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Israel, the Democrats and why I’m not running for Senate

I feel so strongly about the need for bipartisan Israel support, I will vote for the Democrat I almost ran against
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez answers a question from a reporter before entering the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse for his federal corruption trial, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, in Newark, N.J. Jury deliberations continued on Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez answers a question from a reporter before entering the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse for his federal corruption trial, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, in Newark, N.J. Jury deliberations continued on Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

I seriously considered entering the 2018 US Senate race in New Jersey. Our state needs transportation reformation beyond merely fixing flaws in already existing roads; a commitment to rebuilding our military — including finalizing the expansion of the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Joint Base (in concert with the reformation of our state’s transportation infrastructure); and, well-informed, thoughtful representation on foreign policy and trade (‘a la former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley).

The Middle East, in particular, continues to warrant our attention with an increasingly complex series of issues that affect our interests there.

As someone who has worked and lived in the Middle East for years, and having seen it from a commercial and legal perspective, I am confident that my knowledge of international commercial, banking and energy matters, and the cultures of the Gulf Arab states, would be a tremendous asset for the people of the Garden State and the United States at this point in our history.

However, within certain circles of the Democrat Party, there has been a concerted and largely successful effort to make support for Israel (or, the withholding of such support for our ally) a purely partisan issue, with all democrats conforming to holding a uniformly anti-Israel posture. Traditionally, no matter one’s position on the subject, the United States’ relationship with the State of Israel has been — and, must remain — a vital issue of foreign policy and national security for all Americans of conscience, irrespective of party affiliation, cutting across political lines.

That is why I decided against running and, as a life-long registered Republican, am supporting the reelection of Senator Robert Menendez.

Senator Menendez is a sincere and consistent supporter of Israel and, I believe, paid a heavy price for refusing to be silent about his principled opposition to the Obama administration’s Iranian Nuclear Deal as the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His continued presence in the Senate as a senior member of the Democrats’ caucus makes it less likely that some will complete their task of enforcing a uniform anti-Israel posture throughout the Democrat Party. Thus, transforming being pro-Israel or anti-Israel into merely another knee-jerk partisan issue rather than one requiring serious thought will be more difficult to accomplish for radical, determined, well-funded, anti-Western leftists currently driving the direction the Democrat party.

Although I disagree with Senator Menendez on nearly every domestic policy issue (and, subsequent to my decision against running, was somewhat disappointed by the Senator’s position on the recent nomination of Mr. Pompeo to be our Secretary of State), I feel so strongly about the necessity of bipartisan support for Israel that I intend to vote for the Democrat I once contemplated running against.

With Iran in the ascendancy in the Middle East region, sweeping reform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & rapprochement between the Sunni Arab states and Israel, we need more Democrats like Bob Menendez in Washington, not less; and, his presence in the “Upper House” is fundamentally more important to our state and our country than adding another number to the GOP’s vote total stored in the back-benches.

Some people run for office just to make a point on a specific issue. I hope to make an important policy statement by not running. While I may well run at some future point, for now I feel I may better serve the public by continuing my multinational, reform-minded legal practice.

About the Author
Jason Huf is a US attorney with offices in New York and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He resides in Burlington County, New Jersey.
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