print gohome
jpost
 
Print Edition
Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem
Top senator: An attack on Israel is an attack on US
By HERB KEINON
10/01/2012
US Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) says an Iranian attack on Israel would be tantamount to attacking the United States.
 
An Iranian attack on Israel would be tantamount to attacking the United States, US Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) told an auditorium full of high school students in Jerusalem on Monday.

Inouye, introduced to the students by former AIPAC president Robert Asher as the best friend Israel has in Congress, said he discussed the Iranian threat in a meeting earlier in the day with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

RELATED:
US: Iran uranium enrichment a 'further escalation'
Daley out, Jack Lew in as Obama's top aide

“We in the US are deeply concerned with the activities in Iran,” said Inouye, who is America’s senior senator, having served continuously since 1963. “If the Iranians should ever develop a nuclear device or bomb, that could mean the end of the world as we know it in the Middle East. It would have an impact on all countries, not just Israel. As a result, our position is that if you attack Israel, you are attacking the United States.”

Inouye is the president pro tempore of the US Senate, making him third in line to succeed the US president, following the vice president and speaker of the house. He is also chairman of the powerful senate appropriations committee, and is here leading a delegation from that committee that also includes Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).

Asked to explain the close US-Israel relationship, Inouye said that “if one looks at most of this world, especially the Middle East, one country stands out as a foundation of stability and as a pillar of democracy. And at a time like this, when you have revolution in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan, thank God we have Israel.”

Inouye, who lost an arm while fighting in Europe during World War II, and was later decorated with a Congressional Medal of Honor for his service, traced his interest in Jews and Judaism to his rehabilitation in a military hospital in New Jersey in 1945.

Inouye said that in the next bed over was another soldier recuperating from his wounds. When Inouye asked the man about his wounds, the “blonde, blue-eyed officer” said it happened after he liberated a prison camp “where there were ovens, and people cooked in the ovens, and bodies stacked up” like kindling wood.

“I asked him what kind of prison it was, was it for murderers?” Inouye retold the tale in his deep, bass voice.

“‘No,’ he said, ‘they were Jews.’ I asked what crime they committed, and his answer changed my life. He said, ‘Well you know, Dan, people don’t like Jews.’” Inouye said this left a lasting impression on him, and that a few years later, when the honor society at his law school, George Washington University, refused to accept two students because they were Jewish, he said he told the group that if the Jews were blackballed, “then kick me out, too.”

Inouye dated his concrete connection to Israel back to 1951, when he was a salesman in Hawaii for Israel bonds. He quipped that he was the first person in his state to buy an Israeli bond, and still has it framed in his office, along with a mezuzah on the door and “menorahs all over the place.”

“There was a time I considered conversion,” he said.

“But I decided not to because my mother was such a devout Christian, she might not get over it.”

Asked where he thought Israel-US relations would be a century from now, Inouye said it was difficult to predict relations 100 years down the line. As proof, he said, just look at America’s close alliance with Great Britain, once its colonial masters, and with Japan, once the US’s worst enemy.

But, he said, “In the case of Israel, because of the unusual situation in this area, the relationship will be strengthened because of our mutual interests. As long as the mutual interest remains, I’d say we will remain good friends.”
print gohome
print
All rights reserved © 1995 - 2012 The Jerusalem Post.