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Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA)
News and Opinion

NJDC Blasts Democrat
Rep. Jim Moran Criticized For Blaming Israel.

-- Steve Rabin

While the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) appears to enthusiastically support all Republicans, even those who support loopholes to allow Halliburton to trade with Iran or wish to cut foreign aid to Israel, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) views its mission as two-fold: First, supporting the vast majority of Democrats who share our values and appreciate Israel's role as an American ally, homeland for the Jews and a beacon of democracy in the Middle-East. Second, holding to account those Democrats who betray these values. We have already spoken about how President Jimmy Carter was repeatedly taken to task by the NJDC for statements critical of Israel’s policies and counter to NJDC’s positions. Last year, Jimmy Carter’s son Jack failed to get NJDC support for his Senate race in Nevada even though the seat was critical to Democratic control of the Senate. This time it is the turn of Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) to sit in the NJDC hot seat.

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) recently called on Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia to retract comments from a recent interview with the publication Tikkun, in which he made the false claim that AIPAC pushed for the Iraq War. By misrepresenting the organization’s lobbying activities, Moran’s comments could be interpreted as implying that AIPAC was partially responsible for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2002.

Rep. Moran’s comments are particularly troubling because they come at a time when Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer are peddling a new book which places substantial blame for the Iraq quagmire on the so-called "Israel Lobby."

"It is never easy nor pleasant to criticize a fellow Democrat, but sometimes it is necessary," said NJDC Executive Director Ira N. Forman. "While there is nothing wrong with criticizing AIPAC – or for that matter any organization with which you disagree – spreading false statements is clearly irresponsible. At a time when Professors Walt and Mearsheimer are attempting to defame the so-called Israel Lobby with a phony connection between the pro-Israel community and the Iraq War, Rep. Moran’s comments are not only incorrect and irresponsible – they are downright dangerous."

In the September/October 2007 issue of Tikkun, Moran is quoted as having said that "… AIPAC is the most powerful lobby and has pushed this war from the beginning … 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." He distinguishes between AIPAC and the Jewish community in general – correctly noting that polls show Jews are more opposed to the Iraq War than any other ethnic group in America.

"For all their bluster, Moran, Walt and Mearsheimer fail to understand a simple truth, continued Forman. "If AIPAC or the Pro-Israel community were really so powerful, a substantial proportion of Jewish Members of the House and Senate would not have voted against the war. But they did."

In 2003, NJDC strongly criticized Rep. Moran for saying: "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq we would not be doing this;" and "The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going and I think they should."

Earlier this week, the New York Jewish Week published Forman’s analysis of the Walt-Mearsheimer book, in which he writes: "The authors’ most spectacular accusation --- that the lobby has significant responsibility for the Iraq war --- is also an illustration of their limited understanding of the Israel lobby. The professors describe how a group of neoconservatives conspired to push for a war with Iraq, and they conflate these neocons with the Israel lobby. Not only do the authors attach a significant amount of blame to the Israel lobby for the morass in Iraq, but they go on to warn that any future military action in Iran must inevitably be laid at the door of the lobby. To argue that a gang of largely Jewish neocons was able to bully Powell, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush into a war against their will is absurd. Even more ridiculous is the notion that these neocons were the Israel lobby…."

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