and technology. Since Israel’s founding, the ties between our two nations have been strong and mutually beneficial. A strong and vibrant U.S.- Israel relationship is both right and in our national interest.
We deeply value our relationship with you and look forward to working with you on this and many other important issues.
The Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Cincinnati