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May 30, 2019 10:45 am

House Foreign Affairs Chair Downplays Tension Between Democrats and Netanyahu

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Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), left, with Israeli President Rivlin in Jerusalem on May 29, 2019. Photo: Haim Zach/GPO. – In Israel, US Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, downplayed on Wednesday the apparent tension between the Democratic Party and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Yes, there are some things that I think we need to bring more up to date, convince some people of some things,” Engel told The Times of Israel while visiting the Jewish state.

The lawmaker remarked that there was “nothing wrong” with the close relationship between Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump, as they see “eye to eye” on most issues.

“I think that a lot of Democrats may not like Netanyahu’s policies, because there’s an association with the Republican Party,” said Engel. “But I don’t think that’s something I worry about too much. Because I think that people like me, and others who are around, are committed to the relationship, and I think the relationship is strong and will endure.”

He added that “there’s an alliance between our countries. There’s not an alliance between political leaders of the countries—that’s a bad thing for both countries to get into.”

Engel has come under criticism for not removing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the Foreign Affairs Committee due to her antisemitic remarks, which started almost as soon as she took office in January.

While in Israel, Engel met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

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