Graham to host fundraiser around Netanyahu speech


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is considering a Republican presidential run, will host a fundraiser around Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Graham (R-S.C.) will attend the March 3 speech while donors watch the address at the Capitol Club, the Republican-focused building a short walk from the Capitol. Afterwards he will join them.

The list of co-chairs is a who’s who of prominent pro-Israel and Republican Jewish donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, telecommunications entrepreneur Howard Jonas and financier Roger Hertog.

Co-chairing the event costs $2,700; attending is $1,000. The money goes to Graham’s Security Through Strength political action committee.

“The committee will fund the infrastructure and operations allowing Graham to travel the country, listen to Americans, and gauge support for a potential presidential candidacy,” according to the invitation. The event was first reported by Politico.

Graham, a relative moderate on social issues, is considered a long-shot for the nomination. His pronounced pro-Israel and interventionist outlook in the Senate has earned him close relationships with Republican Jews. He is the chairman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

A panel moderated by Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, will include similar prominent interventionist Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the party’s 2008 presidential candidate, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Netanyahu’s speech, arranged with the congressional GOP leadership without consulting congressional Democrats or the White House, has stirred controversy in Washington and in Israel.

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