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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
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‘The UN Is No Longer Serious’: An Interview with Congressman Bob Turner

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New York City Rep. Bob Turner (R-Queens and Brooklyn) is a candidate for the U.S. Senate Republican nomination in the June 26 primary.

The Jewish Press: In general, should the U.S. tilt toward Israel in disputes with its neighbors? What is the basis for your position?

Turner: The U.S. has an obligation to stand by its democratic allies, and we have no more stalwart ally than Israel. Israel has been the only serious player in the peace process. There is no moral equivalence between the enemies of Israel and the Israeli state, and every American needs to understand that.

Is Israel treated fairly in the UN and its affiliated agencies?

Generally, should the United States support Israel when it is attacked in the UN and other international organizations?

The United Nations is no longer a serious world entity. It is a chronically corrupt organization and a bastion of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. I wish I could report otherwise. The idea of the United Nations was inspired, but it has atrophied into what it is today.

Do you believe, as does President Obama, that the 1967 borders, with “swaps,” should be the starting point for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on final borders? Why?

The only starting point for negotiations is the full recognition of the State of Israel. Do Israel’s enemies forget that she was attacked in 1967?

Should Israel halt settlement building as a precondition for negotiations with the Palestinians? Why?

Rockets continue to land on Israeli territory and the Palestinian Authority does nothing about it. The PA openly supports terrorists by supporting the families of convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons. I would begin negotiations by withdrawing all U.S. funding for the PA only until those actions cease for a period of at least six months. If that condition was met and funding were to begin again, we should require a full accounting of every dollar spent.

Should Israel commit, in advance of negotiations, to the release of Palestinians whom it has jailed for violence committed against Israelis?

I would never agree to such an arrangement.

Should American policy favor Israel’s retention of the major Jewish population centers in West Bank settlements? Why?

That decision should be left to the Israeli government.

Do you believe American policy should be to support Israel retaining all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital? Why?

American policy should be to support the democratic decisions of the Israeli people. If that is their wish, we must respect and support it.

Should the United States move its embassy to Jerusalem?

Yes, I would support that. It would be a help if this administration in Washington would begin recognizing Jerusalem as a part of Israel.

Do you believe that parochial school students and their parents are entitled to the same assistance for the secular portion of their education as public school students and their parents?

Yes. In fact, I introduced The Teach Act in Congress to do just that. The Teach Act would give families a tax credit up to $5,000 for children attending religious or private elementary or secondary schools.

Would you support legislation that would require the reasonable accommodation of religious practices for tenants, prisoners and students (e.g., for mezuzahs, sukkahs, electronic keys, kosher food in prisons, tournaments scheduled for Saturday/religious holidays) as it is now required in employment (“reasonable accommodation without undue hardship”) for employees?

Yes.

What is your view about the continued imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard?

Jonathan Pollard has served 27 years. He has paid a disproportionate price for his transgressions when compared to other Americans convicted of treason – for non-allied and enemy nations! I have met with Mr. Pollard in federal prison and have advocated his release. I will continue to do so in the U.S. Senate.

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