Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) urged both parties to drop Israel as a partisan wedge issue. During an event with reporters on Thursday, Wasserman Schultz echoed the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that support for Israel should not be susceptible to partisan bickering.
‘Everyone that calls themselves legitimately pro-Israel believes that we should not make Israel a partisan issue. Unfortunately, I think there are organizations that claim to be pro-Israel that are partisan first and pro-Israel second. And I think unfortunately the way the Republican Jewish Coalition has conducted itself is they put their Republicanism in front of their pro-Israel stance. And I think that’s unfortunate. And I think it’s why the Israeli Embassy said that Israel should not be a partisan issue.’
She joins the numerous voices defending President Obama’s remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, dating the policies to President Clinton’s terms. As ABC News reported:
There are ‘Jewish Americans who are expressing concern about the president’s policy… but what he said, followed on by president Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session on Tuesday, is essentially what has been American policy since President Clinton, affirmed by President Bush in the 2004 letter, and publicly stated by President Obama, which is that negotiations should begin at the 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon swaps, which by definition would not take Israel back to those lines that were established on June 4, 1967.’
Wasserman Schultz went on to defend Obama’s popularity among American Jews. As The Los Angeles Times reported:
During a breakfast meeting with reporters organized by the Christian Science Monitor, the recently elected party chairwoman played down concerns about the damage to Obama’s standing with Jewish voters in next year’s election.
In 2008, she said, ‘there were dire predictions that candidate Obama was not going to have, not just an erosion of Jewish support, but would lose the Jewish vote. The first time, potentially, a Democratic candidate for president would lose the Jewish vote. President Obama ended up getting 78% of that vote.’
We commend Wasserman Schultz for standing up against this destructive trend, and support the notion of de-politicizing support for Israel.
Click here to read the NJDC statement on this issue.