Does a Wexler balance out a Bonior?


The Republican Jewish Coalition is jumping on the Obama campaign’s announcement that it will be represented by U.S. Rep. David Bonior – not a favorite of pro-Israel activists – at the DNC meeting in D.C. on Saturday. (John Edwards caught some Jewish flak for tapping Bonior as campaign manager; their response was to stress that he wouldn’t be playing a role on Middle East issues.)

Of course, what the RJC left out is that Obama couldn’t have picked a more Jewy pro-Israel Floridian to be his Sunshine State representative at the meeting: Robert Wexler.

Here’s the RJC press release on Bonior:

Washington, D.C. (May 30, 2008) – The Republican Jewish Coalition today
responded to the announcement that former Rep. David Bonior will be representing the Obama campaign at the Democratic National Committee meeting this weekend in Washington, D.C. As a Congressman, David Bonior was known for his strong opposition to pro-Israel policies, being called by some “the biggest supporter of the anti-Israel Arab lobby in Congress.”[1] The RJC cited Bonior as the latest in a string of advisors and campaign officials to Barack Obama that harbor anti-Israel views.

“Barack Obama’s path to strengthening ties with the Jewish community is severely blocked when appointing an anti-Israel figure like David Bonior. While in Congress, Bonior refused to stand by Israel after repeated terrorist attacks, was known as a stalwart opponent to Israel, and is now a representative for Barack Obama. Bonior’s appointment is the latest in a series that raises serious questions and doubts about Barack Obama’s positions and judgments on the Middle East.”

During his Congressional career, David Bonior repeatedly opposed pro-Israel legislation. In 1997, David Bonior was one of 15 Congressmen who signed a letter asking then-President Clinton to pressure Israelis into making concessions to the Palestinians. In 2002, David Bonior was one of only 21 Congressmen who opposed H.R. 392, which publicly affirmed Congress’s support of Israel’s right to self-defense and called for the dismantling of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure.[2] In 1990, David Bonior was one of only 34 Congressman to vote against a measure naming Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel.[3] In 1989, Bonior was one of six House members to vote against a bill that prevented US funds from going to UN entities that granted the PLO membership.[4] Throughout his career, Bonior repeatedly opposed US aid to Israel and supported arms sales to Arab states opposed to Israel’s existence.

“The appointment of yet another anti-Israel advisor like David Bonior to represent Barack Obama speaks volumes to the Jewish community. The pattern
including Tony McPeak, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Robert Malley continues with
this appointment. It’s no wonder the Jewish community remains deeply skeptical and troubled by Barack Obama.”

[1] Jonathan Tobin, Jewish World Review, 7/12/99.

[2] H.R. 392, “Expressing Solidarity with Israel in its Fight
against Terrorism”, May 2002, 352-21 (29 voting present).

[3] H.R. 290, “In support of a unified Jerusalem”, Apr. 1990,
378-34 (6 voting present).

[4] H.R. 2145, “Prohibiting US Contributions to the United
Nations Under Certain Condititons”, May 1989, 396-6 (11 voting present).

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