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Democratic dinner brouhaha escalates as health care skeptic Landrieu replaced by Israel critic Kucinich

by George Bennett | November 6th, 2009

More trouble for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s annual fund-raising dinner.

Its original Jefferson-Jackson name was dropped because of qualms about Thomas Jefferson’s slave ownership and Andrew Jackson’s Indian-removal policies. Then the renamed Truman-Kennedy-Johnson dinner’s planned keynote speaker, moderate Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, was unceremoniously dumped this week because party leaders disliked Landrieu’s stance on health care reform.

Now Landrieu’s replacement — liberal U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Denis Kucinich, D-Ohio — is prompting a boycott threat from state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, because of Kucinich’s voting record on Israel.

State Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, has announced he won’t attend or support the event, calling Kucinich “someone whose position on Israel stands in total opposition to the conscience of this community.”

Rader said he’s withdrawing his pledge to pay for a $1,500 table at next week’s event and will try to organize a boycott after learning Kucinich had been invited to speak.

“There’s probably a dozen members of Congress who consistently, always vote against Israel. Consistently. And Dennis Kucinich is one of them,” Rader said.

Rader pointed, for instance, to the vote in the House this year for a resolution “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza.” It passed 390-to-5, with Kucinich one of the dissenting votes.

County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel said it’s “not true” that Kucinich is anti-Israel and said of Rader: “if he’s trying to organize a boycott, that’s terrible.”

An official with a national pro-Israel organization said Kucinich “stands out among hundreds of members of Congress as one of the most consistently anti-Israel votes in Washington.”

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7 Responses to “Democratic dinner brouhaha escalates as health care skeptic Landrieu replaced by Israel critic Kucinich”

  1. Mark Weaver Says:

    The superficial reporting of George Bennett here is obviously oblivious of the regular disingenuous usage of “pro-Israel” and “anti-Israel” rhetoric by radical right politicians and contributes to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East by misleading your readers. Pro or anti-Israel is misleadingly used to refer to the (extremist) policies of the Israeli government, not support or opposition to the Jewish State of Israel. Kucinich is a strong pro-Israel supporter of the Jewish nation. By conveying rightwing propaganda language, Bennett is an unwitting (or was it witting?) purveyor of this very biased and destructive viewpoint. Burke and Bennett need to review how they are misleading readers.

  2. hedlykarok Says:

    Kucinich is far and away the most intelligent and respectful members of congress. Mr Weaver is correct in his observations. Dennis is opposed to war and violence, regardless of who commits it.
    There’s a huge percentage of Israelis who are opposed to the continued occupation of Palestine, the abhorrent treatment of their people and the crimes commited by Israel.
    Palestinians and Jews are both semite peoples, anti-semitism runs both ways. American supporters of Israel, whether jewish or christian, need to accept that they are not perpetual victims and are acting more like those that caused the need for the creation of Israel in the first place.

  3. hedlykarok Says:

    The West bank and Gaza look eerily similar to Warsaw, Poland circa 1942.

  4. Breaking news from Palm Beach Says:


    In response to the threat of boycott to their annual Jefferson-Jackson, I mean Truman-Kennedy-Johnson, Dinner, the Palm Beach Democratic Party has dumped its second keynote speaker in one week. Dennis Kucinich has been replaced with 2000 Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.

    “I didn’t understand that Dennis Kucinich would create such a problem in Palm Beach,” said Mark Siegel, Chairman of the Palm Beach Democratic Party. “I feel that Pat Buchanan will be a suitable replacement. Not only is he a high-profile celebrity and former presidential candidate, but he also won a lot of votes in our county in 2000.”

  5. sign o the times Says:

    Israel is a very war like state. At least as much as Palestine. Our politicians should really be more open minded about the middle east conflict. Alas it comes down to money. the Jewish PAC in PBC is….

    very aggressive…

  6. Kucinich withdraws as Palm Beach County Democratic keynoter amid uproar over his Israel stance | Post on Politics Says:

    [...] KucinichWith some local Democratic elected officials in open revolt over his record on Israel, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has withdrawn as keynote speaker for next week’s Palm Beach County Democratic Party fund-raising dinner. [...]

  7. Nancy Parker Says:

    It is a sad and disheartening situation that some of our Palm Beach County officials have chosen to demonstrate a lack of civility and willingness to engage in meaningful discourse. To eliminate from our discussion an esteemed statesman and global humanitarian such as Congressman Kucinich, a recipient of the 2003 Ghandi Peace award, demonstrates intolerance that prevents understanding and conflict resolution, at home and abroad. To remain unbiased, the Congressman’s letter stating his reason for withdrawal should not have been removed from the Post’s original article on Nov. 6th.

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