Schakowsky: ‘Ham Handed” Boehner Harms Israel

A leading Jewish lawmaker and Israel supporter said Speaker John Boehner's "ham handed politics" of sandbagging President Obama by inviting Benjamin Netanyahu to lobby the Congress against the administration's Iran policy has damaged bipartisan support for Israel. 

"It was a dangerous mistake," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), who announced she will not be attending the speech.

Not many of her colleagues will have that kind of courage because they know the Republican Jewish Coalition and right wing zealots like the ZOA and will try to brand as anti-Israel anyone who doesn't share their hardline loyalty to Likud.

"As a Jew, support for Israel is in my DNA," said Schakowsky, whose district in Chicago and its suburbs has a large Jewish population.

She strongly agrees with Netanyahu and Obama that "Iran can never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon," she said, but she differs with the Israeli leader on how best to achieve that goal.

The eight-year member of the House Intelligence Committee said, "I know for a fact that our security and intelligence agencies have never worked more closely, making it all the harder to swallow" Netanyahu's lobbying against the president's efforts to "peacefully eliminate" the Iranian nuclear threat.

Netanyahu "wants the negotiations to end," she said, and while he may be right that no deal can be attained, she feels the talks should "proceed unhindered."  If they are to fail, let it be Iran and not the United States or Israel that pulls the plug.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.