Trump to speak at Republican Jewish Coalition conference

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump will address the Republican Jewish Coalition at a time when he is a hero among right-wing Jews for historic policy decisions that are in sync with Israel’s government.

The RJC announced Friday that Trump would speak April 6 at its annual conference in Las Vegas. Vice President Mike Pence also will be among the speakers.

“From tearing up the Iran deal, to moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, to fighting the rise of anti-Semitism, to — most recently — recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the strategic Golan Heights, President Trump has been a great friend of America’s Jewish community,” Norm Coleman, RJC’s chairman, said in a statement.

Last year, Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and moved the embassy to Jerusalem. This week he said it was time to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The Jerusalem and Golan decisions reverse decades of U.S. policy.

Trump has ensconced himself firmly with the Jewish right. He continues to snub the centrist American Israel Public Affairs Committee, although Pence is addressing the AIPAC conference next week.

His appearance also comes just three days before Israel’s elections. Trump has made clear that he favors Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for re-election. The conference takes place, as it always does, at the Venetian resort owned by Sheldon Adelson, one of Trump’s most generous donors.

The last time Trump spoke to the RJC, in December 2015, it wasn’t so smooth: Trump, unlike other Republican candidates speaking to the forum, hedged on moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and also made a jab that some saw as offensive.

“You aren’t going to support me because I don’t want your money,” Trump said in that address.