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Ryan outlines controversial Middle East views

Nov 10, 2023 1:55 am

Timmy Facciola reports for the Times Union that Rep. Pat Ryan says his 18th Congressional District includes two families with relatives who were taken hostage by Hamas at the beginning of the war with Israel. The war has Ryan pulled all sorts of ways by constituents and donations. Many people showed up at two recent protests calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas War on Oct. 25 in Poughkeepsie and on Nov. 9 in Kingston. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC has gave Ryan nearly $26,000 to his 2022 congressional campaign. On the hostages Ryan said, "Two families in the district have relations currently held by Hamas as hostages. There are about a dozen American hostages; two of them are from Goshen. I’ve been texting and speaking almost daily with the niece of these two individuals, who are 72 and 73 years old. They were out on a morning walk in their kibbutz when they were taken hostage. We think the gentleman, 73, was shot by Hamas terrorists. We have no idea where they are now. The last time their phone was pinged by the Israeli Defense Forces, they were in Gaza. So we’re working night and day, 24/7 to do everything we can to get them home." Ryan also decried what has spilled over from the war into this country. Ryan said, "Now, we’re at near unprecedented levels, at least in my lifetime, of both antisemitism and Islamophobia. We’ve had many more incidences of antisemitism reported to us — not to say that there aren’t others that haven’t been reported.... Personally, my wife and her family are Jewish. It’s very scary talking to rabbis and religious leaders across the district. Their fear about just having their congregations meet for services is unprecedented. It is infuriating and also saddening that we’ve reached this point where we’re pitting American against American. That’s exactly what our adversaries in Iran and in Hamas want." Ryan voted with Republicans Marc Molinaro and Elise Stefanik on a measure put forth by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to censure Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib for making a statement using a phrase many Israelis say is antisemitic. But, in the interview with the Daily Freeman, Ryan refused to disavow an extremely similar statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Ryan said, "I’ve not heard him say that. What’s clear to anyone who wants to see a resolution here, who’s studied the history, and who’s followed the facts on the ground, is the only durable solution is a two-state solution, which I certainly remain committed to, which the United States has to remain committed to." Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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