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Sixteen Jewish Democrats in Congress slammed a colleague who blamed AIPAC for the Iraq war. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) last week told Tikkun magazine that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is “the most powerful lobby and has pushed this war from the beginning. I don’t think they represent the mainstream of American Jewish thinking at all, but because they are so well organized, and their members are extraordinarily powerful –most of them are quite wealthy — they have been able to exert power.” A roster of top Jewish Democrats, including U.S. Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the fourth-ranked Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives; Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the war; and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called Moran’s comments “irresponsible” with “absolutely no basis in fact.” They said Moran’s comments could feed into anti-Semitic stereotypes.

“AIPAC as an organization never took a position on the war and none of us were ever lobbied by the organization on the war in Iraq,” the Congress members said. Moran additionally drew sharp criticism from Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the majority leader. Moran “adopted a canard that is absolutely not true, that the Jewish community controls the press, media, government and other institutions,” Hoyer said in an impromptu press conference. “It has been used by those who are anti-Semitic for a very long period of time. They are inaccurate, wrong and unfortunate.”

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