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Unlike fellow Dems, Jewish senator Ossoff favors tight-lipped approach on Israel

12 10 1

WASHINGTON — Freshman United States lawmaker John Ossoff was one of four Democratic senators who traveled to Israel and the West Bank earlier this month for meetings with political leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

But he was the only one not to participate in a post-trip press briefing, where the other three lawmakers divulged details on what was said in some of the closed-door meetings and specified their points of disagreement with the Israeli and Palestinian leadership.

While Ossoff’s absence could well have been chalked up to a scheduling conflict, a subsequent interview with The Times of Israel indicated that it had more to do with a difference in style the 34-year-old senator from Georgia has from his Democratic colleagues.

The J Street endorsee refrained from voicing any criticism of Israeli and Palestinian leaders during the 15-minute phone call. Instead, he used the opportunity to lay out his strategy for maximizing the US role in conflict mediation, which Ossoff maintained would require close personal relationships with key figures on the ground.

Ossoff said that he used the trip — his first mission since entering office eight months ago — to begin building those relationships. Whatever disagreements the Democratic lawmaker may have with the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships, he was careful not to air them publicly, in an apparent effort to avoid ruffling feathers right out of the gate.

His reticence may also be tied to the complex political reality in Georgia, where Ossoff and fellow Democrat Raphael Warnock pulled off narrow upsets over Republican frontrunners in elections where candidates deemed it necessary to flash their pro-Israel bona fides in........

© The Times of Israel

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