Mr Kevin Caldwell's Responses to Questionnaire for MD's Congressional District 6 from Freedom2Boycott in Maryland
Six questions, each followed by responses written by candidates Candidate Kevin Caldwell (Libertarian), www.electkevincaldwell.com. The questions were asked and responses were provided in January 2018.
Question 1: The Israel Anti-Boycott Act
In December of 2016, the UN Security Council Security Council passed Resolution 2334which declared that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank “have no legal validity”. President Obama allowed this resolution to pass without veto in December 2016. In early 2017, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bill entitled the Israeli Anti-Boycott Act (S-720). This bill would restrict certain boycotts against these settlements and/or against Israel itself. An identical bill has been introduced in the House by Republican Congressman Peter Roksam (R-IL-06) as HR 1697.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act has become embroiled in controversy. It is opposed by the ACLU, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD-07) and by Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) because they say it infringes on Americans’ constitutional rights. Indeed, in a landmark 1982 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that to boycott is a right protected by the First Amendment. Do you support or oppose HR-1697?
RESPONSE by Candidate Kevin Caldwell __X__Oppose
“HR-1697 could facilitate the denial of a citizens first amendment rights. It is every citizen’s right to peacefully protest in a manner of their choosing any policy, legislation, or position of the peoples government. The most fundamental issue with this bill is the use of the law as a means of coercion to force American citizens into participating in actions they may object to by not allowing them the freedom to refrain from participating in commerce with a foreign nation, no matter the reasoning. Even more egregious is the fact that our Congress has allowed the influence of foreign lobbyist to disregard the rights of Americans. Our rights or our rights to rights can be bought and sold upon the international auction block. Congress has a history of destroying our liberties one by one to serve the agendas of their lobbying paymasters.”
Question 2: Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s pro-human rights bill
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) has introduced a bill entitled Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act (HR-4391). It would prohibit U.S. assistance to Israel from being used to support the military detention, interrogation, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international humanitarian law. Do you support HR-4391?
RESPONSE by Candidate Kevin Caldwell __X_Yes
“Not a single dollar of U.S. taxpayers’ private property should ever be allowed to be used to violate the human rights of individuals of any nation for any purpose. Congress should be on record supporting this & the Government of Israel should be held to the highest standard of reporting and verification to ensure that these practices are ended. Withholding of all funding should be on the table as a consequence of continued violations. The legislation has to be more than just empty words there must be accountability and action taken if violations continue otherwise there is no true deterrent and we will be engaging in empty rhetoric for the entire world to see. As a nation founded on the rights of the individual we should lead the world by example.”
Question 3: Military Aid to Israel
Despite being the biggest recipient of U.S. aid of any country in the world, Israel continues to defy the U.S. by expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank, demolishing Palestinian homes, and maintaining a devastating blockade of the Gaza Strip. A 2016 public opinion poll conducted by the Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland found that 60% of Democrats, and 31% of Republicans favor some economic sanctions against Israel for expanding settlements. And yet, the U.S. continues to supply Israel with vast amounts of military aid. In 2016 President Obama signed a deal to give Israel over $38 billion over the next decade, and Trump is continuing that policy.
Do you support ending or reducing U.S. military aid to Israel until it abides by international and U.S. law?
RESPONSE by Candidate Kevin Caldwell ___x__Yes
“It has been part of my platform form the beginning, I advocate for ending the subsidizing of any foreign military. The lobbyist from Israel & the U.S. military industrial complex have massive influence over both major parties. To actually end this aid and other aid we must put in office those from a party not beholden to those groups.”
Question 4: AIPAC-sponsored trips to the Middle East
Members of Congress frequently visit Israel on all-expense-paid trips funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC is well known to be hostile to Palestinian human rights, and these trips provide a very one-sided perspective to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Will you refuse any AIPAC-sponsored trip to the Middle East (often arranged by AIPAC’s affiliate, the American Israel Education Foundation)?
RESPONSE by Candidate Kevin Caldwell __x_Yes (I will refuse such offers.)
“I will state on record that I will not accept these offers. I further state that I would be amenable to being shown the realities on the ground by a group form the other side, if all concerns could be satisfied.”
Question 5: The illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank
As a member of Congress, you will frequently be asked to take a position on the Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank. These settlements are illegal under international law. Do you dispute their illegality?
RESPONSE by Candidate Kevin Caldwell __x__No (I do not dispute their illegality.)
“It is true that several international bodies The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice and the High Contracting Parties have all affirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention does apply. If the two sides are to ever reach any real peace settlement the issue of these lands will have to be addressed and rectified without question. This is one of the most pressing issues facing the world. We the U.S. should do all we can to facilitate a peaceful solution, even if that means requiring an ally such as Israel to comply with the ruling of these international bodies. The law international or otherwise should be honored by all nations. As a country founded on the principle of equal protection and application of the law we must lead by example in its following.”
Question 6: The Status of Jerusalem
In the 1967 Middle East War, Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan and annexed it to Israel. This act was condemned by the world community and to this day, Jerusalem remains disputed as a capital claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. For decades all world governments had withheld recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital pending agreement between Palestinians and Israel on a comprehensive peace deal and maintained their embassies in Tel Aviv. All previous US administrations -- both Republican and Democratic -- stuck to that position.
On December 6 2017, President Trump announced that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the U.S. Embassy would be moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This about-face was repudiated by a vote in the UN Security Council of 14-1 and by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 128-9 with 35 abstentions.
Do you support or oppose President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without a comprehensive agreement to end the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians?
RESPONSE by Candidate Kevin Caldwell ___x_Support
“In truth the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been part of U.S. policy since the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. We have the right as a Sovereign Nation to recognize another nation’s capital. This action does not change my desires for peace negotiations. It does not mean I dispute Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem, or mean I oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. Maybe if the will exist in Congress we can use the recognition to persuade Israel to honor Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem and recognize it as Palestine’s Capital. I am neither pro one side or anti the other. I seek peace with all nations & between all nations for the benefit of all mankind.”
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While there are many candidate races in 2018, the Freedom to Boycott Coalition limited its survey to candidates for the Congressional District 6 (CD-6) race, as there is a bill circulating in Congress related to penalizing entities that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign against the Israeli Occupation. Incumbents in other Congressional races have already shared their position on the legislation. Since the CD-6 incumbent is leaving office, this was a key opportunity to share with our membership, the candidates’ positions related to BDS.
It was also an opportunity to gather information about CD-6 candidates’ positions related to the Israeli settlements, military aid to Israel, the relocation to the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and Israeli Lobby campaigns (e.g., AIPAC visits). All CD-6 candidates from all parties who had registered with the Board of Elections in early January, 2018, were contacted by e-mail. In addition, we followed up with phone calls to those who had provided contact information. Each candidate was given approximately two weeks to respond.
In addition to the candidate questionnaire, Freedom to Boycott members have submitted questions during a Candidate Forum. Video clips also provide more detail regarding CD-6 candidates’ views on these important issues to our constituency. Visit us at Freedom2boycottMD.com.