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Dems stress ties to Israel

From NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
Relationships with Israel dominated the morning session of today's National Jewish Democratic Council convention. Sen. Chris Dodd talked about his father, an interrogator during the Nuremberg Trials, who then taught his children that what happened during the Holocaust should never happen again. Dodd equated taking care of Israel with ensuring human rights around the country. "Israel cannot afford to lose one conflict. Then there wouldn't even be a second one." Dodd continued to talk about his six-decade friendship with Israel, asserting "no one will ever have to persuade me to Israel's goodness."

Howard Dean followed Dodd and echoed the sentiment. "Last election, they tried to make Israel a wedge issue... The Bush administration has made Israel weak. Rhetoric has to be followed up by policy, not just election-year division."

In his remarks, Dodd also called for withdrawal from Iraq. "As far as I know, I am the only candidate to support Feingold-Reid to end the war by March 31 2008. I call on the other candidates to do the same." Dodd also made some jabs that could be interpreted as swipes at Barack Obama anti-Obama. They included: "It is not time for on-the-job training"; " Hope alone is not going to restore America's leadership"; "I am 62 years old. This is not a warm up for a future run"; and "For 2008, some say we need experience, others say we need hope. I say we need both."

Obama and Biden will address the group after lunch.