Democratic 2020 candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg told a group of Jewish leaders Thursday that the U.S. should “guide” Israel away from “harmful” policies.
“The right approach comes about when you have an ally or a friend [who] is taking steps that you think are harmful and you put your arm around your friend and try to guide them somewhere else. That’s part of how our alliance works. And I think American leadership is needed, in particular, with respect to our ally Israel at a moment like this,” Buttigieg said to a group of more than 40 prominent Jewish religious and political leaders.
The event was hosted in the D.C. offices of Jewish communications firm Bluelight Strategies on Thursday. Among those present were prominent Jewish activists and community leaders, including “former Mideast peace negotiator Amb. Dennis Ross, Executive Director of the Washington Institute Rob Satloff, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Democratic pollster Mark Mellman and Alan Gross, the former USAID contractor who was detained in Cuba for five years,” according to The Times of Israel.
During the meeting, Buttigieg reportedly expressed concerns with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership.
“The way I think about our relationship with Israel … is in some ways the way I think about my relationship with the United States,” Buttigieg said. (RELATED: Linda Sarsour Defends Rep. Omar’s Israel Comments)
“As a loyal, patriotic American, I do not believe that means I have to be loyal to the political agenda of the current administration in Washington,” he continued.
Buttigieg added that Israel was not the only one to blame for ongoing regional conflict, saying, “One of the biggest problems is we don’t have the right kinds of partners in leadership on the Palestinian side.”
“I believe that this move to walk away from peace will harm Israeli interest, will continue to contribute to the immiseration of the Palestinian people, and is not good for the U.S either,” Buttigieg explained to WaPo.
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