Schneider withdraws support for gubernatorial candidate Biss

  • Congressman Brad Schneider is pulling his endorsement of state Sen. Daniel Biss in the Illinois governor's race because of his newly announced running mate's stance in U.S.-Israel relations.

      Congressman Brad Schneider is pulling his endorsement of state Sen. Daniel Biss in the Illinois governor's race because of his newly announced running mate's stance in U.S.-Israel relations. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2016

  • State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston is one of nine Democrats running for governor.

    State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston is one of nine Democrats running for governor. AP File Photo

 
 

Congressman Brad Schneider is withdrawing his endorsement of state Sen. Daniel Biss in the Democratic primary for Illinois governor because of his running mate's stance on Israel.

Schneider, a Democrat from Deerfield, announced the withdrawal Sunday night via Facebook, stating that he was "surprised" by Biss' choice of Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.

"I was immediately concerned about some of Alderman Ramirez-Rosa's past comments about the United States support of our ally Israel, and his affiliation with a group that is an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel," Schneider wrote.

BDS is a Palestinian-led movement founded in 2005 that encourages boycotts of companies that do business with Israel, urges banks, churches, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from Israeli companies, and seeks sanctions against Israel, as well as its expulsion from international organizations like the United Nations.

A Democrat from Evanston, Biss is one of nine candidates seeking his party's nomination in next year's gubernatorial race. The field also includes businessmen Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar and state Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood.

Biss announced Ramirez-Rosa as his running mate Friday, calling him "one of the fiercest progressive fighters I know." Ramirez-Rosa was elected to the City Council in 2015 at age 26, one of the youngest ever elected in the city, and was a delegate for Bernie Sanders in last year's Democratic National Convention.

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In an interview with The Real News Network last year, Ramirez-Rosa said U.S. divestment from Israel is "a conversation that needs to be had." He's also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, which recently passed a resolution supporting the BDS movement.

Schneider wrote that he decided to withdraw his support after speaking with Ramirez-Rosa and Biss.

"This decision is not taken lightly. I remain hopeful that, as Alderman Ramirez-Rosa learns more about the importance of the US-Israel partnership to both our nations, the unique challenges Israel faces as the only democracy in a very dangerous neighborhood, and the commitment of the vast majority of the Israeli people to peace and a two state solution, he will reconsider his positions," Schneider wrote.

Calls and emails to the Biss campaign were not immediately returned Monday.

Jeremy Wynes, a Highland Park Republican running for Schneider's 10th District seat next year, criticized the congressman's endorsement of Biss last week.

"Schneider wants his constituents to vote for a gubernatorial ticket that includes Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, an avowed Socialist and far-left Chicago political activist who helped organize and lead the recent Socialist conference in Chicago that endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against our ally Israel," Wynes wrote on his Facebook page.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report

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