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September 10, 2020 9:23 am

Sherman Questions Rivals for House Foreign Affairs Chairmanship Over Israel

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US Rep. Brad Sherman. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), one of several candidates to succeed Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) for the chairmanship of the US House Foreign Affairs were the Democrats to keep its House majority, criticized several of his rivals on Wednesday over their stances on the US-Israel relationship.

In a Zoom call hosted by Democratic Majority for Israel, Sherman made it known that he attended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 2015 speech before Congress, warning about why a then-possible nuclear deal with Iran would be bad, while noting that Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) boycotted the speech.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu is not my favorite Israeli, and I’ve never met an Israeli who doesn’t criticize him for one position or the other, but I attended the speech because Prime Minister Netanyahu embodies the Jewish state,” said Sherman. “My two opponents in this race boycotted the prime minister’s speech, made a big deal out of [it at] the time and are trying to get votes in the contest … by saying, ‘Look how great I am. I boycotted the speech.’ ”

Meeks and Castro were two of 58 members of Congress to skip Netanyahu’s speech.

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The aforementioned Democrats are in the running to succeed Engel for the committee chairmanship if the Democrats keep its House majority following the Nov. 3 presidential election. Engel lost in the primary to progressive Jamaal Bowman in the Democratic primary in New York’s 16th Congressional District in June.

Sherman also touted voting in favor of a House resolution in January 2017 that condemns UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and Israeli settlements, while noting that Meeks and Castro voted against the House resolution.

The congressman noted that Meeks and Castro support conditioning US assistance to Israel, though Meeks said in an American Jewish Committee event that assistance is “absolute and unequivocal.”

During the Wednesday event, Sherman called Meeks’s clarification a “flip-flop.”

“There is a huge difference on whether to honor the memorandum of understanding signed by President [Barack] Obama, endorsed by Congress and signed by Prime Minister Netanyahu,” said Sherman. “There is a huge difference on how to react to a UN resolution. And, of course, there’s a huge difference on how to treat the prime minister of Israel when he comes to the United States.”

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