Graham to host fundraiser around Netanyahu speech

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is considering a presidential run, will host a fundraiser around Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Graham will attend the Israeli prime minister’s speech March 3 while donors watch the speech at the Capitol Club, the Republican-focused building a short walk from the Capitol. Afterwards he will join them.

The list of co-chairs is a who’s who of prominent pro-Israel and Republican Jewish donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, his wife Miriam Adelson, telecommunications entrepreneur Howard Jonas, and financier Roger Hertog.

Co-chairing the event costs $2,700 and attending it $1,000. The money goes to Graham’s Security Through Strength political action committee. “The committee will fund the infrastructure and operations allowing Graham to travel the country, listen to Americans, and gauge support for a potential presidential candidacy,” according to the invitationThe event was first reported by Politico.

Graham, a relative moderate on social issues, is considered a long shot for the nomination. His pronounced pro-Israel and interventionist outlook in the Senate has earned him close relationships with Republican Jews. He is currently the chairman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

A panel moderated by Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, will include similar interventionist prominent Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who was the party’s 2008 presidential candidate, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Netanyahu’s speech, arranged with the congressional GOP leadership without consulting congressional Democrats or the White House, has stirred controversy in Washington.

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