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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

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Readers Blog

Is Tammy Baldwin Anti-Israel?

"Thompson called Baldwin's explanation (about Iran sanction votes)   'the lamest excuse I've ever heard' and then went on to call her 'anti-Jewish.'.....'she's anti-Israel'  he clarified."(1)

Calling Baldwin, who was raised by her Jewish  maternal  grandfather  UW Prof. David Green,   "anti-Jewish" is bizarre, especially since Thompson himself was  lambasted in 2007  for saying that "earning money was  a Jewish tradition."  But  is he right in calling his Democratic opponent "anti-Israel?"

The Milwaukee Jewish Community Relations Council  tried to arrange a debate between the senate candidates, but  their schedules conflicted, so each candidate was questioned separately at the Jewish Community Center (JCC).  Thompson appeared October 7 and Baldwin October 14.  I wish that they had appeared together if only so that Tommy could have made that nasty charge right to her face, if he would have dared to.

Tammy Baldwin, who represents the Madison area in Congress, told  the  JCC audience that she  is a strong supporter of  Israel's security.  She voted against some sanctions on Iran when he she hoped that  the Ahmadinejad government would fall, but now  supports crippling trade and financial sanctions.  Baldwin favors the  "Two State Solution", which entails the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.  She wants the Arab state to be "de-militarized", which could be a hard sell   for Palestinian leaders.  The Congresswoman estimated that she voted for about  $35 billion in both economic and military aid to Israel  in her 14 years in the House.

So why do Thompson (and some Jews) says she is "anti-Israel?"  Every  year or so  resolutions are introduced in the House that express the "sense of Congress"  about various foreign policy issues, including the Middle  East.  Besides voting against  the Iran sanctions some  years ago, she  voted against some  pro-Israel  resolutions and abstained on some others.  In my view, she cast some ultra-liberal votes as the representative of an ultra-liberal  constituency in Madison.  Now that she is running statewide, she has modified her views to appeal to a broader constituency. ( Mitt Romney did likewise  when he switched from running in Massachusetts to running  nationwide for President.)  In other words, she is a politician.

If your criterion is that casting even one vote against a pro-Israel resolution  makes  a member of Congress "anti-Israel", no matter how the congressperson voted on   aid to Israel  or other bills, then Baldwin is  in that category.  But I would reserve that term for members of Congress  like ex-Rep. Cynthia  McKinney or Rep. Ron Paul, who consistently speak and vote against Israel's  interests.  

If it were fair to label Tammy Baldwin "anti-Israel,"  I doubt that Senator Herb Kohl, a former leader of  the Wisconsin Israel Bond Committee and of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, would have  asked her to  run for his seat.  

Gerald S Glazer


(1) Dan Bice in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,  October 15, 2012, page 2A  (No Quarter Column) 

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solitarius | Oct. 15, 2012 at 12:31 p.m. (report)

In my prior assessment of Baldwin's record on Israel I did make some mistakes in compiling her voting record (which will be specifically corrected in the near future) on which I based my conclusion that Baldwin was anti-Israel. Given the reassessment of her voting record, I conclude that Baldwin is not anti-Israel. However, while Baldwin may not be anti-Israel there is no way she can be considered pro-Israel.
Baldwin does have one of the best voting records in congress as assessed by the Arab American Institute and other Arab and Muslim organizations. This, by definition, cannot be good for Israel. Baldwin's voting record regarding Israel is in the bottom half of all members of congress. If elected to the Senate, Baldwin will be the most anti-Israel senator in Congress.
Baldwin voted to support the Goldstone Report which falsely accussed Israel of terrorism and which Goldstone himself denounced. Baldwin also failed to support numerous pro-Israel bills as well as pro-Israel letters of support from congress. While these votes establish no specific actions against Israel by the US, they give support to the enemies of Israel which can and do lead to actions against Israel. When US congress members accuse Israel of terrorism for simply defending itself against rockets from Gaza (Goldstone Report), this surely gives the enemies of Israel incentive and support for continuing their terrorism against Israel. Words matter and have consequences.
So, while Tammy Baldwin's votes may not support actions against Israel by the USA and in some cases may even provide actions in support of Israel by the USA, Baldwin does give support and encouragement to the enemies of Israel that leads to direct harm to Israel.

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