Yesterday morning, GOP Councilman Dan Halloran, a candidate for Congress against Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng, declared he was hopping on a plane to Israel this weekend. What’s more, he blasted the entire Democratic Party for failing to properly nurture a proper U.S.-Israeli relationship.
“Our president is not a real ally of Israel’s,” he declared. “Our president’s party, the Democratic Party, is not a real ally of Israel’s. They think Israel needs to apologize for defending herself. They think that we should apologize for standing with Israel.”
Well, unsurprisingly, Ms. Meng doesn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with him on that view and, yesterday evening, the Jewish Week published an op-ed by her entitled, “Where I Agree And Disagree With President Obama On Israel.”
“Although I truly believe President Barack Obama has had good intentions in his policies toward Israel, and has accomplished much in the region, there are several key respects where he could have been — and still can be — a greater friend to Israel,” she began, going on to cite two disagreements with the President: not being aggressive enough on Iran and his call for Israel’s negotiating position to be a return to its 1967 borders. “If elected to Congress, I will be a passionate friend of Israel, and will push the President to be a greater friend to Israel than he currently is.”
But Ms. Meng also took off the gloves and criticized Mr. Halloran over his support for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Mr. Halloran has said that he disagrees with Mr. Paul on his foreign policy views, but Ms. Meng doesn’t feel like that disagreement counts as an excuse.
“Ron Paul has expressed disdain for Israel, attempted to end all U.S. aid to Israel, supported leaving Israel to face its many threats alone, and has opposed confronting the Iranian nuclear threat at all,” she wrote. “He is also Dan Halloran’s choice for commander-in-chief. Speaking of Ron Paul, Gov. Mitt Romney said, ‘One of the people running for president thinks it’s O.K. for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.’”
“It’s great that Mr. Halloran says he would support Israel as a member of Congress,” she continued. “But it’s the president who dominates our foreign policy and commands our military, and it’s the president who arguably has more power in these areas than all of Congress combined. If Mr. Halloran had his way, Ron Paul would be our next President. While government and politics generally benefit from wide-ranging and spirited discussions, such outlier ‘fringe’ positions should be recognized for what they are: dangerous. Ron Paul was one of only six members of congress to just vote against Iran sanctions this month, with 421 members voting in favor.”
But it doesn’t stop there, she added, “Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and Mr. Halloran’s endorsement of Ron Paul is deafening, particularly for those who care about Israel.”
Asked if he had any response to the attacks, Halloran spokesman Steven Stites wasn’t amused and said they would have their own op-ed in the Jewish Week based on Mr. Halloran’s upcoming trip to Israel.
“People are smart enough to see through platitudes,” he said in an email. “There are serious issues at stake here that a ghostwritten, waffling op-ed does not address.”
Update: Ms. Meng’s campaign, not content to let Team Halloran have the last word on this today, sends in another punch from spokesman Austin Finan:
“Dan Halloran’s critique of President Obama’s Israel policy is curious considering his outspoken support for Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy. If Dan Halloran had his way, Ron Paul would be Commander-in-Chief – slashing aid to Israel, vetoing sanctions against Iran, endangering the Israeli people and jeopardizing the future of their homeland. Those who actually value a strong U.S. – Israeli relationship are not fooled by Mr. Halloran’s empty words and feigned support for the State of Israel.”
Update again: Mr. Stites sends in another statement of his own, continuing the back-and-forth:
“Grace Meng, her party and her President have expressly dismissed Prime Minister Netanyahu as a liar, called for a return to 1967 borders, and appeased Israel’s enemies such as Iran. I’m glad that the Assemblywoman’s consultants briefed her for a few hours on Israel this morning, but she can’t run from her and her president’s failures.”