U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) discussed in a telephone interview with the CJN Thursday the United States’ relationship with Israel based on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit with President Barak Obama and the Israeli prime minister’s address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., recently.

The meeting between the two leaders received worldwide attention when Obama announced Israel needs to return to her 1967 borders to further the peace process with mutually agreed upon land swaps.  Netanyahu responded that his country would not return to those borders which he  called "indefensible."

Although Brown said critics took Obama’s statement out of context, he agrees with Netanyahu that Israel cannot go back to pre-1967 borders because of security risks.

“I am very concerned about that way of thinking, but based on other statements made by the president, I believe the two men are moving closer to an understanding and are definitely heading in the right direction,” Brown said.

When Brown addressed the Ohio Delegation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., he firmly rejected the Palestinians’ current request for unilateral recognition by the United Nations.

“I am a firm supporter of the Cardin-Collins resolution that expresses opposition to recognizing any Palestinian unity government unless that government accepts Israel’s right to exist, reaffirms previous agreements made with Israel and publicly and formally rejects terrorism,” he said.

As to the Palestinian desire for the right of return, Brown quoted Netanyahu who said, “We recognize the Palestinian Authority should have a government and they need to recognize that the state of Israel needs to exist.”

Brown bristles when people say that President George W. Bush was better for Israel than Obama and urged people to step back and get a historical perspective.

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