Jewish World Review Oct. 11, 2002 / 5 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763
Joel C. Rosenberg
Daschle's anti-Israel past
WASHINGTON New questions are being raised about the
anti-Israel past of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). In the 1970s,
Daschle was a top foreign policy advisor to then-Sen. Jim Abourezk (D-SD),
very well the most anti-Israel member of the U.S. Senate at the time, a role
that could now come back to haunt Daschle.
With Congress voting to authorize the use of military force against Saddam
Hussein, thousands of Jews and Christians rallying in the nation's capital this weekend
in support of defending Israel, and mid-term elections just weeks away, now
is not a good time for Daschle to be on the defensive. But there he finds himself,
Daschle's office late Thursday issued a statement strongly denying the
Senator had signed a radical anti-war petition, as claimed by a liberal web
site (Not In Our Name, www.NION.us). "Senator Daschle did not sign this
petition nor did he direct anyone to add his name to the petition," insisted
his communications director Ranit Schmelzer. "It is unfortunate that someone
would choose to forge Senator Daschle's name."
But one person who did sign the petition -- and allowed his name to be used
in the full page New York Times ad -- was Sen. Daschle's old boss: former
Sen. Jim Abourezk, the American-born son of Lebanese immigrants.
Never heard of Sen. Jim Abourezk? Read on. But be forewarned, his quotes and views may disturb you.
The following are excerpts from a WORLD magazine Oct. 12, 2002 cover story, "MAD DASCHLE" by the publication's national editor, Bob Jones.
Bottom line: Sen. Daschle has some explaining to do, with just weeks before
his political fate may be decided.
- Fresh out of the Air Force and not yet 25 years old, Tom Daschle needed to
find a rising political star to help launch his own career. He'd considered
himself a Democrat at least since high school, so there was no question
which party he would get behind -- only which candidate....
- Mr. Daschle signed up with liberal Rep. Jim Abourezk as a $175-a-week
field worker. When Abourezk was elected to the U.S. Senate, Mr. Daschle
became the senator's point man on "Space, Defense (including Veterans),
Foreign Affairs (including Middle East), [and] South Dakota Projects"...with
"primary responsibility for Middle East and all other foreign relations
- Mr. Abourezk called the Israeli government "terrorist" and consistently
opposed arms sales to Tel Aviv. He called for recognition of the PLO and
embraced Syrian President Hafez Assad, a major sponsor of international
- Later, during the Gulf War, the former senator even compared Israel to
Nazi Germany: "Israel has been grabbing land since 1948, and I don't know
how you call it self-defense.... Hitler said he took Czechoslovakia in
self-defense, you know."....
- Mr. Abourezk's papers, now stored in more than 1,000 boxes at the
University of South Dakota, contain hundreds of pages of statements from the
Congressional Record, but usually only in printed form. What few drafts have
survived are mostly typewritten and unsigned, making it impossible to
determine the author. But there are tantalizing exceptions that suggest Mr.
Daschle was more than just a rubber stamp for the senator's views.
- With a memo dated April 3, 1975, Mr. Daschle....blasted America's "carte
blanche policy on military supplies for Israel," and even charged that the
U.S. government endangered its own soldiers for the sake of Israel's:
"During the October War the Department of Defense was willing to deplete the
supplies available to American military forces in Western Europe and in the
United States to maintain the Israeli Defense Forces. This was done to the
tune of $2.2 billion which the United States government wrote off as an
outright military grant and then asked the American taxpayer to pay for
through government borrowing at 9.5% interest. Israel rightly concluded that
there were no limits to the American commitment to Israel."
- Undeniably, [Daschle] was the top foreign-policy aide to the most
stridently anti-Israel senator ever to serve on Capitol Hill. But how much
of the rhetoric actually came from Mr. Daschle's own pen? It's a question
the current Senate majority leader has never been compelled to answer. (Sen.
Daschle's office did not respond to WORLD's request for an interview.)
- Whether he wrote every anti-Israel screed or just a handful of them, Mr.
Daschle apparently never challenged his boss's views -- or did anything else
to upset the senator, for that matter.
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JWR contributor Joel C. Rosenberg is a columnist for World magazine. Comment by clicking here.
010/10/02: Daschle now sides with president, but signed radical anti-war petition
010/03/02: Lautenberg's radical record is a GOP challenger's dream!
01/10/01: The multi-million dollar black conservative professor
12/13/01: PREDICTIONS 2002
© 2001, Joel C. Rosenberg