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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Leahy calls Kirk 'Israel firster' without calling him 'Israel firster'

Adam Kredo reports on this exchange involving Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) during the debate over Senator Mark Kirk's (R-Il) bill to count only 'Palestinians' who fled the 1948 war as 'refugees.'
While debating an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) that would examine exactly how many Palestinian refugees benefit from U.S. tax dollars, Leahy expressed that the proposal does not put “the United States’ interests first.”

“Frankly, Mr. Chairman, as a member of this committee, I always look at what is in the United States’ interest first and foremost, and this would hurt the United States’ interests,” Leahy said, emphasizing the words “United States.”

“It may give a momentary advantage to one side or the other after we spend all that money, but it hurts the United States’ interests,” Leahy said.

Observers in the room said they were taken aback by Leahy’s comments, which evoked the ongoing controversy over the term “Israel firster,” a slur that has its roots in the white supremacist movement and implies a person is putting the interests of the Jewish state over those of the U.S.
Leahy, of course, is now claiming that he didn't mean it 'that way.'
“When we heard this, a lot of people were taken aback, utterly surprised to hear a chairman of a powerful committee imply that several senators were pursuing an agenda that is not in America’s best interests,” said one GOP aide. “In the wake of news reports about the Center for American Progress and other left wing groups using arguably anti-Semitic language in criticizing pro-Israel policies, the senator’s comments certainly created a lot of pause.”

Asked to clarify Tuesday if Leahy was implying that those who supported Kirk’s amendment are making Israel’s interest an undue priority, a spokesperson for the Democratic senator bristled.

Leahy was merely “debating the amendment as written,” Leahy spokesperson David Carle told the Free Beacon. He was “talking about what the goal always is in this Senate, for pro-U.S. policy.”

Carle, who hung up before answering follow-up questions, said Leahy is looking to pursue legislation that is in the “best national interest of the U.S.”
Read the whole thing.

Unfortunately, accusations of dual loyalty have become acceptable in polite conversation in the United States. American Jews ought to be seriously concerned.

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