Friday, August 15, 2008

PAUL FINDLEY They Dare to Speak Out 6

Subsidizing Fnreign Competition
The final vote on the 1983 Continuing Resolution authorized a remark­able new form of aid to Israel. It included an amendment, crafted by AIPAC and sponsored by ardently pro-Israeli Congressmen Clarence Long of Maryland and Jack Kemp of New York, that permitted $250 million of the military grant aid to be spent in Israel on the development of a new Israeli fighter aircraft, the Lavi. The new fighter would compete for inter­national sales with the Northrop F-20 and the General Dynamics R16— both specifically designed for export. The amendment authorized privileged treatment never before extended to a foreign competitor. It was extraordinary for another reason: it set aside a U.S. law that requires all for­eign aid procurement funds to be spent in the United States.
During debate of the bill, Democrat Nick J. Rahall of West Vir­ginia, was the only congressman who objected.87 He saw the provision as threatening U.S. jobs at a time of high unemployment:
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States. Americans are being stripped of their tax dollars to build up foreign industry. They should not have to sacrifice their jobs as well.
That day, Rahall was unable to offer an amendment to strike or change this provision because of restrictions the House had established before it began debate. All that he, or any other member, could do was to vote for or against the entire Long-Kemp amendment, which included controver­sial provisions for El Salvador and international banks, as well as aid to Israel. The amendment was approved 262-150. Unlike RahalPs, most of the 150 negative votes reflected opposition to other features of the amend­ment, not to the $250 million subsidy to Israel's aircraft industry.
The following May, during the consideration of the bill appropriat­ing funds for foreign aid, Rahall offered an amendment to eliminate the $250 million, but it was defeated 379-40. Despite the amendment's obvious appeal to constituents connected with the U.S. aircraft indus­try, fewer than 10 percent of House members voted for it. It was the first roll call vote on an amendment dealing exclusively with aid to Israel in more than four years, and the margin of defeat provided a measure of AIPAC's power.
After the vote, AIPAC organized protests against the forty legislators who had supported the amendment. Rahall recalls that AIPAC carried out a campaign "berating those brave forty congressmen."88 He adds, "Almost all of those who voted with me have told me they are still catch­ing hell from their Jewish constituency. They are still moaning about the beating they are taking."
The "brave" congressmen got little thanks.89 Two ethnic groups, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the National Asso­ciation of Arab Americans, congratulated Rahall on his initiative and urged their members to send letters of congratulation to each of the con­gressmen who supported his amendment. The results were meager. As the author, Rahall could expect to receive more supportive mail than the rest. He received "less than ten letters" and speculates that the other thirty-nine got even fewer.90
"Don't Look to Congress to Act"
The relucrance of congressmen to speak critically of Israel was apparenr in 1983 when the House gave President Reagan permission, under rhe War
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Powers Act, to keep U.S. Marines in Lebanon for eighteen months. The vote took place a few days before the tragic truck bombing killed more than 240 marines in Beirut. At the time the House acted, however, several marines had already died. A number of congressmen warned of more trou­ble ahead, opposed Reagan's request, and strongly urged withdrawal of the U.S. military force. Five took the other side, mentioning the importance of the marine presence to the security of Israel's northetn border.
In all, ninety-one congressmen spoke, but they were silent on the mil­itary actions Israel had carried out in Lebanon during the previous year— unrestricted bombing of Beirut, forced evacuation of PLO fighters, and aiding in the massacres at Sabra and Shatila by surrounding the camps, allowing Lebanese Christian Phalange fighters in and refusing to allow fleeing refugees out, sending them back to be slaughteted.91 These events had altered the Lebanese scene so radically that President Reagan felt impelled to return the marines to Beirut. Israel's actions had necessitated the marines' presence, yet none of these critical events was mentioned among the thousands of words expressed during the lengthy discussion.
A veteran congressman, with the advantage of hindsight, explained it directly.92 Just after the terrorist attack that killed U.S. Marines who were asleep in their Beirut compound, Congressman Lee Hamilton was asked if Congress might soon initiate action on its own to get the marines out of Lebanon. The query was posed by William Quandt, a Middle East specialist who had served in the Carter White House, at the close of a private discussion on Capitol Hill involving a small group of senior congressmen. Hamilton, a close student of both the Congress and the Middle East, responded, "Don't look to Congress to act. All we know is how to increase aid to Israel."
Hamilton's statement has proved true. Aid to Israel—despite our country's budget problems and Israel's defiant behavior toward the United States in its use of U.S.-supplied weapons and its construction of settle­ments on occupied territory—continues to increase, with no peak in sight.
Bonior and Secret Evidence
The voices of protest in the House of Representatives became less audi­ble in 2001 with the announcement by Democrat David Bonior of Michigan that he would not seek re-election. Bonior, a member of the House since 1976 and Democraric Whip since 1992, was known for his
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strong positions on environmental, labor, and human rights issues, and has always fought for social and economic justice. He sponsored the Secret Evidence Repeal Act (H.R. 2121) in the 106th Congress, and a similar bill (H.R. 1266) in the 107th. Virtually every person against whom secret evidence has been used has been an Arab Muslim, and Bonior—who pro-Israel Washington PAC founder Morris Amitay called "the poster child for the pro-Arab cause in this country"—long opposed the discriminatory and unconstitutional use of secret evidence.93 Severely crippled by newly instituted redistricting, Bonior lost his bid for the gov­ernorship of Michigan in the 2002 elections.
