Jerusalem Post: A response
In today’s Jerusalem Post, Douglas Bloomfield has published a rant against me. I’ve already pointed out Douglas’s factual errors in a personal email to him. He also quotes me out of context. So I’ve provided the full Q&A we exchanged over email a few days ago, to let people judge for themselves whether my views resemble Bloomfield’s caricature.
Discerning readers will note that Bloomfield has misrepresented our exchange. He claims: “Pollak told me [Obama] ‘has not behaved’ as a friend of Israel but instead has ‘made it acceptable to hate Israel.’”
I never said to Bloomfield that Obama has “made it acceptable to hate Israel”–there, Bloomfield is quoting (again, selectively) from my opening statement at the candidate forum last Sunday evening.
Here is our full, unedited exchange–an email sent to Bloomfield in response to questions he posed to my campaign. (You can find his article here: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=192216)
What is his position on settlements?
Settlements are not the obstacle to peace. If they were, Israel would have enjoyed more peace after the Gaza disengagement of 2005, rather than being hit by even more Hamas rockets. In my view, most Israeli communities in the West Bank do not violate international law. There are some settlements that are illegal under Israeli law, which is of concern for the rule of law in Israel and is a matter for Israel to resolve appropriately through its own legal and political means.
Continuation of the Netanyahu freeze that expired Sept 26?
Israel should not have to make further concessions for nothing in return. Palestinian leaders were asked to accept the basic principle of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, as a condition for extending the freeze. They refused.
Palestinian statehood is not a priority as long as Palestinians take so little interest in it. Palestinian statehood is up to Palestinians to prepare–by building institutions; resolving the Hamas/Fatah, Gaza/West Bank divide; guaranteeing safety and equal rights for all citizens regardless of religion, race, or national origin; stopping any and all support for terror, including non-material support; and by ending the indoctrination of each successive Palestinian generation to hate Israel and Jews. I feel that many Palestinian leaders are not as interested in Palestinian statehood as they are in ending Israeli statehood.
The two-state approach?
The two-state solution ought to be acceptable to both sides. It is secondary, however, to the safety and security of Israel and her citizens.
The Road Map?
A good idea in principle, but thwarted by the fact that Palestinian leaders have not been serious about implementing its provisions. The major obstacle to progress, in my view, is Iran, which is actively arming, funding, and inspiring terror groups that wish to destroy Israel.
How does he differ from his opponent on support for Israel?
My opponent believes that the U.S. must press Israel to make further concessions for peace. She also supports J Street, and is one of their top money recipients; raised money with anti-Israel and antisemitic (former) journalist Helen Thomas; backed anti-Israel (and antisemitic) would-be dictator Manuel Zelaya; and refuses to criticize President Obama’s approach to Israel at all. She supports Obama administration policies that have been detrimental to Israel, such as U.S. participation in the UN Human Rights Council. After more than six months of pressure, she finally agreed to endorse a military option on Iran–but only very reluctantly. True, she has voted for foreign aid for Israel, and pro-Israel resolutions. I will be more than a vote–I will be a leader for Israel in the House of Representatives.
From my speech at last night’s forum:
“Everyone claims to be ‘pro-Israel.’ But the term ‘pro-Israel’ has been diluted. A pro-Israel Congress would not just vote for foreign aid. A truly pro-Israel Congress would vote to de-fund the UN Human Rights Council. It would deny funding to the Palestinian Authority until it recognized Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. It would investigate the State Department for supporting a would-be antisemitic dictator like Zelaya.</span><span>A truly pro-Israel Congress would criticize President Obama for singling out Israel and humiliating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A truly pro-Israel Congress would have provided assistance to the Iranian democracy movement. A truly pro-Israel Congress would declare that any attack on Israel will be regarded as an attack on the U.S., and that the U.S. will support Israel in the event it must launch a pre-emptive strike. A truly pro-Israel Congress would demand that the international community act now to free Gilad Shalit.
That is the kind of pro-Israel Congress I want to create. I want to be a leader on the floor of the House–not just a vote. I will propose bills and push the president to make the right decisions.”
Will he support deep cuts in federal spending, even if they include foreign aid?
I will support deep cuts in federal spending, while retaining foreign aid to countries that share our values and interests, like Israel first and foremost. We should cut back on aid to countries that oppress their own citizens, and which are undermining our efforts to fight terror and confront the Iranian nuclear threat.
Does he consider President Obama a friend or enemy of Israel?
I believe President Obama has the potential to be a friend of Israel, but has not behaved as one, unfortunately.
Does he believe Barack Obama is an American-born citizen?