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Hollings Says Israel is ‘getting a Bum Rap in Lebanon’

April 25, 1983
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Sen. Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, who last week became the sixth Democrat to seek his party’s Presidential nomination in 1984, charged today that “Israel is getting a bum rap in Lebanon.”

“Israel is not trying to get territory in Lebanon, it’s trying to gain security,” Hollings said on the NBC-TV “Meet the Press” program. He suggested that what was needed is a “step-by-step” withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon. Hollings said Israel went into Lebanon to “clean up the Palestinians” and did a “good job of it.”

He said that in a country in which there are now 50,000 Syrian troops, 30,000 Israelis, Palestinian forces, 13 Christian sects and four Moslem groups, 1,800 marines are not adequate for a peace-keeping force. “We got that many” guarding the Capitol in the Capitol police force, he said.

The Senator made his remarks when he was asked if he thought his Democratic rivals, who he had accused of appealing to special interests, were making too great an appeal to the Jewish vote by their support of Israel. He disagreed, saying that Israel is “our best commitment” and a “strategic ally” of the U.S.

Hollings was asked about an incident during a Senate debate on prayer in public schools in which he called Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D. Ohio) “the Senator from B’nai B’rith.” He explained that he used the term in the “context” of the debate in which various Senators were referred to by their religion. Hollings said that when Metzenbaum took offense, he apologized.

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