WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman called on New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman to apologize for saying congressional cheers for Benjamin Netanyahu were "bought and paid for."
In a column Wednesday arguing that Netanyahu’s polices were out of sync with American Jews, Friedman wrote, "I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."
Rothman (D-N.J.) in a statement said that characterization reinforced a "dangerous narrative" about supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.
"I gave Prime Minister Netanyahu a standing ovation not because of any nefarious lobby, but because it is in America’s vital national security interests to support the Jewish State of Israel and it is right for Congress to give a warm welcome to the leader of such a dear and essential ally," he said. "Mr. Friedman owes us all an apology."