Posted on September 3, 2010 In Press Releases

September 1, 2010

Maury Litwack, Orthodox Union

Orthodox Union facilitates key meeting in East Brunswick

Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) met last night with local Orthodox Jewish rabbis, day school and community leaders from greater East Brunswick. The meeting was facilitated by the Orthodox Union (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization and was hosted by the Young Israel of East Brunswick.

The Congressman was forceful in his articulation of his support and love for Israel citing his long track record of foreign aid funding, Iran sanctions work, and economic/scientific partnerships between the United States and Israel. When asked about the infamous “Gaza 54” letter the Congressman stood by the letter based on his feeling that Israel ended up doing what he asked in that letter and that he shouldn’t be judged by a “guilt by association” mentality regarding other signatories who may hold different positions with respect to Israel and instead, look at the statements of the letter to President Obama. When asked about characterizations that he had positions out of the mainstream pro-Israel community the Congressman passionately stated an array of distinct positions which counter that argument. The Congressman was troubled that some had a reactionary position to Israel’s actions in Cast Lead and stated that the Goldstone Report was inherently biased and that he was always troubled by commissions which would blame Israel and prove unproductive. Regarding direct talks, the Congressman wants to see an agreement for the security of Israel but noted that “it’s not for me; it’s not even for the United States as a mediator to say how far Israel as a sovereign state should go in negotiations.” Finally, the Congressman agreed with the Orthodox Union’s position on Jerusalem, passionately arguing that Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel as it has to be an open city, something which never occurred under Arab rule.

Regarding education, the Congressman was open to exploring federal legislation to aid the non-public school community to provide the very best education to every child. The Congressman thanked the Orthodox Union for its work on energy funding for non-profits and pledged to continue this fight.

After the meeting Rabbi Jay Weinstein from the Young Israel of East Brunswick said:

“I found the meeting to be very productive and thank Congressman Holt for stating his support for Israel and for an undivided Jerusalem.”

Representative Rush Holt stated:

“I want to thank the Orthodox Union for inviting me to talk about my life-long support for Israel. Israel is more than just an ally; Israel is an inspiration. Israel’s achievements over the last 62 years–in areas ranging from education and economics to science and agriculture–far surpass what could reasonably be expected of such a young nation. Throughout my career I have been dedicated to the security and prosperity of Israel. For example, I have voted for over $35 billion in economic and military assistance for Israel, and I will continue to be a tireless advocate for Israel.”

Maury Litwack, Deputy Director of Public affairs stated:

“We thank the Congressman for an honest and thoughtful discussion regarding Israel and his record of support in Congress. It was refreshing to hear the Congressman say that he answers to no PAC and no organization but to his own heart and history with Israel and the Jewish people. Our community was also overwhelmed by his support for an undivided Jerusalem and his insightful positions on the current direct talks. The Orthodox Union has a long record of working with the Congressman on important domestic policy issues and we look forward to continuing that work and this important dialogue on the State of Israel.”

Maury Litwack, OU Deputy Director of Public Affairs; Rabbi Jay Weinstein, Young Israel of East Brunswick; Congressman Rush Holt; Moshe Strauss, President, Young Israel East Brunswick