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ELECTION 2020

Rep. Seth Moulton, a former U.S. Marine, follows Democratic stance on Mideast issues

By Jackson Richman

(JNS) U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, 40, became the 20th Democrat to declare his candidacy for president in 2020, making the announcement on Monday, April 22.

The Massachusetts congressman and former U.S. Marine, who has been in the House of Representatives since 2015 and previously served four tours in Iraq, has kept with the mainstream Democratic stance on matters pertinent to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

In January, he tweeted: “On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, #WeRemember the 6 million Jewish victims of Nazi atrocities and the millions of others who were senselessly murdered. May their memories be a blessing and inspire us all to speak out against antisemitism and bigotry in all its forms.”

On the Iran deal: Military action, sanctions ‘leave us worse off’

Moulton, along with 149 other Democratic members of Congress, signed onto a letter to the Obama administration in 2015 that stated that preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb “is above politics,” and that the “stakes are too great, and the alternatives are too dire.”

“If the United States were to abandon negotiations or cause their collapse, not only would we fail to peacefully prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, we would make that outcome more likely,” they continued. “The multilateral sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table would likely collapse, and the Iranian regime would likely decide to accelerate its nuclear program, unrestricted and unmonitored. Such developments could lead us to war.”

The following July, Moulton announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal.

“It is not a perfect deal, and it is easy to point out the many ways in which it could theoretically be stronger. That being said, it is by far the best viable option before us,” he said in a statement.

In January 2016, along with then-Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wisc.), Moulton introduced the Iran Deal Implementation and Accountability Act to “ensure effective implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal, reaffirm our relationship with Israel and counter destabilizing Iranian actions,” according to a statement released by their congressional offices.

He slammed President Trump for withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran deal in May 2018.

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal turns our back on our allies and hands Iranian hardliners a gift that makes the world more dangerous–and America less secure,” he said. “Iran will now feel free to re-launch their nuclear program, and other nations will be encouraged to pursue their own nuclear development since America clearly cannot be trusted to uphold the agreements that we make.”

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Moulton, who has favored a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, was a co-sponsor of a 2017 bill that would have mandated the U.S. government to certify that its military funding to Israel is not used for the “Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.”

Nonetheless, Moulton was one of 342 representatives to vote in favor of a House resolution in January 2017 to rebuke U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 that condemned Israeli neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria, from which the United States abstained, allowing it to pass.

“Although it rightly criticizes the continued expansion of Israeli settlements, it gives no mention to the continued, and recently intensified, violence by Palestinians and terrorists against innocent Israeli citizens,” he said, explaining his vote. “Biased or one-sided resolutions like this only move us further away from the shared goal of reaching resolution between the parties of this two-sided conflict.”

“I also reaffirm my belief, shared by a number of prominent Israeli voices, foreign policy experts, legal scholars and successive U.S. administrations, including the Obama administration, that the continued expansion of settlements is detrimental to the cause of peace,” he added. 

Moreover, Moulton was one of dozens of Democrats to sign onto a letter in February 2018 calling on the Trump administration not to cease taxpayer funding to the Palestinians and the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), despite long-documented evidence that it has distributed textbooks that promote Palestinian incitement and violence against Israel and Jews.

“Alongside robust and expanding U.S. aid to Israel, Congress has regularly appropriated funds to help bolster Palestinian quality of life and governance, both bilaterally and through contributions to UNRWA, and security in the region,” states the letter.

Opposing Hamas, though a nod to CAIR

Moulton co-introduced the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act in 2017 that would have made it U.S. policy to condemn the terrorist group’s use of human shields and act against those who participate in or support the practice. It unanimously passed the House in February 2018. Trump signed similar legislation in December 2018.

However, he was one of 101 lawmakers to sign onto a September 2018 letter to congratulate the pro-BDS Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on its annual banquet.

CAIR, according to Zionist Organization of America national president Mort Klein, “has a long history of being a vicious anti-Semitic Israel-hating group. They irrationally condemn the Jewish state, but never condemn the murderous actions of Hamas or Syria, or the Palestinian dictator [Mahmoud] Abbas. By calling for the genocide of Israel, they join the moral horrors of the Nazis and Stalin, without their power, thank God.”

Moulton did vote in favor of a March 2019 resolution condemning antisemitism and other forms of hatred.

 

This 2020 presidential candidate is the son of a Holocaust survivor

Sen. Michael Bennet at the North American Building Trades Unions Conference in Washington, April 10, 2019. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado became the 21st Democrat to announce a presidential bid, citing among other inspirations his Holocaust survivor mother and grandparents.

Bennet, whose father is not Jewish, does not identify as Jewish. However, he has cited his mother’s survival of the Holocaust on multiple occasions as an impetus for his political career, and did so in the short video he posted Thursday announcing his candidacy.

Bennet, 54, said he was inspired by the nation’s founders – in which group he included Abraham Lincoln, civil rights icons like Frederick Douglass and the suffragettes, and “Our parents and grandparents who stood up to tyranny in World War II. My mom and her parents who survived that tyranny and rebuilt their shattered lives in the only country they could, the United States of America.”

Bennet’s mother and grandparents survived the Warsaw Ghetto.

Bennet is the seventh sitting U.S. senator to join a crowded field. He sought to distinguish himself from others by saying that he did not seek fame, and was preoccupied mostly with the nuts and bolts of legislating.

On policy, Bennet struck a centrist note in the video, arguing for health care reforms, but abjuring the “Medicare for all” that some on the party’s left now advocate, and calling for greater investment in education, but not the free community college that some have proposed.

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