Members of the New York Congressional delegation talk Dem support for Israel
via Twitter/Ravi Batra
Prominent members of the New York Congressional delegation addressed the Jewish community’s concern about a drift in the Democratic Party’s support for Israel, amid the recent comments made by Tlaib and Omar, at the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of New York congressional breakfast in Midtown Manhattan on Sunday morning. [Pic]
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY): The Jewish-American community and supporters of Israel “are complacent. We assume because we know the story of Israel that everyone knows. What we need is a massive education campaign. We need our biggest philanthropists to put money into this, I don’t care if they’re Democrat or Republican. We need to be online, we need to be on the campuses, and not with the occasional effort that we see, but all the time. We need all of us to be missionaries and explain the history… I urge you to think about this, to talk about this, and I will be happy to be one of the people leading, putting this together and making it happen because the future of Israel is at stake.”
Schumer on bipartisanship: “I work very hard for Israel every day, I try to do it in a bipartisan way. There are some who try to make Israel a partisan issue. That is detrimental to Israel. We cannot let that happen.” [Pic]
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “We have our work cut out for us and there are things we have to do, but support for Israel is strong and it’s bipartisan… We have a few people who are vocal and who are not supporters of Israel. Okay. This is a free country. They got elected. We have a story to tell and our story is better than their story. I know that with the facts we are going to do well, and I want to pledge to you that on the Foreign Affairs Committee we are going to stand by Israel… And I want to assure you that there is nothing to be afraid of. We have work to do, and we are going to do it.” [Pic]
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY): “What I can pledge to you is that the future of the Democratic Party is not going to involve BDS and anti-Semitism… and you will see us tested on that in the days to come.” [Pic]
Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh also spoke with Rep. Maloney as well as Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY) after the event.
Maloney: “If there are people who are engaging in anti-Israel rhetoric, they are going to hear from me. Our party shouldn’t be the home of people targeting the state of Israel, and it concerns me when I hear some of the rhetoric that bends in that direction. So I intend to speak out against it.”
Suozzi: “People like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are very strongly pro-Israel and have always spoken out against the BDS movement. Just because you don’t see it happening out on the airwaves, doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying to work on addressing this issue. People have different viewpoints based upon their background and based on where they grew up, and their politics. It’s our job to educate them as to why they are wrong and we are right, and that supporting BDS is completely irresponsible. Right now, there are efforts being done to talk to people and trying to educate them. If it doesn’t work, we will see.”
“If you look at the Hebrew bible, they tell you that when you disagree with somebody, first to meet one on one, and then if that doesn’t work, you being a few people to meet with the person that’s the offender. And if that doesn’t work, you bring more people, then you bring the community, and only then you make it public.”
Meeks: “Republicans are trying to play politics with this issue because they know how strong Democrats are on Israel. But you know what? Israel and anti-Semitism, there’s no room to play politics with that. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, whether you come from America or some place else in the world, we should not let any room get in between us because this is a human subject matter. You always have certain minority groups, and that’s why you speak out and say that what they are saying is wrong. You can’t silence everybody, but when you hear something that is not correct, then you need to speak out about it.”
Rep. Meeks also told JI that he supports the anti-BDS bill.