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Jim Abourezk on Obama Groveling at AIPAC

June 10, 2008

 (note: Today Jim Abourezk is a South Dakota lawyer. Some 30 years ago he represented his state as a Democrat in the US Senate. In that capacity he was invited – I believe but am not sure it was in 1977 – to address the annual Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner here in Denver. The fact that he is of Lebanese descent apparently was unsettling to some in the party’s Denver leadership and a nasty gesture, Abourezk was duly un-invited. Even in these heady times for Israel in the state’s Democratic Party, this was a bit too crude. There was – believe it or not – a rebellion from within the party ranks, with many calling on the party to `re-invite’ Abourezk. Caught between a rock and a hard place, the party leadership decided it would be less embarrassing to re-issue the invitation which they did. As a result of all the controversy, interestingly enough, the event was well attended. I even went!

As Abourezk told it then, ironically, he had no intention at the outset to even talk about the Middle East! But having been so treated, he decided to do just that. I wish I could find my copy of his speech. It is a testament to how little things have changed (or if they have, the situation has only deterioriated). It was also a clear sighted, progressive and humane speech, one that got a standing ovation from those present.

That evening came back to me as I read Abourezk’s criticism of Obama’s recent remarks before AIPAC. They are along lines similar to Uri Avnery’s, Chris Hedges and my own below. rjp)


Deadly Fallout From Obama’s Groveling Before Israel Lobby

By James G. Abourezk

Like a Moslem undertaking the Hajj, the once in a lifetime trip to Mecca, or a Catholic chancing to see the Pope speak from his Vatican window, presidential candidates seemingly long to trudge to the annual AIPAC conference to pay fealty to Israel and its Lobby.

This year we were fortunate enough to witness John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton taking turns losing their dignity before the AIPAC crowd. At one point in his parody on The Daily Show , Jon Stewart spoke of John McCain taking with him Senator Joe Lieberman on a visit to Israel, advising McCain that when you visit Israel “you don’t need to bring your own Jew.”

Hillary’s declaration of support for Israel was merely icing on the cake that she earlier baked during the campaign by promising to “obliterate” Iran if it ever attacked Israel. That, without even a declaration of war called for by the U.S. Constitution should we attack another nation. (But see George W. Bush’s attack on Iraq without such a declaration as precedent).

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