As a longtime board member of Netroots Nation who saw Sen. Cory Booker at this year’s conference as well as a longtime board member of the Jewish Social Policy Action Network, I’m perhaps uniquely suited to shed light on his recent visit.
Sen. Booker is telling the truth. From the moment he stepped foot into our exhibit hall, Booker was swarmed by our attendees and he happily took selfies with everyone he could. Indeed, it was unusual for me to see one of our keynote speakers be able to devote that kind of time to retail politics — too many of them, because of tight scheduling, often have to hustle backstage, deliver their remarks, then quietly exit. This was his first visit to our conference, and he tried to make the most of it before a large, national audience that very much wanted to meet him.
That during this frenzy he took one photo with a pro-Palestinian group in no way undermines his longstanding commitment to Israel’s security or his hopes, like mine, for a durable, negotiated two-state solution. As Rabbi Cliff Kulwin said in your article, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” and in this case it’s true: sometimes a snapshot is just a single frame and in no way reflective of the full picture. This should be regarded, to borrow a neologism, as a non-troversy.
If readers want to see Sen. Booker’s inspiring speech to our attendees, footage of it — as well as all of our speakers — is available at facebook.com/pg/NetrootsNation/videos/.