An interesting example of an American Congresswomen not blindly following the hardline, AIPAC stance:
At a town hall meeting in late June in suburban Maryland, Rep. Donna Edwards’s tight rope walk was on full display.
Edwards had come to White Oak Middle School to speak with the gathered crowd about her recent trip to Israel and Gaza. She wanted to defend herself against criticism that she has been too harsh on Israel, but at the same time, she wanted to leave herself with the option of candidly discussing Israel’s conduct. During a lengthy slideshow, she spoke of the suffering she saw in both Gaza and Sderot, Israel and stressed the need for an open discussion in the United States on resolving the conflict.
“I wish that both the kind of spirited debate and interchange that I think takes place in Israel all the time would actually take place here in the United States,” she said after describing a heated discussion she witnessed in the Knesset during her visit.
Edwards has attempted the difficult task of openly talking about Israel while remaining close to the large Jewish constituency in her district. She has not always succeeded with the more hawkish members of the pro-Israel community. Edwards’s positions, though, have won her support from the left wing of the organized Jewish community, including, most importantly, the dovish pro-Israel lobby J Street. Through its political fundraising arm, JStreetPAC, the group put out an unusual e-mail appeal June 2 and managed to raise $30,000 for Edwards’s next campaign within days.
Edwards told the Forward that she has tried to approach her work on the Middle East as a “process of discussion.”
“I was never under the impression that there is a monolith of the Jewish community,” Edwards said.
Edwards, 51, is the first black woman to represent Maryland in Congress. She was elected in 2008 in a special election, and shortly after that she was re-elected for her first full term. Her district is in the Washington suburbs, and 15% of the voters in the district are Jewish, according to a local pollster.
It’s clear that the mainstream Jewish community simply won’t tolerate anybody who understands the Palestinian narrative. It’s about time that they did.