Hollings at it Again
US Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D-SC) is under fire from Jewish leaders for comments he expressed about the role of Israel and Jewish voters in the US decision to go to war with Iraq. In a column Hollings wrote for his state’s leading newspapers, “[F]or years there has been a domino school of thought that the way to guarantee IsraelÃ¢€™s security is to spread democracy in the area … [President Bush] came to office imbued with one thought: re-election. Bush felt tax cuts would hold his crowd together and spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats. You donÃ¢€™t come to town and announce your Israel policy is to invade Iraq. But George W. Bush […] started laying the groundwork to invade Iraq days after inauguration.” Rabbi Philip Silverstein — a leader of South Carolina’s Jewish community — denounced the remarks: “The whole foreign policy of the United States is based on Israel? What kind of ridiculous statement is that? … It’s anti-Semitic [and] dangerous.” Anti-Defamation League National President Abe Foxman also called for Hollings to apologize: “This is reminiscent of age-old, anti-Semitic canards about a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate government.” For his part, Hollings refuses to apologize or retract the statement. In a written statement, he said that he has a lengthy record of supporting Israel and any characterization of his column as “anti-Jewish stereotyping or scapegoating is ridiculous.” In the past, Hollings has been forced to apologize for insensitive statements about African-Americans, Jews, Japanese, and other minorities. Hollings is retiring from his Senate seat this year.
Only a couple decades too late.