"Here We Go Again"
Another blow to honest debate in the House was the retirement of Con­gressman Thomas Campbell (R-CA), who cosponsored the Secret Evi­dence Repeal Act with Bonior. In November 2000, Campbell lost his bid to unseat Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the U.S. Senate race, and resumed a teaching post at Stanford Law School. Feinstein would go on to propose and pass Senate Resolution 247, which the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee described as "a one-sided message to the American people and our friends and allies throughout the world that American elected officials are only concerned about Israel in the Middle East."
A similar resolution was introduced by Tom DeLay (R-TX) in May 2002 in the House of Representatives. It passed by a vote of 352-21, with twenty-nine abstentions. Thirty-three members did not vote, sug­gesting discontent with the legislation modified by fear of AIPAC. The resolution, which extensively condemned Palestinian suicide attacks and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat but offered no criticism whatsoever of Israel's aggressive policy of collective punishment, was called "unbal­anced and . . . counterproductive" by Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA). John Dingell (D-MI), who called the resolution "one-sided" and "pro­vocative," noted that its passage—at a time when President George W. Bush was expressing his sternest criticism yet of Israel—"will undermine rhe administration, diminish U.S. leverage with the Palestinians, and further damage U.S. credibility in the region." Nick Rahall (D-WV) put it more bluntly: "Here we go again. How many times has this body
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passed resolutions of this nature that are so unbalanced, so one-sided, that we become the laughingstock of the world?"94
Some members voted to open up debate on the tesolution, with the intention of including new language that would offer more balance. As Congressman Mark Green (R-WI) noted the day of the vote, however, "in a House of 435 members, there were only eighty-two who voted with me on this, and only three of those were Republicans. I wish we had more, because I think we would have ended up with a better piece of legislation."95
Despite the eloquence of courageous members of Congress—whose ranks included Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Lois Capps (D-CA), David Price (D-NC), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Jay Inslee (D-WA), Amory Houghton (R-NY), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), and of coutse David Bonior—anti-Palestinian oratory became deafening on the Republican side of the House of Representatives. It was an especially depressing development to Republicans like myself.
The resolution was a factor in the defeat of a five-term Democrat, Earl Hilliard, in the Alabama runoff primary on June 25, 2002. Hilliard, a supporter of Palestinian statehood, was one of the twenty-one who voted against the resolution. Arab American and Muslim groups rallied financial support in his campaign, but Hatvard-educated Artur Davis, according to Hilliard, was able to outspend him by a larger margin, thanks to strong support from New York City Jews. Davis focused on charges of ethics violations by Hilliard and accused him of links with ter­rorism. Both candidates are African American.
As evidence of the pro-Israel bias in the House, soon-to-retire major­ity leader Richard Armey (R-TX), proposed on May 1, 2002, that Pales­tinians simply vacate the West Bank. Prodded in an interview by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Armey said, "I happen to believe that the Palestinians should leave." Faced with prorests, Armey said, days later, that he meant to say that Palestinian terrorists should leave.
The week before, Tom DeLay, Armey's heir apparent as majority leader and future creator of the controversial "Israel First" resolution, told the annual AIPAC convention, "As long as I'm in Congress, I'll use every tool at my disposal to ensure that the Republican conference in the House of Representatives continues to preserve and strengthen America's alliance with the State of Israel."96
The Deliberative Body Fails to Deliberate
Just off the second-floor corridor connecting the central part of the U.S. Capitol building with the Senate wing is the restored old Senate chamber, where visitors can look around and imagine the room echoing with great debates of the past. Action there gave the Senate its reputa­tion as the "world's greatest deliberative body," where no topic was too controversial for open debate.
In most respects, that reputation is deserved and honored. In fact, all five former senators—John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Robert LaFollette, and Robert Taft—who are pictured in the ornate reception room near the large chamber now used by the Senate were dis­tinguished by their independence and courage, not by conformity.
Today, on Middle East issues at least, independence and courage are almost unknown, and the Senate deliberates not at all. This phenome­non was the topic of discussion during a breakfast meeting in 1982 between Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan and Senator Claiborne Pell of
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Rhode Island, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.1 Pell explained with candor his own record of consistent support for Israel and his failure to recognize Arab interests when he told the Jordanian leader, "I can be honest with you, but I cant be fair." Pells record is typical of his colleagues.
Since the establishment of modern Israel in 1948, only a handful of senators have said or done anything in opposition to the policies of the government of Israel. Those who break ranks find themselves in diffi­culty. The trouble can arise from a speech, an amendment, a vote, a pub­lished statement, or a combination of these. It may take the form of a challenge in the next primary or general election. Or the trouble may not surface until later—after service in the Senate has ended. Such was the destiny of a senator from Illinois.
"Adlai, You Are Right, But—"
The cover of the October 1982 edition of the monthly magazine Jewish Chicago featured a portrait of Adlai E. Stevenson III, Democratic can­didate for governor of Illinois. In the background, over the right shoul­der of a smiling Stevenson, an Arab, rifle slung over his shoulder, glared ominously through a kaffiyeh that covered his head and most of his face. The headline announcing the issue's feature article read, "Looking at Adlai Through Jewish Eyes."
The illustration and article were part of an anti-Stevenson campaign conducted by some of the quarter-million people in Chicago's Jewish community who wanted Stevenson to fail in his challenge to Governor James R. Thompson, Jr.
