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Wednesday - January 10, 2018 12:49 am

Debate over timing of pro-Israel bill in Madison

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Republicans Leah Vukmir (left) and Dale Kooyenga in Madison on Tuesday debating Israel legislation. Republicans Leah Vukmir (left) and Dale Kooyenga in Madison on Tuesday debating Israel legislation.

Critics wonder about the timing of a bill making the rounds in Madison that seeks to support Israel.

State lawmakers held a public hearing on the bill this week, during which, Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Leah Vukmir, currently a state senator, had to defend bringing the issue forward now.

"It's embarrassing that we should even be turning this into something political," Vukmir said. "This is something that is about good public policy, to support Israel, who has been with us, and we will continue to be with them. I know I will."

The proposal would ban local and state governments, and any contractor that does government work in the state, from signing on to a boycott of Israel.

The move comes in response to the so-called BDS movements, looking to punish Israel for treatment of Palestinians.

Supporters of a pro-Israel legislative proposal in Madison don't see anything to argue about. Vukmir found herself in a testy exchange with Democrat Tim Carpenter over the politics of the bill.

"You said this is embarrassing?" Carpenter said, with Vukmir protesting in the background. "It is embarrassing because you're deciding to run for congress and you want to raise this as an issue."

Vukmir, who called any opposition to the bill anti-semitic, is running to unseat Democratic U.S Senator Tammy Baldwin in the November election.

Republican state rep. Dale Kooyenga said it should be nothing to argue about. He believes Israel needs more support from its allies.

"Right now, as we stand today, our ally Israel is being ostracised," he said. "If you don't believe that, look at what's going on with the United Nations."

Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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