Skip to comments.Congressman Is Chastised for Remarks on Jews and Iraq Policy [Article buried deep in NYT website]
Posted on 03/11/2003 11:57:12 PM PST by JohnHuang2
ASHINGTON, March 11 The White House and Congressional leaders joined Jewish groups today in sharply criticizing a Democratic congressman who said Jews were behind the buildup toward war with Iraq, a day after he apologized for the remarks.
The lawmaker, Representative James P. Moran of Virginia, said at an Episcopal Church forum on March 3 that Jewish leaders were influential enough to push the nation toward war.
"If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," Mr. Moran said in remarks first reported by The Reston Connection, a weekly newspaper in Fairfax County, near Washington.
Mr. Moran apologized for the remarks on Monday after Jewish groups called them anti-Semitic, but today he came under harsh criticism from officials of both parties.
"Those remarks are shocking," said Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman. "Those remarks are wrong. Those remarks are inappropriate. And those are remarks that should not have been said."
Representative Tom DeLay, the House Republican leader, called on Democrats today to condemn the remarks, which he said were of a similar nature to criticisms of the war effort from Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates. Such remarks, he said, could undermine American troops.
But Democratic leaders did not hesitate to dissociate themselves from Mr. Moran's words. Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, said the comments were "offensive" and had no place in the Democratic Party.
Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader, who like Ms. Pelosi opposes an invasion of Iraq, was clearly chagrined to hear criticism of military action framed in Mr. Moran's particular argument.
"They are out of order and totally not in keeping with the facts or with the degree to which we expect people to act in a civil and meaningful way on debates as important as this," Mr. Daschle said, calling the notion outrageous and debasing.
Just as they did before the first Persian Gulf war, Jewish groups around the country have for several weeks condemned efforts by critics of the war effort on the right and left to link an invasion to the desires of Israel or Jewish members of the Bush administration.
Ronald J. Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, said today that Mr. Moran was insidiously attacking the patriotism of American Jews, an act he called anti-Semitic.
"It's just dumb to assume that the president of the United States is putting troops into battle for the sake of Israel, or that the Jewish community possesses the unique ability to stop the war," Mr. Halber said. "President Bush has very clearly said this is a war against terror, and though it may be a side benefit for the Israelis, to suggest that it's the primary motivation is bizarre."
In his apology on Monday, Mr. Moran said he regretted remarks that he called "insensitive," and said he blamed only himself.
"I should not have singled out the Jewish community and regret giving any impression that its members are somehow responsible for the course of action being pursued by the administration, or are somehow behind an impending war," he said. "What I was trying to say is that if more organizations in this country, including religious groups, were more outspoken against a war, then I do not think we would be pursuing war as an option."
Mr. Moran's spokesman, Daniel F. Drummond, said today that the congressman had no plans to resign.
Thus ends this chapter in liberal hypocrisy.
Now had a Republican made these remarks, you can bet your bottom dollar it would have been "The Trent Lott Show" all over again.
Guess what the headline would have been had this been said by, say, Bob Barr?
Yep. "GOP Congressman Is Chastised for Remarks on Jews and Iraq Policy"
I'm tellin' ya, be careful. If you're married, he'll bypass you and go straight for your wife! :-)