Thompson, a Republican, was attempting a feat sometimes tried but never before accomplished in Illinois history: election to a third term as governor.2 Normally, a Republican in Illinois can expect only minimal Jewish support at the polls. A crucial part of the anti-Stevenson campaign was a caricature of his Middle East record while he was a member of the United States Senate.3 Stevenson was presented as an enemy of Israel and an ally of the PLO.
Stevenson was attempting a political comeback after serving ten years in the Senate, where he had quickly established himself as an independ­ent.4 During the oil shortage of the mid-1970s he alarmed corporate
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interests by suggesting the establishment of a government corporation to handle the marketing of all crude oil. He warned of the "seeds of destruction" inherent in nuclear proliferation and called for international safeguards to restrain other nations from using nuclear technology to manufacture weapons. Concerned about the country's weakening posi­tion in the international marketplace, he called for government-directed national economic strategies to meet the challenge of foreign competi­tion.
Stevenson lacked the flamboyant extroverted character of many politicians. Time magazine described him as "a reflective man who seems a bit out of place in the political arena."5 Effective in committee, where most legislation is hammered out, he did not feel comfortable lining up votes.6 "I'm not a backslapper or logroller," he said. "I don't feel effective running about buttonholing Senators."
Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko wrote of Stevenson's lack of charisma in a tone of affectionate teasing:
The most dangerous element in politics is charisma. It makes people get glassy-eyed and jump and scream and clap without a thought in their heads. Adlai Stevenson never does that. He makes people drowsy. His hair is thin­ning. He has all the oratorical fire of an algebra teacher. His clothes look like something he bought from the coroner s office. When he feels good, he looks like he has a virus. We need more politicians who make our blood run tepid.7
Royko could have added that Stevenson also had none of the self-righteousness often found on Capitol Hill. Although a "blue blood," as close to aristocracy as an American can be, he displayed little interest in the cocktail circuit or the show business of politics.8 On a congressional tour of China in 1975 he didn't seem to mind when the other three sen­ators received lace-curtained limousines and he and his wife, Nancy, were assigned a less showy sedan.
During his second Senate term, he became disillusioned with the Carter administration.9 He saw it as "embarrassingly weak" and more concerned with retaining its power than with exercising it effectively. In 1979 he announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate, but he mentioned a new interest: the presidency. He might run for the White House the next year. "I'm going to talk about ideas and see if an idea can
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still triumph, or even make a dent," he said.10 It didn't. Stevenson ulti­mately decided not to run. With Senator Edward Kennedy in the race, he felt he would get little media attention.11 By the time Kennedy pulled out, Stevenson concluded it was too late to get organized.
After a years breather, in 1981 he announced his interest in running for the governorship of Illinois. This time he followed through.
The make-up of his campaign organization, the character of his cam­paign, and the support he had received in the past in Jewish neighbor­hoods provided little hint of trouble ahead from pro-Israeli quarters.
Several of the most important members of his campaign team were Jewish: Philip Klutznick, president emeritus of B'nai B nth and an organ­izer of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, who agreed to organize Stevenson's main campaign dinner; Milton Fisher, prominent attorney and chairman of his finance committee; Rick Jas-culca, a public relations executive who became Stevenson's full-time press secretary.12
Stevenson chose Grace Mary Stern as his running mate for the posi­tion of lieutenant governor. Her husband was prominent in Chicago Jew­ish affairs. Stevenson himself had received several honors from Jewish groups in preceding years.13 He had been selected by the Chicago Jew­ish community as its 1974 Israel Bond "Man of the Year," commended by the American Jewish Committee for his legislative work against the Arab boycott of Israel in 1977, and honored by the government of Israel, which established the Adlai E. Stevenson III Chair at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. Stevenson had every reason to expect that organized Illinois Jewry would overlook his occasional mildly criti­cal position of Israeli policy.
But trouble developed. A segment of the Jewish community quietly launched an attack that would cost him heavily. Stevenson's detractors were determined to defeat him in the governor's race and thus discour­age a future Stevenson bid for the presidency. Their basic tool was a doc­ument provided by the AIPAC in Washington.14 It was presented as a summary of Stevenson's Senate actions on Middle East issues—although it made no mention of his almost unblemished record of support for Israel and the tributes the Jewish community had presented to him in testimony of this support. Like most AIPAC documents, it would win no prizes for balance and objectivity.
The Deliberative Body Fails to Deliberate 5
For example, AIPAC pulled from a twenty-one-page report that Stevenson had prepared after a 1976 trip to the Middle East just this lonely phrase: "There is no organization other than the PLO with a broadly recognized claim to represent the Palestinians." This was a sim­ple statement of fact. But the writer of the Jewish Chicago article, citing the AIPAC "summary," asserted that these words had helped to give Stevenson "a reputation as one of the harshest critics of both Israel pol­icy and of U.S. support for the Jewish state." Stevenson's assessment of the PLO s standing in the Palestinian community was interpreted as an assault on Israel.
In fact, the full paragraph in the Stevenson report from which AIPAC took its brief excerpt is studied and reasonable:
The Palestinians are by general agreement the nub of the problem. Although badly divided, they have steadily increased in numbers, economic and mil­itary strength, and seriousness of purpose. They cannot be left out of any Middle East settlement. Their lack of unity is reflected in the lack of unity within the top ranks of the PLO, but there is no organization other than the PLO with a broadly recognized claim to represent the Palestinians.15
The Stevenson report was critical of certain Israeli policies but hardly hostile to Israel. "The PLO," he wrote, "may be distrusted, disowned, and despised, but it is a reality, if for no other reason than that it has no rival organization among Palestinians."
