Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Illinois' new Senator Mark Kirk

Kirk on Israel. Many did not vote for him for a variety of reasons. He is our new Senator. Here is a perspective about his record on Israel.

This article is by Dr. Richard Benkin.

Kirk is arguably Israel’s best friend in Congress. He was personally responsible for convincing the Bush Administration to give Israel enhanced missile defense after he saw the danger on a trip to a forward military base in Israel. (Kirk has been a Naval Intelligence Office since 1989, has combat experience, and was once named Naval Intelligence Officer of the Year.) He and Congressman Steven Rothman (D-NJ) have led efforts to end US funding for UNWRA-the UN agency devoted solely to promoting the system of Palestinian Arab refugees, a designation he challenges. With regard to Hezbollah, Kirk told Gordon “despite the UN peacekeeping force and $500 million of US taxpayers’ money that we simply reset the stage for another tragedy.” He has characterized attempts to force negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as trying to “chase down every terrorist group on the West Bank and Gaza... there are times when you have to hang tough.” An effective human rights advocate, Kirk (together with me), won the freedom of Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury after he was arrested and tortured for exposing the rise of Islamists and urging relations with Israel. As a Congressional aide, Kirk helped free several Soviet refusniks. With much of official Washington trying to find “nuanced” positions, Kirk remains undaunted. In April, after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House Appropriations Committee that Israel would have to comply with the Administration’s demands, he replied that the committee would then have to cut appropriations to the Palestinian Authority.. In announcing for the Senate, Kirk pledged to fight those efforts, “And to supporters of America’s strongest friend in the Middle East - Israel’s greatest ally in Washington will be Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois.”

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