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August 12, 2009

Cantor - Poor Judgment Abroad

Listed in: Israel, Stop the Smears, NJDC News, Opinions

Originally published in The Huffington Post

By Ira N. Forman, CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC)

Last week, Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), the only Jewish Republican in Congress, led a trip of GOP Members to Israel. This week, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is leading a larger trip of House Democrats to the Jewish state. Unfortunately, Cantor took the opportunity of foreign travel to criticize U.S. foreign policy in the print edition of The Jerusalem Post.

We are concerned about what the White House has been signaling of late in their desire to push through in terms of a Middle East peace plan…. That’s very troubling. (The Jerusalem Post, August 7, 2009)

There is nothing inherently inappropriate for a member of the opposition party to debate a president’s foreign policy. However, there is a very old and venerated tradition in this country that criticism of American foreign policy not be debated while overseas and that “Politics stops at the water’s edge.”

Cantor’s break with the tradition of bipartisanship is all the more objectionable not only because he criticized his President’s policies overseas but he voiced the criticism in the context of speculating about the rise of Jewish Republican voting. Does Cantor have any sense of limits when it comes to using his congressional position to practice rank partisan politics?

We at NJDC respectfully have a few pieces of advice for Cantor:

1. Keep the partisan politics confined to home;
2. Before you predict any meaningful gains for Republicans among Jewish voters it would be advisable for you to review similar false predictions you and other Jewish Republicans have been making over the last 25 years;
3. Focus your “pro-Israel” energies on “converting” the majority of your own GOP caucus that has been voting against the critical foreign aid bill—a significant portion of which goes to the State of Israel.