Democratic nominee for the Fifth Congressional District of Virginia, Leslie Cockburn, is facing mounting pressure for criticizing Israel in a book she wrote 27 years ago, with the state Republican Party labeling her a “virulent anti-Semite.”
Cockburn, a journalist-turned-politician, sat down Monday with about 40 Jewish leaders at the home of a retired rabbi in Charlottesville to try to defuse charges of anti-Semitism against her, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Cockburn’s candidacy and her views on Israel did not draw much attention until the incumbent congressman, Representative Tom Garrett, announced he was an alcoholic and would not seek re-election. The Democratic candidate is now running for an open seat.
Organizers of the Monday meeting argued that the views Cockburn expressed in her book, Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship, did not pass as anti-Semitism.
“None of us think…