Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended her foreign policy record to a pro-Israel group in Manhattan tonight and advocated for a nuanced–but tough–approach to Iran as tensions in the Middle East remain high.
This morning, a small army of elected officials and Jewish advocates amassed on Second Avenue, not far from the United Nations, to press their case that Israel is completely justified in its forceful reaction to the rocket attacks against it. In New York City, of course, support for Israel is an almost universally acknowledged political principle with very few deviations. Indeed, so many elected officials crowded together that they had trouble squeezing into the allotted area.
Naturally, all four of the likely Democratic candidates for mayor were present and more than eager to burnish their foreign policy credentials in light of the burgeoning international controversy. In order to profess their unyielding belief in the righteousness of Israel’s military response in Gaza, each pol described personally visiting the Jewish State, three of them to the exact same small town. We decided to simply transcribe their remarks in the order that they spoke.
In one of the more memorable exchanges of tonight’s final presidential debate, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney clashed while discussing the focus of our military. After Mr. Romney attacked Mr. Obama over the size of the U.S. Navy and Air Force, Mr. Obama accused his Republican rival of being uneducated about “how our military works,” quipping, “The question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships.”
At a town hall last night in Bed-Stuy, congressional candidates Hakeem Jeffries and Charles Barron gave their pitches and took questions, striking familiar themes: Mr. Jeffries portrayed himself as a serious legislator while Mr. Barron proclaimed his ability to help lead a national movement to change the country.
As the two competitors spoke at different times in different rooms, they never interacted or had the opportunity to have a fiery back-and-forth, as already happened on Inside City Hall. However, both candidates did take identical questions on foreign policy, “especially related around Africa and the Caribbean,” and their responses showed an interesting yet unsurprising divergence.
“This is a very diverse district and so there are going to be different parts of the district that have significant foreign policy interests,” Mr. Jeffries noted, adding that Africa was dear to the heart of many residents in places like Bed-Stuy, the Caribbean was important to Canarsie and Flatlands, and, unprompted, stressed the importance of Israel as well.
For example, earlier today, Mr. Lancman held a press conference calling on the U.S. Department of State to change its policies and allow its passports to recognize the country of Israel as a birthplace for citizens born in Jerusalem
“Israel is a key part of this race. A big part of a Congress Member’s responsibility is to help shape foreign policy for this country,” Mr. Lancman told The Politicker after the event. “Where one stands on Israel, what one’s record on Israel has been, and what one’s vision is for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, I think is going to be a big part of the primary and a big part of the general election.”