There's been a bit of a kerfuffle in the Senate race about Joe Sestak's support for Israel and -- as peace talks commenced here in D.C. this week -- Sestak visited an Orthodox Jewish organization in Philly to discuss the Holy Land. According to the Orthodox Union's press release on the meeting, Sestak told them he regretted signing onto a controversial letter urging President Barack Obama to help ease Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip. The letter was written in January and signed by 54 House members. The only other Pennsylvanian to join Sestak was Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Philadelphia. The Gaza blockade turned deadly in May with an Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla sent to break the blockade.
Sestak told the Orthodox Union that he wished he had sent a separate letter rather than signing onto the "Gaza 54" missive, but it's unclear what exactly he would have advocated for. Asked about his appearance before the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sestak told the group it was because "he believes in speaking with all, including those who disagree with him."
The Orthodox Union does not endorse candidates, and Howie Beigelman, the organization's deputy director of public policy, issued a statement saying:
The Congressman didn't shy away from any question and is ready to dialogue with our community even on issues where we may strenuously disagree. At this point, that is as much as we could ask of him and we appreciate his willingness to meet and discuss both foreign and domestic issues. We look forward to a similar dialogue with Congressman Toomey as well.
(h/t Ben Smith)