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Dershowitz: Christie's Speech at Jewish Event 'Inappropriate'

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Monday, 19 May 2014 05:25 PM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's speech before a Jewish charity over the weekend, in which he never mentioned Israel, was essentially a campaign speech that had no place at the event, renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz says.

"I thought it was a stump speech. It was somewhat inappropriate for a charitable event which had Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, everybody talking about people who do a great deal of good to the world," Dershowitz told J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

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"The governor got up and made essentially a stump speech as compared to Gov. [Rick] Perry of Texas, who got up and made an extremely appropriate speech in which he did mention Israel . . . [and] Jewish values," Dershowitz said Monday.

Story continues below video.

On Sunday, Christie made a foreign policy speech at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala in New York City, saying the United States had to be more involved in world affairs.

"America is no longer sending clear signals to the world. Consistent signals," Christie said.

"Signals like the ones Ronald Reagan sent when he was president as to who our friends are, and we will stand with them without a doubt, and who our enemies are, who we will oppose regardless of the cost."

But Christie steered clear of the subject of Israel and its ongoing issues with the Palestinians.

"It's almost as if Gov. Christie went into his vest pocket and picked out, 'Oh, I think I'll make speech number seven, stump speech,'" said Dershowitz, a veteran Harvard Law School professor.

"It was very critical of Obama, very critical of the current administration. It didn't seem particularly appropriate . . . [It] seemed more appropriate to a political campaign than to a Jewish charitable event."

Dershowitz, an impassioned champion of the rights of Israel, said he would urge Christie to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he is serious about seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

"Everybody benefits from sitting down with Bibi Netanyahu. Bibi Netanyahu has been my friend since 1973. We don't agree about everything, but I wouldn't dream of taking a trip to Israel without sitting down with [him]," Dershowitz said.

"Gov. Christie, if he's going to be a national figure, should be sitting down with America's most important ally in the Middle East and learning the most current views on the Iran crisis, on the Syrian crisis, on every other issue."

Dershowitz, who attended the event, said he thought a "number of people" there noticed Christie's omission of Israel.

"By inference he talked about the Middle East, he talked about American allies," he said.

"So, my criticism was more of the stump nature of the speech than about what he omitted or included."

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