So much so that Republican Jewish Coalition director Matthew Brooks followed up the meeting with the a letter (Weekly Standard) explaining why it would be folly to just drop the subject (“stifle debate”).
I hope you agree with me that no one – in either party – whether it’s the President of the United States, a candidate for President or a rank and file member – should be shielded from criticism if their positions are harmful to Israel’s well being. Covering up anti-Israel positions by gagging debate about them doesn’t help anyone; instead it only protects those who hope to get away with their anti-Israel positions. The Jewish community has a right to be informed about people’s records and people should be answerable for the positions they take. That is the essence of democracy.
Indeed, several leading Democrats have exercised their right to free speech when they criticized President Obama’s controversial statement that, “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”
Former New York City Mayor and lifelong Democrat Ed Koch responded, “If President Obama does not change his position, I cannot vote for his reelection.”
According to a story in today’s Politico, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in his remarks to AIPAC, rebuked President Obama for his remarks.
However, in our meeting with the Prime Minister, you appealed to us, in front of the leader of a foreign nation, to pledge to refrain from any debate about these matters. I do not think that the timing or the venue you chose for raising this issue was appropriate.