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Last Thursday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) targeted an amendment by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) that would force the State Department to determine how many actual Palestinian refugees – not their children, relatives, friends, or distant relations – are being served by US tax dollars. Leahy was upset because he knew, as most supporters of the Palestinian cause do, that the number of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from Israel during the 1948 war of annihilation launched by the Arabs against Israel is far smaller than the number of Palestinians now claiming redress.
“Frankly, Mr. Chairman, as a member of this committee, I always look at what is in the United States’ interest first and foremost,” he said on the Senate floor. “And this would hurt the United States’ interests. It may give a momentary advantage to one side or the other after we spend all that money, but it hurts the United States’ interests.” His inflection was clear – he was implying that those who support the Kirk Amendment are more interested in Israel’s interests than in those of the United States.
That implication is that anyone who supports Israel is not an American patriot. And that is a charge that has been aimed over and over at Israel supporters by the far left of late, from Media Matters’ MJ Rosenberg, who uses the white supremacist term “Israel firster” to smear those who support Israel, to Think Progress bloggers, who have used the same language.
“In the wake of news reports about the Center for American Progress and other left wing groups using arguably anti-Semitic language in criticizing pro-Israel policies,” said a GOP aide, “the senator’s comments certainly created a lot of pause.”
Leahy insisted that he wasn’t anti-Israel, just anti-the Kirk Amendment. But that doesn’t ring true. Leahy has a long and dark history of anti-Israel, anti-American sentiment in the Senate.
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