Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich has often demanded that Israel live up to decent human rights standards. Witness his calls during this year’s Gaza war that Israel may have violated the Arms Export Control Act.
This news is therefore unsurprising but once again proves the deformed nature of “debate” in the US over the Middle East:
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich lasted less than 24 hours as headliner for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner after some of the party’s elected officials blasted the Ohio Democrat’s stance on Israel and threatened to skip the event.
Kucinich, who has a history of criticizing the actions of the Israeli government and opposing congressional resolutions in support of Israel, withdrew Friday as the keynote speaker for next week’s dinner after being announced Thursday.
The liberal former presidential candidate had been called in as a last-minute replacement for moderate Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu. Landrieu was dropped as keynoter this week because party activists were upset by her refusal to commit to blocking a Republican filibuster of health care overhaul legislation.
While Landrieu was the target of behind-the-scenes grumbling, Kucinich sparked public revolt.
State Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, said Friday he was withdrawing his pledge to buy a $1,500 table for the dinner and would encourage other Democrats to boycott the event because of Kucinich’s record on Israel.
State Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, who’s running for the seat that U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler is vacating, called Kucinich “someone whose position on Israel stands in total opposition to the conscience of this community.”
County Commissioner Burt Aaronson called the selection of Kucinich “an absolute horror” and said he would refuse to share the podium with him.
Kucinich has opposed sanctions against the anti-Israel government of Iran. In January, he was one of only five House members to vote against a resolution condemning Hamas rocket attacks on Israel and reaffirming Israel’s “right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against Hamas’s unceasing aggression.”
Kucinich said Friday in an e-mail to county Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel that he supports the Jewish state and its right to defend itself and said his critics are “falsely characterizing me as ‘anti-Israel.’ “