US Lawmaker's Remarks Seen As Revival Of Anti-Semitism

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:13 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - A U.S. congressman's suggestion that a handful of Jews are behind the American push for a war in Iraq is an "insidious form of anti-Semitism," a spokeswoman for the Anti-Defamation League said this week.

Rep. Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat, shocked political and Jewish leaders this week when he was quoted as saying that if it weren't for the strong support of the Jewish community, America would not be going to war in Iraq.

"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," a local newspaper, The Reston Times, quoted Moran as saying.

There was bi-partisan condemnation of Moran's remarks in Congress. Jewish leaders demanded an apology from Moran. Several Congressmen also said Moran - a seven-term incumbent - should not seek re-election.

Moran, who has in the past opposed pro-Israel legislation, later apologized for the remarks, saying he regretted giving the impression that the Jewish people were behind the war effort.

Laura Kam-Issacharoff, ADL spokeswoman in Jerusalem, said that such comments were "frustrating" and called them an "insidious form of anti-Semitism."

"They're using an old canard that the Jews are working only for their own and not for the good of their country," Kam-Issacharoff said.

It is undemocratic, against everything the U.S. stands for and an insult to the people who have dedicated their lives to working for the government, she said.

The only way to counteract the lies, she added, is for "responsible leaders" to speak out against it.

Secretary of State Colin Powell told a House Appropriations Subcommittee in answer to questions about the charges that the U.S. thrust to disarm Iraq was based on U.S. interests in the region as well as 12 years of U.N. resolutions.

"It is not driven by any small cabal that is buried away somewhere that is telling President Bush or me or Vice President Cheney or [National Security Adviser] Condi Rice or other members of our administration what our policies should be," Powell said.

"This is not just the result of a few individuals who are running loose, as some suggest, but it's a comprehensive policy developed over the years, over several administrations, with the support of the United States Congress," he added.

White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer this week called Moran's remarks "shocking," "wrong" and "inappropriate." "Those are remarks that should not have been said," Fleischer said.

During the course of the 29-month old Palestinian uprising, experts say there has been dramatic upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish people, synagogues and Jewish institutions worldwide that has not been seen since the days of Nazi Germany and World War II.

Former deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior and other experts expect a "new" upsurge in anti-Semitism, which not only demonizes the Jewish people and denies them the right to exist but also de-legitimizes and demonizes the State of Israel and its right to exist.