In an inspiring debut as the Speaker of the House, Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) delivered a resounding message to a diverse audience, including many Jewish Americans: “We stand unwaveringly with our valued ally, Israel.”
Mike Johnson, who assumed the esteemed position on October 25, just three weeks after the departure of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), made it abundantly clear that his tenure would be marked by a steadfast commitment to Israel in its ongoing struggle against Hamas terrorists.
“It was no accident that our first House resolution was in support of Israel, and my inaugural journey was here with you all,” Johnson proudly proclaimed to the enthusiastic crowd of over 1,000 attendees at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) annual leadership summit held at the Venetian Hotel’s conference center.
Taking center stage as the fitting anthem “Takin’ Care of Business” echoed, Johnson, alongside House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), unveiled a series of initiatives to bolster Israel.
Despite calls from some quarters for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict, Johnson firmly asserted, “We will advocate for a ceasefire only when Hamas ceases to pose a threat to Israel.”
Reflecting on recent tumultuous weeks within the House and global unrest, Johnson emphasized the party’s resilience and unity. Across the nation, Republican leaders and grassroots activists report a renewed sense of purpose, accompanied by increased fundraising efforts.
“All that has transpired in recent days has rekindled a sense of purpose among the American people,” Johnson observed. “We are presented with a unique opportunity to rebuild trust and restore faith in our mission and principles. This is indeed a pivotal moment.”
Speaker Johnson’s vision for the legislative agenda included significant bills addressing critical issues. Among them, a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on college campuses stood out as a testament to the party’s unwavering commitment to combating discrimination.
Another crucial initiative aimed at safeguarding American interests was the proposal to freeze the $6 billion allocated by President Joe Biden for negotiations with Iran. This step underscored the party’s unwavering stance against international terror sponsorship.
Furthermore, Republican lawmakers pledged to prevent the sale of Iranian oil on the global market following the easing of sanctions by President Biden. With Iran having raked in $30 billion from oil sales last year, this move sought to curb a significant source of funding for hostile activities.
In a demonstration of unwavering support for Israel’s security, Johnson highlighted plans to allocate funds for the replenishment of crucial weapons systems, such as the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Johnson concluded his speech by expressing his belief in the newfound inspiration among fellow Republicans. “There is a palpable sense of unity and renewal among us, symbolizing a fresh beginning,” he declared. “I firmly believe we have been granted this opportunity by divine providence. God is not finished with America, and He is certainly not finished with Israel.”
He underscored the Republican commitment to truth and clarity in articulating their principles. “We will speak with unwavering conviction, fulfilling the needs of this crucial hour. Tonight, my foremost message to this audience is this: We are unwavering advocates for Israel.”
In a heartfelt expression of gratitude, Johnson thanked the Republican Jewish Coalition for its unwavering support. “We stand united in our unwavering support for Israel,” he declared, acknowledging the critical juncture in history, echoing the sentiments of many that this is a time for Congress to stand firm and support a just cause.
The audience responded with thunderous applause, celebrating Johnson’s concise yet impactful address.
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) has steadily gained influence within the American political landscape. RJC spokesman Sam Markstein commented, “Speaker Johnson’s participation underscores his strong commitment to standing in solidarity with Israel and the American Jewish community.” Markstein emphasized the importance of the RJC’s work and highlighted the record-high attendance at the summit, with 150 journalists representing 60 media outlets in attendance.
In recent years, the RJC’s annual convention has gained prominence in American politics. Notably, former President Donald Trump’s appearances in 2019 and 2022 added to its significance. Last year, President Trump returned to the conference. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican party, also addressed the gathering, announcing his 2024 presidential candidacy.
The attendees at the summit represented influential figures within the Jewish-American community, including prominent business leaders and community organizers. Many of them are known for their substantial contributions to the Republican party, and their dedication to the cause was acknowledged during the event.
Miriam Adelson, widow of the late Sheldon Adelson, a prominent figure in publishing and entertainment who owned the Las Vegas Sands Corp. until his passing in 2021, received special recognition. The Adelsons were among the most significant Republican donors nationally, having been leading contributors to both the 2016 and 2020 Trump campaigns, as well as donors to his inaugural fund.
Mike Johnson’s inaugural address showcased the Republican party’s unwavering support for Israel and its commitment to tackling pressing international issues. The event at the RJC summit signaled a new beginning for Republicans, marked by unity and determination to uphold their core values on the national and international stage.