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Israel becoming issue in Florida Senate primary

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From Politico: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Washington this week amid unaccustomed tension between the two allies — a strain that is now playing out in House and Senate races across the 2010 election landscape.

The White House-Israel feud over settlement building in East Jerusalem has Republicans racing to attack the White House as squishy and disloyal to Israel, weak-kneed on foreign policy and even soft on Iran. Democrats, meanwhile, are dealing with sensitive intraparty conflicts between those who want to reiterate America’s strong support for Israel and a more dovish wing that insists a tougher approach to Israel is the best way to push the peace process forward.

“I think candidates are just hiding under their desks because no one wants to get into this,” said Steve Rabinowitz, a longtime Democratic strategist and Clinton administration official who has advised Jewish groups. “This week, the answer is to just not dance.”

In Florida’s Senate race, a spokesman for Republican candidate Marco Rubio told the pro-Israel publication Commentary that the White House had “sent a message that America is not as committed to Israel as it once had been.” Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek, meanwhile, put out a coolly worded statement criticizing the administration for using “undiplomatic language” with Israel.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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