Saturday, March 12, 2011

James Moran and Elik Elhanan have guts

(see below for suggested specific timing for viewing this video)

James Moran is a Congressman from Virginia, a Democrat who courageously made it possible for a hearing in the Rayburn Office Building to take place March 8th on the situation in the occupied territories and Israel. I suspect Mr. Moran can expect to get a number of calls complaining about this and it is a sad comment on the situation regarding Israel in Congress that this minimal act might be the subject of criticism.

Using OpenCongress, my favorite site for background checks on members of the House and Senate, I found the following entry on James Moran under the heading "Jewish remarks" (interesting that this should be a heading in itself). The text says...(comments in parentheses are mine)

Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq he told an antiwar audience in Reston, Virginia on March 3, 2003, that "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this. 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."(Isn't this a fact? It is documented in Mearsheimer and Walt's The Israel Lobby)

This remark proved controversial. Writing in the December 22, 2003 edition of The Nation, Letty Cottin Pogrebin charged that "Representative James Moran of Virginia stirred up another incendiary canard-Jewish influence-by attributing America's war with Iraq to 'the strong support of the Jewish community.'"

On November 13, 2007, during Moran's Town Hall on "Is Iran Next?", he said that a piece of legislation that he led, attempting to control the development of bunker buster nuclear weapons, was headed off by lobbyists at the last minute before passage. When pressed by a questioner for the name of the lobbyist, he said "AIPAC." He went on a great length to say that AIPAC (notice the need to do everything but apologize to AIPAC) was playing by the rules and doing its job effectively in our system, and he did not question their right to do so. It was clear that he did not want this to be taken as an anti-Jewish remark. The context for bringing up the topic was administration preparation for war with Iran.

Elik Elhanan has an even greater share of guts because he is a veteran of the IDF who came to his senses and now testifies (as he did at the March 8th hearing) against the policies of Israel regarding the Palestinians. He is a member of Combatants for Peace, an Israeli group with a nice graphic showing two people walking toward each other while throwing away their weapons. He gives a powerful account of the premier position of the military in Israel and how he came to see reality. First, go to 15:00 in the video to hear Elik (el-EEK) introduced and his description of the militaristic basis of Israeli society. Then, skip to 40:30 in the video to hear Elik respond to the question "how did you get out of that paradigm (of militarism), was there a moment when you came to your realization?"

Laila el Haddad is also worth hearing but she is more widely known while Elik may be unknown to readers of this blog, as he was to me before watching this video.

1 comment:

  1. Once again, thank you for your continuing efforts, Clif.