Joe Biden welcomes JDCA endorsement

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“They are an important new voice for the progressive values that unite us here at home and for a secure, peaceful future for the Jewish and democratic State of Israel." ~ Biden on JDCA

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign rally at Eakins Oval in Philadelphia, Saturday, May 18, 2019.

The Jewish Democratic Council of America announced its formal endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday.

Details: JDCA’s endorsement comes in the form of a letter signed by the group’s national board of directors. “We know your commitment to Israel is unwavering, and we will defend your record against ongoing Republican efforts to exploit it as a political wedge issue,” the group writes to Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. 

What unites us: “I’m honored to have the endorsement of the Jewish Democratic Council of America,” Biden said in a statement to Jewish Insider. “They are an important new voice for the progressive values that unite us here at home and for a secure, peaceful future for the Jewish and democratic State of Israel.” 

Theme: JDCA is also releasing a 30-second digital ad highlighting President Donald Trump’s response to the August 2017 protests in Charlottesville  —  a key theme of Biden’s campaign — and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “Donald Trump’s emboldening of white nationalism has been the biggest threat to American Jews,” the ad’s narrator says. “Now it’s clear he doesn’t have the character to keep all Americans safe or to put the country first.” The national group was set to launch in late 2017, but moved up the timeline following the protests, ultimately launching days after the Charlottesville protests. In an interview, JDCA executive director Halie Soifer pointed to the right-wing protest in her hometown of Lansing, Michigan, and Trump’s comments with regard to nationwide social-distancing protests that, in her view, echoed his “both sides” statement after Charlottesville. “JDCA is proud to support Joe Biden because he’s a principled and moral leader, and we know he’d never equivocate in the face of hatred facing Jews or anyone else,” said Soifer. 

Meeting the challenge: Miami-based developer Michael Adler, a member of JDCA’s board of directors, told JI that it’s important for Jewish voters to hear from Jewish community leaders — who he said may have strong opinions about certain issues — committed to maintaining bipartisan support for Israel. Adler noted that the group is supporting a candidate who “has a lifetime of knowledge and experiences” to “get the best results for our country.” Adler pointed out Trump is “making inroads” in Jewish communities in battleground states and is getting “better results than any other former Republican presidents had in modern times.” A recent poll sponsored by the Jewish Electorate Institute shows Biden would receive 67 percent of the Jewish vote nationally to Trump’s 31 percent. 

Longstanding relationship: “I think we’re very fortunate that Joe Biden not only understands the issues of foreign policy, but he also understands the Jewish community in a very personal way,” Adler noted. “When he talks about antisemitism — and I’ve heard it for over 40 years — he hearkens back his own dining room table where he heard about the importance of the Holocaust from his father. And the way he looks at the world starts in a very, very important way where the empathy and the humanity that you see, comes from his very core.” 

Personal ties: Adler first met Biden in 1973, when Biden was the junior senator from Delaware and Adler’s sister, Karen, started working in his D.C. office. Adler served as Biden’s national finance chair in 2008 and hosted a fundraiser for the former vice president at the Gables Club Tower in Florida last year. 

Annexation watch: Adler was among more than 130 Jewish American leaders who signed onto a letter imploring Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to block Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to apply Israel sovereignty to Jewish communities in the West Bank. Adler indicated that Biden “will absolutely speak out” against such a move if Israel moves forward with its initial plan to annex the West Bank by July 1 in “a strong and firm” way, “but I don’t think you’re going to see him shouting the way you may see Trump do it to gain a political advantage. He understands that he has to be respectful of the Israeli government, especially because he’s going to have to deal with them when he becomes the president of the United States.”

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