Both Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) and Democratic challenger Brad Schneider of Deerfield agree with President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Iran should not have nuclear weapons but are not in complete harmony on the approach.
A day after the President told the United Nations General Assembly Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons; Netanyahu drew a red line on a chart telling the same body military action should be automatic if the boundary is crossed.
Like the President, both contenders for the 10th District seat want all options on the table including the use of force. Dold wants a precise red line to keep Iran in check. Schneider does not want to give the Iranians permission to advance to a specific point.
“Iran cannot and will not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” Schneider said of his interpretation of the comments both by the President and Netanyahu. “When you create a line in the sand you’re telling them how far they can go. We need to get them to go in the other direction.”
Dold made it clear he agrees with the President and Netanyahu Iran should not be permitted to have nuclear weapons. He thinks a credible threat of force is part of the strategy necessary to keep that from happening.
“A nuclear Iran is unacceptable,” Dold said. “All options must be on the table and they must be very credible. It’s important we have a red line.”
Schneider Claims Republican Try to Politicize Israel
Though Schneider has no criticism of Dold’s voting record on Israel, he expressed disappointment at efforts by Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady to politicize the U.S. Israel relationship.
“Support of Israel has always been a bipartisan issue and always should be,” Schneider said. “We want the relationship secure by keeping it (non partisan) where it has been for a very long time. Anything else would be irresponsible.”
The issue arose when Brady issued a news release criticizing a comment Schneider made supporting the efforts a pair of pro Israel groups—the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) and J Street.
“Brad Schneider represented his own position on Israel when he declared his support for J Street and that fact is indisputable,” Brady said in the release. “Voters deserve to hear directly from Brad Schneider why he supports a group that actively works to undermine the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
Schneider Is Not J Street Member, Group Has Not Endorsed Him
Schneider, who spent his first year after graduation from college working in Israel and whose work as an Aipac member has personally influenced members of Congress and former President George W. Bush, supports the efforts of both groups to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
“Both organizations believe in a strong and secure Israel,” Schneider said. “I’ve been a proud member of Aipac since college.” He does not have a membership in J Street.
Aipac is a group which does not endorse candidates and works to educate members of Congress and other elected officials about the benefits of a strong relationship between Israel and the United States, according to information on its website.
J Street calls itself “political home for pro Israel pro peace Americans,” on its website. It is both an advocacy group and, unlike Aipac, endorses political candidates.
Neither Brady nor a spokesperson from the Illinois Republican Party responded to calls or emails from Patch for further comments. Dold, who, like Schneider, believes the American-Israel relationship should be a non partisan matter, is not a fan of J Street.
“The strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship lies in the United States Congress and its bipartisan support,” Dold said. “I am not a supporter of J Street. Have they ever endorsed a Republican?” A search of J Street’s website shows 66 endorsed candidates in the 2012 election cycle. All are Democrats. Schneider is not one.