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Tsongas Blasts Bush on Duke, Calls Himself Friend of Israel

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Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas pressed his attack on President Bush last week, calling defeated Louisiana gubernatorial candidate David Duke the inevitable result of the Bush administration’s economic policies.

“A shrinking pie by definition creates an illiberal society,” he told members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Nov. 18.

But he said the dismal science of economics does not account for all the factors that bred Duke, and he blamed the White House, and its use of racially charged code words, for creating a climate conducive to biotry.

Turning to the Middle East, Tsongas praised Bush for “providing the environment for the Madrid conference to take place,” but argued that “any Democratic candidate is more supportive of Israel than George Bush.

“Look at the people around him. It’s pretty obvious there’s no one to make a case for Israel as strongly as John Sununu will make on the other side,” he said, referring to the White House chief of staff.

“In the long term,” the candidate said, “there has to be a relationship between Israel and the Arabs motivated by economic self-interest.”

He suggested that such self-interest could be embodied in a Middle East common market, combining Israeli technological know-how with Arab capital.

“I’m proud to have a record of supporting Israel,” he said.

Vouching for his pro-Israel credentials was his Boston law partner Louis Weinstein, past chairman of the Conference of Presidents.

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