Hmong congressional candidate wants ties with Israel (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 05/04/12)
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SAN FRANCISCO – A Californian aiming to be the first representative
of Hmong descent in the US Congress expressed strong support for
Israel in an interview Thursday with The Jerusalem Post.
Democrat Blong Xiong is running in the newly formed 21st district
that covers Fresno and Bakersfield, a region that is at least half
Latino but also has many Jews. The primary will be held June 5 and
the top-two finishers, regardless of party, will face off on November
Blong said that, if elected, he would want to focus on foreign
affairs and visit Israel. He expressed an affinity for the Jewish
state and the Jewish people in Israel and the US.
“I have always admired Israel and its people,” he said. “They are a
great story. My people were nomadic and went from country to country.
When we came to the US, we looked at the success of the American
Jewish community as a model.”
The Hmong people are from the hills of Southeast Asia.
They fought with the US in the Vietnam War, and were rewarded by
being brought to the US, where they mostly settled in Fresno and
Minneapolis. Blong came to the US at age five.
The candidate said that, based on his knowledge, he was not in a
position to give Israel advice. But he said it was important to
prevent Iran’s nuclearization.
“I support the US position that we must work diplomatically but keep
all options available,” he said. “The case of North Korea shows we
would be misguided to think only talks are the solution. It is
important to do what is necessary to keep the world safe.”
Blong’s opponents in the race include Republican David Valadao, who
is a first-term member of the California assembly, and Democrat John
Because the seat is a new one created by redistricting, both parties
are taking the race very seriously.
Michael Fenenbock, a strategist for Blong, said his own Jewish
heritage was one reason he decided to support him.
“He is pro-Israel, and Israel needs all the friends it can get,”
“Israel could especially use someone like Blong, who can carry a
large banner for Israel to new populations in the US.” (© 1995-2011,
The Jerusalem Post 05/04/12)
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