26 July, 2006

Riding The Third Rail, Jonathan Tasini Takes Israel Issue Head On

Jonathan Tasini has created quite a stir.

The anti-war Democrat trying to knock off Hillary Clinton in a September primary raised some eyebrows and hackles with his straight-forward talk about Israel's role in the escalating violence in the Middle East.

Tasini, a Jew who has lived in Israel, has relatives still living there and has lost relatives in past Israeli conflicts, feels the U.S. is hindering a solution in the Middle East with its ''one-sided," pro-Israel policy.

In an recent interview with the political blog RoomEight, Tasini said Israel
had "committed many acts of brutality and violations of human rights and torture."

Needless to say the remarks did not sit well in many corners, including the Hillary Clinton campaign, as reported today in The New York Times.

Tasini said his comments were misinterpreted and that he never said Israel is a terrorist state.

But he did not back off of his criticism of Israeli and U.S. policy in the region.

In an very open and honest post on his campaign blog today Tasini tells of his personal connections to Israel and his disdain for current Israeli policy. And for politicians who, he says, perpuate the violence by seeking a position of political expediency.

I've touched the "third rail" of politics in New York: the Israel-Palestine conflict, the dreadful occupation and the never-ending violence that is spinning out of control, in large part because the United States - and politicians like Hillary Clinton - continue to blindly pursue a one-sided policy in the Palestinian-Israel conflict, a policy that is causing more death and sorrow for civilians on all sides of the conflict and, ironically, is hurting the security of Israel.

Agree or not, it's refreshing to hear a politician say what's in his heart, not what he thinks will get him votes.

The essay is well worth reading and you can do so by clicking here.

Whether Tasini gets one vote, or millions, it is important for candidates like him to grace the political scene. He's someone who says what he thinks needs to be said, third-rail or not.


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