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Views on Israel of U.S. Presidential Candidates 2020:
Amy Klobuchar

(1960 - )

Amy Jean Klobuchar* was born on May 25, 1960, in Plymouth, Minnesota. Klobuchar is the daughter of Rose (née Heuberger) and Jim Klobuchar. She has one younger sister. Her parents divorced when Klobuchar was 15.

Klobuchar attended public schools in Plymouth and was valedictorian at Wayzata High School. In 1982, she graduated from Yale magna cum laude with a B.A. in political science. During college, she was a member of the Yale College Democrats, the Feminist Caucus, and the improv troupe Suddenly Susan. During her time at Yale, Klobuchar spent time as an intern for then Vice President, and former Minnesota Senator, Walter Mondale. Her senior thesis was “Uncovering the Dome,” a history of the ten years of politics surrounding the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.

After Yale, Klobuchar enrolled at the University of Chicago Law School, where she served as an associate editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and received her Juris Doctor degree in 1985. She was a partner at two Minneapolis law firms before being elected county attorney for Hennepin County in 1998, making her responsible for all criminal prosecution in Minnesota’s most populous county. She served in that position for eight years.

Amy Jean Klobuchar was born on May 25, 1960, in Plymouth, Minnesota. Klobuchar is the daughter of Rose (née Heuberger) and Jim Klobuchar. She has one younger sister. Her parents divorced when Klobuchar was 15.

Klobuchar attended public schools in Plymouth and was valedictorian at Wayzata High School. In 1982, she graduated from Yale magna cum laude with a B.A. in political science. During college, she was a member of the Yale College Democrats, the Feminist Caucus, and the improv troupe Suddenly Susan. During her time at Yale, Klobuchar spent time as an intern for then Vice President, and former Minnesota Senator, Walter Mondale. Her senior thesis was “Uncovering the Dome,” a history of the ten years of politics surrounding the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.

After Yale, Klobuchar enrolled at the University of Chicago Law School, where she served as an associate editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and received her Juris Doctor degree in 1985. After law school, Klobuchar worked as a corporate lawyer and became a partner at the Minnesota law firms Dorsey & Whitney and Gray Plant Mooty, where she specialized in “regulatory work in telecommunications law.”

Her first foray into politics came after she gave birth and was forced to leave the hospital 24 hours later, a situation exacerbated by the fact that Klobuchar’s daughter, Abigail, was born with a condition whereby she could not swallow. That experience led Klobuchar to appear before the Minnesota State Legislature advocating for a bill that would guarantee new mothers a 48-hour hospital stay. Minnesota passed the bill and President Clinton later made the policy federal law.

In 1998, she was elected county attorney for Hennepin County, making her responsible for all criminal prosecution in Minnesota’s most populous county. She served in that position for eight years.

Klobuchar’s first visit to Israel was in 2005, when she was contemplating her first run for the Senate. She took the plunge in 2006 and became Minnesota’s first elected female United States Senator. She was reelected in 2012 and 2018.

In 2015, she was appointed Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee, where she brings together senators, businesses, community leaders, policy experts and intergovernmental organizations to help develop policies to strengthen the economy and move the country forward.

Other committee assignments:

  • For the 116th Congress, Klobuchar was assigned to the following committees:
  • Committee on the Judiciary
  • Joint Economic Committee
  • Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
  • Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
  • Committee on Rules and Administration (Ranking Member)
  • Joint Committee on Printing
  • Joint Committee on Library

Klobuchar has written two books. In 1986, she published her thesis Uncovering the Dome and, in 2015 she published an autobiography, The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland.

Klobuchar is married to John Bessler.They have a daughter, Abigail.

Klobuchar, who is of Slovenian descent, likes to joke about how often she’s asked if she’s Jewish. She is a member of the United Church of Christ.

On February 10, 2019, Klobuchar announced that she is running for President and will compete in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries


Anti-Semitism

  • Unlike six of the other Democratic candidates Klobuchar voted with the majority (76 senators voted for the legislation; 22 Democrats opposed it) for the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019  a bill that authorizes state and local governments to demand that contractors declare they do not support boycotts of Israel or its settlements in the West Bank. (JTA, February 6, 2019)

Israel

  • When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recruited an extreme right-wing party to join a coalition that would help his chances for reelection, Klobuchar tweeted: “This is wrong and has been rightly condemned. To quote the American Jewish Committee, ‘[The views of Otzma Yehudit] do not reflect the core values that are the very foundation of the State of Israel.’” (@amyklobuchar, February 25, 2019)
  • After Netanyahu said during his election campaign he would annex the settlements in the West Bank, she said, “I’m for the two-state solution and I don’t favor what Netanyahu did this weekend,” she said. “I don’t favor the annexation; I think we should have a two-state solution.” (Haaretz, April 9, 2019)

Iran

  • Klobuchar voted for the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. She has expressed support for rejoining the deal if elected. (Haaretz, April 23, 2019)

Syria

  • Klobuchar opposed Trump withdrawing troops from Syria earlier this year, voting for a Senate legislation which rebuffed his decision, PBS reported. (Business Insider, March 28, 2019)

*AICE does not rate or endorse any candidate for political office.


Sources: Amy Klobuchar;
“Amy Klobuchar,” Wikipedia;
Grace Panetta, “Amy Klobuchar is running for president in 2020. Here’s everything we know about the candidate and how she stacks up against the competition,” Business Insider, (March 28, 2019);
Ron Kampeas, “5 Jewish things to know about Amy Klobuchar,” JTA, (February 6, 2019);
Bryant Harris, “2020 Democrats vow to re-enter Iran nuclear deal,” Al-Monitor, (March 19, 2019)
“Bernie Sanders Says He Hopes Netanyahu Loses,” Haaretz, (April 9, 2019);
Amir Tibon and Amos Harel, “2020 Democrats Promise to Re-enter the Iran Deal, and Israel Is Concerned,” Haaretz, (April 23, 2019).