Stevenson went on to issue a challenge to the political leaders of America:
A new order of statesmanship is required from both the Executive and the Legislative Branches. For too long, Congress has muddled or gone along without any real understanding of Middle Eastern politics. Neither the United States, nor Israel, nor any of the Arab states will be served by con­tinued ignorance or the expediencies of election year politics.
None of this positive comment found its way into the AIPAC report, the Jewish Chicago article, or any of the anti-Stevenson literature that was distributed within the Jewish community during the 1982 campaign.
The anti-Stevenson activists noted with alarm that in 1980 Steven­son had sponsored an amendment to reduce aid to Israel, and the year before had supported a similar amendment offered by Republican
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Senator Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon.16 The Hatfield amendment pro­posed to cut by 10 percent the amount of funds available to Israel for military credits.
Stevenson's amendment had focused on Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, which President Carter and earlier administrations characterized as both illegal and an obstacle to peace but did nothing to discourage beyond occasional expressions of regret. Stevenson proposed withholding $150 million in aid until Israel halted both the building and planning of additional settlements. The amendment did not cut funds; it simply withheld a fraction of the $2.18 billion in total aid authorized for Israel that year. In speaking for the amendment, Steven­son noted that the outlay for Israel amounted to 43 percent of all U.S. funds allocated for such purposes worldwide:
This preference for Israel diverts funds from the support of human life and vital American interests elsewhere in an interdependent and unstable world. ... If it could produce stability in the Middle East or enhance Israel's secu­rity, it could be justified. But it reflects continued U.S. acquiescence in an Israeli policy that threatens more Middle East instability, more Israeli inse­curity, and a continued decline of U.S. authority in the world. Our support for Israel is not the issue here. Israels support for the ideals of peace and jus­tice which gave it birth is at issue. It is, I submit, for the Israeli government to recognize again that Israel's interests are in harmony with our own, and for that to happen, it is important that we do not undermine the voices for peace in Israel or justify those, like Mr. Begin, who claim U.S. assistance from the Congress can be taken for granted.17
The amendment, like Hatfield's, was overwhelmingly defeated.
After the vote on his amendment, Stevenson recalls, he received apologetic comments.18 "Several Senators came up and said, Adlai, you are right, but you understand why I had to vote against you. Maybe next time.'" Stevenson did understand why: lobby intimidation produced the negative votes. He found intimidation at work on another front too: the news media. He offered the amendment, he explained, "because I thought the public was entitled to a debate on this critical issue," but news services gave it no attention. Stevenson added,
That's another aspect of this problem. It's not only the intimidation of the American politicians, it's also the intimidation of some American journal­
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ists. If it's not the journalists, then it's the editors and perhaps more so the publishers.
Anti-Stevenson campaigners also found it expedient to portray him as a supporter of Arab economic blackmail, despite his widely hailed leg­islative record to the contrary. Stevenson was actually the principal author of the 1977 legislation to prohibit American firms from cooperating with the Arab boycott of Israel.19 But in the smear campaign conducted against him in his gubernatorial bid his legislative history was rewritten. He was actually accused of trying to undermine the anti-boycott effort.
In fact, Stevenson, in a lonely and frustrating effort, saved the legis­lation from disaster. For this achievement, he received a plaque and praise from the American Jewish Committee.20 The chairman of the National Jewish Community Relations Council, Theodore R. Mann, wrote to Stevenson, expressing the organization's "deep appreciation for your invaluable contribution to the adoption of that landmark legislation."21 He added that the legislation "not only reassures the American Jewish community as to the commitment of America to fairness and nondis­crimination in international trade but, more fundamentally, stands as a reaffirmation of our nation's profound regard for principle and morality."
Jewish Chicago, making no mention of Stevenson's success in the anti-boycott effort or the unstinting praise he received from Jewish lead­ers, reported that he encountered "major conflicts" with "the American Jewish leadership" over the boycott legislation.22
A flyer distributed by an unidentified "Informed Citizens Against Stevenson Committee," made the same charge.23 Captioned, "The Truth About Adlai Stevenson," it used half-truths to brand Stevenson as anti-Israel during his Senate years and concluded: "It is vitally important that Jewish voters be fully informed about Stevenson's record. Still dazzled by the Stevenson name, many Jews are totally unaware of his antagonism to Jew­ish interests." The "committee" provided no names or addresses of spon­soring individuals. Shirley Friedman, a freelance writer in Chicago, later identified the flyer as her own. The message on the flyer concluded: "Don't forget: It is well known that Stevenson considers the governor's chair as a stepping stone to the presidency. Spread the word—let the truth be told!"
The word indeed spread in the Chicago Jewish community through­out the summer and fall of 1982.24 The political editor of the Chicago
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Sun-Times reported in June that some activists for Thompson had been "working quietly for months to assemble a group to mobilize Jewish vot­ers" against Stevenson.25
The result of their efforts was the "Coalition for the Re-election of Jim Thompson," which included Jewish Democrats who had not backed Thompson previously. When Republican Senator Rudy Boschwitz of Minnesota, a strong supporter of Israel, came to Chicago in October to address a breakfast gathering sponsored by the Coalition, he declared that, as a senator, Stevenson was "a very steadfast foe of aid to Israel."26
"Smear and Innuendo"
A major problem was the unprinted but widely whispered charge of anti-Semitism against Stevenson—a man, who, like his father, had spent his life championing civil rights for all Americans. "I learned after election day there was that intimation throughout the campaign," recalls Stevenson.27
Phil Klutznicks daughter, Mrs. Bettylu Saltzman, who worked on Stevensons campaign staff, remembered, "There was plenty of stuff going around about him being anti-Semitic.28 It got worse and worse. It was a much more difficult problem than anyone imagined."
