Out of Blue, Midwest Vote Becomes Israel Scrap

Joe Walsh and Tammy Duckworth Spar Over Middle East

By Nathan Guttman

Published July 13, 2012, issue of July 20, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Duckworth defended her discussion of her service as part of her campaign. More broadly, she urged recent veterans in general to talk about their war experiences “more than the veterans of the Vietnam generation did.” At the same time, she rebutted Walsh’s contention that she was not talking about the broad range of issues facing voters in the coming election.

Democrats believe Duckworth, 44, has a good chance to unseat Walsh and are devoting significant resources to the race. A daughter of a U.S. military father and a Thai mother, Duckworth grew up in Southeast Asia and in Hawaii. After her injury in Iraq she served as director of the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. In 2009 President Obama appointed Duckworth to be assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Walsh, 50, was elected by a narrow margin in 2010 after failing once before, in 1996, to win a congressional seat. A rising GOP star, Walsh serves on the House Homeland Security Committee’s counterterrorism and intelligence panel, considered a key spot for a freshman congressman. Before entering politics Walsh, one of nine children who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, worked with disadvantaged youth and ran a privately funded voucher program that gives high school scholarships to low-income Chicago eighth graders.

A victory for the Democrats in this race would not only advance their fight to win back the House of Representatives but also deliver a blow to one of the symbols of the Republican Tea Party ideology that swept Congress in the 2010 elections.

In their clashes over the Middle East, the two candidates have thus far proven worthy of all the national attention they are getting.

“We need to give up on this dangerous and delusional myth of two states,” Walsh said in a June 29 interview with the Forward. “It is impossible to have two states as long as one neighbor hates the other and does not recognize his right to exist.”

Walsh has also taken strong stances on other issues affecting the region. Following the recent victory of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi in the Egyptian presidential race, Walsh called on the administration to cut all foreign aid to Egypt until the new leader clarifies his views on the Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel.

Duckworth, in an interview with the Forward, criticized Walsh’s views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying she could not see how a one-state solution “helps Israel or helps Israel reach peace.” She added that all Israeli leaders had expressed their support for a solution in which two states, a Jewish Israel and a Palestinian one, live peacefully side by side.

The two candidates have also sparred over the issue of Iran, with Walsh accusing President Obama of being weak and “emboldening the enemies of Israel and of the United States.” Duckworth responds that a credible military option should be on the table, but America should not rush to war. “Sometimes it is easy for politicians like Walsh to volunteer other people’s children to go to wars,” she told the Forward, noting that members of her family have served in the military in every conflict since the Revolutionary War.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.