Last month, Democratic National Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) gave an interview to Charley J. Levine of Hadassah Magazine. Wasserman Schultz discussed a number of issues pertaining to the Jewish community including Israel, President Barack Obama’s record, and the Jewish vote.
Wasserman Schultz said regarding Obama and Israel:
[Obama] proposed more than $3 billion in aid to Israel in a very difficult economy because he recognizes how important Israel’s security is. He authorized and supported $205 million for the Iron Dome missile defense system, which is effective against rocket attacks that have been occurring mercilessly against Israel. He authorized the sale of the bunker buster bombs, where President Bush had declined. I would argue he has been a better, more consistent friend to Israel than previous administrations.
She explained regarding Jewish support of the Democratic Party:
Polling continues to show overwhelming support for Democrats and President Obama in the Jewish community. There appears to be no danger that we are going to lose the Jewish vote. Republicans are doing their best to cut into this, saying anything-regardless of the facts-because in battleground states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio there are sizable Jewish populations…
We have 20 Jewish members in the House; 19 are Democrats and 1 is a Republican. I am the first Jewish woman to represent Florida in Congress. There are zero Jewish Republicans yet several Democrats in the Senate. The natural political home for Jewish voters in America is my party, due both to our traditional, strong support for Israel and all the other issues that matter to Jews.
Wasserman Schultz criticized Republican attempts to politicize support for Israel:
There is just no daylight between both parties’ support for Israel. The Republicans…are unfortunately working overtime to create the perception that they are the more pro-Israel body…
What the Republicans are doing is dangerous. They are using Israel as a political football…. Israel’s ambassador [to the United States], Michael Oren, has said this. If there is any perception of daylight between the parties on support for Israel, that strengthens Israel’s enemies. The president rejects what some Republican candidates have been saying, that America should review all its foreign aid commitments from zero, making each country justify the support it receives.
She spoke about one of her most memorable Israel visits:
I went with the American Jewish Committee in a young leadership program. I have always been a part of a large Jewish community, but you are always still aware that you are a minority. I was always aware I was different, and did experience some anti-Semitic incidents. So when I was walking down the street in Jerusalem it suddenly occurred to me that the bus driver is Jewish, the clerk at the supermarket is Jewish and the taxi driver is Jewish…. This helped me fully appreciate how important it is that we have the Jewish State of Israel-which is our homeland and our rightful place. We belong there and, God forbid, I remember thinking, if history repeated itself, there has to be a place for us to go.
Click here to read the interview in full.
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