Stevensons running mate, Grace Mary Stern, recalled: "There was a very vigorous [anti-Stevenson] telephone campaign in the Jewish com­munity."29 She said that leaflets charging Stevenson with being anti-Israel were distributed widely at local Jewish temples, and added that there was much discussion of the anti-Semitism accusation: "There was a very vigorous campaign, man to man, friend to friend, locker room to locker room. We never really came to grips with the problem."
Campaign fund-raising suffered accordingly. The Jewish commu­nity had supported Stevenson strongly in both of his campaigns for the Senate. After his remarks in the last years of his Senate career, some of the Jewish support dried up. "Many of my most generous Jewish con­tributors stayed with me, but the organization types, the professionals, did not," Stevenson recalled.30 He believed the withdrawal of organized Jewish support also cut into funds from out-of-state that he otherwise would have received. In the end, Thompson was able to outspend Steven­son by better than two to one.31
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Fed up by early September with unfounded charges of anti-Semi­tism, Stevenson finally responded, charging that a "subterranean cam­paign of smear and innuendo" was being waged by supporters of Thompson.32 His press secretary, Rick Jasculca, complained that the material distributed by the Coalition for the Re-election of Jim Thomp­son "tries to give the impression that Adlai is unquestionably anti-Israel." Thompsons political director, Philip O'Connor, denied there was a smear campaign and disavowed the Friedman flyer.
Thompson himself said of Stevenson, "I don't think he is an anti-Semite, [but he is] no particular friend of Israel." The Chicago Sun-Times published an editorial rebuke to this remark: "That's like saying, £No, I don't think Stevenson beats his wife, but she did have a black eye last week.' "33 The editorial continued:
Far more important, the statement is not true; Stevenson as a Senator may have occasionally departed from positions advocated by the Israeli govern­ment, but out of well-reasoned motives and a genuine desire to secure a lasting peace for the area. Thompsons coy phrasing was a reprehensible appeal to the voter who measures a candidate s worth by a single, rubbery standard.
The only Jews who tried to counter the attack were those close to Stevenson. Philip Klutznick, prominent in Jewish affairs and chairman of the Stevenson Dinner Committee, said, "It is beneath the dignity of the Jewish community to introduce these issues into a gubernatorial cam­paign."34 Stevenson campaign treasurer Milton Fisher said: "Adlais views are probably consistent with 40 percent of the Knesset [Israeli parliament]."
Stevenson was ultimately defeated in the closest gubernatorial elec­tion in the states history. The margin was 5,074 votes—one-seventh of one percent of the total 3.5 million votes cast.
The election was marred by a series of mysterious irregularities, which Time magazine described as "so improbable, so coincidental, so questionable that it could have happened only in Wonderland, or the Windy City."35 On election night ballot boxes from fifteen Chicago precincts inexplicably disappeared, and others turned up in the homes or cars of poll workers. Stevenson asked for a recount—past recounts had resulted in shifts of 5,000 to 7,000 votes—but the Illinois Supreme
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Court denied his petition by a 4-to-3 vote.36 Judge Seymour Simon, a Democrat, joined the three Republicans on the court in voting against Stevensons request.
A post-election editorial in a suburban Chicago newspaper acknowl­edged the impact of the concerted smear campaign on the election outcome:
An intense last-minute effort among Chicago-area Jews to thwart Adlai Stevensons attempt to unseat Illinois Governor James Thompson in last Tuesday's election may have succeeded. The weekend before the election many Chicago and suburban rabbis spoke out against Stevenson and there were thousands of pamphlets and leaflets distributed in Jewish areas ... all attacking the former Senator.
After describing the attack, the editorial concluded,
The concentrated anti-Stevenson campaign, particularly since it went largely unanswered, almost surely cost him thousands of votes among the 248,000 Chicago-area Jews—266,000 throughout the state—who traditionally have leaned in his direction politically.37
Campaign manager Joseph Novak agreed: "If that effort hadn't hap­pened, Stevenson would be governor."38 In the predominantly Jewish suburban Chicago precincts of Highland Park and Lake County "We just got killed, just absolutely devastated." Press secretary Rick Jasculca adds, "What bothers me is that hardly any rabbis or Jewish leaders beyond Phil [Klutznick] were willing to speak up and say this is nonsense to call Adlai anti-Israel."39
Thomas A. Dine, then executive director of the American Israel Pub­lic Affairs Committee, gloated, "The memory of Adlai Stevenson's hos­tility toward Israel during his Senate tenure lost him the Jewish vote in Illinois—and that cost him the gubernatorial election."40 Stevenson, too, believed that the effort to discredit him among Jews played a major role in his defeat: "In a race that close, it was more than enough to make the difference."41 Asked about the impact of the Israeli lobby on the U.S. political scene, he responded without hesitation:
There is an intimidating, activist minority of American Jews that supports the decisions of the Israeli government, right or wrong. They do so very
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vocally and very aggressively in ways that intimidate others so that its their voice—even though its a minority—that is heard and felt in American pol­itics. But it still is much louder in the United States than in Israel. In other words, you have a much stronger, more vocal dissent in Israel than within the Jewish community in the United States. The prime minister of Israel has far more influence over American foreign policy in the Middle East than over the policies of his own government generally.
