Moran and the Jews, Cont.
Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) had more to say about Jews today, but this time his comments aren't likely to unleash another torrent of criticism.
Moran began his talk at an immigration forum by decrying U.S. policies in the late 1930s and early 1940s that blocked tens of thousands of Eurpoean Jews from escaping Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. Without mentioning Jews or the Holocaust by name, he said a shameful chapter in U.S. immigration history was written "when we refused to allow [entry to] people who would otherwise be suffering not just persecution but extermination. Imagine how much greater a country we would have been were we not so prejudicial and xenophobic."
Moran came under attack from local Jewish organizations in September for telling Tikkun, a magazine of Jewish culture and politics, that a powerful pro-Israel lobby played a major role in promoting the war in Iraq.
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."
He made similar comments at an anti-war rally in 2003. In 2001, he told the American Muslim Council that then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was coming to Washington "probably seeking a warrant from President Bush to kill at will with weapons we have paid for."
Moran spent the bulk of today's talk discussing contemporary immigration problems at a meeting of Leadership Greater Washington, a non-profit that promotes dialogue to solve regional issues. He said the Holocaust reference was not intended as a fence-mending gesture.
"I've always said that," he said. "It just never gets reported."
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