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Republicans are true friends of Israel
September 30th, 2012
Those of us who were born during World War II and lived in this wonderful country understand that there is still a risk of anti-Semitism in the world.
In the 1930s, when things fell apart in Germany, the Jews were the scapegoats. The German Nazis said the Jews controlled the money and the banks. Anti-Semitism stepped up big time and the Jews of Europe had no place to go. We were sent to concentration camps.
We now understand how important the state of Israel is to the Jewish people of the world.
There are currently huge risks in the economy for the U.S., Europe, and the rest of the world. We are starting to see articles about how the Jews and Israel are creating the problems.
Hopefully, what happened will not happen again, but this development tells us how important it is for the Jews of the world that Israel exist.
We know that the next four years may be much more difficult for Israel, depending on the outcome of the 2012 U.S. election. We have choices to consider.
The Democrats have become complacent in expecting Jews to continue to vote for their candidates. The party left significant pro-Israel positions that were in its 2008 platform out of its 2012 platform — including, originally, support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (See article in the Israeli newspaper Ydiot Achronot Sept. 20, online at ynet.com.) Not so the Republican Party, whose platform mentions support for Israel.
The Democrats then tried to put the support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital back in their platform on the convention floor. When asked for a voice vote, the delegates shouted as many no’s as yes’s. Even though it required a two-thirds vote, the chair said the resolution passed, causing boo’s from the delegates.
All of us must ask what has become of the Democratic Party and its support for Israel at these difficult times.
This also is a major issue in the senatorial election in Wisconsin. We have a choice when it comes to who supports Israel.
Democratic candidate Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Madison was one of a handful in Congress to refuse to condemn the morally depraved Goldstone report in 2009. She also voted in 2009 with the minority of anti-Israel Congress members not to sanction Iran.
She later signed a letter in January 2010 that asked the Obama administration to pressure Israel to relax the blockade of Gaza, demanding that he effectively force Israel into concessions to terrorist groups.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson as governor worked to get bipartisan bills passed. He also balanced Wisconsin’s budgets for 14 straight years.
He also has been a great friend of Israel. When he was secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (2001-2005), he noticed a problem occurred with the Food and Drug Administration and Israel. He intervened in the situation, and I helped work with him and the Israeli embassy to solve the problem.
Some U.S. pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies have facilities in Israel. There was a possibility these facilities could be closed down and moved to other countries because the FDA had not come to check them.
Thompson told me after studying the problem that he was sending four FDA officials to Israel and they would not leave Israel until they completed their examination of their drug and medical equipment facilities. I received a call from the Israeli embassy telling me that Thompson helped save thousands of Israeli jobs and billions in business.
When Thompson was governor, I was chair of the Wisconsin Jewish Conference and was pleased to work with him. He helped us pass the hate crimes law and signed it. This bill was the template Congress used to create a national hate crimes law.
Thompson also worked with us to help change a law that allowed the state to purchase Israel bonds, and I am proud to say that the state never lost a penny of interest on any of the bonds.
Thompson particularly and the Republican Party generally are longtime friends that we can trust to be there for Israel.
Mark D. Laufman of Madison is managing director of the Laufman Weinbach Group of Robert W. Baird & Co. He also is chair of the Wisconsin Jewish Conference, and a longtime activist for the Wisconsin Republican Party.