Tonight three of Maryland's Democratic Congressman held a town-hall meeting at the War Memorial Building in Baltimore. During the question-and-answer session one audience-member, Owen Andrews, asked Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-02) why he co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.
Congressman Ruppersberger gave a circular response which didn't adequately answer the question:
"I thank you for your question. I feel very strongly about human rights. I happen to specialize in the area of national security. I'm on the committee that gives money to different countries including Palestine and all parts of the Middle East. But we do have a very dangerous country out there with a lot of threats in Israel who is our ally also. I've met with Assad -- years ago before he did the terrible things that he's done -- talking about the Palestinian/Israeli issue and at this point I feel I'm on the right side of the issue as it relates to national security with our ally.
But let me say this: There are going to be a lot of issues that different people in this room might disagree with me or other members. The most important thing is you make your judgements on who we are and what we do and look at our record. But the number one issue -- and it happened in the last election -- when we didn't come together as Democrats look where we are and what we had. And what I thought, and I say this to my peers on the other side of the aisle: Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm your enemy. I understand that you have a different point of view. I listen to it. I respect it. And believe me, there are a lot of elements in there that I know that I feel that I made the right decision there. But I thank you for your question. And its an important issue when it comes to human rights."
Watch Congressman Ruppersberger's response to Owen here.