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Debbie Wasserman Schultz hits back on Tim Canova call to disarm Middle East, Israel

After Debbie Wasserman Schultz had accused her Democratic congressional opponent, Tim Canova, of wanting to disarm Israel, Canova changed the wording on his website.

But Wasserman Schultz is not taking her foot off the pedal on the issue.

“The best way to protect American and Israeli security is to focus on disarming those actors who threaten it,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement issued Monday afternoon. “Throughout my time in Congress I have co-sponsored legislation to impose sanctions on Iran and its proxies for their use of weapons.

“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I have consistently voted in support of defensive weapons programs like the Iron Dome for Israel.

“Given that Israel is surrounded by dangerous state actors and terrorist organizations committed to its destruction, disarming Israel is not only unrealistic, it would be one of the gravest international security disasters of our time.”

As the Miami Herald reports, Canova’s website had originally said:

“The U.S. must do everything in its power to reverse the militarization of the region, including full diplomatic efforts to negotiate a general disarmament for the entire region that includes nuclear, missile, and conventional arms reductions.

“We should recognize that peace and security for Israel, the U.S., and the rest of the world is no longer possible without general disarmament and fundamental political and social reforms throughout the Middle East.

“We must work to bring about such reform as much as possible through nonviolent peaceful means using the full range of U.S. economic and diplomatic power.”

But in Sunday morning’s debate on CBS4, Canova said he only meant Saudi Arabia and Iran, not Israel.

The language on his website now says:

“The U.S. must do everything in its power to reverse the militarization of the region, including full diplomatic efforts to negotiate a general disarmament for the entire region that includes nuclear, missile, and conventional arms reductions.

“We should recognize that peace and security for Israel, the U.S., and the rest of the world is no longer possible without general disarmament and fundamental political and social reforms — specifically in Iran, Saudi Arabia and among other state sponsors of terror — throughout the Middle East.

“We must work to bring about such reform as much as possible through nonviolent peaceful means using the full range of U.S. economic and diplomatic power.”

During Sunday’s debate, Canova attempted to put Wasserman Schultz on the defensive for her support for the Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by the U.S. and its Western allies more than a year ago.

And he doubled down on that point earlier Monday, referring to her previous public statements that suggested she had received as much information about the project as possible.

Citing Wasserman Schultz’ own words that she was given “the most thorough review that any member was given access to” regarding the nuclear deal, Canova is now asking: “Was Wasserman Schultz part of the plan to sell a bad deal to the American people, or did she get duped herself?

“Was she distracted by her other full-time job as head of the Democratic National Committee, or protecting that position by going along with the White House on a bad deal?

“Either way, Floridians deserve much more effective and reliable leadership from their elected representatives.”

Both candidates are now trying to prove who’s tougher in protecting Israel.

While Canova has changed the language regarding “general disarmament” throughout the Middle East, the Wasserman Schultz camp sent a link to reporters on a lengthy Reddit “Ask me Anything” discussion Canova had back in January.

There he wrote:

“I do support a two-state solution. We need to use a lot of carrots and sticks to get there and not just directed at Israel, but also the regional powers that have armed Hamas. I would favor a real disarmament effort for the entire region. U.S., European, Russian, and Chinese arms dealers are making enormous profits selling advanced weaponry and small arms to just about every country in the region.

“This has led to militarization and fear on all sides of these conflicts (including Arab-Israeli and Sunni-Shiite). I favor a freeze on settlements, and the administration has to make this a big priority. I have opposed the Patriot Act and its reauthorizations, and I’m skeptical of CISA.

“I believe search warrants should be required for the government to surveil private communications in US territory.”

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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