In Mayfield Heights, Portman Participates in a Panel Discussion at American Jewish Committee Cleveland 75th Anniversary Celebration

May 5, 2019 | Press Releases

 CLEVELAND, OH –Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) participated in a panel discussion at the American Jewish Committee Cleveland (AJC Cleveland) 75th Anniversary Celebration.  Portman joined AJC’s CEO David Harris and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) as they discussed a range of topics, including U.S. global leadership and the US-Israel relationship.


“Tonight I was encouraged by the constructive discussion with my colleague Senator Brown and AJC’s CEO David Harris about U.S. global leadership and the US-Israel relationship,” said Portman. “Unfortunately, threats, violence, and anti-Semitic attacks are all too common. Whether it’s through anti-BDS legislation, ensuring our trade agreements reject BDS efforts, fighting for more resources to secure synagogues and Jewish Community Centers – including now for the first time being able to use federal resources to hire security personnel – I’m working hard to ensure that the federal government is an effective partner and a protector of the Jewish community. Throughout my career, I have worked to strengthen the bond between the U.S. and Israel, and I will continue in that effort.” 


NOTE: As Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the George W. Bush White House, Portman included in the budget the historic 10-year memorandum of understanding that was at the heart of the U.S.’s strategic relationship and support for Israel. During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Portman continues to be a leader for American-Israeli partnership, including passing legislation to combat the boycotts of Israel by the international community. Last year, Portman led a bipartisan letter of more than 40 senators urging the president to appoint a special envoy to combat anti-Semitism around the world.


After the horrific attack last October at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Portman sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging the Senate to pass the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Authorization Act and provide appropriate resources to help better protect synagogues and other nonprofit institutions around the country that are vulnerable to acts of terrorism. Portman has been a consistent advocate for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Last year, Portman and several of his bipartisan colleagues called for and helped secure a total of $60 million for the program, which was included in the final Department of Homeland Security Appropriations law. In 2018, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved two of Portman’s amendments as part of the DHS Authorization Act to expand access to this funding for nonprofits and houses of worship across the country.                     


Last month, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) joined 32 of his bipartisan colleagues in sending a letter to Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, to request a total of $75 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). Specifically, they called for $50 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) NSGP as well as funding the NSGP at $25 million for non-UASI communities, under the State Homeland Security Grant Program.  The NSGP funding under the State Homeland Security Grant Program would constitute a $15 million increase over the current funding levels for the program, which would allow nonprofits in non-UASI designated areas, including those in Ohio, to apply for a larger pot of money. These grants are important resources for nonprofits and faith-based organizations to use to be able to secure their facilities against a potential attack.


He has also been a vocal supporter of the recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move our embassy there. Senator Portman has been a leader on numerous human rights issues, including combating human trafficking and the drug crisis.


Photos from the event are below: