US congressman steny hoyer 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy of US Congress Web site.)
WASHINGTON – A leading US Congressman blasted demonization of Israel and anti-
Semitism in the Arab world Tuesday, and stressed that action against incitement
must be part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“If this is a new
era of openness in the Middle East, then the work of defending Israel from
ideological attacks becomes even more pressing,” House Democratic Whip Steny
Hoyer told the Anti-Defamation League’s leadership conference.
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because, if this is a new era of openness, it matters more than ever that the
Arab people have a view of Israel unclouded by bigotry.”
But he said that
effort would be a hefty undertaking given “the lingering effect of generations
of anti-Semitic propaganda and incitement of hatred,” often peddled by Middle
East leaders who have used the issue to deflect attention from their own
He said that effort was particularly important in the
Palestinian Authority, which he has taken to task for problematic material in
“Strong action against incitement must be a part of the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process – so that Israelis and Palestinians can one
day have a peace that is lasting and durable,” he declared.
welcomed the recent retraction Judge Richard Goldstone offered on the findings
of a UN commission of inquiry he headed accusing the IDF of war crimes in its
confrontation with Hamas, but warned that “words, once said, are nearly
impossible to take back.”
Hoyer also welcomed the Obama administration’s
response to another UN action, a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli
settlements on which the White House used its first UN veto.
Steve Chabot, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East subcommittee,
followed Hoyer and told the crowd that he found himself in the rare position of
agreeing with just about everything Hoyer said.
However, he took
exception to the administration’s decision to accompany its UN veto with a
statement echoing many parts of the resolution criticizing
Chabot stressed the importance of opposing efforts to
isolate and demonize Israel.
“When it comes to the delegitimization of
Israel, one need look no further than New York, [to] the United Nations,” he
said. “The discredited UN Human Rights Council is at the heart of [the]
He noted that Goldstone worked under the auspices
of the council, and that its activities would be reviewed as part of a series of
hearings the House Foreign Affairs Committee would be conducting.
Nations reform [is] an action I believe is long overdue,” he said. “As the UN’s
leading bankroller, we have that obligation. And as Israel’s closest ally, we
must remain steadfast.”