The former senator reported a profound change within the Jewish community in recent years:
The old passionate commitment of Jewish leaders to civil liberties, social welfare—in short, to liberalism has to a large extent dissipated. The issue now is much more Israel itself. If given a choice between the traditional lib­eral commitment and the imagined Israeli commitment, they'll opt now for the Israeli commitment.
Reflecting on his career and the price he has paid for challenging Israeli policies, Stevenson concluded:
I will have no hesitation about continuing. I wish I had started earlier and been more effective. I really don't understand the worth of public office if you can't serve the public. It's better to lose. It's better not to serve than to be mortgaged or compromised.
Stevenson followed the tradition of a colleague, a famous senator from Arkansas who eloquently criticized Israeli policy and American for­eign policy over a period of many years.
The Dissenter
"When all of us are dead, the only one they'll remember is Bill Ful-bright."42 The tribute by Idaho Senator Frank Church, a fellow Demo­crat, was amply justified. As much as any man of his time, J. William Fulbright shaped this nation's attitudes on the proper exercise of its power in a world made acutely dangerous by nuclear weapons. Dissent was a hallmark of his career, but it was dissent with distinction. The fact was that Fulbright was usually right.
He first gained national attention by condemning the "swinish blight" of McCarthyism.43 In 1954, while many Americans cheered the crusade
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of the Wisconsin senator's Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, Ful-bright cast the lone vote against a measure to continue the subcommittee's funding. Because of this vote, he was accused of being "a communist, a fel­low traveler, an atheist, [and] a man beneath contempt."44
Fulbright opposed U.S. intervention in Cuba in 1961 and in the Dominican Republic four years later, and was ahead of his time in call­ing for detente with the Soviet Union and a diplomatic opening with China. When he proposed a different system for selecting presidents, an offended Harry Truman called him "that overeducated Oxford s.o.b." Twenty-five years later, in 1974, the New York Times recognized Ful­bright as "the most outspoken critic of American foreign policy of this generation."45
His deepest and most abiding interest was the advancement of inter­national understanding through education, and thousands of young peo­ple have broadened their vision through the scholarships that bear his name.46 But Fulbright also became well known for his outspoken oppo­sition to the Vietnam War as "an endless, futile war . . . debilitating and indecent"—a stand that put him at odds with a former colleague and close friend, President Lyndon B. Johnson.47 President Johnson believed that America was embarked on a noble mission in Southeast Asia against an international communist conspiracy. Fulbright put no stock in the conspiracy theory, feared the war might broaden into a showdown with China, and saw it as an exercise in "the arrogance of power."48
In 1963 Fulbright chaired an investigation that brought to public attention the exceptional tax treatment of contributions to Israel and aroused the ire of the Jewish community.49 The investigation was man­aged by Walter Pincus, a journalist Fulbright hired after reading a Pin-cus study of lobbying. Pincus recalls that Fulbright gave him a free hand, letting him choose the ten prime lobbying activities to be examined and backing him throughout the controversial investigation.50 One of the groups chosen by Pincus, himself Jewish, was the Jewish Telegraph Agency, which was at that time a principal instrument of the Israeli lobby. Both Fulbright and Pincus were accused of trying to destroy the Jewish Telegraph Agency and of being anti-Semitic.51
Pincus remembers, "Several senarors urged that the inquiry into the Jewish operation be dropped. Senators Hubert Humphrey and Bourke
The Deliberative Body Fails to Deliberate 5
Hickeniooper [senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee] were among them. Fulbright refused."
The Fulbright hearings also exposed massive funding illegally chan­neled into the American Zionist Council by Israel.52 More than five mil­lion dollars had been secretly poured into the council for spending on public relations firms and pro-Israel propaganda before Fulbright's com­mittee closed down the operation.
Despite his concern over the pro-Israeli lobby, Fulbright took the exceptional step of recommending that the United States guarantee Israelis borders.53 In a major address in 1970 he proposed an American-Israeli treaty, under which the United States would commit itself to intervene militarily if necessary to "guarantee the territory and inde­pendence of Israel" within the lands it held before the 1967 war. The treaty, he said, should be a supplement to a peace settlement arranged by the United Nations. The purpose of his proposal was to destroy the arguments of those who maintained that Israel needed the captured ter­ritory for its security.
Fulbright saw Israel's withdrawal from the Arab lands it occupied in the 1967 war as the key to peace: Israel could not occupy Arab territory and have peace too. He said that Israeli policy in establishing settlements on the territories "has been characterized by lack of flexibility and fore­sight." Discounting early threats by some Arab leaders to destroy the state of Israel, Fulbright noted that both President Nasser of the United Arab Republic and King Hussein of Jordan had in effect repudiated such Draconian threats, "but the Israelis seem not to have noticed the dis­avowals."
During the 1970s Fulbright repeatedly took exception to the con­tention that the Middle East crisis was a test of American resolve against Soviet interventionism. In 1971 he accused Israel of "communist-bait­ing humbuggery" and argued that continuing Middle East tension, in fact, only benefited Soviet interests.54
Appearing on CBS televisions Face the Nation in 1973, Fulbright declared that the Senate was "subservient" to Israeli policies that were inimical to Ametican interests.55 He said that the United States bore "a very great share of the responsibility" for the continuation of Middle East violence. "It's quite obvious [that] without the all-out support by the
5 They Dare to Speak Out
United States in money and weapons and so on, the Israelis couldn't do what they've been doing."
