Underwood, Gryder both support Israel - but they differ in the details
While both candidates for Illinois' 14th Congressional District seat back a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, only Democratic incumbent Lauren Underwood emphatically supports the long-proposed two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Republican challenger Scott Gryder believes separate Israeli and Palestinian states would be preferable to the current hostility, but impossible to implement because of Palestinian-backed terrorism.
Underwood, who is seeking a third term in Congress, called a two-state proposal "a path by which both Israel and Palestine can achieve equitable and durable peace."
She noted that she's voted to affirm a strong bond between the U.S. and Israel. That includes a 2021 plan to send $1 billion in supplemental funding to Israel for the Iron Dome rocket defense system.
That measure overwhelmingly passed the House despite opposition from some progressives, including U.S. Rep. Marie Newman of La Grange. It hasn't cleared the Senate.
Underwood also has voted for legislation that promotes U.S.-Israel collaboration on counter-drone technology and medical research; addresses a perceived anti-Israel bias at the United Nations; would provide humanitarian support for Palestinians; and opposes calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
Gryder, the Kendall County Board chair, said the U.S. needs to stand strong with its allies overseas. Like Underwood, he opposes boycott, divestment and sanction efforts aimed at Israel and said he'd back legislation that would restrict such policies in the U.S. government.
"Unfortunately, some Americans are undermining our best ally in the Middle East by their support of the radical BDS movement," Gryder said.
Congressional supporters of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement include Democratic U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Cori Bush of Missouri.
Gryder said he favors funding Israel's Iron Dome defense system to protect civilians.
He didn't address two-the state solution in his Daily Herald questionnaire. A campaign spokeswoman subsequently said Gryder believes Palestinian-backed violence makes separate states impossible to achieve, and that the U.S. must instead focus on ensuring a secure Israel.
Redrawn ahead of the 2022 election, the 14th District encompasses parts of Kane, Will, DeKalb, Kendall, LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties.