Monday, September 17, 2007

Jim Moran, the Courtesy Man

But the Jim Moran who’s getting fried by the Washington Post is a different guy. This Moran is a congressman from Virginia and Amy Gardner’s headline, Moran Upsets Jewish Groups Again sounds like upsetting Jewish groups was Jim’s main stock in trade.

Jimmorancourtesyman When I was a kid there was a Ford dealer in Chicago by the name of Jim Moran. He was a hell of a salesman. Ran those late-night television ads for his dealership, Courtesy Motors. Jim Moran, the Courtesy Man, back in the 50’s Chicago’s largest and undoubtedly most profitable Ford dealership.
But the Jim Moran who’s getting fried by the Washington Post is a different guy. This Moran is a congressman from Virginia and Amy Gardner’s headline, Moran Upsets Jewish Groups Again sounds like upsetting Jewish groups was Jim’s main stock in trade.
Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) has again come under fire from local Jewish organizations for remarking in a magazine interview that the "extraordinarily powerful" pro-Israel lobby played a strong role promoting the war in Iraq.
In an interview with Tikkun, a California-based Jewish magazine, Moran said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is "the most powerful lobby and has pushed this war from the beginning. I don't think they represent the mainstream of American Jewish thinking at all, but because they are so well organized, and their members are extraordinarily powerful -- most of them are quite wealthy -- they have been able to exert power."
Bushaipac Which is exactly right.
AIPAC runs neck and neck with the AARP and more than a little ahead of the NRA. If you don’t think that’s powerful, you haven’t been paying much attention to Washington or international politics. The Summary from John Mearsheimer’s and Stephen Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy states;
It is not surprising that Israel and its American supporters want the United States to deal with any and all threats to Israel’s security. If their efforts to shape U.S. policy succeed, then Israel’s enemies get weakened or overthrown, Israel gets a free hand with the Palestinians, and the United States does most of the fighting, dying, rebuilding, and paying.
But even if the United States fails to transform the Middle East and finds itself in conflict with an increasingly radicalized Arab and Islamic world, Israel still ends up protected by the world’s only superpower.
This is not a perfect outcome from the Lobby’s perspective, but it is obviously preferable to Washington distancing itself from Israel, or using its leverage to force Israel to make peace with the Palestinians.
AIPAC isn’t eager for you to know that. But in light of the Mearsheimer-Walt introductory paragraph about their sources (along with their relentless footnoting) there’s little controversy about their conclusions.
Some readers will find this analysis disturbing, but the facts recounted here are not in serious dispute among scholars. Indeed, our account relies heavily on the work of Israeli scholars and journalists, who deserve great credit for shedding light on these issues. We also rely on evidence provided by respected Israeli and international human rights organizations. Similarly, our claims about the Lobby’s impact rely on testimony from the Lobby’s own members, as well as testimony from politicians who have worked with them. Readers may reject our conclusions, of course, but the evidence on which they rest is not controversial.
Repjimmoran So, I find it offensive that WaPo finds it useful to add the adverb ‘again’ to Rep. Moran’s supposed upset of Jewish groups. Liberal groups and conservative groups are regularly upset by the shenanigans in Washington. Latino groups and Catholic groups, autoworker groups and health care groups, Vietnam veteran groups and gun owner groups, police and fireman groups all try to give their lawmakers heat—but only the Jewish groups are so quick to scream racist or call attention to the Holocaust when their ethics are questioned.
Why is Jim Moran ‘again’ being called on the carpet as if he were a serial anti-Semite?
Moran's remarks were criticized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the National Jewish Democratic Council. Ronald Halber, executive director of the first group, said Moran's remarks are anti-Semitic and draw on ugly stereotypes about Jewish wealth, power and influence.
"He uses several age-old canards that have been used throughout history that have brought violence upon Jews," Halber said this week. "He uses clearly anti-Semitic images such as Jewish control of the media and wealthy Jews using their wealth to control policy."
Ronhalber Someone who hates and would persecute Jews? You are seriously making the statement that Rep. James Moran hates and would persecute Jews?
You are a demagogue, Mr. Halber and you position the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington as fellow-demagogues when you make such foolish statements. If you need a definition, a demagogue is “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular passions and prejudices.”
Consider yourself called-out. The Washington Post, by the badly edited syntax of its headline, comes close to being a fellow-traveler.
Tikkunmagazine Fellow traveler? Demagogue? Anti-Semite? Ugly stereotype? Where on earth have we come? Is this Joe McCarthy all over again in the new century, when a Representative in our nation’s House of Representatives is maligned for an honest and well founded opinion? He made these remarks, not in some sneering aside over a microphone he thought was shut off, but in an
interview with a Jewish publication.
Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun also defended Moran's position in the article, which appear in the magazine's September-October issue.
"It's the kind of statement I would have made to any religious community, or to any labor movement audience, citing their own failures to act as a critical factor in why we had gotten involved," Lerner wrote in the article.
Which one would think is sufficient Jewish support for Moran’s views toward AIPAC. But not, unfortunately, for everyone;
Ira N. Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said in a published statement that there is nothing wrong with criticizing the pro-Israel lobby but that Moran's statements go beyond that to defamation by making a "phony" connection between AIPAC and the Iraq war.
"Rep. Moran's comments are not only incorrect and irresponsible," Forman said. "They are downright dangerous."
Dangerous to whom, one might ask? Possibly the truth. On September 20, 2002, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published “The Case for Toppling Saddam” in the Wall Street Journal. Netanyahu wrote
“Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do . . . I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a preemptive strike against Saddam’s regime.” 
Iraforman Sorry Ira, that doesn’t sound like an incorrect and irresponsible representation by Moran to me.  You don’t get much more ‘from the horse’s mouth’ than an ex-Prime Minister. It’s possible Moran's interview might be dangerous to his reelection to Congress, though.
Former (before AIPAC did him in) Senator Charles Percy of Illinois would know. Again, from The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy;
There is no doubt about the potency of these tactics. To take but one example, in 1984 AIPAC helped defeat Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, who, according to one prominent Lobby figure, had “displayed insensitivity and even hostility to our concerns.” Thomas Dine, the head of AIPAC at the time, explained what happened: “All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians ‐‐ those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire ‐‐ got the message.”
What is that, Mr. Forman, but a classic definition of extortion?
Edgarbronfmansr Jews are not immune. Not even Jews who are president of the World Jewish Congress. Edgar Bronfman Sr., who held that lofty title in 2003, was accused of “perfidy” when he wrote a letter to President Bush, urging the president to pressure Israel to curb construction of its controversial “security fence.”
An incredible accusation against a highly prominent (and wealthy) Jew. Perfidy, defined as ‘an act of deliberate betrayal, treachery, treason.’
Tell me the Jewish Lobby doesn’t have a long reach. But we do not suffer demagoguery well or for long in this country.
Three hundred million of us rag-tag Americans (a mere five and a half million of us Jews) have given the State of Israel well over $140 billion in direct aid. That doesn’t even begin to match the private contributions from Americans. In the way of thanks for raking in a disproportionate 20% of all U.S. annual foreign aid, we are called racist and anti-Semitic when we question the Israeli Lobby and its unique, unhealthy and quite probably illegal hold on American foreign policy.
Repnancypelosi That is a condition the American public may find increasingly difficult to support. But Nancy Pelosi got her political finger in the apology-pie, without a moment’s delay,
"Congressman Moran's comments were not only inappropriate, they were offensive," Pelosi said. "He has properly apologized. His comments have no place in the Democratic Party."
One can only presume that impeachment of Moran is off the table.
_____________________________________________________________
Media comment;