Berk: Why Karen Handel Deserves Jewish Vote
OpinionGuest Column

Berk: Why Karen Handel Deserves Jewish Vote

As the June runoff approaches, voters must decide between Karen Handel or Jon Ossoff to serve 6th district.

Chuck Berk

Chuck Berk is a local chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which co-sponsored one of the Republican debates before the April 18 election.

Karen Handel is new member of Congress from Georgia.
Karen Handel is new member of Congress from Georgia.

I recently had a discussion with a friend who is supporting Jon Ossoff, and he provided me his rationale.

“First of all,” he said, “Ossoff’s Jewish … so he’ll support Israel and Jewish causes.”

Really? That has not been the case with recent Jewish Democrats. Unfortunately, Jewish Democratic representatives and senators voted almost universally with President Barack Obama’s dangerous 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Even if Iran complies with the deal, it can wait 10 years and have multiple bombs quite legally and with legitimacy.

And Jewish Democrats supported Obama’s December 2016 abstention on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which improperly designated all the territory Israel captured in the 1967 as illegally occupied “Palestinian land.”

“But Ossoff will support Israel,” he said.

Really? If you review credible polling, you’ll see that Democratic support for Israel continues to drop, and liberal Democrats sympathize almost as much with the Palestinians as with Israel. Republican Israel support continues to grow and in a recent poll was 75 percent.

“But,” he told me, “I’ve known Ossoff for eight years, and he’s the kind of guy who’ll be his own man and shake things up.”

Really? His campaign has received almost $10 million in donations, with approximately 95 percent of the money from out-of-state sources, much of it from anti-Israel J Street supporters because they know he’ll be a rubber stamp on their issues.

They know this because Ossoff worked for one of J Street’s favorite members in Congress, Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, the same Hank Johnson who compared Israelis to “termites” during last summer’s Democratic National Convention and who voted for the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.

“Realistically,” I asked him, “do you think a 30-year-old with no real-world or significant business experience, whose campaign is paid for by the DNC and outside sources, will act independently of Nancy Pelosi’s wishes?” I doubt it.

Karen Handel and the Republicans, on the other hand, have been great supporters of Israel and Jewish causes. Karen supported the Republican-led legislature’s passage of anti-BDS legislation last year, prohibiting any company from doing business with the state of Georgia if it boycotts, divests from or sanctions Israel.

She supported Iran divestiture legislation passed by the Republican-led legislature a few years ago. And she has always been supportive of Georgia’s decision, with support from Republican governors, to purchase Israel Bonds.

Last month the state made its largest-ever purchase of Israel Bonds: $10 million.

Karen is thrilled with President Donald Trump’s appointment of Nikki Haley as the United States’ U.N. ambassador. Haley has demonstrated courage and moral vision in shaking up the United Nations and is the most outspoken and best U.N. supporter of Israel in many years.

And Karen is a proven, effective leader.

As the chairwoman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Karen turned a $100 million deficit into a balanced budget without raising taxes. As Georgia’s first elected Republican secretary of state, she reorganized the office and reduced expenses by 20 percent.

Karen led the state’s implementation of photo ID for voting, which became the national model for the law and has been held by the courts as reasonable and effective. She successfully defended and implemented the law during the 2008 presidential election, which saw record minority and overall voter participation in Georgia.

The U.S. and Georgia Chambers of Commerce have endorsed Karen. The Washington Examiner reported that Ossoff met with the U.S. Chamber to gain its support, but questions about his beliefs made it “crystal clear” that he holds liberal views akin to those of Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders.

So, as a Jewish voter, you have a choice. You can choose a young, inexperienced person who will be a rubber stamp for Pelosi, who lives outside the 6th District and who can’t even vote for himself.

Or you can choose Karen Handel, a proven, mature, conservative leader who has a record of getting things done, who has been supportive of Jewish issues, and who has worked and lived in the 6th District for 25 years.

She seems like a pretty obvious choice to me.

Chuck Berk is a local chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which co-sponsored one of the Republican debates before the April 18 election.

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