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 pre
emptive 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.
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