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News Brief


U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback called on Republican Jews to back his presidential campaign and to “rebuild the family.” Brownback, a long shot, was the first to address a Republican Jewish Coalition presidential forum on Tuesday.

“We’ve got to rebuild our family culture,” the Kansas lawmaker said. “The place to raise a child is with a mom and a dad.”

The line earned Brownback applause, although his longstanding rejection of legalized abortion and opposition to gay marriage places him on the opposite side of much of the U.S. Jewish community. Brownback has earned strong sympathies among Republican Jews, however, for championing the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Brownback went so far as to differ with President Bush’s “road map” plan to culminate in a two-state solution, saying he favors a plan emerging from Israel’s right wing to annex the West Bank and assign to Jordan responsibility for the Palestinians. “I appreciate the president’s road map, but they’re veering significantly off course,” he said to no applause from a crowd that strongly admires Bush.

The Bush administration is convening a Middle East peace conference next month that is aimed at establishing a Palestinian state. Brownback also told the group that Africa must become a foreign policy emphasis for the next president because of the humanitarian crises across the continent and inroads made there by Islamist radicals.

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