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Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus forms (AJC, Polis, Wasserman Schultz, Becerra, Baca...)

The American Jewish Committee and a group of Latino and Jewish Representatives have started the "Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus" with two basic goals. The first is ensuring Latinos support Israel. The second, per [1] is related to "Latinos, on the other hand, are hoping that well-established Jewish groups will push even harder for immigration reform".

Note that that the AJC has collaborated with the Mexican government in support of illegal immigration.

Excerpts on the caucus at [1] and [2]. Note Engel's reference to "hyphenated Americans" at [1], and the presence of foreign ambassadors at [2].

These are the co-chairs:
Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)

The other members include:
Jared Polis (D-CO)
Joe Baca (D-CA)
Albio Sires (D-NJ).
Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX)
Michael Grimm (R-NY)
Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR)
David Rivera (R-FL)
Lucille Roybal Allard (D-CA)
Brad Sherman (D-CA)

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[1] From washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=4&ArticleID=15135:

...The Jewish community, for instance, wants Latinos - reportedly the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S. - to galvanize around issues pertaining to Israel. Latinos, on the other hand, are hoping that well-established Jewish groups will push even harder for immigration reform, which has become a political third rail in Congress.
In some respects, the partnership is one of convenience, not just convictions.
"The Jewish community ... has always been receptive and open to others communities' problems and concerns," said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), a chair and co-founder of the caucus. "Now we have some needs and wants, and establishing good relationships is a two-way street; it has benefits for both communities."
Engel, a Brooklyn-born lawmaker whose district is around 20 percent Latino, maintains that Latinos and Jews are natural allies.
"Most Jews, frankly, are sympathetic to immigration reform, which of course is the number one priority in Latino communities," Engel explained. "Jews identify as refugees and as people who wanted to come to America."
On the other side of the coin, "The Jewish community has a big interest in Israel, and we think it's natural that the Latino community in the U.S. should be ­supporters of a larger U.S.-Israel relationship," Engel added. "It's important that we allow other communities to understand what our struggle is."
The idea for the congressional coalition apparently originated with the American Jewish Committee, a group that has long touted the importance of engaging with the Hispanic world, both in the U.S. and in Central and South America, where it operates foreign bureaus.
...There's good reason, however, to question the Hispanic community's commitment to Israel.
Recent surveys indicate that nearly half of Latinos feel the United States is "too supportive" of Israel. Furthermore, just 34 percent of Latinos said that they sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians when it comes to the conflict in the Middle East, according to a March poll by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
Latin American countries have also become integral to the Palestinians' unilateral quest for statehood. Earlier this year, four Latin nations - Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador - officially recognized a Palestinian state, and some Jews are concerned that others will follow suit.
"There are a lot of Latin American countries where hyphenated Americans still have roots and ties in their former countries," said Engel, explaining that American immigrants could help influence public opinion in the region. "A good coalition of Latinos and Jews could be helpful in allowing us to present our thoughts and feelings about Israel and the U.S."

[2] From ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=2818295&ct=10876661&notoc=1:

June 14, 2011 – Washington – AJC, together with members of the U.S. House of Representatives, will launch the Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus at an event tonight on Capitol Hill. The establishment of the Latino-Jewish Caucus was strongly supported by AJC’s Latino and Latin America Institute.

Caucus co-chairs Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) will address the June 14 reception. Also slated to speak are the Israeli and Mexican ambassadors to the U.S. Dozens of Latino and Jewish leaders will be in attendance.

“The Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus will provide for further collaborative engagement between U.S. Latinos and Jews on domestic and foreign policy issues of joint interest and concern,” said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC’s Latino and Latin American Institute. The AJC institute was created in 2005 to advance the global advocacy organization’s collaborative relations with the largest and fastest growing minority in the U.S...

Wed, 06/22/2011 - 15:21 · Importance: 4