Los Angeles (Jul. 13)
Rep. Paul McCloskey Jr. (R. Calif.) has come under heavy fire from the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith for publicly charging that American Jews “control the actions of Congress” with respect to the Middle East.
McCloskey, who is expected to challenge fellow-Republican S.I. Hayakawa for the latter’s Senate seat next year, made his remarks in a speech to retired naval officers in San Diego last week. “We’ve got to overcome the tendency of the Jewish community in America to control the actions of Congress and force the President and the Congress not to be even-handed” in the Middle East, McCloskey said.
Morris Casuto, director of the ADL office in San Diego, charged that McCloskey “maligned American Jews” with “inaccurate and defamatory statements.” Casuto dismissed as “errant nonsense” the contention that members of Congress are controlled by supporters of Israel. “The worn old charge that the Jewish community controls Congress, the President and the foreign policy of the United States is an insult to the Jewish community and indeed to the American public,” Casuto said.
He accused the 54-year-old Republican of “repeated attacks on the Jewish community” which “call his judgement and understanding of the American political process into question.”
McCloskey stood by his charges. At a press conference later, he said, “We have to respect the views of our Jewish citizens but not be controlled by them.” He criticized Israeli Premier Menachem Begin for allegedly calling on Moral Majority leader Jerry Fal-well to seek support for Israel’s June 7 air raid that destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor. Later in the day he told another group, reportedly mostly Jews, that “Somehow we have to approach Israel as a nation and not as a golden myth that can do no wrong.”
David Nussbaum, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Diego, charged that McCloskey’s remarks “smack of traditional anti-Israel rhetoric.”