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Van Hollen is Israel's thoughtful friend

Chris Van Hollen, U.S. Senate in Maryland candidate, speaks to the Baltimore Sun editorial board. (Kevin Richardson, Baltimore Sun video)

Letter writer Jason Neuringer's effort to use Israel as a political football is shameful ("Szeliga is the pro-Israel choice," Aug. 4). Rep. Chris Van Hollen is one of the most thoughtful and steadfast supporters of Israel in Congress. He has condemned U.N. reports sanctioning Israel, co-sponsored resolutions supporting Israel, supported military aid to Israel and has always stood with Israel. Chris decided to support the Iran deal only after consultation with experts and careful consideration of his constituents' views.

Chris has worked with both Democrats and Republicans to support Israel's right to defend her people and fight all attempts to weaken the country militarily, diplomatically or economically. To suggest otherwise is simply false. On tough decisions like the Iran deal, Chris did not and does not rush to judgment. That is exactly what we want and need.

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Working in concert with the international community and Iran is the only feasible way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Since the deal was struck, we have seen that most of Iran's uranium has been shipped out-of-country and a majority of Iran's centrifuges have been shut down, including the Arak heavy water reactor — effectively neutralizing Iran's ability to create nuclear weapons. One year in, the plan has been resoundingly endorsed by Israeli military chief of staff Lt. General Gadi Eisenkot as "a strategic turning point." We see progress.

Efforts to turn this critical issue into a partisan attack don't help anyone. What we need in the U.S. Senate is a thoughtful leader with the experience needed to continue our unfaltering support for Israel. That is only one of the reasons why I've supported Chris Van Hollen and will be supporting him this November.

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Susan Turnbull, Bethesda

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