Tom Price GOP.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
WASHINGTON – The chairman of a major Republican congressional caucus is urging
US President Barack Obama to oppose any UN effort to recognize a unilaterally
declared Palestinian state.
Rep. Tom Price of Georgia wrote Obama on
behalf of the 115-member Republican Study Committee on Thursday, asking the
president to push back against reports suggesting that Palestinians are
considering appealing to the UN rather than negotiating with Israel.
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support for such a measure would create a serious barrier to peace between
Israel and the Palestinians,” the letter stated.
Price also pressed Obama
to back Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call for the Palestinians to
recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Negotiations between Israelis and
Palestinians have ground to a halt after Israel refused to extend a freeze on
settlements that ended in September and the Palestinians have refused to
negotiate without a freeze in place. Netanyahu suggested that he would reinstate
a freeze if Palestinians recognized the Jewish nature of the State of
Both Israelis and Palestinians are now watching the US elections
before making major moves, and both Democrats and Republicans are seizing on
issues connected to Israel to attract Jewish voters.
On Friday, two
Jewish Democratic representatives blasted Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia,
who is in line to be majority leader should Republicans capture the House on
November 2, for suggesting that Israel aid could be separated from the general
foreign aid budget and be considered part of defense spending.
made the suggestion in response to concerns in the pro- Israel community that
aid to Israel would be cut by a Republican- dominated Congress whose members
have made budgettrimming a priority and have raised questions about the size of
“It would absolutely isolate aid to Israel,” New York
Democratic Rep. Steve Israel warned on a conference call arranged by the
National Jewish Democratic Council. “Now you would have a bigger and more
precise target to go after.”
He was joined on the call by Florida
Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who attacked the Republican leadership
for disrespecting the Holocaust by continuing to support Richard Iott in Ohio
despite his participation in World War II reenactments where he took the part of
a Nazi soldier.
Wasserman Schultz criticized “the shocking indifference
that the Republicans have to trivialization of the Holocaust.”
race in which Israel issues have featured prominently, however, a new poll by J
Street found that the focus on the Jewish state had not significantly moved
Incumbent Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, who
has received $70,000 from J Street, is trying to fend off Republican Joel
Pollak, who has spent around a half million dollars on his campaign.
has attacked her positions on Israel, particularly the support she has received
from J Street, a self-described “pro-Israel, propeace” lobby.
has a slim chance of defeating Schakowsky on election day, the J Street poll
showed that Jewish voters were still backing her by 65 percent to
When asked whether the criticism leveled against Schakowsky on her
Israel record affected their support for the candidates, 36% of the 400 Jewish
registered voters interviewed said it made them more likely to support
Schakowsky, and only 21% said they were more likely to back Pollak as a result.