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Wasserman Schultz’s Challenger, Tim Canova, is Even More “Pro-Israel” Than She Is

Congressional candidate Tim Canova, a professor of law and public finance, is widely depicted as being a progressive challenger to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman Schultz, of course, chairs the Democratic National Committee and has rightly come in for lots of criticism on a host of issues.

Canova was recently endorsed by Bernie Sanders. Sanders, at the New York debate with Hillary Clinton in April had showed some minimal concern for rights of Palestinians, rare in U.S. politics, saying that Israel’s attack on Gaza was “disproportionate.”

Recently however, on MSNBC, Canova criticized Wasserman Schultz for being unreliable on a host of issues, then added: “even support for Israel, people don’t know where she stands.”

The subject of Israel doesn’t come up in many pieces on Canova, including his lengthy interview with Glenn Greenwald early this year.

As the Jewish Daily Forward recently noted: “when it comes to Israel and the Middle East, Canova is trying to take on Wasserman Schultz from the right.”

Canova’s website states he “visited Israel many times … returning to his former kibbutz as a volunteer time and again, and participating in workshops on citizenship, war, and counter-terrorism at Tel Aviv University.”

He’s also adopted an extremely anti-Iran position. Writes AP: “Despite the big fundraising haul, Canova faces a daunting task to defeat a strong a Jewish Democratic incumbent in a district dominated by Jewish and Hispanic voters, where U.S. relations with Israel and Cuba are debated as often as jobs and the economy. … Canova supports ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba but believes it must be done ‘in stages.’ He said ‘trade liberalization needs political liberalization.’ He thinks the landmark Iran nuclear agreement was filled with ‘holes’ and that it was wrong to give Iran access to $100 billion in frozen assets.”

Canova has said: “I would like to see a Palestinian state, [but] to me, I don’t see how you have one as long as all of these neighbors of Israel still don’t recognize its right to exist … as long as Iran is still funding Hamas, [as long as] Saudi Arabia has telethons for families of suicide bombers!

In contrast, apparently Saudi Arabia’s misogyny, authoritarianism, blood soaked interventions and invasions and fine with Canova. Well, the same would seem to be true regarding Israel’s bigotry and carnage.

I should note I use the term “pro-Israel” with implied scare quotes. An increasingly aggressive Israel could be “successful” in perpetuating oppression. And it could be disastrous for many, including many of the Jewish citizens of Israel.

The funny part is that I’ve promoted Canova on Institute for Public Accuracy news releases. But then again, unlike lots of folks, I try not to have a litmus test for people. I try to put people on news releases for what they’re best at. And Canova seems sharp and good on financial issues, so I use him on that without prejudice for how is when it comes to Israel.

It often doesn’t work the other way. I’ve had odd looks for working with “rightwingers” on some issues. I find that there’s often a whole series of double standards associated with that. If you only want to work with people who agree with you across the board, fine. Do that. If you’re flexible about who you work with, fine, do that. But there’s something really wrong when people have a litmus test sometimes, but not others.

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Sam Husseini is founder of the website VotePact.org

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