SARI FRANKEL/THE HOYA
SARI FRANKEL/THE HOYA

Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) spoke about human rights and the stability of Israeli democracy in Copley Formal Lounge Monday night.

Frank has represented Massachussetts’ fourth congressional district since 1980 and is the first openly gay member of Congress. His speech was the first event in Israel Week, which is sponsored by the College Democrats and J Street U Georgetown. The talk was also sponsored by the Georgetown Israel Alliance and GU Pride.

Frank underscored his support for a sustainable peace process for Israel and Palestine and the importance of a continued friendship between the United States and Israel.

“[From] every value that I have gone into politics to pursue and protect … out of any state in the Middle East, Israel comes closest to that.”

Frank also said he recognized the need for better treatment of Arab settlers and citizens within the Israeli state.

“It is entirely legitimate to say Israel has made mistakes, but the obstacle to peace right now is not Israel, it is Hamas,” he said.

Calling Israel the most open democracy in the Middle East, Frank pointed to the country’s support for women’s and gay rights. He said that Israel’s democratic success countered the notion that democracy is only sustainable in safe regions.

“Israel has spent its entire existence at war and is one of the most important democracies in the world,” he said.

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