Two conservative groups have rejected the joint appeal from two national Jewish organizations to sign a "unity pledge" on how to treat Israel in political debate.
"An open and vigorous debate on the questions confronting our country is the cornerstone of the American electoral process," the Republican Jewish Coalition said in a statement. "Allowing the American people to see where candidates stand, pro and con on critical issues, is the hallmark of our free and democratic political system."
The Emergency Coalition for Israel also rejected last week's pledge proposal by the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.
"This attempt to silence those of us who have 'questioned the current administration's foreign policy approach vis-a-vis Israel' will re-energize us," the coalition said in a statement. "Nor, incidentally, should those who support the administration's approach to Israel be bashful about making their case."
The groups' National Pledge for Unity on Israel initiative aims to rally bipartisan support for Israel while preventing Israel from becoming a wedge issue during the next election season. The pledge is aimed at national organizations, elected officials, religious leaders, community groups and individuals.
"America’s friendship with Israel is an emotional, moral and strategic bond that has always transcended politics," it reads in part. "Support for Israel has never been merely a plank in a Republican or Democratic Party or candidate’s platform. It is a core American policy that serves our nation’s most fundamental national interests."