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Perez a Serious Challenger to Keith Ellison

Jacob Kornbluh

Labor Secretary Tom Perez asks American Jewish community leaders for support

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

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BETTER CHOICE To many Jewish Democrats, Tom Perez is a better choice for DNC chair (Photos: AFP/Imagebank)

D ays before the Obama Administration led the ambush against Israel at the United Nations Security Council, Labor Secretary Tom Perez reached out to Jewish community leaders to present his vision for the future of his party and ask for their support in his bid for chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Perez’s candidacy comes at a critical time for the Democratic Party as its leadership and supporters are looking to recover from the devastating loss in the 2016 presidential election.

Perez is challenging Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, who has long been considered the favorite for DNC chair after receiving the support of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer’s support for Ellison is an anomaly in a Jewish community frightened by Ellison’s past comments about Israel and praise of Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan. Many Democrats who favor Perez also fear an Ellison victory would spur major Jewish donors and voters to desert the party in favor of the Republicans in key battleground states. The vote will take place over the last weekend in February.

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Last week, Perez shared his experience working with the Jewish community on an array of domestic issues, and stressed his strong commitment to Israel’s safety and security on a conference call to some 50 Jewish community leaders.

“What I have learned, as a lifelong Democrat, is that the Jewish community has always had an invaluable place in our party, ever since Harry Truman, and that must never change,” Perez said. He described the US-Israel relationship as an investment in security in the Middle East. “Even Mr. Netanyahu, with whom the president has had a frequently strained relationship, acknowledged the importance of the investments in security from the United States,” Perez said. “I think that’s critically important. We also value the importance of respect and inclusion of all religious minorities in this country.”

(Jacob Kornbluh is the political reporter for Jewish Insider)

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