Dold makes issue out of group against Iranian sanctions' contributions to Schneider

Dold makes issue out of group against Iranian sanctions' contributions to Schneider

Posted by Kerry Lester on Fri, 10/26/2012 - 13:26

Congressman Bob Dold is making issue of campaign contributions his Democratic opponent - who has stated support for tough Iran sanctions - has received from a group that argues Iran poses no current threat to the United States.

The Kenilworth Republican referenced the group, Council for a Livable World, during a news conference following his debate this week with Brad Schneider of Deerfield on WTTW-11.

The group has sparked controversy in tight U.S. Senate races across the country - but this is the first time it's been mentioned in this area.

"Brad is supportive of Israel but there are some clear differences when it comes to Iran," Dold, of Kenilworth, said.

You've read our previous reporting on how, in a district where nearly one-quarter of voters are Jewish, the wild card in the nailbiter 10th Congressional race might well be Israel.

In the past, the North Shore district has bucked voting trends, with Highland Park Republican Mark Kirk peeling away traditional Jewish Democratic votes by combining a socially moderate platform with efforts to strengthen Israel. But now, for the first time since Lauren Beth Gash lost by 2 percentage points to Kirk in 2000, the Republican incumbent faces an opponent who has deep ties to the local Jewish community. Schneider boasts “more trips to Israel than he can count” and past work in a kibbutz as he challenges Dold in a newly drawn, more Democratic-leaning 10th District.

By pointing out Schneider's $2,000 in donations from the Council, Dold is angling to swing Jewish independent votes back to him.

The council - which previously supported Waukegan community organizer Ilya Sheyman in the Democratic primary - has criticized Dold for saying that containing Iran from having a nuclear weapon is not the right approach.

"Unfortunately, United States policy has been to publicly threaten and insult Iran while taking provocative actions such as adopting a policy of regime change, attempting to increase unilateral sanctions, deploying additional military assets in the region, and arresting Iranian representatives in Iraq," says the council's research arm, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

It also notes that "Iran does not pose an imminent threat to the U.S. and is unlikely to do so for years, perhaps as long as a decade according to American intelligence estimates."

Dold says that "weakens our diplomacy."

In his own news conference following the WTTW-11 debate, Schneider called Iran "the greatest threat, not just to Israel, not just to the United States, to the world's security."

He noted he supports President Barack Obama's policy of "prevention, not containment" of a nuclear-armed Iran.

"I know where I stand," Schneider said. "I know as a member of Congress ... I will make sure the U.S. relationship with Israel remains strong, that the U.S. security around the world remains strong, and that the U.S. support for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians remains strong."

He said he's "disappointed that his opponent has chosen to make Israel a partisan issue, something that "may reflect a lack of understanding."

Schneider's team has not returned requests for further comment. But in a Chicago Tribune editorial questionnaire, he noted "a state sponsor of global terrorism and supplier of weapons to terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons capabilities. The United States has, and must continue to take the lead in isolating Iran diplomatically and to establish and enforce sustainable, increasingly tightening sanctions. Sanctions on the Iranian economy must be broad and deep, so as to persuade Iran’s people that their national interests are best served by abandoning their nuclear ambitions."

Two other Democratic congressional candidates - David Gill, who is running in the 13th District against Republican Rodney Davis, and Cheri Bustos, who is running in the 17th District against Congressman Bobby Schilling - have also received donations from the Council.

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