Fulbright said that the United States failed to pressure Israel for a negotiated settlement, because:
The great majority of the Senate of the United States—somewhere around 80 percent—are completely in support of Israel, anything Israel wants. This has been demonstrated time and time again, and this has made it difficult for our government.
The senator claimed that "Israel controls the Senate" and warned, "We should be more concerned about the United States' interests." Six weeks after his Face the Nation appearance, Fulbright again expressed alarm over Israeli occupation of Arab territories.56 He charged that the United States had given Israel "unlimited support for unlimited expan­sion."
His criticism of Israeli policy caused stirrings back home.57 Jews who had supported him in the past became restless. After years of easy elec­tion victories, trouble loomed for Fulbright in 1974. Encouraged, in part, by the growing Jewish disenchantment with Fulbright, on the eve of the deadline for filing petitions of candidacy in the Democratic pri­mary Governor Dale Bumpers surprised the political world by becom­ing a challenger for Fulbright's Senate seat. Fulbright hadn't expected the governor to run, but recognized immediately that the popular young governor posed a serious challenge: "He had lots of hair [in contrast to Fulbright], he looked good on television, and he'd never done anything to offend anyone."58
There were other factors. Walter Pincus, who later became a Wash­ington Post reporter, believed that Fulbright's decision to take a golfing holiday in Bermuda just before the primary deadline may have helped convince Bumpers that Fulbright would not work hard for the nomina­tion.59 It was also the year of Watergate—a bad year for incumbents. In his campaign, Bumpers pointed with alarm to the "mess in Washing­ton" and called for a change. The New York Times reported that he "skill­fully exploited an old feeling that Mr. Fulbright . . . spent all his time dining with Henry Kissinger and fretting over the Middle East."60
The attitude of Jewish voters, both inside Arkansas and beyond, was also a significant factor. "I don't think Bumpers would have run without
The Deliberative Body Fails to Deliberate 5
Fulbright predicted that the American people would back Ford if he demanded that Israel cooperate. He reminded him that Eisenhower
that encouragement," said Fulbright.61 Following the election, a national Jewish organization actually claimed credit for the young governor s stun­ning upset victory. Fulbright had a copy of a memorandum circulated in May 1974 to the national board of directors of B'nai B nth. Marked "confidential," the memo from Secretary-General Herman Edelsberg, announced that "... all of the indications suggest that our actions in sup­port of Governor Bumpers will result in the ousting of Mr. Fulbright from his key position in the Senate."62 Edelsberg later rejected the mem­orandum as "phony."
Following his defeat, Fulbright continued to speak out, decrying Israeli stubbornness and warning of the Israeli lobby. In a speech just before the end of his Senate term, he warned, "Endlessly pressing the United States for money and arms—and invariably getting all and more than she asks—Israel makes bad use of a good friend."63 His central con­cern was that the Middle East conflict might flare into nuclear war.64 He warned somberly that "Israels supporters in the United States ... by underwriting intransigence, are encouraging a course which must lead toward her destruction—and just possibly ours as well."
Pondering the future from his office three blocks north of the White House on a bright winter day in 1983, Fulbright saw little hope that Capitol Hill would effectively challenge the Israeli lobby:
Its suicide for politicians to oppose them. The only possibility would be someone like Eisenhower, who already feels secure. Eisenhower had already made his reputation. He was already a great man in the eyes of the coun­try, and he wasn't afraid of anybody. He said what he believed.65
Then he added a somewhat more optimistic note: "I believe a pres­ident could do this. He wouldn't have to be named Eisenhower." Ful­bright cited a missed opportunity:
I went to Jerry Ford after he took office in 1975. I was out of office then. I had been to the Middle East and visited with some of the leading figures. I came back and told the president, 'Look, I think these [Arab] leaders are will­ing to accept Israel, but the Israelis have got to go back to the 1967 borders. The problem can be solved if you are willing to take a position on it.
5 They Dare to Speak Out
was reelected by a large margin immediately after he forced Israel to withdraw after invading Egypt:
Taking a stand against Israel didn't hurt Eisenhower. He carried New York with its big Jewish population. I told Ford I didnt think he would be defeated if he put it the right way. He should say Israel had to go back to the 1967 borders; if it didn't, no more arms or money. That's just the way Eisenhower did it. And Israel would have to cooperate. And politically, in the coming campaign, I told him he should say he was for Israel, but he was for America first.
Ford, Fulbright recalled, listened courteously but was noncommit­tal. "Of course he didnt take my advice," said Fulbright.
Yet his determination in the face of such disappointment echoes through one of his last statements as a U.S. senator:
History casts no doubt at all on the ability of human beings to deal ration­ally with their problems, but the greatest doubt on their will to do so. The signals of the past are thus clouded and ambiguous, suggesting hope but not confidence in the triumph of reason. With nothing to lose in any event, it seems well worth a try.66
Fulbright died on February 9, 1995, ending one of the most illus­trious careers in American politics. Reared in the segregationist South, he left an imposing legacy as a fearless, scholarly, and determined cham­pion of human rights at home and abroad.
Warning Against Absnlutism
James G. Abourezk of South Dakota came to the Senate in 1973 after serving two years in the House of Representatives. The son of Lebanese immigrants, he was the first person of Arab ancestry elected to the Sen­ate. He spoke up for Arab interests and quickly became a center of con­troversy.
Soon after he took office, Abourezk accepted an invitation to speak at Yeshiva University in New York, but anxious school officials called almost immediately to tell him of rising student protests against his appearance.67 A few days later, the chairman of the dinner committee asked Abourezk to make a public statement calling for face-to-face nego­
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tiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, assuring Abourezk that this proposal, identical to the one being made by Israels prime minister, Golda Meir, would ease student objections and end the protest. Although Abourezk favored such negotiations, he refused to make the requested statement. He explained, "I do not wish to be in the position of placat­ing agitators." Rabbi Israel Miller, vice president of the school, came to Washington to urge Abourezk to reconsider. When Abourezk refused, the dinner chairman telephoned again, this time to report that students were beginning to picket. Sensing that school officials wanted the event canceled, Abourezk offered to withdraw from the obligation. His offer was hastily accepted.
Soon after, Abourezk was announced as the principal speaker at a rally to be held in Rochester, New York, to raise money for victims of the Lebanese civil war. The rally's organizing committee was immediately showered with telephoned bomb threats. In all, twenty-three calls warned that the building would be blown up if Abourezk appeared on the program. With the help of the FBI, local police swept the building for bombs and, finding none, opened it for the program. A capacity crowd, unaware of the threats, heard Abourezk speak, and the event pro­ceeded without incident.
After making a tour of Arab states in December 1973, Abourezk sympathized with Arab refugees in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington. Covering his speech for the AIPAC newsletter Near East Report Wolf Blitzer wrote, "If [Abourezk's] position were to prevail, Israels life would be jeopardized." Blitzer s report was sent to Jews who had contributed to Abourezk's campaign, accompanied by a letter in which I. L. Kenen, AIPAC director, warned that Abourezk was "going to great lengths" to "undermine American friendship for Israel."68 The mailing, Abourezk recalled, began an "adversary relationship" with AIPAC. He added, "I doubt that I would have spent so much time on the Middle East had it not been for that particular unfair personal attack."69
On one occasion in the Senate, Abourezk turned lobby pressure to his advantage. Wishing to be appointed in 1974 to fill a vacancy on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he warned David Brody, lobbyist for B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League, that if he did not secure the appoint­ment he would seek a seat on the Foreign Relations Committee. He
5 They Dare to Speak Out
recalls, with a chuckle, "This warning had the desired effect. The last thing Brody wanted was to see me on Foreign Relations, where aid to Israel is decided. Thanks to the help of the lobby I received the appoint­ment to Judiciary, even though James Allen, a Senator with more sen­iority, also wanted the position." The appointment enabled Abourezk to chair hearings in 1977 on the legality of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. "They were the first—and last—hearings on this sub­ject," Abourezk recalled. "And not one of my colleagues attended. I was there alone."
In 1975 Abourezk invited the head of the PLO's Beirut office, Shafiq al-Hour, to lunch in the Senate and learned that PLO-telated secrets are hard to keep. On Abourezk's assurance that the event would be kept entirely private, eleven other senators, including Abraham Ribi-coff of Connecticut, who is Jewish, attended and heard al-Hout relate the PLO side of Middle East issues. Within an hour after the event was concluded, Spencer Richardson of the Washington Post telephoned Abourezk for comment. He had already learned the identity of all sen­ators who attended. The next day Israel's leading English language daily newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, reported that Ribicoff and the others had had lunch with "murderer" al-Hout.
A major storm erupted in 1977 when Abourezk agreed on short notice to fill in for Vice President Walter Mondale as the principal speaker at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner sponsored in Den­ver by the Colorado Democratic Party.71 Jewish leaders protested his appearance, and John Mrozek, a labor leader in Denver, attacked Abourezk as "pro-Arab and anti-Israel." Betty Crist, a member of the dinner committee, moved that the invitation be withdrawn. When the Crist motion was narrowly rejecred, the committee tried to find a pro-Israeli speaker to debate Abourezk, with the intention of canceling the event if a debate could not be arranged. This gave the proceedings a comic twist, as Abourezk at no point had intended to mention the Mid­dle East in his remarks. Unable to find someone to debate their guest, the committee reconsidered and let the invitation to Abourezk stand in its original form.
Arriving at the Denver airport, Abourezk told reporters, "As a United States Senator, I have sworn to uphold the governmenr of the United States, but I never dreamed that I would be required ro swear allegiance
The Deliberative Body Fails to Deliberate 5
to any other government." In his remarks to the dinner audience of 700, he warned of the "extraordinary influence of the Zionist lobby." He said the United States "is likely to become, if it has not already, a captive of its client state."
He said, "The point of the controversy surrounding this dinner has been my refusal to take an absolutist position for Israel. There is extreme danger to all of us in this kind of absolutism. It implies that only one position—that of being unquestionably pro-Israel—is the only posi­tion."
The Rocky Mountain News reported that his speech received a stand­ing ovation, "although there were pockets of people who sat on their hands." The Denver newspaper editorialized, "James Abourezk is not a fanatic screaming for the blood of Israel. Colorado Democratic leaders should be proud to have him as their speaker. He is better than they deserve." In 1980, after retiring from the Senate, Abourezk founded the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which has grown into the Arab American civil rights organization with the largest member­ship in the country. Its purpose, Abourezk says, "is to provide a coun­tervailing force to the Israeli lobby."
Sins of Omission

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