Democratic dinner brouhaha escalates as health care skeptic Landrieu replaced by Israel critic Kucinichby George Bennett | November 6th, 2009
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.”