By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jewish Republicans in the Greater Philadelphia area are among those shaken by Eric Cantor’s loss last night in the Virginia primary (see related story).
The Tea Party upset not only knocks out House speaker John Boehner’s top lieutenant, it also leaves the GOP without a Jewish member of Congress.
“We’re shocked, we’re stunned a little bit because Eric has been a warrior on so many issues of significance and import to our members and leaders,” says Scott Feigelstein, who heads the Republican Jewish Coalition for Pennsylvania and South Jersey, “not the least of which as a leader in national security issues and in the pro-Israel, pro-US-Israel relationship community.”
Feigelstein says Cantor lent significant support to Congressional candidates in the Philadelphia area, and his defeat is a blow to hopes that the party would see a Jewish speaker of the House.
“Fortunately, the issue of being pro-Israel is not confined to being a member of the Jewish faith,” Feigelstein tells KYW Newsradio. “We have many non-Jewish friends who are extremely supportive of a strong US-Israel relationship for many reasons — because of a shared cultural affinity between the US and Israel, as well as geopolitical interests.”
For now, Democrats dominate among members of the Jewish faith in the national political sphere. Seventy percent of Jewish voters went for President Obama in 2012, though that was fewer than in 2008.