Gary Ackerman to Israel: Name the wedgers

Gary Ackerman wants Israel to penalize those who would use it as a football.

During the Democratic convention, we covered a kerfuffle in which Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, appeared to cite Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador, as criticizing Republicans for making Israel a wedge issue.

We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.

Oren denied it, conservatives have accused Wasserman Schultz of lying, Democrats have defended her, arguing that her statement should be read as saying: a) Michael Oren says making Israel a wedge issue is a bad thing b) I, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, agree that it is a bad thing and would add that it is mostly Republicans who are doing it.

So whatever Wasserman Schultz’s intent, we now have implied agreement among all parties that Oren did not point a finger at Republicans.

Now, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) says he thinks Israeli diplomats should name such malefactors.

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Ackerman, who is retiring from Congress, and is now free to tick people off as he pleases (although his reputation has never been one of reticence), wants Israel to step up and dish some blame.

At what may be his last appearance today as the senior Democrat on the House Middle East subcommittee, Ackerman had this to say:

I am all in favor of Democrats and Republicans competing to highlight their support for Israel. And after more than 3 decades in politics, I’m well aware that neither campaigns nor public office are meant for the thin-skinned. But feckless Israeli appeals for restraint from those intent on making Israel an election-year football are insufficient. If the bipartisan nature of American support is, as they say, a truly ‘vital national interest,’ then more needs to be done. Israel’s leaders should carefully consider whether those responsible for these wedge campaigns need to be publicly condemned, and if they persist, isolated from Israel’s decision-makers.

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