CD 5 race: Bergen GOP Chairman Yudin challenges Cho, national Dems on Israel

HACKENSACK – Some observers may claim that Congressional candidate Roy Cho’s recent trip to Israel was a step beyond what most first-time candidates do. But Bergen Republican Chairman Bob Yudin’s response to the Democrats’ Fifth Congressional District candidate’s visit to Israel was that Cho is out of step with the national Democratic Party.

“Mr. Cho is completely out of step with the rank and file of the Democratic Party. The majority of the rank-and-file Democrats are not supporting the way Israel is defending itself from Hamas terrorists,” Yudin told PolitickerNJ in reference to the ongoing conflict along the frontier of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip that began with a wave of rocket attacks. “The polling data clearly shows that.”

Yudin referred in part to a Gallup poll released last month that indicated that 65 percent of Republicans asked thought Israel’s actions in the current Middle East conflict are justified, with 21 percent believing they are unjustified and the rest expressing no opinion. Of the Democrats polled, 31 percent thought that Israel’s actions were justified, with 47 percent believing they are unjustified and the rest expressing no opinion. 

Yudin, whose son and grandson have served in the Israeli Defense Forces, also referred to a report in the Wall Street Journal that indicated that the United States government had put the sending of a batch of Hellfire missiles to Israel meant to aid in the country’s defense on hold.

“President [Barack] Obama is now insisting on holding back armaments that Israel is using to defend itself to pressure Israel into negotiating with the terrorist Hamas organization. It is clear that the Democratic Party does not support Israel’s right to defend itself,” Yudin said. “[Incumbent U.S. Rep.] Scott Garrett (R-5) and the rest of the Republican Party support Israel 100 percent.”

Yudin also noted that Garrett, a six-term incumbent, has a “positive and responsive” relationship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the prominent pro-Israel lobbying group. 

“We’ve got a Republican congressman that not only says that he supports Israel, he practices it,” Yudin, an AIPAC member, said. “We’re talking about the survival of Israel. That’s an important issue. Mr. Cho says he’s for Israel, but his party is not for Israel, and his president is not for Israel.” 

Cho, in an interview with PolitickerNJ on Wednesday immediately after his return from his 60-hour-long trip to Israel, refuted Yudin’s views.

“The way in which [Yudin] describes Scott Garrett’s relationship with Israel is problematic, and almost dangerous in a way,” Cho said. “Just because one member of Congress, who happens to be an incumbent, has shown strong support for Israel, regardless of his intentions or motivations, that doesn’t mean that me as a challenger cannot show as strong as support for Israel.

“Hamas has to make a decision as to who they are – are they a terrorist organization, or are they a government that we can negotiate with? Intentionally embedding itself within their own civilian population while they are fighting this war shows that they are not ready,” Cho continued. “My cultural values are those of somebody who grew up in New Jersey and who identifies with the Jewish culture broadly, as well somebody who understands the foreign policy importance of our relationship with Israel. This is an important issue to me regardless of what Scott Garrett or Bob Yudin happens to think about this particular situation. We need leadership in D.C. that is able to connect the dots.” 

CD 5 race: Bergen GOP Chairman Yudin challenges Cho, national Dems on Israel