President Obama will travel to Baltimore Friday to attend a fundraiser hosted by Howard E. Friedman, described by the Baltimore Sun as "one of the nation's foremost advocates for Israel." Those hoping to attend the event will have to fork over a hefty fee:
Howard E. Friedman, a former president of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and a leading patron of Jewish political causes, will host Obama for a dinner that will cost guests up to $32,400 — the maximum an individual may give to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the calendar year.
Friedman, who has served as chairman of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and as president of the Baltimore Jewish Council, has a lot of political clout in Washington. Since 2009, he's given nearly $100,000 in contributions, mostly to Democrats.
The fundraiser comes in the midst of Israel's struggle with the terror group Hamas. The conflict raging on the Gaza Strip is currently in a ceasefire, but judging from past ceasefire attempts, it's perhaps only a matter of time before Hamas breaks the agreement.
Many have questioned the Obama administration's support of Israel. During the crisis that has unfolded in the Middle East, the White House decided to send a $47 million aid package to Gaza, which legislators like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) warned would go straight into the hands of Hamas. Others accused the administration of aiding Israel's enemy after banning flights to Israel. What's more, instead of defending Israel in its attempt to respond to the Hamas threat, Secretary of State John Kerry tried to reach out to Qatar and Turkey for a possible ceasefire. Qatar is known to be one of Hamas' biggest supporters. Still others criticize Obama for having an unnecessarily tenuous relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The president may have to do more than attend a pricey fundraiser to quell some of these criticisms and prove he truly does stand with Israel.