New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is known for his sharp tongue and direct approach. While this has earned him kudos in some circles, his comments have also cost him plenty of support along the way.
One of the most devastating losses the expected presidential candidate has endured recently came in the wake of a phrase he used to describe Israel that many consider not only insensitive but inaccurate. Speaking before a gathering of Republican Jewish Coalition members last week, he described the nation’s Judea and Samaria region as “occupied territories.”
Not only did he receive significant backlash from a variety of sources almost immediately; reports indicate a leading voice within the community has since withdrawn his support of the Republican heavyweight. Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein has recently announced he will not endorse Christie ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Furthermore, Klein is influential in the life of Sheldon Adelson, a Republican donor who contributed more than $40 million to the GOP in 2012.
Soon after Christie made the comment, Klein said he approached the governor in an effort to explain why many in the Jewish community were upset.
“The term occupied territories is a false term used by the enemies of Israel to make it sound like Israel has stolen Arab land,” Klein said, recalling his conversation with Christie.
“To be occupied you have to have taken over someone’s legal sovereign area,” he continued, adding he explained to Christie that “the Jewish people have a greater religious, cultural, and historical claim” to the area “than any Arabs and that the term used to refer to the West Bank should be ‘disputed territories.’”
Instead of responding with understanding, Klein lamented that Christie largely dismissed the concern, saying, “I saw you shaking your head when I used that term.”
At that time, Christie was reportedly unreceptive to the request to modify his language. In the interim, however, he seems to have reconsidered. Klein noted that the governor has since apologized to Adelson privately, though his sincerity remains in question.
“He is worried about Sheldon supporting him financially,” Klein explained, noting Christie revealed “the real answer with me because there was no ulterior motive there. I don’t believe his apology for one second.”
While Klein maintains it would be inappropriate to directly advise Adelson to curtail any financial support of Christie, he is making his opinion on the matter perfectly clear.
“Governor Christie either has no understanding of the truth of the issues affecting Israel, or he is hostile to Israel,” he said. “Either way I am very uncomfortable.”
–B. Christopher Agee
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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commoms)
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom