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As reported last week, in an interview with an Tikkun Magazine Democratic Congressman Jim Moran blamed the Jewish Lobby for dragging the US into the Iraq war (see Congressman Moran Attacks Jews Again-Your Democratic Leadership at Work).
“The idea that the war in Iraq began because of the influence of Jewish Americans is factually incorrect and unfortunately fits the anti-Semitic stereotypes some have used historically against Jews,” wrote the group of Jewish Democrats.
The Congressman, who has made that charge before answered the letter with a curt:
“I appreciate the concerns of my colleagues, and I regret any efforts to misconstrue my position and long-standing support for Israel,” he said. “I have been and remain firmly of the view that diplomatic leadership, rather than military aggression, is essential for peace in the Middle East.
Back in 2003 Moran said that the United States would not be at war in Iraq “if it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community.”
Politico went on to report:
With his more recent comments, he has again drawn the ire of his leadership. On Tuesday, Hoyer [Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland] took to the microphone at a press conference and, despite having been asked a different question, called on Moran to retract his remarks. “They are inaccurate, wrong and unfortunate,” Hoyer said. On Wednesday, Waxman said he had drafted the pointed letter to Moran to show “how offended even his colleagues were about” his remarks. “As Jewish colleagues, we don’t understand your hostility to AIPAC or your determination to embarrass yourself with this series of inaccurate, illogical and inflammatory comments,” the letter said.
Moran clearly knew as he was making the comments to Tikkun that they would ignite a firestorm. “The reason I don’t hesitate to speak out about AIPAC’s influence — notwithstanding the fact that I’ll be accused of being anti-Semitic every time I suggest it — is that I don’t think AIPAC represents the mainstream of American Jewish thinking,” he told the magazine. The Tikkun article, authored by Rabbi Michael Lerner, was sympathetic to Moran’s views. And Lerner has stood by Moran in the ensuing controversy
A few points about “Rabbi” Lerner and Tikkun that Politico did not mention. According to the San Francisco Jewish Chronicle, “mainstream rabbinical leaders of the Reform, Conservative,Orthodox movements” have questioned the validity of private ordinations such as Lerner’s. Lerner is the spiritual leader of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in Berkeley and, despite the controversial nature of his ordination, a member of the Board of Rabbis of Northern California.