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Kucinich backs out of dinner after complaints

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Dennis Kucinich canceled his keynote speech at a Democratic Party fund-raising dinner after several elected officials protested his stance on Israel.

Kucinich (D-Ohio),who e-mailed the Palm Beach County, Fla., chairman on Nov. 6 to bow out of giving his talk next week, has a history of criticizing Israel .He has voted against multiple resolutions supporting the state and opposed sanctions against Iran’s anti-Israel regime.

Kucinich, a perpetual dark-horse Democratic presidential candidate, said in the e-mail that he did not want his speech or appearance to hamper Democratic fund-raising efforts, according to the Palm Beach Post.

He defended his past positions on Israel, writing that he “has always defended Israel’s right to survive and its right to defend itself.” Kucinich said critics have “falsely characterized” his criticism as anti-Israel sentiment.

Florida state Rep. Kevin Rader (D-Delray Beach) had threatened last week to boycott the dinner if Kucinich spoke. Florida state Sen. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) and state Rep. Maria Sachs (D-Delray) voiced disapproval of the pick, along with Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson.

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